Date: 28/12/2014

Time: 11:05 - 11:45 (GMT)

Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX


We went to the panto on Boxing Day with my brothers family (oh no you didn't - oh yes we did!) which was nice (Aladdin at the Kings in Southsea in case you were interested). At dinner afterwards the subject of flying came up and I found out that Ant wanted to try it. Ant is my brother's step daughters fiancé - does that make him my future step nephew-in-law? It is also his birthday tomorrow. The forecast looked OK, so we arranged for the morning of the day after.

Come the day, we meet up at a rather cold and frosty Popham. There is Ant, his friend Bevan and my brother Sid. Once again, I am grateful for our hangar that we don't have to scrape the frost off of our aircraft. It is also my first chance to show the plane to my brother, so he helps me with the checkover.

We decide to take the (only just past) birthday boy up first. Once he is installed in the plane we begin the rather long warm-up which is much easier when you remember to turn the mag switches on! Once we have 50 degrees on the oil temperature, we can pull away and go up the small hill from the hangar area. Checks complete, we line up and take off from runway 03. Usual 1000'/minute climb rate and we head to the north west. The visibility isn't wonderful but is OK - we can see the sun reflecting off the English channel. Ant has a go with the joystick and we demonstrate a few turns etc. Then we go to have a look at Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) and then on to Greenham Common. A few steep-banked turns on the way back south to the airfield.

As we join overhead, another GA aircraft reports deadside descending. I keep an eye on them and see them heading towards the beginning of the downwind leg rather than the correct 90 degree crosswind leg. With this in mind, I slow the plane right down for a correct join and it is no surprise when they do a massive downwind leg halfway to Winchester. This forces me to also go further south that I would prefer, so final approach over the Black Wood. A little jink left to avoid the really tall tree that is unfortunately right on the runway centreline and down to a good landing.


Time: 12:00 - 12:45 (GMT)

Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX


Next in line is Bevan; Ant's Kiwi friend. After a short break, we set off to avoid the engine cooling down too much. Off from runway 03 (again) and we pretty-much do the same thing, except we do Greenham before Highclere. I'm always interested in what my passengers think of the flying and if it is like they expected. Bevan has flown light aircraft before back in New Zealand, so he knows what that is like. His answer was that it was smaller than he expected!

We then head down to Bullington Cross for a few tight turns and an overhead join for 03. A normal circuit this time with tight left base, but a surprise gust minorly disrupts the landing (but OK in the end).



Time: 13:50 - 14:45 (GMT)

Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX


We have some lunch (yes - bacon butties as always) before it's my big brothers turn. Consequently it take a little while to get the engine warmed again. We take off on 03 and head north. As this is his second turn, he is on the advanced course, so I get him to do the rudder peddles too. It obviously takes him a little while to get the balance, not helped by his rather large boots that are hampering his feel of the rudder peddles. We continue past Kingsclere where according to Sid's genealogy research a number of our ancestors were based and on the Greenham - this is about the right sort of place to turn back for a reasonable length experience flight.

On to Highclere and to give him a chance to get his camera out, we do an orbit to the south, before an orbit of the big house. After pointing out some iron-age hill forts, we then follow the A34 southbound to Whitchurch and then a few more exercises, including the obligatory steep-banked turns - always fun. Then down to Bullington Cross, before returning to Popham for an overhead join and a good landing on 03.



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