Time: 13:00 - 14:15 & 15:30 - 16:30 (GMT)
Aircraft: Eurostar EV-97 - G-CERE
Are we ever going to get to Enstone? That's where we were aiming for again today, but the wind would be 90 degree crosswind and might be near the limit for the Eurostar. We decide that Wellesbourne Mountford may be a better option - it's a bit further on from Enstone and has a north/south runway, so only 10 degrees off the wind. Some quick re-planning for the extra leg. With our improving radio skills, we plan to bravely go through Brize Norton's controlled airspace, but also plan for going around it incase we do not get transit permission.
Jac takes off first in the C-42, whilst we finish our preparation. Eventually we take-off on 03 in pursuit and head north-ish past Newbury and on to Welford (now a large pig farm). Turning north here we go up to Wantage.
Approaching Brize zone we hear Jac calling Brize Radar for a zone transit - which she gets albeit routing over Farmore reservoir. We call shortly later and are instructed to call Brize Zone on it's frequency - we do this (well, Colin does) and it's the same bloke that we are speaking to! To add further confusion, he transmits on both frequencies simultaneously, but obviously we can only receive the channel we are on. This means we can hear only his half of the conversation with Jac. We too are given the same clearance, but the Farmore VRP does take us right into the Kiddlington ILS approach - oh well I guess they know what they are doing as the ILS is within their zone.
We give Enstone a wide berth, flying to the east and call Wellesbourne. When we get there, we call overhead, but there is very little gap between the runway and the towns no-fly area to do the deadside decent, so we end up on the crosswind leg of the circuit - no matter. We call downwind and turn base where we see the previous aircraft turn. Turning final, there is another faster aircraft on our inside - don't know where he thought he was going, but he called "going around on the deadside" (despite being on the live-side!). A few feet off the runway, the controller asks me for a position report - "just about to touchdown" was my reply. He apologised and said that the sun was in his eyes.
Once booked-in, we go to the café for sustenance. I am amused by the café lady's brummy accent, which for some reason I wasn't expecting. The airfield is just to the east of Stratford Upon-Avon. We ordered bacon-and-egg butties and when they arrive, the bacon was about 5mm thick - I reckon I've had thinner gammon steaks! It starts to rain a little, just as we think about leaving.
For the return journey, Colin is now in the C-42 and Jac is with me in the Eurostar. As Wellesbourne is an AFIS, we have to do what we are told whilst on the ground. With permission, we taxi to the holding point, report ready to depart and are told to takeoff at our discretion. Once up, we have to turn 30 degrees to the right to avoid a village for noise abatement.
Around Enstone, Jac calls Brize zone again - we are told to keep 8nm away from the runway and no higher than 1500'. We deviate east and descend heading straight towards Blenheim Palace. We are forced to just go through the edge of a rain shower to avoid going into Oxford/Kiddlington zone. Soon we see the reason for the low easterly route they demanded, when a TriStar goes overhead. Colin follows on behind.
Our route homebound takes us past the Diamond Light Source which is one of my customers in a giant silver doughnut shaped building.
We continue back to Popham and do a standard overhead join. Colin does a (lazy) downwind join behind us, but gets trumped by the MAC gyro joining base (really lazy) and I don't think he has seen Colin, who obligingly extends to make way for him. Landing on 03 floats a lot and perhaps my height perception is a little off, but touchdown isn't too bad.
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