Time: 15:40 - 16:25 (GMT)
Aircraft: Eurostar EV-97 - G-CERE
Once again, I haven't flown for a while. I know said that I would try to stop other things getting in the way of my flying, but I guess I have a bit of an excuse when it's building our new plane (see G-UFOX). It's not only that, which has been keeping me out of the air, but the awful weather. Friday looked hopeful, so long as the airfield was open (it was shut on Thursday) - I saw that Ian had a booking in the afternoon, so texted him to see if he wanted to go somewhere together. We decided to try to go to Compton Abbas.
In the morning, we are in luck - Popham is open (for restricted use) and the weather looks good. However, Compton is closed, so Ian tried asking Wadswick but they were soggy too. We decided to go to Kemble where they have a hard runway and Ian also said that his son Jon and George were going to join us in the other Eurostar - great! After my appointment at work, I made my way to the airfield and started getting the plane out. The ground was still quite wet and slippery. Taxiing had to be at minimum speed and even then you could feel it squirming around a bit. We then decided to change things around and Jon would fly me out and George would go with Ian.
Soon we were fuelled, warmed and on our way. The air is calm, visibility isn't too bad and a few clouds hanging around at 2500' - 3000'. Jon is wearing his new GoPro camera strapped to his head - quite an amusing look! The journey is very calm. However when we get closer, we tune into Kemble's frequency and they are obviously quite busy. I guess a hard runway is at a premium today. The fields around show lots of flooding particularly around the lakes to the east of Kemble. We join overhead for the 26 microlight circuit and land. We are instructed to park on the North Apron next to the others who had just arrived.
A bit of a walk to the control tower and cafe and halfway, we realise we don't have our hi-viz jackets - oops, better keep a good lookout. After signing in we go to the AV8 cafe for tea (and bacon butties, cake etc.) and a chat. We are treated to a free airshow of the beautiful blue spitfire we had seen parked earlier and also a couple of Extras, giving experience flights.
But time goes quickly and we have to make our way back. We wander back to the planes and after a quick ckeckover, warm them up. There is lots of condensation and the canopy is very steamed up. The radio operator is virtually continuous due to the traffic load. We have a fairly lengthy wait before we are given permission to taxi, crossing the runway and taxi via the southern taxyway and I then takeoff behind George in G-DV.
The visibility has deteriorated and there is some spooky mist hanging around the river valleys. The delayed departure has taken its toll and we have to put the nose down to get back for the legal daylight hours. We are following the others and they have obviously come to the same conclusion as we stop gaining on them. It occasionally gets a bit difficult to keep track of them, being in a grey plane with a grey background. However the flight goes well and it is still very calm, allowing hands off flying. We get to Popham in good time and do a lazy downwind join for 21 as there is no-one else around, except for Steve and Julie who land behind us.
A needed to go flying and today worked out really well - great!
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