Date: 15/01/2012

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

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDHR

Bowldown, Kemble and Yatesbury

Another group outing for the usual 4 of us. Weather isn't too bad either - a bit of wind, but the vis isn't too bad. However, there is some frost to get off the planes first, but this doesn't take too long. Ian has managed to get PPR at a farm strip called Bowldown - the nice owner wasn't going to be there and just requested that we avoid annoying the neighbors (probably referring to Highgrove). I'm with Colin today, and Ian is with Jac - I elect to take the first leg. Once we are deiced, fuelled, checked-out and engine warmed we begin to move off the stand, but Ian makes a call to announce that they have an electrical problem. We manhandle the plane back to the stand, and wait whilst the blown fuse is replaced. Then we're off again and the engine is still warm. I take off on 08 and we then head west.

Without Lyneham to worry about, we head past Bourne Park, Clench Common and Yatesbury. My route takes us up to Badminton and then turn for Bowldown. It takes a little while to find the airfield, just because it was a little further along than I anticipated. I descend and join from the deadside and overfly the runway at about 300' for observation, just to check the runway. It looks OK, so I call to Ian who is following us, so that they can land whilst we go round the circuit. The runway is quite spacious with no restrictions around it, so it's quite easy. Once down, we continue to the end and head down the other runway to the parking position.

We get out and have a bit of a chat. A couple of locals (definitely not meant as an insult) come past kicking a ball - they seem to have lost the dog that goes with the ball! We have a bit of a chat with them. However, there isn't a lot else to do, so we call Kemble for PPR and prepare for the short hop there. Colin takes off first and we head round the Tetbury restricted zone and on to Kemble. Colin lands suitably early to come straight off at the taxiway and we are directed to park round the back of the club buildings. There's a 20' walk to the gate, so I can't even be bothered to put on the high vis jackets I've bought along. A gaggle (possible collective term) of TVR's arrive into the car park and we attempt to get a wiggle on to get to the cafe first - not entirely successfully. We are told that there is a minimum 25 minute wait so we buy the last three cheese/bacon rolls available and also have some tea.

We had considered going to Lydeway Field on the return trip, but we couldn't get hold of them for PPR, so we decide to drop in to our friends at Yatesbury and give them a call. We swap over and checkout. Kemble seems to have got really busy and there is a constant stream of RT whilst we are warming up. By the time I manage to get my call in, the engine is warm and my checks are complete, so I announce this and get to go nearly straight to the hold, bypassing the others. Once it is my turn to line up, I pull onto the runway and forgetting that it's a hard runway the plane accelerates and the nosewheel lifts and I nearly take off across the runway.

I head towards Lyneham and the vis isn't as good in this direction. Then on to Yatesbury - once we spot this (and Ian already joining), I descend and join. The circuit height is 600' which is even lower on the downwind leg due to the hills, that are higher than the airfield elevation. It's the first time I have landed here in this direction and it is a little bit tight - a little bounce on landing, probably mislead the the downslope.

We have a good welcome and a proper pot of tea - not the usual bag in a mug. We have a nice chat and Ian helps one of the locals to jump start a thruster. But soon it's time to head back to Popham. Colin files this route. There is nothing happening at the airfield, so both he and Jac do straight-in approaches.

Another nice days flying and a couple more letters for the Alphabet Challenge.

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