Time: 15:50 - 16:40 & 17:10 - 18:00
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDMS
Cr@p weather again recently and found Wednesday was the best chance for weeks and foreseeable future, so I took the afternoon off.
My plan was to go to Redlands, just to the east of Swindon. This is a microlight farm airstrip with (basically) two parallel runways (06/24), one longer one of an ample 750m and a shorter one of an alleged 407m - but measuring it on Google Earth makes it more like 350m - which is getting a bit challenging! Perhaps I had better aim for the longer 24R.
EVENTUALLY I escape from work and get to the airfield and prep G-CDMS. After a few attempts I get through to Redlands on the phone for PPR. I ask if a straight-in approach would be appropriate for runway 24, but she suggests a downwind join - obviously an overhead join would not be possible as we are supposed to descend to 500' to the north.
I take off from 26 and head of northwards, aiming for the Uffington Horse (still a favourite). The clouds close in a bit and the vis isn't brilliant, but still OK. The air is a bit unsettled in places and fine in others. Reaching the Horse, I call Redlands and turn east to find the point where the A420 crosses the railway, then south to the airfield at 2200' to have a bit of a look from overhead (at a safe height). Back north to the railway and then descend to 500' coming back south for the join. Given the no-fly zones, it is quite tight to join downwind and as I turn base-leg I realise that there is no way I can get round to for 24R so I elect for the shorter 24L. I had better get this right! Actually it goes just fine and I use less than 2/3rds of the strip and pull off to the parking area.
I make a cup of tea (couldn't find any milk) in the portacabin and drink this and eat a Mars Bar on the roof, to celebrate.
Soon, it's time to go again, so after a quick checkover, I'm back off on the short runway and backtrack the route to Uffington and then towards the Alton Barnes horse. On the way I finally find the little Marlborough horse - a lot easier when you know where to look. At Alton Barnes I notice that someone has given the horse a big willy! Then it's back to Popham.
Quite chuffed with today.
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