By golly, it’s taken a while to get the house warm tonight! The reason is that I didn’t manage to get the wood-burner lit until after 6.00 pm because even though it was a cold day, it turned out to be too good not to go flying today.

It was touch-and-go several times in recent days as to whether I’d get a flight in 56NE or not, but even though Wim did manage to get a short one in, I didn’t manage to. So when today turned out to be surprisingly bright and wind-free, Wim and I exchanged phone calls and agreed to meet up at Galinat at 2.00 pm. As what wind there was was from the north-west, I’d planned a flight of 40 – 50 minutes into the northern sector, taking in Terrasson, Hautefort, Thenon and back to Galinat via my house and Thonac.

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Wim flew in in his Weedhopper from his strip near Fleurac and he decided that conditions were a bit too cold for him for a long flight. So when I told him what my plans were, he said that he’d just head back home again and get warmed up. As it happened, I’d got myself pretty well kitted out for the temperature with several layers on top under my flying jacket, thick woolly socks and some fleecy jogging bottoms under my jeans, so I was really looking forward to getting going. I’d also planned to overfly the ULM field near Terrasson which, although I knew it was there, I’d not actually located before. So shortly after Wim had left, after getting 56NE’s engine warmed up I took off with that and a flight up to Hautefort in mind.

Everything went perfectly. The conditions were too hazy for any kind of photography and although there were little bits of lift around here and there, the best thing was to sit back and enjoy the view. So that’s what I did. I found the strip at Terrasson easily enough and did a dummy approach before breaking off, climbing away and heading off for Hautefort. Someone had a bonfire going not very far from the chateau and the smoke was carrying down-wind for at least a kilometre, so I was surprised to see just how small the fire was when I flew past it.

The chateau had a very ‘wintry’ look to it and it looked as though quite a lot of work was going on getting it ready for the coming season. I turned left as I passed it to head for Thenon on a track that took me straight into the sun, so I was glad when I got there to be able to turn left again to head for my house, Thonac and a landing back at Galinat.

The planned route was 78 kms long and as you weave from side-to-side a bit to look at this and that, you inevitably end up flying just a little bit further. So a total time of 50 minutes including take off and landing giving an average speed of about 95 kmh (or just over 60 mph), was not too bad. And as I’d hoped, I wasn’t too cold at the end of it either 😉