Sywell, and first grass landing

Wanted to keep my hand in, but as my licence isn’t back from the CAA yet, I still have to fly with an instructor.

The plan was hatched to take Echo Alpha from Enstone to Sywell for a late lunch, and then come back the scenic route. Plan changed slightly when Neville (another Brize flyer) arranged to come with us, so I flew the outbound leg and he flew the return. Planned to divert over Silverstone on the way over, and go from there to Sywell.

Neville had been up with Indy doing circuits, so after a quick ‘transit check’ we all boarded and headed off. First leg was planned via Banbury so as to avoid Hinon in the Hedges, a local field with lots of parachuting activity. Over Banbury turned for Northampton, and tried to contact Coventry for a Flight Information Service. Was initially told to ‘remain clear of controlled airspace and they’d call me in a few minutes’. Headed towards Northampton, and once we spotted Silverstone we headed direct for there. By this point we still hadn’t been called back by Coventry, so gave up with them and told them we were switching to Northampton. They were pretty busy so were probably glad to get rid of us!

As we neared Silverstone it was obvious there was some sort of meeting going on there (which we later found was the MG Car Club) so I did a quick left hand orbit to allow Luned to get some photos, before heading up towards Sywell. 


I’d only overflown Sywell before, and despite being in the area several times had only actually managed to spot it once! Being a grass field it tended to blend in to the local area. Luckily there is an NDB on the field, so I tuned that in and checked the ident, and used that to confirm I was on the correct track. Kept thinking I had spotted the field as we neared Northampton, and then finally did spot it (thanks to Neville in the back and his 1/4 mill chart!).

Joined overhead for the runway in use (23 with a left hand circuit) and descended on the deadside. Carried out the downwind checks appropriately. Asked Indy for any last minute tips on my first grass landing, and then had to wait after turning final to get my call in to allow another pilot to pass his message about overflying the field.


On final I allowed my speed to get a bit low, and Indy pointed this out to me. I kept a bit of a closer eye on it for the rest of the approach, and made a respectable first grass landing. Taxyed over to park in front of the tower, and we all decamped. Headed into the main airfield buildings for some lunch!

Neville is an army helicopter pilot, and the trip back with him was different to the type of flying I usually do! He did most of the flight at quite low level (but still obviously taking into account rule 5). We went looking for his friends house in a small village, before climbing to a more appropriate height so that he could practice a stall. Luned hadn’t experience an aircraft stalling before, so I was slightly concerned at how she might feel, but she seemed to handle it quite well. She was probably expecting something a lot different to what she actually got! Hopefully now she’ll be a bit less nervous when the ‘stall’ word is mentioned.

We headed to the North of Banbury, before turning direct for Enstone, where Neville made another grass landing. So for a whole year I managed to avoid landing on grass, and today experience two of them!

The idea for today was just to head out to a new airfield and have another ‘jolly’. Mission accomplished!

Total flight time today: 0:40
Total flight time to date: 60:25

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