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Bad weather alternative16-05-2024TextThe weather forecast was predicting heavy rain around 3-4pm so I decided to abandon my plans for lunch at Welshpool and do a local down to Avebury and back via the Bristol channel. It was a great flight, thoroughly enjoyed it, but the rains never came so I could have done the lunch flight. Oh well!
Hazy but nice12-05-2024TextOur club flyout was cancelled due to an impending thunderstorm so I decided on a local flight, flying down to Abergavenny then up and around the Black Mountains and back. I got my favourite direct rejoin onto 09 from May Hill which I always love and managed an excellent landing, so completely happy with the day.
Hazy but nice12-05-2024TextOur club flyout was cancelled due to an impending thunderstorm so I decided on a local flight, flying down to Abergavenny then up and around the Black Mountains and back. I got my favourite direct rejoin onto 09 from May Hill which I always love and managed an excellent landing, so completely happy with the day.
Nearly a nice day01-05-2024TextAs I travelled down to Brimpton to collect the Europa the weather changed from a gloriously sunny clear skies day to a rather overcast one. The weather apps reported heavy rain around 4pm at Gloucester. I was suddenly on a mission. Walking from the railway station to the airport is around a mile or so and it was hard to believe heavy rain was on the way.

Collecting the plane I elected to take the direct route home rather than a circuit around the Bristol channel. As it turned out, the rain came around 5pm so I would have had time.
Blustery Day29-04-2024TextI had booked the Europa in for its 100 hour engine service so was keen to get it delivered. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and strong wind warnings were issued. Taking off from Gloucester would not be a problem, but landing at the destination: Brimpton might be. I checked their excellent website which reported lower wind speeds and called for confirmation. All was reported as good.

Taking off was easy and the flight down mostly without incident other than a couple of bumps. I located the airfield easily and began the circuit. On approach it was clear there was some significant gusts and I was being blown around. I tried to land but it was never going to work so a go around was needed. Second time, more confident, my speed was ideal and I landed. The stall warner complained a couple of times but no real issues. The plane will be staying overnight and perhaps another day, but the wind is set to drop so hopefully a less eventful return.
Brecon Beacons18-04-2024Photobrecons.jpg
Super weather18-04-2024TextFinally some decent weather. I flew Westwards to the Black Mountains and then onto the Brecons for a circuit of Pen y Fan. From there I headed North to Llandrindod Wells and circled around to Worcester and South to the airport. Excellent day, plane handled very well and the landing was perfect, although it did float a little further than I had intended but no worries, it was a smooth soft landing so happy with that.
Too cloudy31-03-2024TextThe weather forecast had clear skies until early afternoon. How wrong was that! By the time I took off, it was distinctly overcast. My plan was a tour of the Black Mountains and Brecons - no chance! Towards Abergavenny I did climb up to around 4,000 feet for a look but it was solid cloud and it had been pretty overcast all the way so I did not want to risk the holes disappearing, so made my way back via Chepstow, struggling to get even 2,000 feet at times. An okay flight but not what I had planned.
Another new airfield26-03-2024TextA quick trip to Leicester and back today. The weather forecast was pretty poor for the afternoon and also for the South so I picked Leicester as being the best option. Good steady flight out and happy with the circuit and landing at a new (to me) airfield. Return trip was also good but the landing not ideal, I think I got slightly caught by the crosswind. Planning another circuits session to improve.
The weather was against me18-03-2024TextOn the face of it and having checked the weather, a trip to Lee on Solent looked great. The reality was that I encountered mist and cloud almost from the get-go. It did clear a bit but my maximum altitude on the way down seldom got even close to 2,000 feet, and approaching Portsmouth I was playing dodge the cloud down to 1,000 feet. Despite all of that I did a good landing so was happy with that. The return journey started out just as bad with very low cloud but gradually improved as I headed North and ended up being a nice day. Landing at Gloucester was another good one so happy with the day.
Auto Pilot test16-03-2024TextHaving an auto pilot installed but never used, I was keen to try it out. I programmed a route into the Garmin Aera via Garmin Pilot and as part of my start up routine, switched on the EZ pilot and activated the Flight Plan in the Garmin. It warns not to activate below 1,000 feet so once I had cleared that height, on it went. It seemed strange sitting there watching the plane fly a course - I had deliberately added some turns to make it interesting. Within 45 minutes I was heading directly for Welshpool so deactivated as I had no plans to land and took control for the return trip. It was fun, although I am not sure I will use it very much, but who knows!
Stalling practise08-03-2024TextHaving had some questions about the accuracy of the ASI I decided to try stalling to see at what speed it would go. The day was not perfect with plenty of cloud and a good deal of haze but I found some clear sky at 3,000 feet. The initial clean stall went off at 50 knots, exactly as expected. First stage stall went at 47 knots and second stage at 42 knots, all as expected. What was not expected was the wing drop! Boy did it drop! Clean was okay, but with flaps, it went over fast and before I knew it I was in a spiral dive at over 100 knots! Training kicked in and I quickly fixed it, but it gave me a surprise.
BMAA Gold Award12-02-2024Photobmaagold.jpg
More circuits19-02-2024TextI was not totally happy with my landings last time so this time, engaged the expertise of my CFI. Turns out all was well and it was just the fact that it was a different attitude required (to the plane, not me!). We did a couple of circuits and good landings, then one final one to land. Happy with everything, although we suspect that the air speed indicator is not correct which might explain why I was having some trouble with the speed/approach angle. Something else to look in to.
More circuits19-02-2024TextI was not totally happy with my landings last time so this time, engaged the expertise of my CFI. Turns out all was well and it was just the fact that it was a different attitude required (to the plane, not me!). We did a couple of circuits and good landings, then one final one to land. Happy with everything, although we suspect that the air speed indicator is not correct which might explain why I was having some trouble with the speed/approach angle. Something else to look in to.
Circuits in the Europa17-02-2024TextA morning of circuits to practise my landings. Not too bad, but not too good either. Out of six landings, I was happy with three of them and unhappy with three of them so have book my CFI for Monday. I cannot seem to get the speed and angle correct and find the plane is running away with me, then I have to either drop quickly or land too fast.
First club flyout11-02-2024Photoeuropa2.jpg
Europa on her way home03-02-2024Photoeuropa1.jpg
First club flyout in the Europ11-02-2024TextThe first club flyout in the Europa was a quick hop over to Sleap. I was impressed with the speed, as were a couple of flyout mates in one of the Robins as I came scooting past!

The radio was much improved, giving me a good reception of London Info and both Sleap and Gloucester, although I think I need to be a little closer than I am used to for best reception.
Radio much improved07-02-2024TextA hangar afternoon saw me resolve the radio issue to a large extent. It seems the culprit was the USB cable used to charge the Sky Echo! Unplugging that has made a huge difference and the radio reception seems much improved. Time will tell.
Teething trouble part 107-02-2024TextSo, one of the conclusions from Mondays flight was that the front wheel was suffering from a little bit more shimmy than was good for it. I had already identified a guy (Ben Davies) who knows about the Europa so arranged to visit him at Finmere to sort the problem. I had not been to Finmere before so it was also a new airfield bag. After a brew, we got on with the work and within half an hour were pushing the plane out for a test flight. All went well and the landing did not exhibit the problems of earlier. Job done!

By way of celebration and because I could, I flew to Welshpool for lunch. Unfortunately a second issued manifested itself, radio reception...
First flight in the Europa05-02-2024TextToday was the first proper flight in the Europa. Accompanied by my Flying Instructor to be on the safe side we headed down river to do some skills and general handling. The plane needs the front wheel adjusting so we declined circuits but even so it was a useful flight. The finger brakes take some getting used to but its only a matter of time I am sure.
Europa XS02-02-2024Photoeuropa.jpg
New aircraft!02-02-2024TextAfter a very long wait for one reason or another, I finally took delivery of my new aircraft today! It is a Europa XS trigear. A quick chauffer flown trip over to Bicester and we picked it up. I flew back, with James, my instructor as co-pilot and adviser. The first flight only lasted 35 minutes but it was great fun. Lots of new things to get used to which will of course, take time, but I am on the way!
BMAA Gold Award27-01-2024TextTo qualify for the BMAA Gold award, one of the skills is a 300 mile flight with three airfield landings. A prior plan has to be either submitted to the BMAA or a Trusted Instructor. That done, I set off for Turweston on the first leg. I entered the ATZ five minutes ahead of schedule which was okay. The second leg was down to Lee on Solent which took me seven minutes longer than planned so overall I was just two minutes down. Leg three to Dunkeswell was as planned and final leg back to Gloucester was six minutes quicker giving me an overall of four minutes quicker than the planned Three hours and Thirty Nine minutes. Well within the allowed margin of error. The Gold award was in the bag!
Upside Down flying26-01-2024TextAfter several failed attempts, I finally got to do my UPRT flying. This is where you learn to recover a plane that is in, what is described as an Unexpected Position, hence the UP. The RT is Recovery Training. We flew a Firefly which is perfect for such activities and Neil, my instructor had me recover from ever increasing problems, both steeply upwards, steeply downwards and many angles. I also learned why adding rudder to a turn onto finals to increase the angle is a really bad idea - the plane more or less falls over and takes a few hundred feet to recover, okay at 4,000 feet, not so at 400 feet!
Choices choices17-01-2024TextThe original plan was to fly to Welshpool but the cloud and general weather put paid to that. Second choice was Lee on Solent, but rather bad weather in the Channel also scuppered that, so I elected to go East and enjoyed an early lunch at Turweston. Outbound via Banbury and return around the South of Brize via Oxford and Swindon before turning back overhead Kemble. Busy arrival with me second of three and the runway changing to 04 just as I am descending deadside for 09. Nailed it with a great landing though!
Night flying past Malvern05-01-2024Photonight2.jpg
Night Flying over Gloucester05-01-2024Photonight1.jpg
First Flexwing flight25-07-2023Photoflexwing.jpg
Back in SHMI10-01-2024TextIt was good to get back into SHMI for the first time this year. A quick jaunt over to Shobdon for their cheap landing fee day and of course, a bacon and egg roll. Flight was fine, although there was a bit of cloud dodging and on the return I had to orbit a couple of times as Gloucester suddenly got very busy, but a good flight and good landings so happy with everything.
Night Flight05-01-2024TextAs a newly qualified Night Flier I decided to exercise my rights with an early evening flight. I timed it so I would take off at dusk so see the world darkening and then by the time I landed it would be fully dark. I flew over to Ross, then Hereford and swung around the North of the Malvern Hills to Worcester and back over Tewkesbury. Great flight and great to see the floods from above. No issues and I even remembered to put the landing light on!
Basic Instrument Flying15-12-2023TextSo, if this session taught me one thing, it would be do not try to fly with your eyes closed! I did (under supervision) and within a minute, opened my eyes to discover we had turned 90 degrees! The session basically involves wearing a headset face covering so that only the instruments are visible. The challenge is then to fly the plane on straight and level, turns, climbs and descents using only the instruments. I think I managed quite well apart from the turns where I banked far too much, but that, apparently is normal. If you have never done it, give it a go, under supervision of course.
Pootle around the patch14-12-2023TextI was in two minds whether to go over to Shobdon, Welshpool or just do a local flight. I nearly cancelled as the morning cloud was too low for a flight, but magically it cleared up to be a fine day. I elected for the local flight so headed off on a circuit of Chepstow, Abergavenny, then I had planned to go to Hay on Wye via the Black Mountains but the cloud was too low so I headed to Hereford, avoiding the SAS transmitters, then over to Bromyard and a long return via Broadway. A great flight, no issues, a good landing and mostly great weather. What is not to love?
Back in SHMI08-12-2023TextAfter trying several times and being beaten by the weather I finally managed to get a re-validation check flight in today. The weather was not brilliant to be fair, with a strong wind blowing and the ever present rain which got worse, but we managed a couple of circuits and I did good landings so everyone was happy.
Night flight qualification06-12-2023TextAn epic evening flying with two hours done. We did a departure, return and two touch and go landings plus a full stop. I was then left to it for my solo flights. I did three circuits with full stop and backtrack landings, followed by two departures from the ATZ and return with full stop landings. That completes the Night part of the course. There are two other elements, I need to do the basic instrument training and also get an official colour blind test done.
Touch and Go Night flight01-12-2023TextTouch and Go circuits with and without landing lights and PAPI lights. Unfortunately it was a bit short due to the onset of fog. Went okay apart from my usual mistake of not pulling the stick back when landing.
Second Night Flight22-11-2023TextThis time it was a flight to Oxford for a Touch and Go, then return via Newbury. Plenty of lessons learned! Lesson one, we still fly direct. I had worked out a route via towns which would give me confidence that I was on the right track. That was binned. Lesson two, I should have researched the exact location of Oxford Airport a bit better. We got there, but I might have struggled on my own. From there to Newbury went well, as did most of the return to Gloucester, except the direct route required a Zone Transit at Brize and I was struggling to remember the syntax. As it turned out, we drifted slightly West so missed it. The final lesson was to be aware of the ground. I had fixated on the final approach and forgotten about Chosen Hill so we crossed it lower than we should have, but then that is all part of the teaching and I have learned valuable lessons.
UPRT course10-11-2023TextI had signed up for a Upset Prevention and Recovery Training course some time ago. Unfortunately the day it was due to happen, the weather was against us so it was cancelled. I arranged to visit Goodwood again on the 10th November but again it was cancelled. To save the day, we did the theory part of the course which was very interesting. At some point in the near future I plan to fly down to do the practical element of the course and am looking forward to that.
First Night Flight31-10-2023TextI had wanted to try night flying for some time, so with the clocks changing, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to book one. As it turned out, I got a slot quite quickly. It was an amazing experience watching the world get darker and less obvious. We flew down towards Chepstow, then turned across to Stroud and back up where I had my first test - finding the airport! I managed it quite well. We then headed North and swung around to indentify the airport from the East, much easier as we were in line with the runway lights. A touch and go went reasonably well, then a second full stop landing completed the evening. The landings were fine, but I should have paid more attention to the PAPI lights.
Wellesbourne for coffee25-10-2023TextOut via Banbury and M40 for a 36 landing, joining downwind for an excellent landing. Return via Alcester and Tewkesbury. Excellent flight out over the clouds which were broken so plenty of holes. Excellent landing, excellent coffee and cake and nice return flight, although the cloud base dropped towards Gloucester so I asked for and got a direct right base join for another excellent landing. All in all, a great day out.
Meteorological Training Day12-10-2023TextSpent the day at the Met Office in Exeter learning all about the weather. It was a very informative day covering synoptic chart interpretation, general weather forecasting and observations and how to make the best of the very informative Met Office website. It also counted towards my BMAA Wings Gold award so double bonus!
A real classroom day08-10-2023TextClub flyout to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight, a glorious day, what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, plenty. I was flying the outbound leg so taxied DJ over to the pumps, we filled up, then bang, could not restart. Had to tow it back to the apron. Hung about waiting for HANS to return. Taxied over to the pumps, 60 litres of fuel and off we went. Great flight down in the glorious sunshine but got to Bembridge too late for lunch! Disaster. Also on the way down, we noticed the fuel gauge reading much lower than we expected and might not be enough to get back. Given the late hour of arrival, we had a quick coffee and enjoyed listening to the others telling us what a fine lunch they had. No fuel at Bembridge, so we decided to visit Compton Abbas on the way back. We ran out of time, so headed directly back - we would be fine! Except we were not, the low fuel light came on about 17 miles from Gloucester so we diverted to Oaksey Park and were lucky enough to find someone who could dispense fuel. Then we had to phone Gloucester as we might not make it back by the 6pm closing time, so we got an indemnity. In the end, we touched down at exactly 6pm. A full day with lots of lessons learned.
Shobdon bacon roll04-10-2023TextLand away to Shobdon in DJ partly to do something other than just a local and partly because it was almost lunchtime! Good flight over although I found myself too far South and reported being in the wrong place but corected it. Very gusty day but mostly a strong headwind which made for a comfortable landing. The lunchtime bacon roll was excellent. Return was delayed slightly by the raincloud passing overhead. Gloucester was on 22 which always makes me think about the approach and where I am in relation to the circuit. No problems, joined Right Base and nice landing. All in all, a good day out.
Two up to Thruxton15-09-2023TextI had wanted to fly in the right hand seat for some time, just to see what it was like, the answer is, weird, but interesting. Steve and I flew down to Thruxton with him at the controls and me as adviser as I had been there before. No dramas on the way down and an interesting and different route. The bacon baguette tasted just as nice. I flew the return leg back via Highclere, Marlborough, Wooton Bassett and overhead Kemble to finally arrive at Gloucester. No problems with the flight and no issues, plus it was good to fly one of the two legs, it meant we could go further than perhaps one might do solo.
Back to DJ24-08-2023TextA fun flight down to Abergavenny and the Black Mountains. I did intend to fly over the Black Mountains but there was too much cloud so I moved Eastwards and followed the line of the hills to Hay on Wye, then turned Eastwards and eventually back directly to Gloucester. The Sky Demon was running North upwards which threw me a little initially until I realised, plus the day was a little hazy so I misread the direction of the Malvern Hills until I realised and corrected. No dramas on the flight and non in the circuit except I was told to follow a Cessna which appeared briefly on my Port side until deciding to do an orbit. Very confusing!
Fun flight in HANS09-08-2023TextFlew down to Chepstow in increasingly good weather, over the Severn and across to pass over Badminton airfield which I found straight away, then to Charlton Park which I did not spot immediately, then got too transfixed on it, only to look up and see an aircraft heading towards me. Standard avoidance with no issues, but just shows the importance of a good look out. I returned via overhead Kemble for a standard join. Another good landing so happy with that.
Solo in HANS28-07-2023TextMy first solo flight in HANS for a couple of years. It went as well as it could. I had decided to fly over Over, Eastbach, Tredunnock, Ledbury and Defford airfields via the Malvern Hills. It all went well apart from an early diversion to avoid a rain shower. Had some trouble locating Tredunnock but other than that all good. Return to the ATZ went well and the landing was very good. All in all, a very satisfying flight.
Flexwing Trial Flight25-07-2023TextWhat an experience! I flew in a Flexwing for the first time ever today and how much fun is that! Neil Douglas at Over Farm took me in his DeltaJet 500. We flew down the river towards Chepstow and back in exactly one hour. After take off and level flying, I flew most of the way, getting used to the reverse operation - push left to go right, push right to go left, pull back to descend and forward to go up! The exposure is amazing.
Robin Refresh21-07-2023TextA final refresh before I am allowed to go solo in the Robins again. A nice pootle out to Kemble and back followed by a few circuits to test me. I managed to get perfectly into the circuit on the return but in exactly the opposite direction! Doh! Corrected and managed a couple of reasonable touch and go landings followed by a final low level circuit where I managed to get the speed all wrong (too fast) and the line up wrong. Homework is to practise low level circuits. On the upside I have been signed off for solo flying in the Robins again so happy with that.
Touch and Go08-07-2023TextAnother refresher session covering Touch and Go. We did standard landing plus flapless, Glide and a couple of Power Fail landings, one on 09 and the other on 22. Great session, loving getting back into it.
Back to the Robins30-06-2023TextWith the absence of SHMI, I have decided to reaquaint myself with the Robins, so with Phil I flew HANS for an hour or so, getting familiar with that again. We did some turns, slow flying and a forced landing - it comes down a lot quicker than SHMI! Then for fun, Phil took me cloud flying. Great day out.
Taildragger experience14-06-2023TextFirst flight in a taildragger courtesy of James Peplow. It was a Piper Super Cub and a really different experience to what I'm used to. For a start it is tandem so the instructor sits behind. All the controls are opposite so the stick is right hand and the throttle left hand. The flaps are on the left and the brakes are heel brakes! We did a run over to Ledbury airfield and three landings, then back to Gloucester. All good fun.
No plane!11-06-2023TextSHMI headed off to Evektor a few weeks ago for its 4000 hour checks and will be gone for some time. I am missing flying so much I am considering reaquiring my skills in the Robins. In the meantime I have a flight coming up in a tail dragger just to try that and I even contacted a guy with a view to flying a flex wing!
Biannual Skills Refresher11-05-2023TextTechnically I did not need to do this as I have flown for an hour with an Instructor over the previous two years, but I was keen to have my skills checked to make sure I was still competent. After some delays due to fuel be temporarily unavailable, we headed off West to find some airspace. I did climb and level off, slow flying, steep turns with and without flaps, stalling, engine fail and partial fail, turn to heading and finally a fun flight down to Monmouth keeping at 700 feet. Back to Gloucester and an orbit delay whilst waiting for clearance completed the day nicely. All good and happy for another two years.
Military/Civil Air Safety Day28-04-2023TextAs it said on the tin, it was a safety day aimed at both Military and Civilian pilots. The venue was RAF Benson which was an excellent place to be, the staff, officers and others were incredibly friendly, helpful and polite and a real credit to the base. We were allowed to look in a Chinook and ask all the questions, then enjoyed talks by various civilian and military personnel on a range of subjects including ATC, Air Ambulance, Police Air Service, 28 Squadron operations and other safety related talks. An excellent breakfast started the day and equally excellent lunch added to the pleasure of the day.
A Blustery Day18-04-2023TextI almost didnt fly as it was very windy, but I am glad that I did. Apart from a bumpy take off, it was all fine. I did a skills circuit including most of the skills on the list, I even did a Practise PAN with DnD so happy with that. The landing was into a strong wind which was very kind to me and I made a very soft landing.
Llanbedr Land Away03-04-2023TextFabulous weather outbound via Rhayader in the Elan Valley and Aberystwyth on the coast. Some cloud but I flew above it as I could see gaps and also the end of it near the coast. Llanbedr airfield has huge runways, but no Air Traffic Control so its blind calls all the way. Cycled into Harlech for the castle and lunch. Flight back via Bala and Church Stretton was cloud free and superb. This is what flying is all about!
Finally back to Flying27-03-2023TextAfter what seems like forever, I finally got a flight! It was a superb day with few clouds, blue skies and almost no wind. I flew over to Shobdon via Chepstow and Hay on Wye which was excellent, then back via May Hill and a long direct onto 09. Coffee and Hot X bun was superb at Shobdon.
Skills circuit22-02-2023TextOff to the West for a skills circuit. The weather was showery but I managed to find some blue skies near Ledbury. Standard Skills circuit but this time I put the plane into a spiral dive and successfully sorted it out so well pleased. Also did a couple of full 60 degree turns which was exciting. Happy with the return to Gloucester and landing. All in all a good flight.
Aerobatics Fun14-02-2023TextAerobatics course in the Robin today. We did stall recovery, both standard stall and wing drop stall, then banked stalling and spiral dive. Finished off with a bit of aerobatics with a few Ballistic rolls which were excellent fun, but made the stomach turn a bit on the third one. I now need to practise the stalls and recoveries in the Eurostar, but obviously not the aerobatic stuff.
Club flyout success12-02-2023TextA nice flight up to Sleap with CAC for lunch. Decent weather with cloud at around 3,000 feet so nothing to worry about. Good landing at both ends and a very nice lunch, whats not to like?
First new airfield of 202304-02-2023TextFlew down to Thruxton for breakfast. Nice flight down, but rubbish landing so did a go-around, the second was not much better. Oh well! Nothing happening at Thruxton so I flew back to Kemble for a first ever visit. Nice airfield, and a very good landing. Helpful tower but very busy. Maybe pick a weekday next time. From there a quick ten minutes back to Gloucester and another good landing. Nice day out but it was a bit cold and dreary weather.
First Land away of 202328-01-2023TextThe cloud was pretty low but flyable. I initially had some problems with the plane. I taxied for fuel, then couldnt restart it! Dragged it back to Aeros. Tom turned up and started it straight away of course!

The flight to Turweston was direct out over via Morton and Banbury. Maximum altitude was 1,500 feet due to the cloud base and weather. Nice flight, no issues. I did consider returning via Kemble but changed my mind as it seemed rushed and the cloud base seemed to be getting lower. It was a good return flight although I did have to divert slightly to get around the Cleeve escarpment with the low cloud.
Another cancelled day26-01-2023TextI had the plane booked for the day with no particular destination in mind, but with a Northerly wind, Sleap was looking favourite. The cloud didnt look good but it did start to clear a bit so I went to the airport. Turning in I could just about see May Hill which wasnt a good sign, then as I looked out, the Malverns began to vanish in the clouds. My enthusiasm wained and I decided to give up, I dont need to fly that badly!
Cancelled Club Flyout22-01-2023TextDue to the possibility of freezing fog reaching Gloucestershire we decided to cancel the club flyout and one or two of us elected to have a local flight. Mine took me North to Worcester, identifying Defford on the way, then across and round the Malverns, then out to Ledbury airfield, over that and onto Eastbach before circling around and back via Frampton. Nice flight and good conditions.
Scary Flight16-01-2023TextThe plan was to fly to Sleap. I checked with the destination and they told me the sky was clear and improving weather. The forecast had the cloud clearing in good time so I felt confident to fly. All went well until North of the Malverns when the cloud base dropped and visibility began to become an issue. I turned around and headed across to Worcester, hoping for better weather, none came, but I looked up and saw that the cloud tops were not so high so decided to fly over. The cloud was higher than I thought and I realised I would not make it, so turned around and found I was becoming enveloped. I headed towards the blue sky but the conditions rapidly deteriorated and I suddenly found myself completely in cloud. I was over 5,000 feet so no ground worries. Next thing I knew I was descending at an alarming rate. I have no idea how that happened. Correcting I levelled the wings and tried to sort myself out and calm down, eventually finding a gap and ground visibility. I decided to abandon for the day, descended below the cloud and headed back to Gloucester. It was a valuable lesson learned about cloud and the disorientation that comes with it.
Another Flying day cancelled08-01-2023TextToday was supposed to be a club flyout but the more we talked about it the less enthusiastic we became what with the high wind in the wrong direction, dark cloud and forecast of rain, cowardice prolongs life as one put it!
GASCo Safety Seminar09-01-2023TextA very interesting seminar focusing on the Manchester Low Level Route which was of particular interest as I have been wanting to fly that to Barton for some time now.
GASCo Safety Seminar09-01-2023Photogasco4.jpg
Weather Watching Seminar14-12-2022TextTonight I attended on line, a weather watching seminar which was excellent and taught me a lot
Two Hundred Hours flying06-12-2022TextTodays flight saw me passing the two hundred hours mark
Leaving Lee on Solent06-12-2022Photoshmi_lee.jpg
Day trip to the Seaside06-12-2022TextBack to flying with a land away to Lee on Solent. An excellent day with great weather. I used Brize, Boscombe and listened on Southampton before contacting Lee for the final bit. Excellent cafe with good food and coffee. Return was the reverse but I flew out over Portsmouth. No issues with comms, flying or landing.
Back flying again!28-11-2022TextFinally after far too long, SHMI has been fixed and I have been flying again. Two flights, the first being a few circuits with Tom to ensure all was well, it was. I then did an hour around the patch,up to Worcester, across to the Malverns, a few skills; slow speed flying, 30 and 60 degree turns and a couple of steep descending turns. All was well and Standard Overhead join finished the day nicely.
Brompton in SHMI27-10-2022Photoshmi_bike.jpg
AAC/CAA Workshop on PPL28-09-2022Photoppl_course.jpg
Pembrey19-09-2022Photopembrey.jpg
Pembrey Land Away19-09-2022TextFlew down over Pen-y-Fan and direct back. Did a circuit of the airfield as it was my first time but excellent landing. Owner is very welcoming but 18 pounds is a bit steep even if I did get a free cup of tea and biscuits! Cycled down to the harbour in about 15 minutes. Back direct South of the Brecons was nice and a good landing at Gloucester with a direct join onto Downwind.
Club flight to Swansea11-09-2022TextClub flyout to Swansea, another new airfield. Excellent flight down over the cloud at 4,000 feet. Gentle descent into Swansea Bay and around to the airfield which easily comes into view. Landed on 10 which was more or less in the opposite direction to arrival so it was a direct join onto Downwind. There is nothing much at the airfield, not even a cafe so we had to blag a coffee from the flying school. Return trip went well. I flew pretty much a reciprocal course but there was much less cloud. Good landing on 09 but they wouldnt give me a direct because it was really busy. Great day out.
Circuits and Skills05-09-2022TextI started off with a few circuits onto 09. None of them were great landings, several were okay and a couple rubbish. In my defence there was an 8 Knot crosswind. Off for the skills part. All good apart from the engine failure forced landing which I was not happy with so repeated three times. First time was okay but I didnt use my flaps. Second attempt I changed my mind about the field and ran out of height. Third time was good but I was right over Ledbury airfield so used that, but it counts. I was tempted to actually land, but I was happy enough at 500 feet to know I would have got there. Probably need another similar session but maybe less crosswind to get the confidence back.
Popham Trip19-08-2022TextAnother new airfield, Popham this time. I took the sensible approach of an overhead join so that I could get a better idea of how it worked. There is a dog-leg on final to get on the runway which was interesting and a lot easier than I expected. No dramas, good landing. The airfield is pleasant with a good cafe and I stayed about an hour. Off to Priors Farm next, only 20 minutes up the road. My initial approach was far too steep - I should have gone around - and I messed up the landing so took off again. Second time was fine and I got the angle right, although the altimeter was not quite right. Stayed for an hour and had lunch in the shade of the elevator and rudder. Good flight back to Gloucester but I messed up the landing a bit and had to add power to correct, then landed okay. Next session will be circuits I think as I keep getting 27 wrong!
Wellesbourne Club Flyout14-08-2022TextNice easy flight but very hot. Lots of float on the landing but got down okay. Second flight around Birmingham to Abbots Bromley. Good landing on the second rise. Walked to the village for lunch - awesome garlic bread. Flight back was fine although my tablet overheated and shut down! Had to use the phone but no worries. Direct landing onto 27 via Right Base although they initially set me to 09 Left Base! Note: Take the tablet out on a hot day!
AAC/CAA safety Workshop10-08-2022Photogasco3.jpg
Caernarfon08-08-2022Photocaernarfon.jpg
Seaside trip08-08-2022TextOne of the best flights of the year! Flew to Caernarfon via Bala Lake, Ogwen Valley, Bethesda and down to the airfield. The sky was completely clear until I approached Bala where I had to do some cloud dodging and in the Ogwen Valley I took the sensible decision to fly over rather than around them which took me to a personal height record of 5,000 feet! I had planned to go over Snowdon but there was too much cloud for a safe pass so I gently descended right to the airfield. I had taken my bike to ride into the countryside and managed 30 miles out to Rhydd Ddu and back via a lunch stop at Snowdon Ranger YHA. The return flight was equally spectacular with glimpses of Snowdon Summit then out via Cadair Idris, Tarren y Gesail and then directly back over the Elan Valley. No flying or landing issues but I did float a bit too long at Gloucester - must get into the habit of landing slightly quicker. Used Shawbury after Ledbury, then tried to contact Valley at Bala with no luck, so straight to Caernarfon. Return I had valley down to Tarren, the Shawbury to Shobdon who off loaded me to Gloucester.
Oaksey Park01-08-2022Photooaksey.jpg
Isle of Wight01-08-2022TextFlight down to the Isle of Wight via a devious route avoiding temporary controlled airspace around Kemble. Via Badminton, Stourton, Sturminster, then through the gap to Wareham and Corfe Castle before crossing the water to the Needles and around to Sandown. Late comms at Sandown was slightly confusing but ended up doing a LH onto runway 05. Cycled down to the town for lunch and along the front to Shanklin which was great fun and made the bike well worth it. Decided to call into Oaksey Park on the way back so got PPR via email. Returned via the standard route of Portsmouth, Petersfield, abeam Hungerford to Oaksey which took a bit of finding. Also note that Oaksey has no overhead joins so need to join into the circuit, easy to do if you spot it. Landing no issue. The runway is supremely flat. Good comms from the radio. Leaving should have been simple but as I climbed out, I spotted on Sky Demon that the entire area had become temporary controlled airspace! Presuming it had come from Kemble I located their frequency and gave them a call but got no response. At this point I was very close to the edge of the CTR so though the best course of action was to continue to Stroud which I did then called Gloucester and proceeded as normal. On further review I discovered that the Airspace Control didnt come into force until later so I was fine.
Priors Farm Day21-07-2022TextDay trip to Priors Farm for lunch. Good easy flight out. Excellent landing on 01. Took off on 01 as well for a change and also the wind was Northerly so benefitted 01. Good flight back and good landing on 09 runway. A very nice day out.
Grass Strip Day18-07-2022TextAnother grass strip day. This time Defford, Abergavenny and Eastbach. Defford was fine although I turned in a bit late, but no worries. At Abergavenny I did a go-around as I didnt give myself enough time on final but nailed it second time. I did think afterwards that maybe I should have landed the other way due to the wind, but no drama. Eastbach was perfect which I was really pleased about. Super hot day which did make me rethink the location of the tablet holder but this hot weather wont last I am sure. Good landing back at Gloucester so all in all, a good day out.
Grass Strip Training11-07-2022TextTraining session with Phil. The sole intention was to land at Eastbach. Good fly over and approach and remarkably good landing, seemed much easier than last time. Went round, took off and did a second landing then straight off again. All good. Will be trying that one on my own next time. We flew back up the river at 200 feet above the water which was awesome. Might try that one too! All in all a very good training session.
Flight for Tracy10-07-2022TextBimble around the county with Tracy. Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Broadway, Malverns, Ross and return via the Severn Bends. Good flight and good landing. Fabulous weather.
BMAA Silver Wings05-07-2022TextToday I got my BMAA Silver Wings Award Certificate, happy with that
(Not) a Training Day03-07-2022TextToday was supposed to be a semi-training day with Phil to do some grass strip landing practise. Due to the previous pilot over-filling the tank we were over the weight limit! I took the opportunity of going anyway and flew to Croft Farm, Berrow and Ledbury. All went well apart from Berrow where I had to do a go-around due to not being happy with the position. The second time I landed on the first hump so was well pleased with that. All in all, a good day out, putting into practise, stuff I have learned, most importantly keeping the stick well back on landing.
BMAA Strip Flying30-06-2022TextToday I passed my BMAA Strip Flying Course so well on the way to completing my BMAA Silver Wings Award
Strip Flying Part 230-06-2022TextWe went to Croft Farm on a direct approach Left Base which worked well, then off to Berrow. I missed the first hump but got the second okay and made a good landing. Must remember to pull the stick right back on landing even on tarmac. We practised slideslip which is cross controls, engine to idle, trim for 68mph and descend. Can also turn on the descent but be very careful not to induce a spin! Can get up to 1,200 feet/minute descent rate so best not do it below 3,000 feet and end the exercise early!
Raffle prize flight29-06-2022TextTook Ben flying for his raffle prize win. Standard tour around the county down to the Severn Bends and back up through FoD and across to the Malverns and Worcester. No problems. Good landing probably due to the balanced weight! Crosswind was 180/9 Knots onto Runway 22 so about 7 Knots crosswind.
Blustery Circuits27-06-2022TextA circuits flight today in very blustery conditions. The first touch and go was not even a landing I do not think, I just could not get it down properly. The next few were okay but the plane was being blown about in the circuit so after five, I ended the session. It was good that I kept control and corrected for wind with safe landings, probably could not have done that 6 months ago.
Welshpool Land Away19-06-2022TextLand away to Welshpool which had been on my list for a while now. Flight over was a bit longer than expected (50 minutes) but fine. Landing was okay, although I nearly messed it up but recovered with a bit of power - I let the speed drop too low and almost stalled it. Luckily the runway is long enough. Return okay and a reasonable landing given the 7 Knot crosswind. Took the folding bike which fitted in nicely.
Peterborough Land Away12-06-2022TextClub flyout to Peterborough. Very windy and turbulent day with lots of glider traffic to contend with. On approach to Peterborough the wind was reported as 270/17! Made for a bumpy landing, combined with a very poor runway I had to power on and re-land. Reviewing the video I think I was slightly fast on the land which did not help. Return flight was similar. I got a direct in on Final which was awesome coming over Cheltenham. Good landing so happy with that.
Peterborough12-06-2022Photopeterborough.jpg
Halfpenny Green Land Away09-06-2022TextToday was supposed to be Day 2 of my Strip Flying course but due to the rain this morning, we postponed it for a week. Having the plane and a reasonable afternoon I decided to fly to Halfpenny Green. This was good practise for several reasons; the weather was not fantastic so it would be good handling practise, I did not have the plate with me so it would be good visualisation practise for the destination and it was quite windy so it would be good crosswind practise. Land away was fine as was the flight up. Return was also good and I felt I handled the 8 Knot crosswind well with a smooth landing.
General flight with Laura03-06-2022TextPootle around the county with Laura. All good and a nice flight. Slightly slow on landing which meant we bumped a little but all good.
BMAA Strip Flying course31-05-2022TextToday was the first session of the BMAA Strip Flying course. We did Eastbach, Ledbury and Berrow. Eastbach was by far the hardest and having reviewed the video I felt I over compensated for the wind, pushing the aircraft too far right then did not brake hard enough which forced us off the runway and into the grass. No harm done apart from pride! Take Off was fine and Ledbury where I had been before and Berrow both went without a hitch. Overall, happy with it but I will need an instructor for Eastbach for the next couple of visits though.
Skills and Nav30-05-2022TextGeneral skills flight plus navigation to some of the grass airfields in the area; Defford, Berrow, Ledbury and Eastbach. Also did a skills session which went well apart from the Engine failure where I picked a field with sheep. Would have had time to relocate but need to do that one again. Really pleased with the landings.
Dymock International12-05-2022Photodymock.jpg
Grass land aways12-05-2022TextTodays flight was a flight of discovery to locate and possibly land at some local grass runways. I managed to locate Berrow, then Ledbury (Dymock) where I landed with no problems. Stayed about 15 minutes then headed off to Eastbach in the Forest of Dean which looked ridiculously short so gave that one a miss - I will need an Instructor for that. Back to Gloucester. Two good landings, no problems and a good day out.
Turwston Land Away08-05-2022TextClub flight to Turweston. Easy flight out, good landing and easy flight back. No problems apart from deciding which service to use. Ended up not bothering although Brize would probably have been best.
Taster flight08-05-2022TextTook John for a taster flight. Had to stay low due to cloud base but we did a good tour of the county. No problems
Wellesbourne Vulcan25-04-2022Photowellesbourne.jpg
Land away to Wellesbourne25-04-2022TextA morning flight to Wellesbourne Mountford. Just a quick flight of 35 minutes over and 45 minutes back as I came via the Malvern Hills back. No problems, good landing at both ends and good handling and comms. Happy Birthday flight.
BMAA Silver Award15-04-2022TextThree legs, Leg 1 Gloucester to Dunkeswell down the Bristol channel and across. All good but managed to stall on the final couple of feet of landing. Leg 2 Dunkeswell to Priors Farm. Great flight and a good landing. Came in very low on final but all good. Even set the altimeter to a QFE! Leg 3 Priors Farm to Gloucester. Another good flight and good handling in the ATZ. Final was right on the PAPI line but then something went wrong and I had to do a go-around. I do not know what happened. I will get Phil to review the video (too fast on approach was the conclusion). Second time was perfect. All in all a superb day out , weather was excellent but I really need an Instructor circuit session.
Compton Abbas10-04-2022Photoabbas.jpg
Compton Abbas Land Away10-04-2022TextCompton Abbas was chosen as the destination for the club flyout. It is a great flight down with good views over to Bristol and nearby Bath. On approach I was told about high cross winds - 10 Knots gusting up to 15 Knots! A good approach but slightly high close in but I landed, then I felt I was ballooning so decided to go around. Second time was much better and I put it down nicely. Walking to HQ I was stopped by a couple of experts who asked why I had gone around. I told them why but they told me it was a good landing! The feeling must have been just the uneven surface. Chatting with the other guys they said it was the best decision regardless. One or two other aircraft did go-arounds so I felt happier. Excellent lunch of Pilots baguette which was sausage, bacon and egg in a baguette. Take Off was straightforward and the return via Bristol channel presented no issues. Straight in direct to Downwind and a good landing at exactly the time I had planned, 4pm.
Abbots Bromley08-04-2022Photobromley.jpg
Abbots Bromley Land Away08-04-2022TextSuperb flight to Abbots Bromley farms trip. Flight time was 50 minutes in the sunshine. Given the crosswind I elected to land on 04. Using Safety Com I updated my position etc and approached. I had been told about the concave nature of the strip but it still threw me out and I ended up too slow and badly positioned so got to practise my Go-around for real! Second attempt was much better and I did a smooth landing. Taxi to parking where I had it all to myself. The airfield is extremely well kept and the owner is as friendly as you will ever meet. Cobwebs cafe is about 15 minutes walk down a pleasant lane and well worth it for the cake. Also there is a small craft village there. For the return flight I continued my clockwise tour of Birmingham air space down to Draycote Water and across. Direct into Downwind on 04 completed the day nicely with another good landing. One hour and ten minutes back.
Skills Flight28-03-2022TextA skills fight today. I headed over towards Ledbury to clear 3 - 4,000 feet skies and ran through my skills set including turns up to 30 degrees, stalls with 0, 1 and 2 stage flaps, climbing and descending turns, 360 degree turns, slow speed flying and Power Fail. I also tried Sideslip but I am not convinced I have it right so that is one for next time I have an Instructor on board. Landing was fine although a late gust of wind tried to knock me off course.
Gamston21-03-2022Photogamston1.jpg
Gamston Land Away21-03-2022TextExcellent flight to Gamston. Used Birmingham and East Midlands on listening mode. Doncaster to check QNH to ensure I stayed under their CTA and finally into Gamston. Very hazy day and not much in the way of photos but the flight was excellent, I kept the height spot on and did a good landing at both Gloucester and Gamston so all in all a successful flight. One note though, the cafe at Gamston was closed on this day and the nearby Starbucks is inaccessible being on the wrong side of the A1 - take food and drink next time.
Brecon Beacons18-03-2022Photobrecons09.jpg
Brecons day out18-03-2022TextScenic flight down to the Brecons and Black Mountains. All good on taxi and Take Off. Flight was good at 3,000 feet and then to 4,000 feet over the mountains. Return fine and I got to practise slow speed flying as ATC wanted me to delay. There was a significant cross wind on 04 of 7 Knots from 90 degrees. Given that, the landing went well, although it did push me to the left of the runway. I was pleased enough with it.
GasCo Safety Evening15-03-2022Photogasco2.jpg
BMAA Bronze Wings09-03-2022TextToday I received my BMAA Bronze Award Certificate, well pleased with that, and straight onto the Silver Award
GASCo Airspace Infringment avo07-03-2022Photogasco1.jpg
Sleap Land Away07-03-2022TextAfter a significant delay due to airport operations I finally got my flight to Sleap as part of my BMAA Bronze Wings Award. The flight went well and timing was pretty much spot on. Reasonable landing although a significant cross wind did little to help. Return journey was similar and even with an orbit on Downwind I still landed on time. Again, a reasonable landing but I could have taken more account of the wind.
Local Jolly23-02-2022TextVery windy day! Original plan to fly to Welshpool was abandoned in favour of an hour around the local area. Take Off fine and initial heading out West. Soon encountered rain and cloud so turned South to Chepstow. Slow going down but a very fast return. All good but final Standard join was interesting with the strong wind. Got caught up in that and trying to keep level and straight, ended up landing without rounding properly. No idea why not! It was not too hard but less than perfect. Gusting wind caused some issues keeping straight.
Portsmouth11-02-2022Photoportsmouth.jpg
Sandown Land Away11-02-2022TextExcellent day for a flight down to Sandown on the Isle of Wight. No issues with the flight down nor the airfield approach. It was unmanned so blind calls all the way. Final approach was a bit short - I should have extended downwind which made the final a bit steep at the end. The grass was very soft so the plane skewed left a little. Next time I will wait for the astroturf. Return was good with a nice tour of the island first. Used Farnborough and Brize but neither would give me a traffic service and it was quite busy. All good. Runway 22/04 is the only one in use at the moment and it was my first landing on it which went well.
Old Warden Museum02-02-2022Photowarden.jpg
Old Warden Land Away02-02-2022TextVisit to Old Warden for the Shuttleworth collection of aircraft, cars, bike and lots more. Also very impressive gardens. Take Off and flight down was perfect. Old Warden had no radio/AFIS so it was blind calls all the way. It is a requirement that an overhead is done first which is no bad thing as the runway is a little vague. Line up on final was fine but it was gusty on approach with a 9 Knot crosswind. Landed okay. Taxi and Take Off also fine, even with a strong crosswind I hardly noticed it. I got a direct approach onto final so technically a 48 mile final approach! A great day out and one to repeat.
Final Robin Flight27-01-2022TextFinal flight in the Robin for the foreseeable future as I have now used up all of the hours I paid for back in May. One touch and Go which went really well and then off for a circuit around the Malverns, over Worcester and back via Tewkesbury. Cloud was quite low so 1,500 feet was pretty much maximum height - fun going along the Malvern Hills. Final landing was as good as any I have done so an enjoyable flight.
Halfpenny Green again16-01-2022TextA quick trip up to Halfpenny Green which highlighted a few small, but important handling errors. Take Off and flight were fine. Radio contact with Halfpenny Green also okay. Landing was onto Runway 16 so I should have crossed 34 end at greater than 1,300 feet QFE then descended either on the Downwind leg or done a complete circuit and then descended, instead I approached directly onto the Downwind leg and came close (500-1,000 feet) to an aircraft in the climb out who, technically should have avoided me. Not being sure of the aircraft I proceeded to the Downwind leg which fine but I think I could have been further away from the Runway. Turning Base and Final wewre okay but that left me a little too close so my approach angle was wrong, although I was well lined up, I managed to bounce several times before staying in contact with the tarmac. Leaving was fine although ATC never said Take Off at your discretion and I had to ask a second time. I will check that one. Return to Gloucester was fine and the landing okay with just a slight amount of crabbing which I should have corrected. Overall a good learning experience and a handy airfield to visit again to put all that right.
Circuits again10-01-2022TextPoor weather meant that the original plan was cancelled and I decided to do a circuit session instead. Six good landings with some additional instructions thrown in to keep me on my toes; Runway 27 change to LH circuit then back to RH circuit. Orbit at the end of the Downwind. Part of the time it rained so it was good practise dealing with that plus a wet runway. No bad landings at all so happy with the session.
Shobdon Land Away03-01-2022TextLand away to Shobdon via several castles, Croft, Wigmore and Clun on the way out and Longtown and Grosmont on the return. Very windy day with the crosswind right on or just exceeding the maximum. Flight out was mixed weather with a big rain cloud followed by bright sunshine, and the flight back was just dull. Landing at Shobdon was okay but I did bounce before getting it under control. Good line up and pretty straight. Landing at Gloucester was interesting with a 12 Knot at 220 degrees wind. I managed to land okay but the plane took some lining up and a late correction just before landing. All good and I felt in control.
Henstridge Land Away22-12-2021TextFlight went well with no problems. Approach to the airfield could have been better as I was a little out of position on the final but tidied it up for a good landing. Nothing much at Henstridge and the start of 06 is a bit rough. Take Off was fine. The original plan was to skirt Yeovilton and head up the Bristol Channel but it looked a bit cloudy so I went straight back. Tail wind meant I was back much quicker. Got a Direct LH onto 27 but I think I should have been wider and gone further on the Downwind as I had a lot of height to lose on final. All worked out okay but I did land later than normal so had to roll to C1. All in all a good day out but three weeks since my last SHMI flight is too long.
Monthly DJ flight09-12-2021TextFor my monthly flight in DJ I went to Halfpenny Green. Several reasons, it is a nice flight, I had not been there before and it was fairly close so a round trip would be about an hour. No problem with the flight over, although DJ felt heavy compared to SHMI. Take Off was fine and navigation okay - basically over Worcester, Kidderminster and think about looking for the airfield. In fact I flew right over the top. I must get used to giving airfields a bit of a wide berth until I am confident I know where they are. Coffee and bacon roll, paid my dues, got a brief on taxi requirements and I was off. No problems leaving and I remembered everything about AFIS departures. One to note for future visits is that they provide a good Basic Service right through to Worcester. Return to Gloucester was fine but I forgot to book in and could not get them on the phone. It was okay, but I did have to do a standard join which wasted some time. Landing was fine.
Sleap Land Away21-11-2021TextNothing exciting about the trip up except there was a 20kt headwind so took longer than expected. Left on 36 so a good experience. Arrival was interesting. Once again I was over the top before I realised! Did a quick circuit and landed. 14kt headwind from 330 meant additional power was required to avoid a stall. The airfield is really nice with a good cafe, small museum and a hangar with some aircraft being restored. Return was much quicker due to the tail wind. Take Off was really short, again due to the headwind. Landed on 36 which was more good experience and I felt more comfortable using it and picturing what I needed to do. Great day out.
Fenland Land away19-11-2021TextLand away to Fenland. Initial Take Off was fine in good coinditions but cloud soon appeared so I elected to fly at 4,000 feet above it. It was a good decision and I enjoyed a sunny flight over. I did begin to wonder whether I had made the right decision as I approached my destination, but passing over Peterborough, the cloud vanished, leaving a glorious day. Initially I missed the airfield, only spotting it as I flew overhead. Long sweep around to get onto Base and a smooth landing. Runway 26 looked quite short on approach but I think that was just an optical illusion and I came to a halt in less than half the distance (330m). It is quite a low key airfield and parking seems fairly arbitrary but I found a good spot close to the cafe. Its just five pounds landing fee which meant my bacon roll and coffee were more than the landing fee! Leaving the airfield I got initial information but that was all. Take Off was fine and I did a circuit to see Spalding and The Wash before climbing to 4,000 feet over the clouds again. Unremarkable return until I neared Gloucester where I realise that it was totally overcast, despite the ATIS saying broken at 1,700 feet. I looked around for a gap but none was found so decided the best course of action would be to head towards Worcester, listen out and find the narrowest and thinnest gap I could. This I did and within a few seconds cleared the cloud to emerge below it. A bit naughty but what choice did I have? Turning I approached the airfield for a standard join, although I think I messed up the comms a little, probably pre-occupied with recent events.
Circuits in SHMI13-11-2021TextCircuit session. First landing was a little bouncy. after that, all good. Did four with flaps and two flapless. No issues but perhaps could take more notice of wind speed and direction. Maybe try to note it in the log.
Easy DJ05-11-2021TextPlanned to be an easy flight in DJ just to keep the skills up and thats what it was...mostly. Flew down to Chepstow at 1,500 feet then through FoD to Hereford, rising to 2,500 feet. Over the Malverns and out to Tewkesbury. Busy day at the airfield so took a standard overhead. All good until emerging from the Deadside onto Crosswind. Cessna ahead and slightly left. It was obviously higher than me but not by much. I had been told to follow the Cessna which had reported as being Downwind and I had seen another aircraft in that position. I decided the best course of action was to continue, then orbit to give it time to clear. On approach to Base I saw it going very wide so followed it but it was clearly out of position for final, then so was I! Corrected and lined up. The aircraft ahead had turned left for some reason, so I continued my approach and landed smoothly enough but I may have bounced once. I think that was due to trying to get into a following position then correct onto the line but found myself a little too high. Of course, today was the day I didnt video the approach and landing.
Goodwood Day Trip02-11-2021TextDay trip to Goodwood. Great flight down, requireing a zone transit from Brize and a Traffic service from Farnborough - all good practise. Goodwood was easy to find and I initially intended to do a complete circuit to get the feel of the airfield but the approach was directly on the downwind leg to runway 32 so I dropped straight down. Good landing, no issues. Return flight was similar using the same services. Gloucester was mega busy when I got back and I had to do two orbits before being allowed into the overhead. Final approach was slightly nerve wracking as there was a helicopter on the runway seemingly playing chicken! I was 200 feet with engine cut and almost down before he moved. ATC told me to continue! Great day out.
Sandown Jolly17-10-2021TextDay trip to Sandown. Flew VFR above the cloud which was awesome. Over Portsmouth and onto IoW was superb. Did a tour of the airfield as I hadnt landed there before and did find myself a bit too high (1,500 feet) on Downwind instead of 1,000 feet but sorted it and made a good landing on the grass runway. Return was fine - same route via Petersfield then direct to Gloucester. Used London Information and Farnborough on the way down, then Farnborough and Brize on the way back. Landing at Gloucester was slightly bouncy. I think a combination of a steeper approach and gusty conditions caused me to flare slightly early and too much, should have just let it settle. Promising myself a circuit session next time!
Harwarden Day Trip13-10-2021TextLand away flight to Harwarden near Chester. Great flight up. Used Shawbury for Basic Service until past Chirk then switched to Harwarden Radar who I kept calling Radio. Doh! Final few miles was a bit tricky with very low cloud requiring 1,000 feet prior to the circuit and also on the Downwind leg I lost sight of the runway in the cloud. They give a very late final instruction and I was quite close before I was given a direction and join (Left Base). Rubbish landing with a couple of balloons but not a hard landing. Departure is interesting, They give a full description of departure; 1.5nM straight on Runway 22 blah blah, but no taxi clearance which then comes later. That is the reverse of Gloucester and did throw me out a bit, needing several Say Agains. Once I departed the return flight was good and landing at Gloucester no problem.
A tale of two06-10-2021TextTwo land aways today, Compton Abbas and Priors Farm. The weather was good but there was a strong Westerly wind (good for Gloucester Take Off) which turned N/W (bad for landing/Take Off at Compton Abbas). The flight went well with good comms and despite the wind, the landing (on grass as well) went really well. Take Off also went better than expected despite being nearly psyched out by the aircraft ahead veering to the left! Landing at Priors was slightly hard but okay. Stayed about an hour. Take Off and return to Gloucester good. They gave me a late direct join Left Base onto 27. As I was almost at the end of 27, had an interesting zig-zag to get on line but landed fine with two red lights. All in all, a great day out.
Shobdon jaunt24-09-2021TextQuick trip over to Shobdon. Flight out was good. The Take Off felt slightly heavy but I did have a passenger so not surprising. Good direct in to runway 26 with a good landing and plenty of room for the first exit. Return flight was slightly lower at 2,000 feet as opposed to 4,000 feet and with the wind behind quite quick. Came back via Malvern Hills and Tewkesbury for a standard join. All went well until final where I had some trouble lining up and pulled back too far on the stick and landed awkwardly. Probably should have done a Go Around. Note to self: Practise Go around!
One Hundred Hours20-09-2021TextTodays flight bought my flying hours to just over one hundred!
Seaside trip20-09-2021TextA day trip to Caernarfon today. I had planned Elvington but couldnt get clearance. Outbound via Aberystwyth and up the coast. Interestingly I couldnt raise Valley until North of Aberystwyth so used London Information from Ledbury. Altitude was around 4,000 feet to fly above the clouds whcih was great and then a long slow descent once clear of the big mountains. Wonderful airfield, flying over the sea, then around the circuit to land. Fabulous weather. Spent the day relaxing then flew directly back via Leominster which only turned out to be 15 minutes quicker. Also at 4,000 feet although I did have to descend by 500 feet a couple of times to dodge clouds. No issues and even landed with an 8kt cross wind at Gloucester. Slightly high on one side but happy with the landing. Also happy with the landing at Caernarfon.
Two airfield day03-09-2021TextTwo airfields in one day and one of them was a grass strip, a first for the Eurostar. The flight down to Thruxton was uneventful apart from trying to get a MATZ penetration with Boscombe. Im pretty sure they either said No, or didnt respond, either way I steered clear whcih is only a slight diversion to come in wide of Andover. From Andover it is straightforward although as I approached I did wonder about it - I was 2,000 feet but crossed the runway Take Off line. I might have to ask Phil about that. Coming downwind I dropped to 800 feet and being Air/Ground notified the tower of my position and intentions. All went well until just crossing the end of the runway where I was blown completely off course by the wind being deflected by the buildings. Bit of a shock but corrected and landed okay. Take Off and flight to Priors Farm was fine, although I did keep thinking I had arrived earlier than I did. Once actually spotted, I did a circuit, set the altimeter to read my height above the field and came into land. For a first grass landing in the Eurostar and a first solo grass landing I was well pleased. Needed less than half the length so no worries. Stayed for about 45 minutes, long enough to watch a Stearman land and have a chat with the owner. Take Off was equally easy and the return to Gloucester without issue, although I did climb to 4,000 feet just for the hell of it, and another first. Landing was no problem on 09. Might be getting the hang of landing a bit more now.
Circuits01-09-2021TextCircuits practise using 09. Five landings, two using flap and three flapless. All fairly good but could probably use a session with Tom. Some additional pressure with other aircraft requiring extension to Downwind and orbits whilst looking out for other aircraft was good practise.
Local in DJ30-08-2021TextLocal flight in DJ. Started really badly trying to do a Short Field Take Off and the plane veered to the left. Only just managed to correct it and take off. All over the place down the runway. Couldnt find any decent height due to the clouds. Did a couple of stalls and tried a side-slip but I wasnt happy with it. Decided to give up and return. Runway had changed from 09 to 36. I approached from the West and asked for a direct join. Runway 36 Left Base I was told. Unfortunately I approached on 18 and couldnt understand how it was Left Base! I realised when they told me I was out of position - in fact, approaching the wrong end! I corrected and actually managed a good landing. Overall, not a good flight and one to forget.
Dunkeswell29-08-2021Photodunkeswell1.jpg
Dunkeswell29-08-2021TextLand away to Dunkeswell. Second attempt! Cloud base was quite low so decided to phone the airfield and check - clear skies came the reply. Down Bristol channel had some challenges, there was some cloud even at 1,000 feet but I managed it okay. Crossing to the English side improved visibility considerably. South of Weston it improved even more. Approach to Dunkeswell circuit was maybe high and I should have descended much earlier - at centre line of runway ideally. Landing was a little hard I think, I let the speed drop too much and it stalled the final couple of feet. Return was fine although I couldnt raise Yeovil for a MATZ penetration so steered around to be safe. Otherwise no issues. Long circuit at Gloucester. Landing was a good one - kept the speed a little higher.
Turweston for real27-08-2021TextLand away at Turweston. Direct this time. All went well with no issues and a good confident landing. Return was equally good. Used Brize Radar for Basic Service in both directions.
Turweston or not22-08-2021TextIt was supposed to be a trip to Turweston via Huntingdon but quickly turned into a dodge the clouds game. A couple of times I did get enveloped but got myself out quickly with a 180. It was slightly worrying at times and eventually I decided to abandon. Actually there were a lot of good learning opportunities; dealing with cloud avoidance, getting out of cloud safely, talking to Brize Radar, returning to Base and doing a standard join for the first time in ages. All went well and the landing was a good one so even though I didnt get to Turweston I learned plenty and came home safely.
Shobdon Land Away03-08-2021TextTrip over to Shobdon in the Eurostar. Take Off good, although I need to focus on the aircraft rather than other stuff - too much messing about with the camera and didnt back off the throttle at the right time. Encountered another aircraft above and ahead to my right. Decided to do a delaying orbit as there wouldnt be time to reposition and overtake. Landed on 08 for the first time which was fine. Returning was all good - proper taxi out at Shobdon! Take Off good and direct join was good with a smooth landing. No mistakes and all good.
Second Passenger flight29-07-2021TextI was a bit worried about the wind but luckily it moved almost Westward so actually helped. I took Dan flying today. He seemed a little nervous at times but I think he enjoyed it. Usual route around the Malverns, Worcester and return via Tewkesbury and Direct onto Right Base. Excellent landing, really pleased with it.
Eurostar again24-07-2021TextAn hour in the Eurostar. Not sure whether to go as the airport was really quiet and the sky was a bit iffy. Eventually phoned Phil who said it was okay, just a quiet morning. Runway 09 but taxied from the 27 end to half way, still plenty. Nice flight down to May Hill, Malverns and off in search of Broadway Tower - found it straight away. Direct join onto Downwind for 09. I think I got too high too close so had a steep approach. Must remember to aim further down for a shallower angle and look down the runway. Slightly hard landing with the nose too high.
First Passenger flight23-07-2021TextFirst passenger flight with Alex in the Robin. Full brief and off. Flew down to Chepstow then up through the Forest of Dean, Ledbury, Malvern Hills, Worcester and back to the Malverns and down to May Hll for a direct join onto 09. All good, no issues and a good landing.
Back in the Robin20-07-2021TextBack in the Robin because the Eurostar had a brake cylinder issue. All pre-flight checks done, apart from the fuel check which I remembered about 20 minutes after Take Off! Flew down to the Black Mountains and did a couple of loops - beautiful. Direct join onto Downwind and all was good, although I seemed to land quicker than expected but a nice soft landing so happy with that. All good.
Skills flight13-07-2021TextA skills flight today. Headed West for some space then did turns, shallow at first, then 60 degrees. Watched the horizon not the altimeter and was pleasantly surprised that I held the altitude really well. Did a couple of stalls, flapless, then first stage with the obligatory HASELL check. Headed back via the Malverns and did an engine fail drill, but its a bit of a non-event in the EV97 as there is almost nothing to check. Found a good landing site but pulled out a few hundred feet above. On the return, the runway had changed to 09 so asked for a couple of circuits. Did three landings. First and third were good, the second was a little hard but okay. All in all a good session with no mistakes. Even set the QFE!
Dunkeswell trip11-07-2021TextPlanned flight to Dunkeswell. All went well, altitude 1,000 feet to fly under the Bristol CTA. Across the Severn to Weston was amazing although being so low I did think about the glide range - basically no chance of making land! The weather deteriorated significantly South of Bridgewater so eventually called Dunkeswell and abandoned. On return notified London Information of cancelled plans. Apparently it is not a requirement in uncontrolled airspace. Flying under Bristol I used Bristol Monitor with a 5077 Squawk. Joined Left Base which was new to me. Managed fine although cross wind was interesting. All good a single touchdown not too hard this time.On ground control is much improved. Landing improved but could still be better I think.
Brecons flight08-07-2021TextGreat flight down to the Brecons, some very dark clouds which I avoided. Due to not being able to get fuel I had to turn short of Pen y Fan as I was starting to worry. Need to revise the speed in my plans as it is clearly set too fast. Return was fine and a direct join went well. Might have been slightly low as I came over the end of the runway and the landing was a little hard. I was looking down instead of along the runway and I should have had a shallower angle as I think I stalled.
Big Flight Plans02-07-2021TextGloucester to Shobdon via Welshpool, Barmouth and Aberystwyth plus the Elan Valley thrown in for good measure. Got to try out Sky Demon which worked a treat but it was a demo version so switched off after 30 minutes but I have now purchased the full version. Take off from Gloucester was fine although due to changing runways as I was taxiing I actually took off half way down! No problem but got caught slightly in the crosswind. The journey was all good with no problems. I did give the mountains a good gap at 4,000 feet as I could feel the effects of the updraught. Took a litle while to identify Shobdon but a good approach I thought. Not such a good landing! I bounced. Misunderstood departure instructions. Shobdon has a grass taxi-way. I thought they meant for me to taxi down the runway. *Lesson learned - get more familiar with new airfields* Return to Gloucester all good and landing was fine. Slight waver on runway but no dramas. Could improve braking distance maybe.
First Eurostar Solo29-06-2021TextFirst solo in the Eurostar! All went well. Good Take Off. The route was Tewkesbury, Droitwich, Ludlow, Hereford and direct back via May Hill. Minor navigation issue on approach - too far to the right due to the misty conditions but corrected with 5 miles to go. Great landing, very happy with that. Compass seems a bit unreliable and I couldnt get Sky Demon working until after the landing. Screen is too reflective anyway so need a matt screen cover. Timings were all spot on which was nice
More Eurostar24-06-2021TextBack to the Eurostar for more circuits. It all went well with a steady improvement on each landing and subsequent Take Off. Eight landings in total but at the end of the session, Tom was happy to sign me off! Lots of practise required now
Avebury23-06-2021TextGloucester - Avebury - Chepstow - Gloucester. No issues except I think the Wind report was not correct as I found myself too far South but could correct with visual clues - which is a good thing. Used Brize Radar from Kemble to Avebury but they closed and passed me over to what turned out to be London Information. I didnt use them, so enjoyed some quiet flying. Must check if thats okay. All good, no mistakes and a good landing.
Solo in the Robin21-06-2021TextNice solo flight over Tewkesbury then off to Broadway Tower, Evesham, Worcester and down to May Hill for a Direct Approach. Really exciting approach and landing on 09. All good with no mistakes and felt very relaxed throughout
Eurostar Circuits16-05-2021TextCircuit training in the Eurostar went okay, but things to remember are: more right rudder on Take off, more right rudder on landing and checking the speed before deploying the flaps. A couple of minor issues: I didnt set the transponder and a couple of misheard messages so dont be afraid to ask for a repeat. Need to copy the briefing card for reference and check it is complete as there are very few checks compared to the Robin
Eurostar Differences Training12-06-2021TextHaving not been able to fly the Eurostar so far, but now I have my license, I can crack on with the Differences training. Good take off, although not such as steep angle as the Robin, HASELL and Stall skills were fine. Also stall in turn. Power Fail was fine although it is much more manoeverable than the Robin so can land on a much shorter strip. All R/T was fine. Landing was a bit floaty so get lower on final. Run out and steering all good. Shutdown drill is radios off, Mags off, Master and Alternator off. Need to check some basic info: landing speed, stall speed(s), flap requirements, cruise speed
First as Pilot10-06-2021TextFirst flight as an Official Pilot! I dont think I made a single mistake! Flew over Leominster and hit it spot on. I had not pre-planned any further so worked out a bearing to Hay on Wye. Got that including the correct ETA. I had intended to fly over the Black Mountains but the cloud was too low to get up to 3000 feet - so far I had been at 2000 feet. By passing, I flew along the East side which was interesting. Once I got down to Skirrid I took a bearing back to Gloucester and again the ETA was spot on and a well executed direct join saw a good landing. One comment would be to check landing speed next time as the stall warning was sounding. Also aim a little further down the runway as I am only just making it.
LAPL Award26-05-2021Photolaplaward.jpg
First after Qualifying04-06-2021TextFirst solo after qualifying. Rather ambitious flight to Welshpool and back (no land away). Longest flight so far. Pre-flight drills all okay but I went to the pumps first. Must remember to restart and do all the checks as I didnt turn on the alternator until the final power checks. Flight and Nav were fine. DI caught me out for a short while after turning but corrected it. All good and good comms. Only final mistake was not setting the altimeter to QFE again but landing was good anyway. Have now modified log sheet to add reminder about Altimeter.
The Skills Test26-05-2021TextI could not believe how nervous I was. The initial briefing was quite short and succinct: Read the skills list and let me know if you have any questions. We were off. I had prepared a Weight/Balance sheet which wasnt needed. Weather forecast also not needed and a Safety briefing that I had barely got started when he told me that was okay. Engine started and checks, no problem, taxi and Take Off okay. He had asked me to do a couple of circuits and I really naused up the first landing, then we were supposed to do a flapless landing which I naused up again! Third time I finally got it. Not going well! We then went off to Leominster and I found myself too far to the North but corrected it in good time, although he said I should have done it earlier. Next skill was the detour which went well and we did a 45 degree turn which I nailed. Next was Emergency Landing, okay but I could have picked a better field. I should have spent more time looking, but I picked what I thought was okay. Stalls next were fine and then we headed back via Tewkesbury. I got the approach okay and we did a standard overhead which I also got okay and finally into the land. I allowed the aircraft to be blown left and only just got on but he seemed okay with it. Taxi back and shutdown were fine. I totally expected to fail or have a partial pass so was amazed when told I had passed! What went badly: First normal and flapless landing. What could have gone better: Navigation - should have flown a couple of miles further West before turning onto the heading. Final landing could have been lined up better with cross-wind. What went well: Start up, taxi, R/T, Take Off, Diversion, Steep Turn, General Handling, Safety Briefing, Stall, Power Fail, Rejoin
Local solo flight22-05-2021TextLocal solo flight to practise some skills ready for the skills test. Taxi and Take Off were fine, although I do need to slow down on the checklist to make sure I cover everything. Flew over to Ledbury then went in search of Putley Church. Got in the vicinity but didnt quite identify it. Did some steep (45 degree) turns, stall practise, slow flying and steep turns. All went well and happy with everything. Return to airfield via May Hill gave me the opportunity to ask for a Direct Join. I was told Right Downwind and not below 1500 feet. Perfect. On arrival I had to widen which also gave me good practise for different scenarios and I followed a Cessna in. One minor criticism is that I could have been down at 1500 feet on the Downwind instead of 2000 feet which gave me a lot of height to lose quickly. All good with the landing
A good lesson18-05-2021TextMuch better lesson today. Good Take Off and level off at 2,500 feet. Did stall practise. Remember 90 degree left (with bank) and 90 degree right (with bank) for the Lookout part, then straight into skill. Also forced landing which went well, but always remember to land into wind and dont forget to turn off the fuel etc. Return for Right Base. Had height restriction. Flapless landing, 75kts, normal landing 65-70kts and short field 60kts landing. Easy on brakes for final skill.
Circuits14-05-2021TextStarted with a few circuits. It all felt very rushed, but I havent done them for a very long time and it always seems rushed anyway. All good on the standard landing. Flapless gave me some issues getting the speed right - the nose has to be up to reduce the speed. Remember power = height, attitude = speed. Must check the speeds required. We went off and did some upper air work with straight and level and low speed flying. That was okay, but again pay more attention to the attitude and the speed will come. Steep (45 deg) turns were fine and spiral dive recovery was fine too. Some confusion on my part returning as I misunderstood Phils request for a Direct Join (i.e. no overhead) when I called for Rejoin which implies overhead. Join and landing were fine. Direct join approach is 1500 feet unless stated by Approach. Remember on Direct Join, pre-landing checks should be done early. Also when QFE is given, change the altimeter immediately.
Navigation Exercise11-05-2021TextRepeating the Nav exercise as I made such a hash of it last time! Flew out of 18. Tower gave left turn, I should have requested right turn. Some minor issues getting back on track and identifying Ledbury. DI played up and it took a little while to get comfortable with direction using compass. Got to Leominster okay and diversion went well although initial bearing was off, I soon corrected it. Diversion was to Hay on Wye, then South across the Black Mountains to Abergavenny. Again okay, but I need to get more familar with spot heights. Return to airport fine although I could have used May Hill as a good reference. Tower gave me Right Base which confused me. Basically the join is onto Base but from the East means a Right Hand Turn onto final rather than Left hand overhead and onto circuit. Landing was good but a slightly fast approach.
Eurostar buy in01-05-2021TextWell, today I paid up for a share in an aircraft! It is a Eurostar EV97 and I now own 1/20th of it. I cannot actually fly it until I have passed my skills test and done the Differences training, but I own it so happy with that
Navigation Day30-04-2021TextI made a big mistake very early on by not checking the DI against the compass but I also underestimated the speed, I worked on 93kts and should have used 95kts which made enough of a difference so that I did not start looking for the destination early enough. Also I missed it because I was looking on the wrong side of the aircraft, then mistook another airfield. Eventually I located it with some help from Phil. The Diversion was planned okay with goo timing but because I had not checked the DI, I ended up 20 degrees off course! We decided to give up and head back and I got very disorientated with the consequence that the return fell apart, but I finally recovered for a reasonable approach and landing. Top lesson, the D (Direction) in FREDA should be done every 10-15 minutes and always when changing direction or circling for a diversion. Positives: The plan was a good one, and the direction was fine, I correctly identified places along the route. I held 2,000 feet for the vast majority of the flight and calculating the diversion went well.
Land away to Thruxton26-04-2021TextToday was a trip to Thruxton for my solo cross country skill as part of the LAPL course. Taxi and take off were good and the Navigation fine. I felt comfortable with the R/T understanding. I had a minor confusion with my MATZ penetration request so went in via Andover. The landing could have been better as I think I started to flare slightly high. I was happy with the comms to Thruxton and took the time to pop into the tower to ask the controller what he thought - answer was all good so happy with that. On my return I should have taken more time with the PLog as I did not write down all of the frequencies I was planning to use, especially Kemble which I planned to use. Happy with the comms back into Gloucester with a slight wobble on approach to landing and again a high flare but otherwise okay.
General Handling Day16-04-2021TextToday was all about performing the basic tasks. Leaving Gloucester, my Instructor and I flew over the Malvern Hills and past Ledbury to a safe area with little in the way of houses and villages and some large fields just in case my power fail drill was for real! Gaining 3,000 feet I did my HASELL checks and pulled the power. The Robin has a stall speed of 51 knots with flaps up. The stall itself is unremarkable, the stall warning going off well before the actual stall which is characterised by the airframe starting to shake and very easy to recover from and within 100 feet I was on my way back up again. A second and third stall with first stage and second stage flaps followed with no issues. Some 360 degree turns at 30 degrees and 60 degrees followed which I always enjoy, the skill of course is to maintain the altitude which I managed successfully. Finally a power fail drill, pulling the power and setting the glide speed to 68kts I had plenty of time to look for a suitable field, check for a problem, and (pretend to) make an Emergency call. As I approached around 500 feet above the ground and confident of a landing I eased on the power and started to climb away, conscious of not closing the flaps until I had enough speed to guarantee I would not stall. That was enough for today and it was a pleasant flight back to the airfield.
DesignationAirportFlight DateDistanceRouteTotal HoursTotal LandingsEdit
NextFlightTBDTBD0TBD273435
LastFlightGloucester16-05-2024150I flew down to Avebury, did a circuit of the town and Silbury Hill, then over to Chepstow and back up via the Forest of Dean and May Hill for my favourite direct onto 09. Excellent flight, good landing and super weather.274436
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