Time: 11:15 - 12:05 (10:15 - 11:05 GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
EuroFOX Fly-In - Oaksey Park
Roger has kindly arranged a fly-in at Oaksey Park for this weekend, primarily but not exclusively for EuroFOX's - can't miss this one! Unfortunately we can't manage the whole weekend (including overnight camping), but we can do the Saturday. For once the weather forecast seemed to be co-operating.
Unfortunately, come the day, there is quite a lot of low cloud around, but it looks safe, so we give it a go. I am the pilot for the outbound journey and after prep, we take off from runway 03 and head north west. Initially we are restricted to about 1500' until we get to Bourne Park where the clouds open up a bit. Sadly, it doesn't last for long and by Rivar Hill we are pushed back down. At the Kennet & Avon Canal we come across a cloud bank and I have to execute a quick 180 degree turn back. Fortunately, we soon find a gap in the clouds above and this allows us to climb up in this chimney into the clear air above the cloud - great! We are still VMC legal and the further we go, the more the clouds thin out. By the time we get to Oaksey Park it is nice and sunny.
We join overhead, but let-down to circuit height on the runway QDM to avoid the nearby Kemble. Roger had mentioned about a spot landing competition, but to be honest as we are coming in final, I am just more concerned about not f***ing it up completely in front of all the other EuroFOX pilots. Not a prize winning landing, but perfectly acceptable (phew!).
We park on the end of an impressive line of eight EuroFOX's; ours making the 9th. Rather oddly they are all either White or red. There is a relatively even mix of nosewheels and taildraggers. After shutdown we wander down the line admiring each plane as we head towards the clubhouse. Great!
Roger and his wife have laid on a lovely barbecue. The landing fees have become donations for the local church which should help with local relations. There hasn't been such a high concentration of EuroFOXers in this country before (and possibly in the world) and it is great to chat to them all - not only the pilots of the visiting aircraft, but also some constructors in mid build or even people eagerly awaiting delivery of their kits (arrived by car). I also meet some people that I have had e-mail conversations with in the past - it's nice to be able to put faces to the names.
There were also a number of other visiting aircraft (including Alan from Hook) that weren't EuroFOXs, but they weren't allowed to park on the line next to the runway and had to park round the back (serves the right). Another 3 EuroFOXs arrive throughout the afternoon, making twelve. I understand that another arrived the next day. That's a very impressive turnout given that a lot of the EuroFOX's in the country are glider tugs and hence working aircraft and unable to join us for a "jolly". There were also some that couldn't make it due to the clouds.
Come 6 o'clock and it's time to go home, with Ian at the helm. Fortunately, the clouds have cleared up nicely. The homebound journey was a fairly direct route and an overhead join for runway 03.
A lovely day out!
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