Date: 26/08/2012

Time: 18:25 - 19:25 (17:25 - 18:25 GMT)

Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDRO

Isle of Wight - Challenge Complete

Today should have been an earlier and longer flight but for Chris Evans' blooming Carfest event. Supposed to be a car event in the nearby Laverstoke park; close to the downwind leg of 21/03. But on Thursday night I found out they were having air displays too. I was going to phone the airfield on Friday morning when a notification of air display was shown in the NOTAMs, but found a note had now appeared on the Popham website saying that they would be using runway 21 with a left hand direction - seemed fair enough and would keep our traffic away from the display area. But then things get worse. Airbourne cancelled all their instructional and trial flights and blocked-out all other booking slots. Then the Popham website note was embellish with "Limited private flying until 0945 local then flying displays by Sea Fury, Blades, Tornados, Black Cats, Arbarth Extra, BBMF and the Vulcan until 1630 local." for Sunday - implying that the airfield was effectively shut between. I suspect that things had snowballed with more display aircraft joining in. But it was very frustrating with the lack of information. The most worrying thing was that the display pilots information said that they had an Restricted Airspace Temporary (RAT) - they didn't! Whilst they had been practising, they also had told local pilots that they shouldn't be using Pophams frequency.

So we decided to go later on. When I got the the airfield we went out to watch the BBMF fly past over Popham and then over to the display area. Chris was doing a great service on the radio to keep it under control. Whilst fuelling the aircraft, the Vulcan also flew over - and impressive aircraft. This was the end of the days display, so we could now proceed with our flight. We had met Roy and agreed to fly together down to Isle of Wight (Sandown) together with Colin and Jac in two aircraft. I had already called Carla the day before and found that we didn't need PPR. I called again before we left and found that the cafe was still open - great! On the toss of a coin we decided that Roy would fly the outbound leg and I would do the return to Popham.

Once the Vulcan had finished we could join the exodus and depart from 26. Given the time restriction we are routing direct via Ropley, Butser Hill and Hayling Island. We initially were following Colin in G-VI and then overtook them. At the Solent they regained the lead and called for a straight-in approach whilst we chose an overhead join.

Once landed we taxi towards the tower where we now have to park, since Britten-Norman have taken over airfield management. Carlas cafe has also been resurrected on this side of the airfield. We sign in in the cafe and have a cuppa and a gorgeous slice of carrot cake (thanks Carla).

My turn for the homebound flight. After a quick checkover we lineup on 23 after a few landing aircraft. We take off and continue in the same direction from climbout. Jac says she is going direct to the Needles, rather than round the coast. However from my location that would take my over the radio mast, so I head further south - then even further south due to some low cloud. Onwards, and I'm considering turning early past Yarmouth up to Hurst Castle, but then the other go round behind us out to the coast, so I sort-of follow from the front towards the Needles. Then north over the New Forest for a smooth flight back to Popham. Lovely.

So that's my final letter for the AlphaBet Challenge - Challenge complete with only a few more days to go!


Return to 2012 Index

Return to main Index