Time: 11:35 - 11:45 (10:35 - 10:45 GMT) & 11:45 - 12:15 (10:45 - 11:15 GMT)
Aircraft: Eurostar EV-97 - G-CEDV
Once again, Ian sent an e-mail round saying that he had an aircraft booked for Saturday and wanted to go to the fly-in at Thorney Island - a rare opportunity to visit this airfield. Despite having a booking for Sunday, I was seduced and elected in.
However, the cloudbase and visibility weren't cooperating. When I get to the airfield, there is about 800' cloudbase and poor vis. We prep the Eurostar but have to wait around a while for things to improve. Eventually we decide to give it a go. Ian takes off on 26 and it isn't ideal - even below the clouds the visibility is a bit poor. Still, we feel confident enough to head south towards the coast, keeping a good lookout. Our route takes us more westerly than usual - closer to the Southampton zone. This should be the lowest path over the south downs to give us the best clearance from the clouds. We see a number of private strips along the way, that I haven't seen before (as I haven't flown that way before). At Glidden Farm we then turned east to go around Clanfield and then south past Havant.
We get to Chichester Harbour and plan to descend here (not far) on the west of Thorney and then cross to the east for the downwind leg. Sadly the information had incorrectly stated that the circuits were to the west, when it should have said east. We had been told to use the east, but as someone else was joining, and we were directly to the south of the runway, we were asked to change, so did a 180 and then turned downwind on the west side, keeping towards the water and away from the houses and horses. Unfortunately the Cessna lands on the north part of the runway instead of south of the intersecting road, as instructed. We are on final and the guy on the radio tells him to hold his position before the intersecting road, but he goes past it and pulls over to the left. Ian makes the correct decision to go around. Second time around we land, taxi and park-up towards the south end.
There is a rather worrying tank with rocket launcher there with its thermal imager camera whirring around. Closer inspection reveals the tubes are empty. We sign in and pay a landing donation. We purchase an excellent (huge angus) cheeseburger and some tea each and have a chat with one of the REME guys and look at the tank.
Suddenly we realise that time has really gone by (due to our late departure). I give Roy a quick call, who has the plane after us, and preemptively apologise for being late back - with a slight alteria motive that there was a chance he might not be coming (given the weather) and then we wouldn't have to rush back. A quick checkout and we prepare to leave. I backtrack on 19 and then takeoff, and the fly over Hayling and then north. I call departing to the north and goodbye and then the radio says "delta victor, have you lost a camera". A quick check in my pocket - "a-firm" was my reply. I turn back and join straight in, land and taxi to the end. I switch off and Dave very kindly brings me the camera. Start-up, backtrack and we're of again. The cloud appears to be a bit lower now, rather than higher. I pick my way north and keep relatively fast in attempt to make up lost time. Looking at the downs I was going to go to the west again, but spot a low bit to the east of Butser Hill, where the train track goes through - this looks a better bet and works out well. Then I follow the usual route back o Popham and join from the deadside for 21.
The weather was a bit grim, but it worked out OK, and we got an airfield in the logbook that we aren't usually allowed to go to - and I got to land there and take off twice! Big apologies to Roy for being 15 minutes late.
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