Time: 17:05 - 18:15 (16:05 - 17:15 GMT)
Aircraft: Eurostar EV-97 - G-CEDV
It's Pete's fault this time. I did have half a plan to go to Compton Abbas today, but then found that they shut at 5, so I would be too late. I had then thought about a round trip to Reading but it's kinda hard to get your head round going to Reading for pleasure. When I get to the club, I have a chat with Pete and he says that he went up yesterday to get above the clouds - that set to seed in my mind.
I get G-DV out and check it over - I'm in luck, it's got plenty of fuel in. Soon I'm ready and take off on runway 03 and head north. The visibility is reasonable and I can see some clouds that don't look too high, so I decide to get above them. It turns out that they are higher then I thought, so I head west where there is no height restriction. Eventually, I get above them, but can't go any higher than 10,000' without a transponder. I try a few photos, only with my phone as I don't have my camera with me - hence them being crap. This time, the reduced engine performance at this altitude is more noticeable - only achieving 4600rpm. Once I have finished playing I start my decent but spot the halo effect where the sun shine from directly behind you and hits a cloud to give a round rainbow - very pretty, so I go back up a bit for another look. Unfortunately the photo doesn't really show it so well.
Back to by decent and I keep using some power o stop the engine getting too cold. Once I'm low enough, I head back west past Hannington Mast, the electricity substation and then up to junction 11 of the M4. I have a look at the windmill and Madejski stadium and then follow the motorway west, until I get to Chieveley services and turn south. I am aware that I now have a significant tailwind, so I chose this opportunity to try out what the Eurostar feels like going fast. I push the nose down and the speed climbs into the yellow zone. Then there is a vibration from the nosewheel - it does that during landing sometimes, but this time is is somehow resonant with the airflow. The GPS suggests that I topped 150 mph (downwind), but I back off and head back to Popham for an overhead join and landing on 03.
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