Time: 14:20 - 15:40 (13:20 - 14:40 GMT)
Aircraft: Ikarus C42 - G-CDVI
Sutton Meadows Fly-In
Colin, Jac, Ian and I are going to a fly-in at Sutton Meadows today, in Cambridgeshire. A welcome trip given how little flying I have achieved this year and how little we have flown as our usual group this year. The booking was made ages ago and we chose a couple of C-42's to be on the safe side, in case the weather wasn't conducive for the Eurostars.
An early-ish start (for me anyway) and we fuel and prep the planes. The cloud cover is supposed to raise and burn off but it isn't showing any signs of doing so yet. For the outbound journey, I am being flown by Colin and Ian is flying Jac. Colin chooses a slightly different route to Ian's (or mine), by going south of the Luton zone and then going up the gap between Luton and Stanstead. Ian's is to go west and then north of Luton.
We take off on 03 and head north round the Odiham MATZ stub and then east towards the M4 junction 10 intersection. The cloud is still seemingly scared of heights. North round White Waltham and round the London TMA then east north east. At Hatfield the cloud is dropping - not unsafe yet but getting uncomfortable, so when we hit white at 1200' we decided to divert to Panshangar for a break and hope it clears a bit.
As we were a genuine weather diversion, they didn't charge us a landing fee, but boy do they make up for it in the cafe. Maybe I'm just a bit tight, but £3.75 for a non-too-special bacon buttie seems a bit steep to me. Anyway, it did the trick, the clouds raised a little and eventually we are back on our way.
The route is almost due north and past Royston we listen in to Cambridge and keep a good lookout as we pass the Cambridge ILS at a safe distance. Soon we find Sutton Meadows with their runways in the shape of a number 4. Initially we are joining for runway 01, but during descent it becomes apparent that 06 is a better bet - checking it is safe, we change to circuit for 06 and land.
Ian and Jac have already arrived some time ago. They too had considered a precautionary weather diversion but it cleared up just in time for them.
The fly-in is a friendly affair with many different aircraft already there. They have a barbeque on the go and I have a burger and some tea and cake - very nice. However it isn't warm and I'm very grateful that I didn't wear the shorts I was thinking of wearing - so much for the British summer. One chap has a laptop connected to a mode-s transponder monitor and can see all the so equipped aircraft in the local area. Amazing that he has this and Farnborough don't have mode-s yet. Quite interesting.
Colin and Jac plan to go on to another airfield (can't remember which one) but I could do with getting back a little earlier as I have some work to do on G-UFOX. So Jac will be flying Colin home and I will fly Ian back. After a quick checkover, we are soon warming the planes up and set off in our different directions. The cloudbase has risen a bit, but on the downside, it has also become a little bumpier. Our route takes us past Main Hall (where the e-go is being built), between Sandy and the huge Cardington airship hangars. Then past Lost and Buggered (Leighton Buzzard) and Aylesbury. On the way to the Stokenchurch tower we have to go round an oncoming aircraft. Past Henley and then back the way we came.
A lovely flight and great to have a group flight again, so thanks guys.
Also managed to get the needle valves changed in G-UFOX in double quick time.
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