Time: 12:35 - 13:15 (GMT) & 13:45 - 14:20 (GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
I'm on my own again today. Colin and Jac flew yesterday (I couldn't), and Ian has damaged himself by falling off his mountain bike. Why won't people believe me that this fitness lark is bad for your health! This morning I was a bit knackered and the bed was so warm, but I didn't have anyone waiting on me, so it was a lazy start to the day. Consequently, when I get to the airfield, I don't have any particular trip in mind - just to go flying.
By the time I have the plane prepped it has warmed up a bit, but still feels very cold. It is also quite muddy - I don't know why people insist on driving their cars to the hangars in these conditions - it's just not necessary (particularly if they don't have large toolboxes to carry).
The wind is only moderate when I took off from 21. The visibility didn't seem wonderful and I climbed towards the north. I found the cloudbase somewhere below 3000' - not strongly defined, but just a gentle white-out, as I tried a few tight turns. Then I killed the throttle for a Practice Forced Landing near the VolAir strip - found a reasonable field to the west and came down and then climbed away few feet away from what would have been a reasonable landing. I hadn't got much more than 1000' when I pulled the throttle again for another go (different field) - would have been less elegant, but would have got it down safe.
Then I tracked down the A34 and then decided, I may go to Chilbolton - that should be pretty much into the wind. I made my calls and joined downwind for 24 - it felt like the wind strength had increased. Round onto final and yes, the wind was stronger and gusting in various directions, so that made landing a little twitchy, but OK.
When I had parked up, I looked for the Flexwing that I was pretty sure I had seen (whilst landing) - wasn't there - had I imagined it? After signing-in and paying the landing fee, I went for a walk round the corner and found a chap putting the Blade (flexy) away. He had decided to call it a day as the wind had got up, so I helped (or perhaps hindered) as he disassembled to to put it away.
Time to leave and after warmup, I head back towards Popham, but decide that I haven't had enough fun yet, so I then head to the east, just north of the Southampton zone. This is an area I haven't often found myself, despite being so close to Popham, and I meander along at about 1200' - nice. Then I nip down to the Watercress Line to see if there were any steam trains chuffing about (there weren't).
Then back to Popham to join for 26 (runway changed) - forced to do the bigboys (GA) circuit as someone was doing a downwind join. Still quite windy and down to a nice landing, before putting her away.
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