Time: 12:55 - 13:25 (11:55 - 12:25 GMT)
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDRO
Ian and I had planned to go to Wycombe Air Park and some other potential targets today, to try to finally get some points on the board for the AlphaBet Challenge (see www.AlphaBetChallenge.org.uk) but the forecast is quite windy and from the south, which is not so good for WAP. So we decided on Craymarsh Farm and Draycott Farm as these have north/south runways. However, when I get to the airfield it is really quite gusty. I see Steve for a chat - on other windy days he has said expressions like "it's a bit sporting up there" - but today his tone is a bit more worrying. Hmmm, the target airfield should be mostly into wind, but I have been caught out before when the wind hasn't actually read the forecast. I also trust Steves opinion. I go and have a look at the windsocks - they are up and down (very gusty) and mainly very crosswind for the active runway 21. To prove that he is also an all-round good bloke, he offers to take me up for a couple of circuits to try it.
I decide to take him up on his kind offer - may as well take advantage of the tricky conditions for practice. I put some fuel in and give G-RO a brief checkover. Soon we are lining up down the end of 21, but right on the right-hand side of the runway - this is to allow us to takeoff at an angle across the runway to make less of an angle to the wind. Starts off OK, but then at the point of takeoff, I fail to resist the urge to straighten to the runway direction - bum. I am also flying out of balance - perhaps due to the extreme crabbing to counter the wind, but worst of all, I'm not feeling that I am unbalanced (well, the flying anyway). The downwind leg is quick and also crabbing, in fact the base leg is probably more into wind than anything else - Steve slows it down with second stage flap and we have virtually stopped within the circuit. However whilst messing around, we have gone up to 900' and when I come to descend, I pull the throttle closed and I'm surprised that it doesn't seem to want to go down! Second stage flap again and we are crabbing towards the runway. Then there's a bump and suddenly we are really descending. I put it down OK but not terribly elegantly and fail to put it across the runway at an angle again. We go-around and Steve demonstrates how it should be done. I then head back to the threshold and have another go. Better, but not brilliant.
Steve says I'm OK, but to be honest it's not really fun, so I call it a day.
No GPS today I'm afraid.
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