Time: 13:10 - 13:25 (12:10 - 12:25 GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
Not Thorney Island
Ian, Colin, Jac and I were planning to go to the Thorney island fly-in today. Apart from generally being a great event, this year we had suggested to use it as a EuroFOX get-together. The forecast had been good for the weekend right up to a couple of days ago, when unfortunately it changed for the worse. Even the night before it changed from looking better in the afternoon to potentially better in the morning. Best to get there earlyish, but to be honest, I drove to the airfield without great expectations.
C and J got their aircraft ready before us and Jac took off and headed to the south east. By the time I had our plane warmed up and was heading up from the rear parking, I heard Jac calling for a rejoin - unlikely to be a technical issue, but insufficient cloudbase, so I just parked up on the line and waited for their arrival. Indeed, they didn't even get to Colemore Common before turning back.
We repaired to the cafe and were joined by many other refugees all hoping for improving weather, so that they could go to Thorney too. I called Thorney and their weather was OK with 2000' cloudbase. The occasional adventurous person flew off to explore the chances, but were reporting only 900' before turning back - the south downs are this high in places!
We kept our hopes up as long as possible (assisted by bacon butties), but it was clearly not getting better (and possibly worse). We decided that since we had the planes out we would go for a few circuits. Ian got in the Eurostar as Colin's passenger and Jac came with me. Although the active runway was currently on 26, we believed that 21 was much more appropriate, so asked Colin (on the desk, not our Colin) and changed the T. After another warm-up, we took off after G-XT and climbed into the circuit. By circuit height (800') we were just entering cloud and rain on the screen. To make matters worse, a Skybolt joined just in front of us. We slowed down for separation, but they went miles too far downwind (I have no idea why some people cant keep to the published circuit pattern) and we were forced to follow. This was to the extent that I lost sight of the airfield through the murk, but knew we were going in the right direction and found it. A little sideslip to a reasonable landing. A touch-and-go and we went around again (on normal pattern). A little power required to correct the landing, but the weather is clearly rubbish, so we put the toys away for the day.
Big shame, but you just can't control the weather./ George and Tom did make it on the following day.
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