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A Little Local Buzz

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  • A Little Local Buzz

    It was baking hot and there seemed to be little air to breathe; every move caused the sweat to ooze. In a few monthís time this would, in retrospect at least feel close to heaven. Now though, having battered the garden into submission, temporarily only of course, as is the nature of these things I needed a break. I knew just the place for it.

    I headed to the airfield; I even chucked my flying kit in the car although in truth Iíd need to feel in better form than I did at this moment. Flying or not, once there the air would be fresh, the wagtails would be bobbling in the grass and the air would be filled with skylark song. Once arrived there would be good company, the tea would flow and I could at the very least do some of the myriad of little jobs that always need doing.

    On arrival the good company was preparing to depart; I was tempted to head off after them but only a darn fool flies when they know that they are below par. Whilst in the past I have achieved heights of foolishness and still bearing some of the scars, I do try to kid myself that Iíve learnt a little over the years. I put the kettle on and before it whistled more good company arrived. One little group breathing life into a Piper hangar queen and the other intent upon treating the Dacron of their X Air, so I had all that Iíd wished for.

    I tootled around and few little jobs were accomplished, the locker tidied and put back into some semblance of order, wagtails darted about in the grass and the sound of skylarks filled the heavens.
    Not surprisingly with an afternoon of this therapy I started to feel that all was well with the world and maybe I was fit to fly. A very careful DI in which I made sure that I was skipping nothing, not being bothered is a sure sign that I should stay on the deck. I was now sure that I was on form; this didnít go unnoticed by the wind that had spent its time fliting gently about decided that some goodly crosswind gusts were what was needed. The other lads arrived back and had some ďsportingĒ landings luckily they were unaware that it was my fault.

    I donned the Ozee and was glad of the prop blast when the engine fired up as it wrapped around me and swirled life into the air. I taxied off down the hill and was soon aware that the short grass and baked ground made the little tailwheel as skittish as if on tarmac. Tail up and we were off in no time the little 503 giving lashings of power and at 50kts the ole TST zoomed up at 700fpm, and when I found a thermal the indicator wizzed around to 1200 and more. I turned as normal away from the village to gain height and thought this could get interesting but as I passed 1500í things returned to just a bit choppy. Throttling back and maintaining 50kts, a bit fast for best climb, I had to work at remaining below Stanstedís airspace at 2000í. Deciding to head to the coast where I would be allowed up to a sensible level. I settled at a nice comfy 3200í here it was wonderfully calm and with a touch of rudder I could fly hands off. As I approached Maldon I could see the tide was a long was out, must be spring tides I thought, to the south the Kentish coast (or is it the coast of Kent, Iím never quite sure) and out to sea stretched ranks of wind turbines, looking like rows of whitened toothpicks sticking up, marching out to sea as far as I could see.

    As I approached Mersey Island I was surprised that I had seen no other aircraft on such a cracker of a flying day. The estuary was strips of sapphire-blue water between the golden brown sandbanks, I picked out old markers that Iíd known in the past when still held a commercial fishing licence, the little creeks where I used to lay nets and that sneaky sand-spit in what a high tide looked like the middle of the estuary. Then I saw my first aircraft, at same height as me about 5 miles away, and shortly after that another looking as if heíd climbed out from Clacton rose to my height also. Thatís unusual I thought, when Iím up here nearly all aircraft I see are way below and watched both of then carefully as well as watching for the one Iíd not seen. The Clacton aircraft was playing with steep banks and stalls but the first aircraft kept heading northish and was soon out of sight. I flew out to the river Colne and turned towards Colchester while I kept an eye on the Clacton aircraft that now seemed to be a C172, he continued to play as I reached the outskirts of the town and turned west. It was now obvious he had his eye on me as well because he flew out and parallel to me about a couple of miles away and keeping his distance crossed my track and flew back east again. He now turned towards me and flashed his landing light which I returned with a wing waggle; he then flew in for a better look, maybe the poor soul had not seen a TST before. After that he turned for home as an aircraft passed way below (where they should be : ) ), followed not long after by another a mile or so away. Heading homeward I saw another couple of others, again where they should be a good way below, but I too had to descend to the more crowded levels and I saw a bright red Pitts glittering in the sun as he twirled a few manoeuvres overhead Earls Colne: I gave him a friendly wing waggle as well, and it then occurred to me the reason for the burst of activity might be the finish of a football match somewhere in Russia.

    Approaching the airfield the air was getting more interesting again, so much for my hopes of a sea breeze to calm things down. While an Andrewsfield-bound Cessna flew across our airfield at around circuit height, it does pay to watch out for bandits around here, I bobbled around the circuit, turned final and then it got interesting; throttle hand going like a fiddlers elbow to try to maintain a decent approach. I ended up with a wheeler on the in-to-wind wheel due to a sneaky gust but we touched down as soft as silk.

    The world seemed a better place as we drove home.

  • #2
    Nice. I love those bimbles. All does feel well in the world once you get a spin in the Air again. Nicely written as always.


    PILOTS are just PLANE people with a special AIR about them


    • #3
      I love them as well, and I enjoy reading of yours