A flying family, finally!

For weeks I’d been trying to get Luned to come on a flight with me. It was all planned ready for the break between Christmas and New Year, but the shutdown at Brize put paid to that.

The weather today wasn’t good enough for me to solo, and as Luned was at the field with me, it was an ideal opportunity and she couldn’t really say no!

So, we planned a flight to Wellesbourne, which is only 25 miles or so in each direction, so wouldn’t be too long if for some reason she didn’t enjoy the experience.

I had checked the aircraft out earlier in the day, so just after lunch we headed out, and Asma got Luned settled in to the back as I did a transit check before we set off. I completed the checks, and jumped in.

Was a great feeling finally having Luned sitting in the aircraft with me, but I tried not to think about it too much and appear confident and professional so as not to worry her!

We headed out to the hold, and I warned Luned that things would get ‘a bit noisy’ as I did the power checks. These were completed and we were given clearance to line up and then take off. We were on 08 again today, which isn’t the usual runway so I had to make sure I turned left at the intersection and not right as usual!

The takeoff roll was a bit longer than usual with the extra passenger, but we were soon in the air, and turning crosswind before heading up to Burford to leave the zone.

From Burford, we set course for our start point, before beginning the short leg up to Wellesbourne. At just 20 miles, this would take around 15 minutes, with a checkpoint at Shipton on Stour. All proceeded normally, with Wellesbourne sounding slightly quieter than I had heard it on previous flights. This was good, as we were actually going to land there this time!

As we approached, it was clear Wellesbourne was still fairly busy, and I had trouble getting my calls in at the appropriate time because of how busy the frequency was. The FISO was doing a great job though, and even found time to slow things down as another student approached on his Qualifying Cross Country flight.

We joined overhead, and turned 30 degrees right of runway heading to descend (we couldn’t do a descending turn on the deadside as this would involve flying over Wellesbourne village) before turning crosswind and eventually arriving at circuit height as we turned downwind.

We called downwind and were told there were two ahead of us. We spotted one of these easily, and the other became apparent just as he landed as we crossed the downwind end of the runway. The other aircraft was on short finals as we turned base, so there was plenty of room without me having to do anything ‘different’ to maintain spacing.

Yet again, the runway looked awfully small compared to Brize, but it was still plenty long enough for us. Feeling slightly pressured by having Luned in the back, we headed down towards the runway and landed a little longer than I would have liked, but it was one of my smoother landings of late. Well, at least that shouldn’t have put Luned off too much for future flights!

Was a novel experience having to use the brakes to slow down on the runway, so that we could vacate left and taxi to the parking area. Found a nice big gap between two planes that allowed us to taxi in and turn round before parking. Shut down, and checked on Luned, who seemed Ok! Obviously it hadn’t been as scary an experience as she had perhaps been expecting.

We all headed in for a well earned cup of tea, and I trotted up to the tower to pay the landing fee. After a half hour of chatting and studying the half-mill chart that was under the glass table top, we headed back out of the aircraft to leave, taking some time to get a few photos beforehand!

Captain Hawkins

Captain and Mrs. Hawkins

The departure was normal, but we had to queue behind a couple of other aircraft at the hold. This gave us plenty of time to do the power checks before we lined up ourselves and began the take off roll. Once we were at 100 feet or so we made a 30 degree turn to the right to avoid overflying local villages, and continued the climb while turning gradually South to avoid flying over Wellesbourne.

Once we were up to 2000 feet we headed back to intercept the extended centreline, and then set course back to Brize.

For some reason we ended up a bit off track on this leg, partly due I think to the relatively poor visibility. We used Standard Closing Angle to get back on track around Chipping Norton, but then I mis-identified Shipton Under Wychwood a little early, which meant we turned towards Burford before we should have.

Route to Wellesbourne

Had a little trouble spotting Burford itself, but we could see Little Rissington, and Asma pointed out the road that leads from Shipton into Burford that makes it easy to find.

At Burford, Asma suggested we do a touch and go, and then a glide approach to land. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have agreed to this with Luned in the back, but there you go! As usual, I was too high on the glide, so I did some gentle S turns to try to lose a bit of height. Apparently Luned didn’t like these very much!

Now that’s a real runway!

The touch and go was a bit heavy, I felt that the last few feet we dropped a bit quicker than I would have liked, but the glide landing was one of the best I’ve done for some weeks!

So, on the whole a pretty successful flight, and Luned had her first experience in a light aircraft in absolute dead calm conditions, which was the best we could have hoped for really. Hopefully now that she’s experienced one flight she’ll be more likely to come with me on future dual flights, as I want her eventually to have some lessons herself just in case she ever needs to get us out of trouble.

Next weekend either the Ledbury – Worcester route solo, or on to the next Nav Ex so that at least I’m still moving forward.

Total flight time today: Dual 1:25 – Solo – 0:00
Take-offs: 3 – Landings: 3

Total flight time to date: Dual 31:05 – Solo 6:30
Take-offs to date: 91 – Landings to date: 86

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