Date: 6/3/2016

Time: 11:55 - 13:00 (GMT)

Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX

Donnington Castle

The forecasts were all over the place today, so along with still having a nagging cough and being on my own, it isn't a day for a big flight. There is a new(ish) feature in SkyDemon where they show points of interest, castles and stately homes on their maps. This morning, I noticed one called Donnington Castle just north of Newbury that I haven't noticed before - sounds like somewhere to go and have a look at.

I get to the airfield - not as early as I had intended when I looked at the forecast, but it looks OK. After some social chat, I get the plane ready - I'm in luck - there's plenty of fuel in it. Once checked and warmed up, I take off on runway 26 and then head north. There are a few snow flakes falling - about every second or two. I can see them being thrown through the prop and then whizz off sideways and never make it onto the screen. I suspect that they never make it down to ground level either.

Up past Greenham Common and around Thatcham, I go and look at a very smoky fire before going to the Castle. I do a slow descending spiral around it for a better look and a few pictures. I bloused-out of having the door open as it is flipping cold today. It seems there is only a portion of the castle left but still quite impressive and there are plenty of people wandering around it.

Then I go back over to the smoke plume again and then south for a low pass over Greenham Common. As we are doing monuments, I have a quick look at Highclere Castle too (which is more of a stately home rather than a castle). Then further south. I'm aware that we cannot do circuits due to the airfield conditions and 26 isn't the best runway to do go-around deliberate missed approaches. So why not do some Practice Forced Landing's. Down near Bullington Cross, I closed the throttle, choose a field and attempt to (nearly) land in it. Even I underestimate the floaty nature of the EuroFOX. It is far from ideal, but I suspect I could have thrown in into a landing, but I'm not satisfied - so during the climbout, I pull another one. More of a constant aspect approach this time rather than a beat method.

Then further to the south, I pull another one - this one is near perfect, despite nearly getting distracted by a herd of deer running across the field. Then back to Popham for a great landing too.

A short but good day.

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