Time: 12:10 - 13:15 & 14:30 - 15:20 (GMT)
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CCYR
The original plan for today was for Jac, Colin Ian and I to fly to Gloucestershire Airport (where we did our radio license). It wasn't to be for a few reasons - the weather has some rather low clouds and Ian's wife has put her back out. The remaining three of us decide to go to Sandown on the Isle of Wight.
Due to me being a bit late and still fuelling and checking out the plane, Jac and Colin get off before me for a look - if it looks dodgy they would text me and probably go to Chilbolton. No call by the time I eventually get off on runway 26 - it's a little bumpy, but at least the cloudbase isn't too bad. It settles down a bit, but then goes back when I have to drop down to below 2000' to go through the corridor over the New Forest.
Getting to the coast, I can see that there are bizarre clouds forming on the southern coast edge of the Isle of Wight - it seems that as the moist air over the channel being blown with the wind, hits the island and is forced upwards, it creates some low level cloud. Climbing up to over 3000' I can see the coastline so I have a look at flying along the coast - for once I didn't fly round The Needles. I head down towards St. Catherine's, but then turn inland towards Sandown airfield. When I get there I can see the runway, but need to fly half-way to Newport to find a safe place to drop down below the clouds to join the circuit. Some of the runways length is condoned off due to waterlogging, but this isn't a problem with the wind - in fact I have to put some extra power in just to get there!
Had a bacon-and-egg bap and some tea in the cafe portacabin. They seemed grateful to see us, being the second and third visiting aircraft from Popham that day. It seems they have few incoming with the rumors of being closed.
After a checkover, I'm on my way back with Jac as my passenger. The clouds have got worse and lower. Following Colin on take off, we head north looking for visibility gaps. It's weird that it seems relatively clear directly in front then goes white. We skim the bottom of the clouds, wondering if we've blown it and should have left earlier. But then as we reach the Solent it clears and we can happily climb to 3000', keeping an eye on the temperatures. Colin reports that he is over Thorney Island, but we can't see him - it seems he was over the other Thorney Island (Hayling Island). Heading back up to Petersfield, it is perfectly calm allowing hands-off flying. Back at Popham, we join deadside for a landing I'm quite pleased with.
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