Time: 11:55 - 13:10 (GMT) & 14:35 - 15:15 (GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
Goodwood with Stewart
It's Easter weekend and (predictably) the forecast for Saturday, Sunday and Monday is low cloud, rain and high winds. However, for Friday it is fine (hooray!) - no one else has booked the plane, so I do. Ian has already said that he has commitments until Monday, so I invite a colleague Stewart along. Stew has been up with me before in a C-42 and has seen the EuroFOX during build but not since it was finished. I had forgotten that the bank holiday traffic would be poor and the M3 was running slow and virtually came to a halt near Hook, so I pulled off and used the A30 for a while. When I eventually get there, Stew is waiting.
We fuel and prep the plane. I notice that the T square is indicating runway 21, but the wind is coming from the opposite direction. Inside the clubhouse they are advertising 03, so I volunteer to turn the T round. After warm-up we are soon climbing up into the blue sky with a few fluffy clouds in it. There is some thermal activity which (of course) we haven't much of over the winter. This is pushing the plane up and down, so I have to concentrate a little on height control, but it isn't too bumpy.
We head down to the south west and Stew is getting used to the wonderful view below - the downward visibility through the fully glazed doors is far superior to the C-42. When we get to the M27 we can see the westbound queue that is nearly stationary - all the flipping snails (those that pull their homes behind them) making their way to the west country. No such delays for us, indeed I am quite surprised that we haven't seen more aircraft around. Over the Solent at Hurst Castle and then off towards the Needles where we go to have a look at a container ship coming in.
Then we follow the coast round to St. Catherine's and round the outside of Sandown and Bembridge airfields, but we are at a height safely well above them. With Stew flying we head back to the mainland to Portsmouth and then along to coast towards Selsey Bill I call Goodwood and then head north and join overhead for runway 32. They have asked us to land on the left side of the runway and then vacate left - then come back to the displaced threshold before crossing to the parking area.
After booking in, we head through the tunnel to the old control tower cafe for a chat, tea/coffee and bacon butties.
Once refreshed we head of back north. At the south downs, we spot some old ruins that I don't remember seeing before. These turn out to be the Vandalian Tower on Tower Hill - a folly in the grounds of Uppark House. Then past Colemore Common, we decide to go and have a look at Stewart's house in Alton, on the edge of the Odiham MATZ. Tracking back along the Watercress Line I spot a steam train - I have always wanted to race one along here, but unfortunately they then nearly immediately stop in Four Marks station - ah well.
Back to Popham for an overhead join for 26 - I misjudge the wind and have to sideslip into a reasonable landing. After washing the plane down I notice a text from Ian saying that he is coming down for a quick flight - if only I had seen it before we did all that cleaning!
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