Time: 14:45 - 15:20 (13:45 - 14:20 GMT) & 16:20 - 17:00 (15:20 - 16:00 GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
Compton Abbas Quickie
I didn't get to fly last weekend due to the forecast - even though the actual weather didn't turn out that bad. I also wont get to fly this weekend or next due to a family holiday. But on Thursday, things panned out OK, so I snuck off from work to go flying for the afternoon. I have also colluded with Colin, so I am in luck that he can come too.
When I get to the airfield, Colin has already uncovered his plane, but I can't see him, so I proceed to the hangar and start preparing mine. It almost seems a bit decadent, both flying solo to the same airfield. In a a way, having our own aircraft has precluded sharing and doing one leg each, like we would have previously - but also having our own has allowed us to fly together in the two planes.
The wind isn't very strong - indeed, the runway direction has changed from 03 to 21 whilst we have been warming up the planes - this is more preferable to me when landing, as she does tend to float a bit and 03 is downhill. I take off first and climb into the overhead. Colin then takes off and I intend to use my height, so that I can formate alongside him, but I get it a bit wrong when he goes underneath me and I loose sight. So I just cruised slowly in the correct direction, looking out for him - then eventually I spot him above and in front, so I hit the throttle to catch up. The patchy cloudbase isn't much above 2000'. As I have a high-wing aircraft, when in formation with a low-wing I would normally place myself higher than him, but getting that close to the clouds would be more bumpy and uncomfortable, so I remain below and behind him - the large (and very useful) skylight of the EuroFOX gave me plenty of visibility of him. We skirt just around the outside of the Boscombe Zone. It transpires later that Colin has got a basic service from them who told him that he had traffic behind him about 100' below (me!). We head past Alderbury and the clouds start to rise a little which allows us to do the same. When we get to Compton I have climbed a bit for an overhead, but for some reason, I'm finding it a little difficult to spot the airfield - just looking in the wrong direction, so when spotted I descended no the deadside and followed Colin round the microlight circuit to 08. I though that I had the approach spot on, but she seemed to float a lot - but then later I could see that this too was helped by the downslope. I park next to G-JT and a SkyRanger lands and parks next to me.
We head in to sign in and then go to the cafe. Tea and a bacon buttie for me, and we invite the SkyRanger pilot (Dave) to join us for a chat. It seems that he is from Weston Zoyland. I think that they must use a traditional butchers at the cafe as the bacon has the little crunchy bone still in and is quite segmented, rather than the amorphous processed bacon that you get from the supermarket - nice!
We both have somewhere else to be this evening, so we can't hang around too long and so once refreshed, we are taking off on 08 again, climbing out and the continuing in the same direction. The clouds have climbed even higher now and makes it more pleasant. There still are some thermals, but not so bumpy. Again, I am following Colin with a constant throttle setting, but south of Boscombe, he seems to slow down and I creep past him. I'm not sure if this was by design, but I continue past and take the lead. At one point I get bored, and decide to drop down to 1500' for a better view. On back to Popham and I climb for an overhead join with a steep spiral turn down to circuit height. With the lack of wind I inevitable end up sideslipping down to a good landing that I enjoyed so much, I hit the throttle again for another go round.
A wonderful way to spend the afternoon, even if after cleaning her I was much later leaving than I had originally intended.
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