Time: 14:50 - 15:35 (13:50 - 14:35 GMT)
Aircraft: Eurostar EV-97 - G-CERE
Kidlington (London Oxford Airport)
Ian and I had some vague plans to go to Aylesbury, Kidlington and Chiltern Park (to visit Clive) for today. For once the weather looks quite good - exceptional compared with what we have had recently. However, Clive isn't around and Aylesbury haven't answered my e-mail request for for PPR or my phone call. We decide to go to Kidlington and perhaps then on to Enstone.
After a spirited ride on my bike to the airfield (haven't done this for a while, due to weather) we meet at the airfield. Ian has already got PPR for Kidlington, so after a chat, fuel and checkout, we are soon on our way. Just arrived is the bizarre little Verhees Delta aircraft from France. Ian has the outbound leg and takes off from 03. The sun is shining and the sky is mostly blue with a few scattered clouds at about 4000'. However, the downside is that it is a bit bumpy. We head north past Hannington and Thatcham. The clouds are beginning to get thicker. Listening to Brize Radar, we get reports of a numerous contacts, probably gliders between Compton up to Oxford or Abingdon. We need to keep a good lookup so we have our eyes on stalks - those gliders can make a turn and then they just disappear. Sure enough, we see many of the just skimming around the bottom of the clouds. We go lower than them and go over Didcot and past Abingdon and listen to Kidlington's ATIS, then contact them on their approach frequency. We pass by Oxfords "dreamy spires" as we pass overhead and then join overhead. The radio is relatively busy. Ian puts it down near the threshold, then we have a long taxi to the intersection before we can turn off the active runway 01. We then follow the directions to the apron and park where we are instructed. We don our hi-vis jackets (mandatory) and walk to the arrivals (past the baggage claim) and book-in. The guys on the desk are very friendly and helpful. We then wander over to Costa Coffee for some tea and a bacon buttie.
My turn for the return journey. Given that it's a bit bumpy, I decide not to go to Enstone, where it would have been quite a crosswind. Whilst warming the engine, the brakes prove to be rather ineffective. I call on the radio and rather strangely they ask me to wait whilst they check my details (???). Finally I get to taxi round to the hold A1 and relatively quickly I'm given clearance to take off. Quickly in the air, we have to climb to over 750' before turning, then head round and back over Oxford. It probably not quite as bumpy as it was before. Progress is quite swift, now flying with the wind. Just past Greenham Common, we spot a little private airfield that we go and have a look at. Soon we get to Popham and Colin on the radio is having trouble informing a visiting French Verhees pilot that his flight plan would not be active for another 40 minutes The pilot says that he cannot wait that long, but doesn't seem to understand that there is nothing that Colin can do about it (the pilot should have filed it earlier!). However, he does have an interesting aircraft, which takes half the runway to take off and then does a fly-by.
Great to actually fly somewhere again and some more challenge points too.
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