January 23, 2011

It goes on…

I’d hoped to get a bit of flying in this week end but it looks as though those hopes will now be dashed. Yesterday we had thick, dismal, grey low cloud that would have made flying impossible and today is a repeat of the same. I spoke to family members on the south coast a bit earlier and they have bright sunshine down there, but it seems that where we are, we are fated to be constantly on the receiving end of this awful low cloud that is being brought in by the northerly winds off the North Sea.

I ended up replacing my car last week and now have a small estate which will be much more convenient than the saloon for carting microlight bits and pieces around. I was able to go down to the field yesterday for the first time in a couple of weeks to check on MYRO and was pleased to see that apart from the covers having loosened due to the rubber straps that secure them having stretched a bit, nothing else had moved. I tightened them a bit but couldn’t stay long so I think I might go back today and do a better job. One thing’s more or less for sure though – if I do go down I doubt that it’ll be to fly in this weather. So all in all, January has not turned out to be much of a month for me at all really, not as far is flying MYRO is concerned anyway 🙁

January 8, 2011

Bad luck

It doesn’t look as though I’ll be able to get any flying in this week-end because I can’t get down to the airfield. My car has got brake problems and although it’s still got brakes, I don’t think I dare risk driving too far in it. It’s really bad luck because we’ve continued to have very bad weather nearly all week (after the fog, lots of rain) and tomorrow (Sunday) looks as though it could be clear and bright for most of the day 🙁

Since flying down to Pevensey Bay on Monday, despite the fact that the weather was very dull, it was quite dark actually the further south I went, I’ve managed to get a reasonable video together which is now in the Gallery. CLICK HERE if you’d like to see it. I also made a short clip of my return landing. I thought it was quite entertaining because as I mentioned in the previous post, I ended up a bit high and fast and had to do quite a hefty side-slip to get MYRO down. Click on the pic below if you’d like to see it.

null

I’m disappointed about tomorrow but these things happen unfortunately, don’t they 😕

January 5, 2011

2 days of flying, but…

… the weather both days was awful.

As the Christmas break was drawing to a close, like everyone in the South-East, probably, who flies for fun, I was becoming desperate to get some flying in before the holiday period ended. We’ve been going through a period of awful weather – in the early part of the Christmas break we had bitterly cold temperatures and too much snow to take off and land on and when the temperature rose and the snow melted towards the latter part, almost continuous poor visibility as a result of fog and low cloud. There was really only one flyable day in all that time which was clear and bright enough on which I went down to the field to see if enough snow had melted from the runway. I found that it had, but didn’t take any flying kit with me so couldn’t fly. I intended to do so the next day, which was forecast to be good enough but, of course, fate decreed that in fact the weather would close in again making flying impossible.

The forecast for last Sunday 2nd January was not too bright (literally 🙁 ) with moderate to poor vis and low cloud expected, but I thought I’d give it a long shot. Any approaching weather was forecast to be coming in from the north and I always think that when you are only flying for fun, it’s best to fly towards incoming weather on the outgoing leg so you can turn tail and get back home again with the weather behind you. I still had the route for the last trip I’d planned before Christmas in my GPS, over the Thames to Essex and back and decided I’d use that again. Last time I’d cut the trip down and just flown up to the Isle of Grain over the Medway estuary past Stoke via the east of Rochester, returning via the west side, so I thought I’d do the same again. The flight was almost a repeat of last time. I flew over and through puffs of low cloud, that didn’t represent any hazard to flying, with the sky above low, dark and overcast and with even more uninviting murk and low cloud hanging in the distance to the west. But an hour and twenty minutes in the air was very welcome, even if my fingers were very chilly despite wearing gloves when I got down. I decided not to bother with the camcorder because it just wasn’t worth it in those light conditions.

The forecast for Monday 3rd January was a bit better, but not by much. By then the wind had turned to the south-west with little or no fog, but we still had a very low, overcast sky with just one or two breaks in it from time to time. However, the joker in the pack was a 30% probability of snow showers during the afternoon. I planned a flight to the south for the reason I mentioned earlier, heading towards Eastbourne, turning south-east before getting there to hit the coast at Pevensey Bay, following the shore-line along to Bexhill and then turning back north for the return leg, a total distance of 62 miles. At any time, if nasty weather did come in unexpectedly, I would always have the option of just turning round and safely heading home.

So that’s what I did. It did get a bit touch and go at one stage with the weather and I had tiny particles of snow blowing around me in the cabin with the sky became darker and murkier the closer I got to the coast. As a result, I decided to be prudent and cut the route down a bit, flying further to the east of Heathfield and Hailsham in Sussex than I’d originally planned to and flying parallel to the coast but slightly inland. Even so, my GPS shows that including taking off and joining to land, I covered a total distance of 64.4 miles in a time of 1 hour 27 minutes, so overall the difference was not that great. It was also excellent flying because the air was so smooth that it was easy to set engine revs to hold a pretty constant speed and maintain altitude comfortably within a 50/100 feet range.

I had an interesting landing. I usually fly a longish final starting from about 1000 feet with a dog-leg to avoid troubling any neighbours or anyone else who I might fly over. This time I was a bit lower at about 850 feet but instead of having an easy job getting down, today for some reason MYRO wanted to stay up. So towards the latter stages I ended up a bit high and fast. No problem, I just had to side-slip it off. I got down and stopped easily enough even on the short Winter runway, and it was fun doing it as well. I did a recording of the flight including the landing and I’ll see about putting it in the Gallery later.

And so my Christmas break came to an end. Just under three hours flying – not as much as I’d have liked, but probably more than a few less fortunate souls managed to get in I’d guess, so maybe I have to consider myself fortunate 😉

And I’d like to finish by wishing anyone who happens to pass by my blog and reads this a happy, prosperous and above all, peaceful 2011.