February 19, 2012

Another windy day today

But I still managed to keep my 100% flying record since permit. The wind was forecast to be strong north-westerly today, something like 15 gusting 18 mph or so, but dropping during the afternoon. So I got to Stoke just after midday and the wind had dropped a bit compared to this morning, but not by much though. There was nobody else flying there except for a gyro, which isn’t affected too much by winds, and a lone flex pilot who was just finishing his lunch, having flown in from Oxford in a Quik.

AX3s don’t like strong winds of course so although I’ve now got two tanks and an endurance of over 3 hours, I still decided it was prudent to head off into the headwind towards the north west away from Stoke, over the Thames at Canvey and into glorious Essex. I’d planned a flight of about 1hour 15 mins and that’s what I got. After slogging away into the headwind for about 50 minutes up to Brentwood (take a look at your chart – you’ll see how far I’d managed to get in that time..) I then turned onto a heading to head back to the field and the vis was so good I could see the Thames, the Medway and the two power stations at each end of Stoke as clear as a bell. In fact I could almost make out the arfield as well 🙂

Got back there in double quick time with that tailwind. Didn’t see any other microlights flying – just a few Group As and a Squirrel heli that passed across my nose as it climbed and went off in the opposite direction down my left hand side. Probably the air ambulance or maybe the Police I expect. I landed back at Stoke in a 90 degree 15 mph cross wind which explains why nobody else was flying. It was something of a tricky landing too with a bit of late sink which could have been nasty if I hadn’t caught it. But it all worked out well and I was pleased with my effort in conditions that were becoming somewhat marginal.

While I was getting MYRO ready to put to bed, a young mum who was visiting with a group of friends asked if her daughter who was mad to sit in MYRO could do so for a photograph. I let her of course, and I’ve not seen a smile as broad as that for a long time. Maybe we have a budding microlight pilot there for the future. And while I was putting what is left of MYRO’s covers on after the recent high winds, Trevor from Southend flew in all sideways in his X’air. Good on you Trevor, and after you, Chris and I had enjoyed a cuppa and a chat in the clubhouse, I hope you got safely home again.