Time: 13:35 - 14:20 (GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
I was thwarted last weekend - despite the forecast that it would clear up sometime between 10 and midday, it didn't become flyable until the evening when I was halfway home on the motorway - too late. Today, is better, but a bit gusty. There is also PROB30 chance of rain/snow/hail CB's, so a long journey isn't recommended. Of the available choices, we decide on Goodwood - of their three runway directions, they only have one open (and that is the smaller one parallel to the main runway).
Ian has the outbound leg and after prep, we are lining up in runway 26. Once climbing out, it proves to be a little bumpy. We head down to the south east, but we aren't going directly - Ian want's to go and have a look at Frensham. Well, we're not in a hurry, so may as well make a flight of it. This isn't a direct route as we have to go round the south of the Oakhanger HIRTA zone. We go over Four Marks and then down to Liss, then round to the west. We spot an interesting house on the way. Along the A3 and then up the gap between zones to Frensham. We can easily spot the Great Pond, so we know that the airfield is just to the west of it. We also spot a plane (an RV I think) in the circuit over the pond and watch it land. It is quite a long runway, for a private strip - I believe it has occasionally been used in emergency for Farnborough traffic. It's been three years (and two days) since I landed there, but we aren't stopping today. We then head south and over the downs to Goodwood. We join overhead and are in luck - the wind is straight down the runway.
After signing in, we find our way over the other side of the race track to the cafe. Here we have a nice bacon and fried egg sandwich each, along with a cup of tea. We are in the upstairs seating area and we get a good view of the starting grid of the track. There is an MG meeting going on, and a mixture of old and new ones are having some racing. To be honest, they don't appear to be going really flat-out (particular the older ones), so it must be a fun series - but they do look like they are having fun.
Time to go back and my turn. Warmed up, we head over the rather soggy taxiway, trying to avoid the more boggy bits. We take off on 32R and basically keep going towards Petersfield. On the way, we spot an lovely looking private strip - except it is right alongside the downs and must be interesting with rollover during a southerly wind. Nearing Petersfield, we spot another plane approaching from the east with a constant bearing. I turn sharply right to clearly indicate that I am (correctly) giving way, before resuming my course and passing behind them. As they head away, we can clearly see how much they are crabbing due to the wind. We are straight into the wind and only managing just over 60 knots over the ground.
Before we had left, Ian spoke with his son, who has a club Eurostar booked and we had arranged to rendezvous with him on the return journey. We were on 123.450 (interplane frequency) and collude to meet at Colemore Common. Jon formates on our port side and shepherds up back to the north west. A chance for Ian to take a few air-to-air pictures. When we get to Four Marks (like Ian) I decide to make a bit more of a flight of it and turn to go along the Watercress Line to look for steam trains (there weren't any). Up to Alton and back, then back to Popham.
I join from the deadside - yep, it's a bit bumpy. The wind is also coming from a bad direction - between runways 26 and 03, so it is going to be a significant crosswind either way. The gusts and wildly swinging wind direction, turn the final and round-out into wild ride. Very bouncy before I hit the throttle and go around. Better the second time round, but still a handful. Steve said later that everyone was having trouble landing in the conditions (except for him, obviously!)
Still a nice day!
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