Time: 16:45 - 17:35 (15:45 - 16:35 GMT)
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDMS
Another fly-out this afternoon - this time organised by Chris White. Today we are going to Sandown airfield, on the Isle of Wight and I am flying with Didier.
In the afternoon it is absolutely persistently raining in Sandhurst. Jo says that we can't possibly go flying in this. I tell her (confidently) that it's pushing northwards and is going to clear soon. Then almost biblically, the clouds parted to leave blue skies and sunshine. She was impressed, but I told her that I was just watching the rain radar.
We had been told that last landing was at 5pm which was tight for our 4pm slot start. Other planes moved their bookings forward, but ours was not available - at least they could get going so the fuelling rig would be available. However, it later transpired that we could land until 6pm, perhaps due to the tower there being active after being taken over by Britten Norman. That takes the stress off. However, Clive has a mag issue with G-HR and is delayed by doing some extra testing. He (quite reasonably) asks us to shepherd him down to Sandown, just in case it happens again. When Steve finishes with our aircraft, we prep it, wait for HR and then I take off directly behind them. Clive (and his wife Lianne, on her first flight in a fixed wing aircraft) chose to do a further t+g circuit first. This gave us the opportunity to circle into the overhead and gain some height. It was then easier to form up behind them by using our extra height.
We had to avoid Lasham by 5 miles as they had a gliding competition running, but our route over Ropley Station would keep us clear of that. I have done my PLOG as usual, but given the fantastic visibility (for once) it isn't really necessary - we can see where we are going. Over Ropley we can easily see Butser Hill which is our next waypoint before heading south to Hayling. I have formed at a safe distance on Clives right hand side and a bit behind, where it is easiest to keep him in view - any formation flying takes a lot of concentration. I hand my camera to Didier to take some pictures. At Rowlands Castle, it becomes clear that Clive is taking a more westerly route than my usual one across Hayling Island - more across Langstone Harbour. I prefer to be more towards Hayling because of the greater emergency landing opportunities, so I move over to his left hand side and we keep an eye on him - sometimes difficult in the sun.
Once we get to the coast, the air is completely smooth and we follow Clive as he turns west and then crosses the Solent to Ryde. Then due south towards the airfield. Clive calls joining downwind, so we join overhead to give suitable separation and round to a nice landing. We park up with the others and go in for some tea. We all sit outside the cafe and have a chat and the obligatory photos.
When it is time for us to leave, most of the others have already left, leaving only us, Clive and Colin. Didier is flying me back and after checkover, we and the other two C-42's do the power-up checks near the threshold of the runway. We are about to lineup but the trees restrict our view of a Pitts on final - after this has landed we are on our way. The pilots have decided to return via having a look at Osbourne House, which by complete coincidence is what I did last time I came to Sandown. We have the lead and turn around the impressive building and then head east along the Solent. The route back is pretty much the reverse of the outbound journey, over Langstone Harbour, past Havant and up to Butser. We pass by a couple of balloons en route and join deadside and land on 21.
Another nice fly-out, finished off with a visit to the Fox - great.
Return to 2011 Index
Return to main Index