Date: 28/11/2010

Time: 13:00 - 13:50 (GMT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CFHP

More Confusion at White Waltham

It's really cold today. I guess we should consider ourselves lucky, as some of the country is under a blanket of snow. Colin, Jac, Ian and I have two planes booked for virtually all day and it seems like it's going to take that long to defrost he aircraft. I give my big black towels to C + J who are defrosting the Eurostar and help Ian who has the black wing covers on the C-42 - all we need is a little sun to warm them up and melt the ice. It's rather slow, so we go inside for a cuppa and bacon butties. After this, there is evidence of water coming from under the covers, so we clean up the water before it can re-freeze.

After a while, we have both planes defrosted - hooray. Jac takes off in the Eurostar whilst we are warming up the C-42. But as we start to move away, we notice that the ASI is stuck on 60 knots, despite being (nearly) stationary - we return the the parking spot. Steve kindly helps us find the lump of ice that is clocking the tube from the pitot. We warm the ice, and disconnect the tube at the bulkhead, so that we can blow the water out through the pitot. Once we are happy with this, we set of again, and I line up on 03 - taking off shows the ASI is working fine.

The visibility isn't as bad as I feared and the air is dead calm. We go north to Hannington mast, then west and get to reporting point sierra (M4 junction 10) and call Waltham - we are told they are on 29 right hand. We join overhead (as advised), descend and when I make my downwind call I get clipped by another call. This turns out to be a new Waltham Radio operator who states she is changing runway to 03. I report that I am turning base for 29 and can I continue my approach. Unfortunately, instead of a helpful "yes" or "no", she says "why didn't you reply when I asked if anyone was in the circuit. I explain that I believed we both transmitted at the same time when I called downwind. Still nothing helpful as to continuing my approach or not, so I hit the throttle and climb out to rejoin. If they didn't keep swapping radio operator, she would have known that I had already called at the reporting point and descending deadside, even if she did transmit over my downwind call. Not impressed! Recomposed myself and rejoined 03 left hand to a landing I was happy with.

After the long cross-country hike to the visitors parking, we meet Colin and Jac who have been waiting ages for us. I sign in, then we go to the bar to get some tea. I want to order a bacon sandwich, but there is a long wait, so I settle for crisps and chocolate - very healthy. We have a nice chat.

Colin takes me back to Popham in G-CERE. We have a near disaster where for some reason I have put the keys to G-HP in my pocket, but Ian catches us before we leave - ooops!. On the way, we have a look at the improvements at junction 11 and also the Madejski stadium. We join downwind, land on 03 and put it away.

It seems that only one other flight from the club happened today (Damien and Steve), so I guess we were lucky. Despite the misfortunes, I enjoyed today - bit cold though.

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