Time: 16:30 - 17:55 (15:30 - 16:55 GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
It is the MW Fly-In at Otherton this weekend. We had originally intended to spend the weekend there, with overnight in a tent, like we did last year. Unfortunately things transpired against us, so we are only going up for the day (Saturday).
George has gone to the airfield early to get a few circuits in and practice some short-field landings - Otherton's longest runway is 340m. When I (finally) get there, I wait for him to finish and then we have a chat.
Pretty soon, we are ready to go and take off from runway 08. George is at the controls and comments on it being noticeably more sluggish with two people in - thanks! The forecast was for scattered clouds at 4000' - what we have got is near full cover at about 2500'. The visibility below this is poor too - ah well. The NOTAMs today pretty much preclude going around the Brize zone, so we are forced to go through or over it, even if we weren't going to anyway. With the current cloudbase, there was no hope of going over the top, so we have to go through it. I guess we could do with the zone crossing RT practice.
Up past Welford and on to Grove. We usually have to passenger working the radio for a zone, so the pilot can concentrate on the flying, so I give them a call. Having been given clearance, we cross via Farmoor Reservoir and are then passed onto Oxford, for some strange reason.
We pass up the west of the Birmingham zone, avoiding the airfields and keeping a lookout for emergency landing options. Once round the corner, we give Otherton a call. The airfield is just the other side of the M6, but you have to cross this at 1000' followed by a descent into the circuit. On final for 34 we just brush over the bushes and land in plenty of space to get off at the intersection. Well done.
After signing in, we order some tea and lunch. There are several people I recognise from last year and surprisingly some of them recognise me too. It is a pleasant gathering. For a while, George has to disappear for the MW club AGM whilst I mill around and look at some of the aircraft and also checkover ours too.
Eventually, it is time to leave. Once warmed up, I line up on 34 and off we go. I circle into the overhead to attain to required 1000' AGL before crossing the M6. The return journey was pretty much the reverse of the trip up. At Brize, I decided that I would have a go at doing the radio whilst also flying, for confidence reasons - it goes OK. When past Brize we spot an interesting house and have an orbit around it for a better look. Closer to Popham, when we go past Highclere Castle, George asks about the folly next to it which came up in conversation early. At quick detour and a rapid descent and we go and have a look at the strange flat facade on the hill.
Back at Popham, we join overhead for 08. There is sod-all wind and inevitably I need to side-slip in on final. I have the correct approach speed and correct attitude but it still seems strange on touchdown (on all three wheels) - because of the total lack of headwind, the groundspeed is quite high.
Once we have washed the plane and put her to bed, we leave after yet another lovely day.
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