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A smooth February day

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  • A smooth February day

    There was a definite nip in the air, but out of the light breeze the sun felt warm. A day to fly I thought and so did two others of our 4 person syndicate, so we arranged to meet up at the airfield.

    I arrived first and barely had the hangar doors open when Brian arrived, Joan was to follow when she cleared some chores she wanted done. As we removed covers and started the DI the airfield was buzzing as others readied themselves for a trip to Cromer. They headed off northwards as we, with the little TST ready to go, made ourselves a cuppa a clambered into our Ozees. Careful not to get too hot in the hut, sweat chilling on us as we climb higher is unpleasant, we climbed aboard, started the engine, ran though the checks and we were ready to go.

    Iíd forgotten the way that a bit of melted snow produces so much sticky mud. I was soon reminded. Looking out at the wheel as we taxied, mud building up and shedding great lumps as I kept the speed down to avoid splatting the wings as much as we could. A little burst of power to aid the turn into wind as she lacked her normal agility and we were lined up ready for the off. Power up tail up almost straightaway, ah, thatís better: steering with the rudder is much more positive than the little mud clogged tailwheel. Ease back a tad to lighten her on the wheels which are spraying chunks of mud enthusiastically. Lift off as soon as possible just as a great globule of mud fully 3Ē long plopped onto the screen right in front of my face. Then we were away the aircraft seemed as happy as we were to leave the muck behind.

    We climbed nicely with our heads swivelling on the lookout for bandits, there were bound to be plenty of others taking advantage of such a nice day. Sure enough sightings come one after another and we call them out to each other. They were all taking a predicable track until we neared Witham, there a Cessna was cavorting over the town, so Brian watched him like a hawk while I looked for any others. The visibility was good except when looking close to the sun where it became fairly murky. I hoped to see snow on the tops of the downs, but was disappointed; the view though was still cracking. Looking south east the estuaries looked like strips of beaten silver. There the broad Blackwater with its islands then the narrow strip of the Crouch, but the Thames was a bit odd. I could see a thin silver strip topped with a line of low fog that snaked along the course of the valley. Above the fluffy fog bank the shape of the downs loomed dark, and completely snow free. To the east the sea shimmered an almost unbelievable blue with the little white sticks of the wind farms showing clearly. Just on the horizon were the only visible clouds, fluffy-looking cumulus above the clear cut line as if keeping their distance from the land.

    Then it was time to head back before I froze the uncomplaining Brain, as he sat where the prop blast curls around the r/h side of the screen. That can be a problem with the TST in winter, the pilot sits sheltered by the screen, well mostly, while his poor passenger slowly freezes, not what youíd do to a friend. A gentle turn takes us overhead the remains of the old wartime airfield at Birch where another solar farm has grown; they pop up all over the place. Down sun the estuaries of the Colne, Stour and Orwell shine with a blueish tint and the towns stand clear, beautifully lit. Earls Colne airfield is busy but the runway in use will keep their traffic clear of us as we descend slowly and reluctantly towards home.

    I pull off a decent landing well into the strip to minimise taxi distance feeling happier than before. After a quick cuppa Iíll get to fly again, this time as Brianís passenger and if I get lucky I could get to do the same with the wife flying. Sometimes life feels really good and washing the aircraft afterwards is a small price to pay.

  • #2
    Glad you went flying Ginge. The weather was stunning yesterday but you really have to grab it while it is about at this time of year.


    • #3
      An entertaining account and well written.
      Your comments about the mud remind me that Spats are not just for show. They also allow my T600 to carry my own supply of mud!
      Pete T.

      "A closed mouth gathers no feet".


      • #4
        Too right Tom, with our sydicate on a good day this time of year you join the queue, well worth it though.


        • #5
          I gets even more interesting Pete when you find that mud has frozen .

          Interesting though the mud on my screen had dried in the prop blast and you'd have thought it had been there for a week. Carefully soaking it off to avoid scratches froze my fingers, it was still well worth it though.