Time: 11:35 - 12:40 (GMT) & 15:15 - 16:05 (GMT)
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDRO
Another familiar story this week - Ian, Colin Jac and I had hoped to go to Stapleford, Andrewsfield and Panshanger today - the weather had other ideas. Hey, isn't that the same line from last week?
Actually, the TAF's the night before were looking promising that the early mist and cloud would soon burn off and the trip may be possible. Come the morning at the airfield, it looks a lot more dodgy. Oh well, it clears up a bit so we prep the planes and give it a go.
I set off on 21 with Jac and head north. Past Overton, there is a bank of cloud and I chose to try going over the top of it. This is fine with reasonable visibility and quite smooth. However, just the short distance up to Hannington shows the cloud layer getting thicker - with the risk of not being able to find a hold to get back down through, we try flying below the cloud layer. This is an awful lot more bumpy and the vis isn't much good. At one point we are down to about 1200'. OK, lets try above it again - much smoother but at Arborfield the London TMA comes down to 2500' and we are skimming the cloudtops at 2400'. At the junction of the M4 and the A329M, the cloud layer get even thicker - down we go again with a descending orbit, but even down at 1000' it's rubbish. Back up again and we try going north, but there is so little gap between clouds and airspace (highlighted by seeing Jumbo's quite close near us) we decide to give up and return to Popham. We keep above the cloud layer and once out of the 2500' zone, we can climb to a better height. Back at Popham it is clear enough for an overhead join.
We have some tea and bacon butties in the cafe and wait for it to clear up some more. It does get better, but still not good to go north. It's also quite windy and coming from the south, so we look for an airfield to the west with a north/south runway - Craymarsh Farm seems to fit the bill.
This time, it's Jac's turn. We're off and 21 again and head north-west up past Rivar Hill and then west to Devizes and towards Melksham. Soon, we spot the airfield and we can discern the advertised circuit pattern (good diagram). Ian has just landed and Colin warn us that there isn't as much wind on the ground as you may think. It seems that the runway is a bit undulating as seen on the photo.
Here we meet the owner (and his dog) and have a bit of a chat. He shows us his plane in his hanger - surprisingly there is actually quite a few aircraft that are based here at this little airfield.
Soon, it's time to head back to Popham. Whilst we are checking the planes over, another C-42 arrives to land - the airfield owner calls "he's doing a loop", but sadly I'm looking at the oil at the time and only just see him pulling up. I think we all missed it. I backtrack up the runway 18 and then take off and the turn east after passing the canal (as requested). At Devizes we see Colin make a sudden descending turn and goes over the locks near the town. A little further on I do something similar, to go and have a look at Lydeway airfield. I'm quite enjoying this and is just what I needed (been a tough week). Soon we're back to Popham for another overhead join and landing on 21 ( a little bit high, but OK).
More points for 'C' too.
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