Time: 18:30 - 18:55 (17:30 - 17:55 GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
Been away on a family holiday, so missed a couple of weeks of flying. Now it is time for the engines 500hour service, which is probably just as well, to get ready for the Nitra trip in a couple of weeks. Ian and I spend most of the day completing this and all goes well except a small crack in the exhaust discovered.
We decided that having changed the carburettor floats that we should have a shakedown flight (and also we deserved it after our hard work). Time has crept by, but a few circuits each should suffice. We need to do the service tests first, so I take the passenger seat to record the results, which leaves Ian in the left seat, so he has the first go.
Ian takes off from 26 and it seems that we have the airfield to ourselves. He heads round the microlight circuit for an intentional go-around and follows this with another circuit. We then decide that the wind is probably favouring 21, so we change to use that runway. He does two circuits and then pulls over so that we can swap places.
I take off (21) and enjoy a zoom-climb along 26. On the base leg I start my descent early as I want to try bringing her in low under power - it is also fun going low over the trees and then the approach over the field. On the second go round, whilst on base, we hear a call on the radio "Popham, this is Red Arrows". We reply to them to say that we are alone in the circuit (Popham Radio is long since shutdown). They inform us that they are passing to the south at 1000' past Alresford - we in turn say that we will keep in the circuit to the north. This approach goes a bit weird - I don't think I handled the transitions from powered approach, to glide and then back to power (in quick succession) for a low hop very well, so needed to go-around. As we climb out to the circuit, we can see them passing to the south and they obligingly put their smoke on briefly - an unexpected treat. Two more approaches (that are better) and then on the last go, I decide to have a go at a wheeler (for the first time). This is where you land on the main wheels a bit faster, with the tail still up, then use the elevator forward to keep the tail up for as long as possible. I realise that I don't really know at what speed I should actually put the wheels down. I have a minor bounce, but I can use the elevator to pin the mains down and then roll out pushing the stick forward until there is no energy left to keep it up - it then sinks down to a smooth touch. So the rest of it goes well, so not so bad for my first attempt. I probably ought to read the book again!
Back to the hangar and we wash off the many bugs that have died on the wings and cowlings. Then we take the cowlings back off to get the exhaust dealt with.
Short, but a nice little flight.
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