Time: 14:55 - 15:30 (GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
I've been a bit unwell recently. Firstly I got a really really horrible virus that totally knocked me out. Then before fully getting over that, I got a snotty cold. Even if the weather had been flyable (which was rare), I couldn't have gone flying. It has been 4 weeks now since my last flight - I'm not fully well yet and wouldn't go solo (a coughing fit on final can really distract your concentration). Ian kindly agreed to let me go with him.
The wind is also quite strong, so we need somewhere with an into-wind runway - Lee on Solents 05 should fit the bill. We prep the plane and when we attempted to get PPR, we were told that we needed to do it online, so we nipped into the Airbourne clubroom to sort that. We then got an e-mail that Colin and Jac were on their way and they too (independantly) were planning on Lee - great. We hang around a bit and then depart when they are nearly ready.
Ian has the outbound leg (good idea) and we take off on 03 and then head down to the south-east. This takes us on a more westly track than normal as we need to join downwind for Lee. With the wind, the groundspeed is really quick, so to stretch the flight out, we buzz around a bit and look at interesting ground features. We see three motocross tracks on route with bikes buzzing around them. When we get to the coast, Ian joins downwind and then turns base leg over the Solent. As we turn final we see a glider has turned final in front of us and instead of staying on the glider side and aiming for the grass strip (where they should be), they have come across to the power-circuit side and lined up for the hard runway - without any radio calls. They land on the hard before the displaced threshold, but fortunately they vacate quickly as we were about to go around - we are able to continue our landing.
We wait for Jac and Colin to arrive and then go and sign-in. Then we head to the beach through the new gateway. As mentioned before, it is really quite windy, so insteacd of going to the Shack Cafe, we carry on walking along the seafront to Leons Bistro, so we could eat inside. I guess we came at the wrong time as they were packed and we were lucky not to have ended up outside anyway. Four teas and four all-day breakfasts were quite good, but perhaps a little stingey with the toast.
We head along the beach (no swim today - it's freezing) back to the airfield. After checkover we are ready to takeoff on 05 - some time after Colin - their plane always warms up quicker than ours. After the crosswind leg we head north. We are fighting a 30 knot headwind, so I drop down a little lower, where hopefully it will be less and we can get some groundspeed. Again, we are looking at the groundfeatures - near Bishops Waltham we spot a weird gouge out of the ground. But given the headwind we don't have a lot of time for playing. We are making better progress than G-JT and creep past them and I do a spiral deadside descent into the circuit. The wind is still a bit twitchy. I get the threshold for 03 OK, but about 10 knots too fast. Even with the headwind, it still floats on a fair way.
Really glad to have got a flight in today and thanks to Ian for flying with a sicko.
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