Today would have been the perfect day for me to take off for France but I hadn’t planned to go as the weather forecasts had indicated that the northerly wind could be a bit too strong. But not a bit of it! On this side of the Channel it was calm for nearly the whole of the day while on the other side the winds were fairly benign throughout the whole length of my planned route.
So a window missed but I couldn’t go anyway as unfortunately I had a family commitment that prevented me from leaving and that’s why I plan to depart tomorrow. So I just hope that tomorrow turns out to be as good as today. There’s a real danger of early morning fog on both sides of the Channel so it’s in the hands of the gods as to how things will work out.
But what I did do today was check the en-route NOTAMs, something that I should really have done a while ago. And lucky for me that I did because I was surprised to find that from late November through into the new year Chartres, where I intended to land to replenish my tanks from my on-board jerricans, is closed to all visiting aircraft. So a lesson learned!
But it’s not a disaster. I’ve had to change my route yet again and instead of landing at Chartres I’ve decided to drop into Dreux. It’s on my route but whereas Chartres has a long hard runway, the runway at Dreux is grass. There’s nothing to say that it’s closed so I’m going to just go in without phoning ahead. I need much less than what’s available so I don’t think that I’ll be taking much of a risk. Its just annoying that I’ve had to rework my route, planning spreadsheet and charts to take the change into account but maybe that’ll encourage me to check out the NOTAMs a bit sooner!
Unfortunately my family commitment today ran overtime a bit and as a consequence, I didn’t have all the time that I needed to complete all of my preparations for an early morning departure tomorrow. But I got 24ZN’s outdoor covers off and stowed away and refilled my second jerrican that was empty after my flight over from Headcorn to Clipgate. Assuming that I can get away early tomorrow morning, stowing them and my modest baggage in the cabin won’t delay me by very much.
It was dark by the time I finished at Clipgate early this evening but here are some shots that I took when I’d finished which I’ve had to lighten quite a bit to make them more clearly visible.
As the weather forecasting model that I’m using (ECMWF) is only run very 12 hours and after 9.00pm local time this evening will not be run again until after my planned departure time tomorrow, I’ll redo my route planning this evening and get my modest baggage and the contents of my flying bag organised. And that will be it until I wake up tomorrow morning and see what greets me outside my bedroom window. I just hope that it’s not thick fog…