Time: 16:45 - 17:40 (15:45 - 16:40 GMT)
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDRO
Another fly-out this afternoon - this time organised by Nikki. Today we are going to Redlands airfield, near Swindon. I have been here once before, but over three years ago. Actually, it was the second solo out landing I did since qualification.
We begin to meet up at Popham and sort out the planes that are already available. I meet my flying partner, Kel Bossey who is one of the many people I have met in passing, but didn't know who they were. He seems like a really nice chap. Talking with the others, I fairly amazed how many people have plotted a direct course from Popham to Redlands - have they misunderstand or just not read the instructions? You have to approach from the north and no overhead due to the parachuting and with the no fly areas you basically need to come in slightly from the east along the railway, then due south once abeam the airfield. I plan to go a little further east and go and have a look at the Uffington Horse which is still one of my favourite landmarks.
When we have prepared the plane we get off before most so it will reduce congestion. I am flying the outbound leg (having given Kel the choice). I take off on 03 and head northish past Overton, Hannington, Hungerford, Welford and Lambourne. When we get to Uffington I pass over the horse (to the east) and then turn round to fly back over it - lovely. We then head west and make our call to Redlands DZ and get no reply - we also hear other doing the same. As we approach the railway, we then hear Redlands call that a parachute drop was in two minutes - great - not enough time to get near the airfield, let alone down. If only they had let us know before or answered our calls. I turn north up past the windfarm towards Faringdon to pass the time. A few more orbits as we hear others reporting their position, then we resume our approach. At the railway we turn south and pass over the twin barns landmark and are looking for the airfield. I am attempting to land on the long 24 runway (they have two parallel runways), and suddenly realise that I am only looking at the western half of it from the fence onwards - I am actually virtually over the threshold. I put it down anyway but it isn't too elegant. I think the runway is quite bumpy as it passes through the hedge, which is where I touch down. I pull off the runway and head back to 17 to get to the parking area - it's quite bumpy. We get to the parking area and park up next to a couple more of our club planes. We go to get some tea.
We have tea and cake and watch the meatbombers. Eventually, we get around to going to book-in in the little portacabin. On the way Jac spots her life insurance broker who has just landed in his Eurostar and we have a chat with him. The club planes - five C-42s and one EV97 look impressive in a line and apparently quite a lot of planes for this airfield. Another photo opportunity. We book-in and out at the same time.
Time to leave and we check the plane over and Kel has the left seat for the trip home. We have turned the plan round before starting to give better clearance. As we pull off we hear another announcement that another drop is coming, but we have time to trundle up to the threshold of the short runway 24 and take-off. Once up we have to turn right twice to head back north. We then turn back south and head home via Membury, Hungerford and Overton. On reaching the airfield someone announces that the advertised runway 03 is actually downwind and recommends using 26. We are in the fortunate position to be able to turn our approach into deadside decent for 26 and land.
We go to the Fox again and plan the next fly-out - very nice.
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