My Flying 2003.
What a bad start to the year. The weather was not very good at the end of last year, and the start of this is not much better. I get one flight in January but the starter breaks on Evy and I have to have a replacement. Then in February, the oil pressure suddenly drops. Luckily I was on the ground (See NEVER miss your checks before a flight!). Again I am VERY lucky and the fault is the pressure release valve..
MarchIt's now March, I have had Evy fixed, but Jerry offers a trip in his RV to The pancake fly-in at Old Sarum, so I go in an RV instead. We make the trip from Sibson to Sarum in little over half an hour. It was popular so we end up holding just off the airfield trying to land - lets just say the order people called and the order they landed was not the same!
We all flew back together, as you can see opposite - Robert and Bill in VG and Colwyn in his One Design. A good day had by all. More pictures in the Flying-Album.
The weather is off and on in March - mostly off, but I manage trips to Sywell, Turweston, Meppershall and Popham. Popham is always a friendly place, and hosts some good events.
MarchHaving had such bad weather at the end of last year I am really keen to fly, the weather in April starts to look really great. The month starts well with some local flying, another trip to Popham (via Bedford & Hook airfields) and a day out to Skegness!!
Picture left - We go over Hook airfield on the way to Popham
Sitting in the office the week before Easter I am full of expectation and plan trips all over the Easter break - Le Touquet and Cornwall. Good Friday arrives, clear skys at Sibson but after checking the weather France is not looking great with reports of 25 to 28knots reported at a number of locations. So Jo and I just pop to Keystone for a meal.
Late May the weather improves, so Jo and I make the trip from Sibson to Bembridge IOW. On previous flights Jo had been feeling a little travel sick, she tried some tips on how to help the motion sickness. It worked so well that she woke me up VERY early the following day to tell me the weather was nice and could we fly to Le Touquet!!! She had always wanted to go...
LeTouquetI checked the weather on the internet and it looked good, so filed a flight plan. We had EVy out of the hanger and were airborne at 9.30 local. We took my usual route - Sibson direct to Ware, past North Weald and Stapleford then headed for Dover, crossing Dover to Cap Griz-Nez then direct to Le Touquet. This was the first time Jo had flown over water apart from the IOW the day before. She enjoyed the flight and was keen to explore Le Touquet town.
We caught a taxi from the airport to the Westminster hotel - the hotel is on the edge of town and its a nice walk to the beach from the hotel. The weather was really lovely and we wondered around town, and had a really nice meal.
The airfield will refuel your aircraft ready for your return, so I just had to file a flight plan and pay for the fuel. The route home was slightly different as the Red Arrows were doing a display close to my normal route.
(Picture right) As we climb out of Le Touquet on the way home, you can see how busy it was.
BrooklandsJune now and it's time for my proficiency check, so I book my time with Peter G and he puts me through it! Personally I think they are a good idea. Having been out for an hour Peter suggests we divert to Fenland for a different airfield, and a flapless landing.
Brooklands "the birthplace of British Aviation" opened for a fly-in - VERY strictly PPR. The runway had been resurfaced but they advised it was small and the airfield is in the London Zone. Well the runway was tarmac and quite a bit bigger than Sibson. [Route here]. Andy my brother had never been to Brooklands, so I took him [pictures coming soon]. He had never been to Popham so we stopped off on the way home for fuel.
Andy enjoyed the Brooklands trip so I took him along to the Rochester fly-in (other side of London now....) the day after. June is a good month for flying other trips: Popham, Bath, Glastonbury and Old Sarum. I have bought a full set of Cambrai covers for EV'y as I am moving base, so when we return from Rochester, with Andy's help I fit them for the first time. [pictures of covers].
PFA Rally, Kemble.July brings some good flying also - even though I am in the process of selling my house! Mandy my brothers wife is really scared of flying but decides after all this time (I have been flying since 1997) she will give it a go. I plan the experience carefully, and just let her sit in the cockpit for a while and I explain what all the "bits" do. later I take her for a taxi ride to the fuel pumps. It was then her decision if she went up or not. 6th July and Mandy decides to go for a ride - Andy does not believe her and does not even come and look. We were just lifting off the ground when he realises she is in the airplane!
PFA time. I pack EVy with a tent (This is the ONLY time I will ever sleep in a tent) and sleeping bags - and I weigh every piece!! It's Jo's first PFA Rally and she was apprehensive about all the aircraft in the air at the same time. We followed the rally instructions and its a straightforward join and land. We are directed off the runway, and this is where the chaos starts! As I am about to move house soon I try and fit in as much flying as possible - the new house needs decorating!!!! Visits to Eddsfield (Yorkshire), Andrewsfield (edge of Stanstead Zone).
Florida KeysSeptember comes, I move house and relocate EVy to Popham. I make some local trips around. However, before the house move had been thought about.... we planned to visit friends in Florida. Luckily we had paid for the flights before we decided to move house as by this time we needed a break! I decided I could not miss the opportunity to fly while I was out there. So I arranged to revalidate my FAA license with SunQuest Aviation at North Palm Beach. For the FAA BFR you must sit a written test, this is quite straight forward and takes around one hour, then there is a 1 hour flight test. The flight test is similar to our UK flight review - stalls, steep turns, touch and go and a forced landing.
The following week Jo and I hired N75756 (Cessna 172 Skyhawk) to fly to the Keys. We routed North Palm Beach direct to Marathon VOR, this avoided the Miami zone! At Marathon we turned and headed for Key West airport - there is a military airfield between that we had to avoid. The flight down was 2 hrs, if we had gone by car the journey would have taken 6hrs. [pictures of the trip] After this trip I now have 293 hours.
Not much flying after October and I finish 2003 having done 63 hours.
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