Flying family, this time solo!

I’d really wanted to take Luned somewhere for lunch on our first flight, but as Brize are down to one aircraft at the moment, I gave up half my slot to allow someone else a chance to fly. So, the plan for this flight was to repeat the recent jolly I did with Reg, this time with Luned in the right hand seat.

The forecast was near perfect, but the winds were actually a lot stronger on the ground than forecast. However, they were pretty much straight down the runway, so no issue with crosswind limits at least. Got authorisation for the flight from John, and headed out to check the aircraft out. While I was doing this there was a heavy in the circuit again, and a Herc also landed as I did my power checks. Luckily, by the time I was ready to go the circuit was clear so we didn’t have any delays.

We were cleared onto the runway after the Herc vacated, and then given take off clearance. A relatively sporting wind meant I kept us on the ground about 5 knots or so longer than I normally would have, before getting us into the air with plenty of airspeed to keep us flying. A normal departure, and we climbed out from Burford towards Shipton as normal.

The first leg to Wellesbourne was relatively uneventful, apart from Luned being concerned that the door wasn’t fully closed (because she could see daylight through it). I thought this was just ‘normal’, but on checking when we got on the ground I found that it was possible to latch the door without it being fully closed. There was little chance of it coming open in flight (I’d given it a good shove on a number of occasions during the checks, and also in the air when Luned noticed it) but I’ll be a little more careful closing the door in future!

Wellesbourne was relatively quiet, and we turned in the overhead to head towards Sywell. Listened in to Coventry for a while, before switching to the Sywell frequency. They were a little more busy, but by the time we reached the overhead there was a single aircraft just about to land. Again, turned in the overhead and headed towards Silverstone.

I’d love to overfly Silverstone on a Grand Prix weekend, but I expect there is a quite significant amount of restricted airspace around it because of the number of helicopter movements that happen over the Grand Prix weekend. Will have to make a point of checking NOTAMs for the area for this year’s Grand Prix to see!

From Silverstone we flew North of Turweston towards Banbury, before turning towards Enstone. There was some confusion initially when the A/G operator thought we were landing, but this was soon cleared up. As we neared the overhead we were warned of another aircraft heading in from the West, so we kept a good lookout.

From Enstone we were back on familiar territory, heading towards Brize and talking to Brize Zone. There was a Hercules operating in our vicinity (possibly for a NOTAMed parachute drop over Bicester) and as we were cleared into the Zone and passed to Tower, they told us to join Right Base for 26, just as the Herc started heading back towards the field. I called ‘Base’ and asked if they wanted me to orbit, and got the expected ‘affirm’ as an answer. As we began orbiting to the North of the field Luned asked if I had done this before! ‘Yep, several times!’ was my answer.

At the end of the 1st orbit, the Herc was still on its approach, and a DC-10 was positioning behind it for an overshoot, so were ended up orbiting 3 times in total, before announcing that we were continuing.

Called ‘Base’ and ‘Final’ and were soon given clearance to land. The wind was still quite strong, but pretty much straight down the runway. However, as we got lower there was a noticable amount of changing wind direction that kept the approach interesting. As we got lower I was making quite a few corrections to maintain the centreline, and at one point I considered overshooting and going around for another try.

However, as we got below about 100 feet the wind settled down (there are trees and hangars on the approach to 26 that tend to swirl the wind around quite a bit) and I was back on a stable approach. I began to roundout as normal, and thought I’d done it a bit high as the stall warner started to bleat while I was still about 10 feet from the ground. I continued the flare and made ready to add a little power if it became necessary, but the stall warner just continued before we settled down gently for what has to be one of my best landings ever!

So, I’ve now completed my first flight as PIC with Luned on board. She was a little twitchy about the door initially, but soon settled down and I think enjoyed the flight in the end. Now we just need to actually go somewhere!

Total flight time today: 1:40
Total flight time to date: 63:35

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One Response to “Flying family, this time solo!”

  1. Flying Family Again! « Andy’s Blog Says:

    […] Family Again! By Andy Hawkins My wife and I hadn’t flown together since just after I got my licence back from the CAA, primarily because she was carrying Catrin until February, and since then we haven’t just been […]

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