Date: 16/09/2012

Time: 15:10 - 15:50 (14:10 - 14:50 GMT) and 16:00 - 16:20 (15:00 - 15:20 GMT) and 17:15 - 17:50 (16:15 - 16:50 GMT) and 18:05 - 18:20 (17:05 - 17:20 GMT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDRO

Keith and Susie

Today I am taking Jo's friend Susie and her husband Keith (Susie's husband rather than Jo's husband) up flying. We meet up at the at airfield, and they arrive whilst I'm getting the plane ready. There is a "Solent Aviation Society Fly-In and Pietenpol gathering " event on today, so it is really quite busy.

They decide that Keith should go up first. After fuelling and checking over the aircraft, we take off on 26 and head north to Hannington Mast. The weather is quite good - the air is calm and visibility isn't bad. There is a broken cloud layer between 2500' and 3000'. I give Keith a go on the controls, but he isn't entirely comfortable with this. We fly along the ridge past Watership Down and over Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) - here I spot a strange folly that I haven't noticed before. Then up towards Newbury and over Greenham Common. We then head south and follow the A34. I ask Keith if he would like to land at an different airfield which he agrees, so we go past Popham and on to the ever friendly Chilbolton. We join overhead and land on 24. A short backtrack and park up by the caravan.

After signing in and paying the landing fee we have a bit of a chat. Then a quick checkover and we're off back to Popham. Whilst over the Black Woods I have a look for the PA22 that crashed here a few days ago - can't spot it, it's really well embedded. We join overhead and land on 21 (due to the fly-in they are using 26 for take off and 21 for landing).

I have a very welcome cup of tea and a chat before the next victim. After a quick checkover, we install Susie into the passenger seat. Soon we are taking off on 26 again and heading north to follow pretty much the same route as before. Susie is a bit bolder with the joystick than her husband. We do Highclere and then Greenham Common. Then heading south again I notice that the low clouds are breaking up now. I spot a suitable gap that we can use to get up above the clouds - far too tempting to ignore. Full throttle and we break up through the gap and are met by the bright sunshine and a fantastic view. We had previously been discussing that the aerial view that was once restricted to aviators is now available to everyone using Google Earth - however nothing can compare to what we can see now. Of course, now we have to find another hole to get back down; there are plenty of gaps to keep us legal VFR and keep out of Odiham zones stub and soon another bigger hole allows our descent.

Equality being equal, we then pass Popham and land at Chilbolton again. The same airfield twice in one - that's unusual. Sign in, pay landing fee, quick checkover and we're off again on 24. I take off with a bit of a zoom climb and then we bank round back north east. On the way, we have a look at a field where they are starting fires to burn stubble. Then back to Popham, landing on 21 and we pop the plane round the back and put it to bed.

What fun!

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