My whole day was running late today because I went to bed late last night and slept in a bit. That’s always a mistake if you want to go flying because it guarantees that the early part of the day is the most flyable and conditions will go downhill after that. And that’s what duly happened, of course.
After a dismal day yesterday which never saw the fog lifting, we awoke today to a very cold, bright morning. There had been a very sharp frost during the night and I heard today on the radio that this is the coldest November on record since 1985. The North has been blanketed with heavy snow (Edinburgh Airport is closed while I type this) but we have been lucky to be spared that so far. The ground and trees just looked as though they’d been snowed on, the frost was so heavy and thick.
Because of lying in, I had to dash round getting the dog and myself organised but eventually everything was sorted and I was able to get away. As I drove to Linton there was quite a bit of scattered cloud around but it was bright with a little bit of ground-hugging mist. I found Bob and Clive in the hut when I arrived but neither planned to fly complaining that it was too cold. Both fly flexwings, of course, but I didn’t think it would be too cold in MYRO at all, especially as I’d wrapped myself up more than usual today. I bought a pair of waterproof boots during the week and they are marvellously warm. I had also kitted myself out in a tee-shirt followed by a polo neck followed by a warm top and I also planned to put on my zip-up jacket as well. But my piece-de-resistance was my lower half (if you’ll excuse the expression). I’ve lost a bit of weight over recent months (on purpose I might add) and I’ve been left with a pair of trousers that are now several sizes too big for me. Up to now, I didn’t know what to do with them and I’d almost chucked them out. Lucky I didn’t, because I found that they’re big enough to comfortably wear a pair of fleecy jogging bottoms under them. Brilliant! Warm as toast, as it turned out, and surprisingly I didn’t look like the Michelin Man in them either 😀
I was delighted to find that MYRO’s covers hadn’t moved a whisker in the two weeks since I last flew, and when I took them off, it was as dry as a bone underneath them. They were covered in rime ice, of course, but there wasn’t much I could do so I just wrapped it up in them when I took them off. And all the while I could see that the sky was getting more and more murky 🙁
Nevertheless, I was determined to get a flight in but it was obvious that today would only be good for a local bimble. I wanted to use the camcorder but after the suction mount complete with camcorder had fallen off twice (something to do with the cold perhaps?) I decided that discretion was the better part before it got damaged, switched it off and stowed it on the seat beside me. I took off from runway 11 at 13:40 and it was obvious that there was weather coming in from the east. The cloud base was at only 1200 feet and it was even lower to the north with a nasty dark look to it. So I decided to stay local and just get a bit of air time in. No point dashing around using fuel unnecessarily, so I pulled the throttle back to 5000 RPM and just ambled along at 45mph, but that was very comfortable and very nice. At one time I got as high as 1400 feet but that was in a gap in the cloud and at that height, I was going into and out of the clag, so I made sure I stayed lower than that.
After a time, the cloud to the north-east began to have an ominous look to it and seemed to be reaching right down to the ground, a sure sign of snow. No point risking it for no reason, so I decided to join overhead and land back on 11. So that was it, just 40 minutes – better than nothing I suppose, but not nearly as much as I’d have liked given that I haven’t flown for a couple of weeks. Clive had already gone and Bob left shortly after I’d landed, after my best landing for some time, I have to say. A fully-stalled greaser, with the nose wheel remaining up for quite a few seconds as I slowed down before taxiing to the end of the runway. Very satisfying 😉
I then had the job of tying MYRO down and covering it back up again. Sure enough, there was just the lightest flurry of snow while I was doing it, so light in fact that you’d have hardly noticed it, and only for less than a minute or so. And when I’d finished and was sitting in my car drinking a cup of hot coffee from my flask at about quarter-past-three, although there was still clag overhead, the sky to the north-east from whence the weather was coming, was as bright as you’d please. So I could have stayed up for longer after all. As I say, very frustrating 😯