Date: 10/10/2010

Time: 16:45 - 17:00 (GMT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CCYR

Chilbolton (Windy Birthday)

We had hoped to go to Enstone this weekend, but the weather had other ideas. Saturday (9th) it was supposed to be cloud in the morning, but lifting by the afternoon - but the latter didn't happen though. Went to the airfield anyway, hoping for a local airfield or perhaps just a bimble or circuits. Was also a bit windy too. The airfield has the end-of-year fly-in this weekend, but barely anyone has been able to turn up. Gave up at about 4, as although there was the occasional glimpse of blue above, the mist was still evident in the trees, just over the road.

Sunday is my birthday and as Jo is away, I thought I would celebrate with a small flight - probably just local. The sky cleared up beautifully for the afternoon and it didn't seem too windy when I left home. Even round by the building it seemed OK, but if you go round the corner it really is quite windy and (worse still) quite gusty. Most people have canceled and I think it is virtually only Steve and his students who have been up. However, there are a lot more visiting aircraft now, including a few flexi's.

On the old adage of "It's better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wising you were down here", I hang around and watch the end of the grand prix and have a bit of a chat. Even the burger van has run out of bacon :-( but I have a look around some of the visiting planes. The wind has died down a little and the airfield is getting less busy, so gone 5pm I elect to get YR out and have a go. Pete decides to come with me. Initially, I was just going for a bimble, but Pete suggests Chilbolton - haven't been there for a while, and it seems like a good idea.

After getting G-YR out, fuelling and checking we're off on 03 - hmmm, it is a bit gusty. Also the general wind means that progress upwind is quite slow. But once we turn to head towards the southwest, we are flying (literally) and getting over 100knots over the ground (at about 70 -75 airspeed). Despite the visibility being good, the bright low sun makes finding Chilbolton difficult for me - really glad Pete is with me as he spots it (a lot closer than I imagined). We turn back into wind for the overhead and deadside descent - boy is it slow. Then downwind zips by and final approach is again slow. It's also a bit gusty and some evident windshear - initially it looks like it we might need some power to reach the runway, but then I have to put full flap in. It then gusts right near the ground and we lift a bit, but land OK.

After booking in we have a coke and a chat, then Pete takes us home. This time we are only going 35knots over the ground, despite the same airspeed. At least the sun has gone down making visibility easier and the Micheldever Station lights show up well. It is very smooth, giving hands-off flying. Pete joins from the overhead into a slightly abbreviated circuit and we land with minutes to spare, before official airfield close. There is no-one else around and we find the clubhouse locked - oh dear. Fortunately, Steve has seen my bike and has hung around to lets us in - phew!!

A very short, but pleasant flight - if a little gusty.

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