Time: 14:15 - 14:45 (GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
For various reasons, we don't have an abundance of time today, so we are just planning on a local destination today. Colin can't make it due to his shift work, so it is just Jac, Ian and myself. It's a bit frosty this morning, but not too bad.
After checkover and warmup, we head round the front from the parking area and meet Jac who has just arrived in her Eurostar. Ian takes on from runway 03 and heads off to the north west - no need to go direct, so we intend to incorporate a bit of a bimble into the journey. We discuss roll rates (something that I was playing with on the way back from Kemble the other week) and Ian tries his own tests. The 'FOX is certainly agile enough, but you do need a fair bit of rudder with such moves.
There is a bit of haze, but it isn't too bad. In the distance to the south we can make out the Solent. As we approach Hungerford we can see the Didcot Power Station cooling towers. We then turn to pass to the north of Newbury, call and then join downwind for runway 25 at Brimpton. Another lovely landing from Ian after just brushing over the top of the hedge on approach.
Jac is already inside having come by a direct route and probably wondering where we had got to. There was also Richard and Jim who had also arrived from Popham in their Zenair that normally lives in the parking tie-down next to Jac's. We have some tea and a mars bar (no bacon butties available at Brimpton). and a nice chat. Richard says that he would like a go in the EuroFOX and I reply that he just needs to negotiate a seat swap with Ian for the return journey (who agrees) but in the end, it seems they want to go for a longer flight, so we postpone it for another day.
For the return flight, Ian decides to passenger with Jac, so I have the return leg on my own. After warmup, I take off and circle into the overhead intending to wait for Jac, but unfortunately I have missed them and consider it too difficult to find them in the haze, so I decide to go and play. I climb up to a safe 4000' and do some clearing turns at the east end of Greenham Common runway. This straight landmark should give me a good visual reference for some some lazy eights. I wouldn't win any prizes for precision but it was great fun - lots of rudder required at the top to swing the plane round for the descent. I have been wanting to try this (in the 'FOX) for a while. I then enter a co-ordinated spiral dive (wheeeee!) and then a pass along the disused runway. Then heading south I cant resist a few series of steep banked turns; first to the right, then the left and then the right - once again, I'm investigating high roll rates between each direction. Really having to use the rudders in this flight.
Better head back now and join overhead as I hear a Cessna reporting that it was going-around - I couldn't see him initially but then found him way over on the deadside - must have been a really early decision to go around, for no obvious reason. This then precludes my hooligan descent and join that I was planning and I have to slow the plane right down as they fly a huge circuit. Having generated suitable clearance, I turn downwind, but continue my slow pace as I (correctly) predict that they will also fly miles downwind too. The speed differential allows me to do a standard tight base and follow them safely onto final, but unfortunately I'm thwarted by them taking ages to get off the runway; I low-hop for a while, but eventually am forced to go around for safety.
A quick wash-down (she doesn't get covered in flies in the winter) and we put her to bed. Not a distant destination today, but a very enjoyable flight.
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