Date: 27/9/2009

Time: 11:40 - 12:40 & 13:35 - 14:00

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CFHP

Garston Farm and Chase Farm

We are on a 3 plane / 6 person trip today. Rob and Pete in a Eurostar, Jerry and George in a C42 and Steph and me in another. The plan is to fly to Garston Farm and then on to a small private strip called Chase Farm.

The first leg is mine. After fuelling and checkout, we queue up behind the others for the runway. However during the runup mag test, there is a small flapping noise - we both heard it so we stop to investigate. Can't find any cause for it, so we give it another go. No sign of it this time - might have been a seatbelt trapped in a door? Bit of a queue to take-off and it doesn't help when the Popham Radio operator tells other aircraft to line-up despite the fact we had been waiting longer. Finally we are on our way and the visibility isn't as good as it might be. We try climbing up to over 4000' and it is a lot clearer and completely smooth. Unfortunately, as we head west, the cloud layer below starts to get thicker, so we are forced to drop down below it - not so clear or smooth. We stick the nose down a bit for 80 knots to try and catchup some of the lost time.

We travel past Bourne Park, Devizes, Melksham and then round the river by Winsley. Then turning north we give Colerne military airfield a call, as Garston Farm is inside their ATZ. We route to the west and report at Charmy Down that we intend to go to the north to join downwind, but they suggest we just do a straight-in approach. So we turn long final, offset to avoid the village of Marchfield and land on 09.

It's a nice little airfield but not a awful lot there. It's also quite close to Bath, where Jo lives - maybe I could pick her up her someday. We had a cup of tea, a chat and a look around their hanger.

Next we're off to Chase Farm, which is not marked and a bit smaller. I'm also flying this leg. We all call Colerne in turn, our intention to depart. I'm amused that being the third to state going to the same place, he informs me there are two other aircraft departing. I report that I am visual with them.

We take off on 27 and head north. It's only a short distance to Chase Farm; there is a large quarry just to the south as a good visual reference point and after a quick look at the airfield from above, we join downwind over the quarry. I drag in in under power for the final approach and make a reasonable landing. Phew - glad about that as people had been talking about how short the runway is.

This is a real small farm strip and we get a warm welcome. It seems George knows some of them and we are given tea and have a bit of a chat. There is a nudist camp just to the west, but we didn't go over it on approach - and we didn't go over it on the way out either. To make use of the slope and to avoid the power lines, we take of in the opposite direction to landing (again). This time Steph is flying me in the Eurostar, which makes a change. The others are going to Brimpton, but we elect to go straight back to Popham. We take pretty much the same route home as coming here. She flies as beautifully as ever - that girl should have more confidence in herself.

I'm afraid I don't have a GPS track as my PDA went a bit squiffy that evening.

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