The lows and highs of getting an old microlight flying again…
After the disappointment of the weekend with The Gauge (see how it has now assumed an identity all of its own 😕 ) I asked over on the BMAA forum whether anyone happened to have a spare one lying around. And Dave did have! So we’ve done the deal, the cheque’s in the post and soon it’ll be winging its way down courtesy of the Royal Mail.
What a bit of luck! Checked with the UK supplier and the news was that this is an old gauge which isn’t very popular any more (people want separate gauges nowadays). Apparently there is a model reference for it but the actual gauge isn’t even in their catalogue now. It could still be ordered though, but would probably have to be specially manufactured in the USA and the lead time would therefore be something like 7 to 8 weeks 😯
But not as much luck with the weather though. The storms and high winds still keep roaring through almost without respite. This is more like Autumn weather – and bad Autumn weather at that. Last night we had a massive downpour in the early hours and although it’s now bright with a fair bit of white cumulus scudding across a blue sky, the winds are blowing a gale (well seems like a gale… 🙄 ).
The strip I’m flying out of is mid-way between Lydd and Manston in East Kent at an elevation of 410 feet, so it’s fairly susceptible to winds anyway and is also close enough to the English Channel to feel the effect of Sea Breezes. Its weather is more like Manston than Lydd and here’s today’s TAF for Manston.
EGMH 120903Z 121018 23022G37KT 9999 SCT018 PROB40 TEMPO 1418 4000 SHRA TSRA BKN014CB
TAF stands for Terminal Airport Forecast and it’s intended to inform pilots flying into or out of an airport what weather conditions they should expect. Here’s what it tells us.
The TAF was issued on 12th August at 9.03am local time. It’s valid between the hours of 10.00am and 6.00pm and the forecast is as follows. Wind from the south-west (230 deg) at 22 knots gusting 37 knots. Unlimited visability with scattered cloud at 1800 ft. For a while (TEMPO) between 2.00pm and 6.00pm (the end of the TAF, so it may go on longer) there’s a 40% probability to expect visibility to drop to 4000 metres in rain showers and heavier rain associated with thunder storms and broken storm cloud at 1400 ft. What a great weather forecast for August in the UK! Unflyable in an AX3 that’s for sure 😐