Time: 18:00 - 18:55 (GMT)
Aircraft: Eurostar EV-97 - G-CEDV
Yet another evening practice tonight - The weekends don't seem to be working out so well. A bit of a late call in the afternoon to the airfield - given the choice of aircraft I just ask for whatever is out. I'm lucky that the Eurostar G-DV is out. Another bike ride to the airfield.
The plane is in the parking area by the main clubhouse. I check it over, but have to bring it round to the Airbourne clubhouse to refuel it. One of those days when it seems to take ages, but finally I'm in and engine started. But I can't get the radio to work - even the LCD screen is blank, which suggests that it isn't getting any power. After fiddling, tapping and checking the fuse, there is still no joy - but then I lean back and throw my checkboard into the luggage shelf and the radio comes on momentarily. Curious - it seems initially that banging the rear makes it work - perhaps the earth point is there? Then it gives up altogether. There isn't time to get another aircraft and a radio isn't a legal requirement, so I decide to give it a go.
I take off behind Melvin in his 'big red bird'; following him northwards I am climbing slightly quicker than him. We get to east of Overton and Melv slows up to almost stationary over some stately home. I keep an eye on him as I pass over, but then he turns left and underneath me. I fail to see him come out the other side - I'm now really wishing I had a working radio! I climb and continue north.
I get past the Hannington mast escarpment and head west to the A34 then south. A chance movement and I get a blip out of the radio - further investigation shows that wiggling the headset plug seems to bring it to life. Fortunately there is a spare headset in the plane - when swapped it seems fully reliable. I guess there must have been a bit of a short in the connector that killed the internal power to the radio. Oh well, at least it works now. I hear Melvin get a radio check with Allan in HR - seems he has also been having radio problems. I get a radio check too.
I'm down towards Four Marks now and then head back to the airfield for a deadside join. Runway 03 has a bit of a downslope and with no wind to help, the Eurostar really floats. This makes touchdown a fair way along it - I return to the beginning and take-off again. As I'm going crosswind a Piper Cub joins downwind and flys a bizarre circuit, crossing the threshold of 08 - nothing like the published circuit. I slow right down on the crosswind to let him past and continue slowly to get some distance between him and me, if he is doing unpredictable things. I do a touch and go this time round, followed by another and then a full stop landing.
More good practice and enjoyable. You can fly without radio, but it isn't as Comfortable.
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