Time: 14:55 - 15:55 (GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
Today, Ian and I are going on a trip with Jac in their new Eurostar (unfortunately Colin couldn't make it). The weather forecast dictates that a north/south runway would be advisable so we decide that Wellesbourne Mountford would be a good bet. We have been there once before in 2010 and one of my lasting memories of this were the fantastic bacon sandwiches.
But before that, we need to try and address the problem of engine temperatures - it just doesn't get warm enough, especially now the weather is colder. My theory is that the water radiators are excessive and if the heads don't get warm, then the oil never will (despite having it's own flap that is almost permanently closed). I found found some rubber strip that is stable up to 200°C and fashioned it into a belt that covers about the top 30% of the radiator and have wired this onto the starboard radiator. We'll give this a try.
I bet the bacon butties aren't as good as last time.
I flew into Wellesbourne last time so Ian is doing the outbound. Once we are all ready, we take off on 03 and head north. We are at about 3000' so nearing the Brize zone I give them a call for a zone transit. This is the first time we have been given a sqwart code for real. We follow Jac at a distance over Farmoor Reservoir.
Approaching Wellesbourne, Ian gives them a call and we are surprised that they are using 18 - the reverse to what the forecast had predicted, or the wind when we took off. To be honest, there isn't a great deal of wind. We join overhead, land and are directed to the parking area.
We are near the museum, which is closed - I'm looking for the bench that was given as a memorial to a friends father. Unfortunately, it is closed and I can't get close enough to read the nameplate. After booking-in in the tower, we go into the café. I spot someone's full English breakfast as it is being delivered to a table - great! - the bacon is the same and the breakfast looks mouth-watering - I have to have one. It also tastes great and is only a fiver - incredible.
After we are refreshed, Ian and I decide to go and have a look at the Vulcan bomber that is based at the north end of the airfield. Jac chooses to miss this and goes back straight away. It's a bit of a walk (and cold) but when we get there, they are working on her - removing the port engine for a service/checkover.
Whilst gorping over the rope line, a cheerful girl approaches us and asks if we want to come in and have a look. We explain that we don't have a great deal of time, but she gets one of her colleague to show us around. We get taken up into the cramped cockpit and told a lot of the aircraft's history. This girl is very knowledgeable and friendly. It seems that this particular plane was flown in, but the runway is too short for it to actually take off again. They do however do the occasional fast taxi for very special events. We also get to have a little nose in the bomb bay, but soon we have to get on our way back.
It seems that the runway direction has now reversed, although there still isn't any significant wind. It is also beginning to get a little misty. After checkover and warm-up, we taxi to the threshold of 36. Once taken off, we have to turn right by 30° to avoid the local habitation. Soon we are on our way south. The mist can be seen to be gathering. The clouds are suitably high, so I climb to about 4000' for a clearer view. This means that we can go over the top of Brize zone and have to contact on the Brize Radar frequency for basic service rather than the zone frequency for transit.
On returning to Popham, the wind is a little stronger and hence less mist. We land on 03.
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