Time: 12:50 - 13:35 (GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
It seems like ages since we had our own plane and Colin and Jac have had theirs. So it is rather surprising that it has taken this long for the four of us (C, J, Ian and I), who have flown regularly together, to have an opportunity for all of us to fly out together in our own planes. Today is the day.
The plan is to go down to Sandown. We don't have an awful long amount of time as Colin has the night shift, so we we will go the quick way to the east of the Southampton zone. For the outbound journey, Ian is going to fly Jac in the EuroFOX and Colin will fly me in their Eurostar.
After adding a little more blanking to the starboard radiator, we fuel and prep the planes. Colin takes off on 26 and we climb into the overhead and wait for G-UFOX to take off. We then head south in relatively close proximity in the hope of a (pre-planned) photo opportunity. First, Ian flies to our left to let Jac get some pictures of her plane. I manage to get one shot of our, before a cloud bank materialises in front of us - Ian turns to the left and we turn to the right to avoid the cloud bank and each other. Unfortunately, we lose each other.
There appear to be two layers of cloud - a low layer with murk below it and a higher layer. We continue southwards between the two layers - there are sufficient gaps to see the ground to keep us legal VMC. Approaching the Isle of Wight, we hear G-UFOX calling Sandown. We join and land just after them. We are directed to park just behind them.
We go into Carla's new café for the obligatory tea and bacon butties - lovely.
For the return journey, we swap planes and pilots - Jac is taking Ian home in the Eurostar and I'm taking Colin in the EuroFOX. After checkover, we take off first on runway 23. We then turn northwards and climb slowly, waiting for the others. We gain height to cross the Solent and continue climbing to about 4000'. However, the gap between two cloud layers had gone and we had to descend to about 2000' to be safe. We follow the now familiar route up to Butser Hill, then past Colemore and Ropley. Approaching the Black Wood we descend for a deadside join and land on 26.
Ah - lovely.
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