Time: 11:30 - 12:00 (GMT) & 13:00 - 13:40 (GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
White Waltham Skiving
Recently, I seem to have been always whinging about the weather, but it really has been crap this winter. Not very cold, but almost always wet, windy, low cloud or frequently all three. So you have to take any decent chance for a flight. The forecast doesn't look so good for the weekend, but Thursday looks OK - I decide to skive (legitimately) off work and make the time up. In the morning I check the forecast which is OK and he airfield is open, so we are good to go.
I checkout the plane and I am in luck - it has plenty of fuel in it. The wind is pretty much straight down runway 21 but quite strong, so I need a target airfield with a similar runway direction - White Waltham fits the bill and so I give them a call for PPR. I wanted to actually go somewhere on my own rather than taking the easy option of just flying around.
After warm-up I taxi off to 21 - but I don't want to go all the way to the muddy end, so I line-up at the intersection. I'm a little mindful about the extra drag on the soft surface, but with the headwind I'm off the ground very quickly. I turn and head north - the journey is going quite quickly with the wind and I'm getting about 130 knots over the ground. Although I do have the throttle open a little more than usual, to keep the temperatures up. Soon I have to descend to keep below the London TMA, but it is still nice and smooth. I give Waltham a call from reporting point Sierra and continue onwards. As I approach the airfield another pilot says that he wants to hang around in the overhead at 1300' - the radio controller warns him that there other people (including me) are joining at 1300' as are the instructions. It's not very considerate of him and I keep a good lookout as I join overhead and then descend to the north. There are a few others in the circuit (who can blame them on a rare flyable day) and I have to slow up a bit for separation. I land after the intersection on runway 21 and it is a reasonable one.
After signing in, I have a nice cup of tea and a couple of games of seduce - no rush.
When it's time to go, I checkover and warm-up. It seems they have changed to runway 25 - I takeoff and just carry on in the same direction. Wow, it is much slower in the other direction, just getting about 65 knots - half that of the other direction. I decide to go lower to try to keep out of the wind. I can see how soggy large areas of the ground is.
Nearing Aldermaston, I can see a few low clouds that I go to have a look at. There is also a low looking band ahead and I consider climbing above it. However, on climbing it is apparent that they are higher than I anticipated, so I then entertain myself by trying to get a picture of the "glory" - a picture take of a cloud diametrically opposite the sun, so you get the planes shadow, with a halo rainbow around it.
Back to Popham and I join overhead for 21. I consider doing a few faux circuits, but my bladder has other ideas (blooming tea) so I just land on the first pass - helped by the headwind, it is an absolute greaser!
Then went to work.
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