Date: 20/11/2009

Time: 15:35 - 16:25

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDRO

Gap in the Weather

The weather has been crap recently - along with a few other commitments, I haven't been up for a while, so it getting close to the time I would need a check-flight - want to avoid this if I can. I had booked up a Eurostar for today and much to my surprise the forecast said it was going to clear up for the afternoon - hooray! However, it has rained so much recently, there's the chance the airfield is closed. I give Airbourne a call and Graeme very kindly goes to the main clubhouse to find out - I'm told that it is open. It's not ideal conditions, but I really want to give it a go.

When I get there, it turns out that no-one else has been up. It's a bit windy, but has reduced a lot. I decide to take a C-42 instead, as I am more familiar with this aircraft. Graeme suggests that I speak to Chris on the control desk about any special taxiing considerations. Unfortunately his advice is "don't do it". I'm annoyed by this - if he had said the airfield was closed then I wouldn't have taken the afternoon off and driven all the way to the airfield. It seems a bit late to be talking about "essential flights" and how do we determine what is essential - it's not life threatening, but it is essential for my enjoyment. I check the condition of runway 21 and assess the aircraft's fuel tanks and find G-CDRO has a sufficient 30l.

I am worried that if I do fly it might reflect badly on the microlight club, but talking to Graeme and Shelley - they say not to worry about that. I form a plan how to restrict it to the least chance of any damage to the runway or taxiways. I will go straight from the parking area and take off from 21 - that will avoid going round the front taxiways. If I take off at the intersection, it will avoid going over the lower (and potentially wetter) are at the north end of the airstrip. I tell Chris what I intend to do.

After checkover and warmup I taxi very carefully to the intersection and take off. Gosh this plane seems to climb well and handles well - perhaps due to my greater familiarity. Though I do find that I'm letting it sink a bit in medium banked turns as more backpressure is required compared to the Eurostar. I head to the north, but there is a big cloud bank so I head west and then south. The visibility is fairly crap, particularly looking into the sun.

I'm heading back to the airfield as the sun sets and join downwind for 21. I deliberately land long to further reduce the taxiing and the landing goes well. More careful taxiing back to the parking area. I'm very confident, but I walk back out to the runway to inspect it, so that I can happily confirm that there was no damage at all caused by me.

I'm glad I flew.

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