Date: 22/2/2014

Time: 11:20 - 11:40 & 15:20 - 15:40 (GMT)

Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX

Old Sarum, Compton Abbas and Chilbolton

Today looked a bit doubtful, but the weather forecast improves and we get to go flying. We don't really have a plan and we consider Damyns Hall, but on reflection it may be a bit far. We settle on a round trip of Old Sarum, Compton Abbas and Chilbolton. I take the first leg.

After we have prepped the plane, we take off from 26 and head south-west on the familiar route. The visibility is quite good and we go along the south of the Middle Wallop CMATZ to Alderbury. As usual, the parachute procedures are active, so we go round the west of Salisbury and join downwind for 24. Not my best landing, with a bit of a bounce. I then add some power and float it down. We go in for some tea and Ian has a bacon buttie (I'm not ready for one yet).

Ian has next leg - once checked and warmed, we take off from 24 towards the west. Rather than turning to the south as usual, Ian turns right to go up to Deptford Down for a bit of a look. Just before entering the Salisbury plain danger area, we turn south towards Compton Abbas. As we join overhead, we hear someone else claiming to be overhead - eventually we find they are way behind so we can safely continue our approach. Nice landing by Ian.

We go in and have some tea, bacon butties and also some cake. I also splash-out the Compton Abbas Calendar (nice pictures of aircraft and girls!).

If I was to take the next leg it would have been a bit uneven, so Ian takes the next and I elect to do the final one. Ian takes off from 26 and we head east. There has been a lot of rain recently causing quite a lot of flooding. On the way, we come across the swollen River Avon (out of Salisbury - not to be confused with any of the other River Avon's). We track up the river to have a better look at the picturesque Longford Castle. Bit soggy. Then up the River Test valley to Chilbolton. We join overhead and as we are coming in, we see Sean working on his Thruster. After another good landing, we park next to Sean and have a chat.

After paying our (ever so good value) landing fee, we warm-up and I take off to head back to Popham. Only a short leg this time. When we get there, we find that they have changed to runway 26. I join from deadside and circuit. When on final approach, it feels quite turbulent with the wind coming over the Black Wood. It's quite gusty and at one point the wind noise drops suddenly so I have to put the stick forward and throttle on. Then as I am rounding-out, a violent gust comes from south and I can't control it out. I hit the throttle for a go-around - apparantly I exclaimed an expletive ("f***ing hell"). Bit concerned! We circuit around for another go and this time it is better and I land her safely.

We fill up and put her to bed. I'm not terribly pleased with my first landing or my second, although this one was sabotaged by the runway being declared as 26 - we really should have still been on 21. When chatting to the instructors later they both said that it was weird conditions and loads of people were having difficulty. I guess that makes me feel a little better.




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