Time: 11:55 - 13:00 (10:55 - 12:00 GMT) & 17:25 - 18:45 (16:25 - 17:45 GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
Duxford - BMAA Bonus Day
Ian had told me about the the BMAA bonus day at Duxford - a slightly strange title particularly as it was an event for the whole weekend. It is basically a fly-in at Duxford arranged by Rick Goddin (WFAeC) for BMAA members who would get reduced landing fees and free museum entry for 2 hours. Ian said that he was going with his son Jon in a club Eurostar and it sounded like a good idea, so I booked a landing slot for the same time of 12:30 - 12:40 on the Saturday. I haven't been on a BMAA fly-in/out before.
As time moved on towards this weekend, unfortunately Ian had to cancel, but I decided to continue, despite the potentially poor weather forecast. Indeed, the organisers VERY sensibly dispatched an e-mail saying that if the weather is unfavourable for Saturday, then some Sunday slots may be available over the phone.
Come Saturday, the forecast is no fun and I am not prepared to fly - I give them a call and manage to secure a 1pm slot for Sunday (my choice). Sunday turns out to be significantly better, but still a bit windy/gusty. I've had no takers for the passenger seat, so I am on my own today. Once fuelled and prepped I am off from runway 26 and heading north towards Hannington Mast. Then north east to pass to the south of Reading and then north to Henley - then north east to Marlow through the gap between Booker and the Heathrow zone. I then continue past Leavesden and round the Panshangar ATZ and then up the height limited gap between Luton and Stansted. At the end of this I reach Royston, which is my reporting point - they don't seem to be excessively busy, so I can get my call in easily. I join downwind and then turn final at the roundabout. I debate landing on the grass strip, but given the gusty wind (including crosswind component), I take the straighter route to the hard runway. Landing goes OK and whilst the ATC controller is busy, I vacate right (carefully checking there isn't anyone inbound for the grass strip) and head over to the parking where I am marshalled over to a parking spot on the hard standing, near to the imposing B-17. Chatting to the marshaller, he says I was lucky to be able to vacate right and they had routed everyone else to the far end and the long taxi back. But Duxford is an AFIS, so whilst still on the runway I am still under my own control.
I wander over to the tower to book-in and pay my landing fee. This is the first time I have met Rick who seems nice. I then go off for a wander round. I decide to start at the far end and plan to work my way east. I did the Land Warfare building and the impressive American Air Museum. After the 1940 Operations Room I realised that time was getting on and perhaps some lunch was in order - fortunately I am near the main cafe. In the cafe, I was fortunate enough to meet up with Steve Williams (another EuroFOX owner who I had met at the Popham show and the EuroFOX fly-in) and some of his friends. We have some lunch together.
After lunch we set off to see some more. Unfortunately, they had being doing the museum in the reverse order so we went to do the bits I had already seen - not too worried though, it's nice to have the company. We also notice an unfortunate incident, where a flexwing has been blown over onto it back by the wind. The fire service are in attendance and they are attempting to hail the owner over the tannoy system.
Later on we are having some tea, and we notice the B-17 Flying Fortress, the Sally-B has been moved and is starting it's engines. With a sudden realisation that where we are parked on the tarmac means we couldn't use tie-downs and we have no wish to end up like the previously mentioned flexy, we run over to ensure our aircraft don't get blown by her mighty engines. We needn't have worried as the pilot was very careful and considerate. Gave me an opportunity for a great photo of Steve and his G-CIFA.
When it's time to go, I give G-UFOX a quick checkover and get permission to taxi and then line-up on 24. I take off and continue in the direction of Royston. My return journey is the reverse of the outbound, until I get to Marlow and remember my first ever flight (in a Tiger Moth out of White Waltham) where I followed the river - I decided to do the same again, albeit in the reverse direction.
Then back to Popham and join for 21.
A lovely day.
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