Date: 30/12/2011

Time: 10:35 - 11:30 (GMT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDHR

Claggy PFL's

Again, we had a days flight planned for the usual 4 of us, but the weather had a different plan. Although the forecast showed it should be OK initially, the cloudbase would soon drop and the rain would start - heavier later. The others have bloused out, but I feel like I have itchy feet and want to get them (the feet) off the ground. Bit of a late decision, but I decided to go down to the airfield in hopes of squeezing a quick one in, before the rain starts.

On the way down the motorway, I'm looking at the sky and it's a bit uncertain. I know that there is probably only one other plane in use (Sophie with John Wilson) so I head straight from the car park to the aircraft, to find which ones have fuel in - G-HR has 25l, so is plenty for me. Then to the clubhouse to check the logbook and get the key. Back to the aircraft to checkout and prep it, but I have forgotten the seat cushion, so have to taxi it round to the clubhouse to collect it. However, the radio doesn't seem to be working in either socket. I try plugging the other headset in and this works, but then the first is working OK too - very strange.

Once ready, I line up and take off on 26, then depart to the north. There is no defined cloudbase, just varying degrees of clag, getting thicker the higher up, but it's OK at 2000' - 2500'. But general visibility is poor. Definitely not a day to venture too far, but fine for a bit of fun.

Haven't done power-fail landing (PFL) practice for a while so I pull one just north of Overton. I find a big field and line up using constant aspect. There turns out to be a bit more upslope than I anticipated, but it goes well and I climb away from what would have been a reasonable landing. Heading north again I pull another near Hannington. I head for a mown flat area on top of Watership Down and do an beating method approach, but I spot some people walking on a pathway closeby, so climb away early.

What next - I decide to fly down the Greenham Common runway (at a suitable height) and then over to Highclere Castle. Here a little drizzle starts to land on the windscreen, so I head back to Popham. I make time en-route for a couple of steep banked turns north of Whitchurch. I approach the airfield from the west and join from the deadside. No circuits allowed today, so I do a deliberate go-around on my first approach, then land on the second - all goes well.

The rain starts properly when I am tying the plane down, so it was the right time to stop and have made the best of what we had.

I guess that's it for this year! 32 flights in total - not too bad considering the weather.


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