Dunkeswell again

Now that I had passed the IMC Rating, I wanted to get back into flying regularly if at all possible. I booked an aircraft for a flight that spread over lunchtime, and arranged with Glen to go down to Dunkeswell for a quick bite to eat.

The plan on the way down was to check out the progress of the site setup at Glastonbury as the festival was due to start in a few days time. Glen also mentioned a little strip that he flies from occasionally, where we’d been given the invitation to make a low approach to.

The previous booking for G-VICC returned early, so we switched from G-ELUE to that aircraft rather than wait for the other to come back. G-VICC has a better Nav fit anyway, so it’s always my first choice for touring should it be available.

Pre-flight was all normal, and instead of making the long taxy down to the threshold for 06 the Ground Controller offered us a departure from the intersection with the old disused runway. I’d never done this before, but agreed and we taxyed down the disused runway for the first time. Was given clearance to backtrack ‘as required’, so I headed the wrong way down 06, glancing over my shoulder to get a feel for how much runway we would have behind us. In hindsight this probably wasn’t necessary, as we could probably get airborne in the distance between the disused intersection and the 18 loop. Still, the old aviation adage lists runway behind you as one of the most useless things in aviation, so a bit of extra never goes amiss!

We turned South West after departure, and settled into the leg. About half way to Glastonbury Glen spotted the strip off to the North, so we diverted there and flew a circuit at around 1500 feet or so, with Glen spotting the owner out on the strip watching us!

We headed back South to regain track, and then diverted further South over the Glastonbury site as we approached. Glen snapped off a few photos and we continued on towards Taunton.

As we turned towards Dunkeswell we made contact on the radio, and got the usual minimum required information that you expect at Dunkeswell. Good to see an Air Ground service in the truest sense of the word!

The Nav went a little awry on this let, but with the help of the GPS we spotted Dunkeswell slightly to our left, and set up for a downwind join. There was another aircraft in the circuit just ahead of us, but we had plenty of separation between us, and I brought us in for a nice landing before taxying down to the end and parking up.

The airfield cafe was pretty busy, with lots of people queuing for the Carvery. We made do with a couple of Carvery sandwiches, which we ate out on the terrace while I sorted out the planning for the return leg. While there we watched a Biplane head off to do some aeros over the field, and the usual skydiving continued too. As we prepared to leave, a large taildragger twin (DC3?) started up and taxyed out. For some reason it didn’t take off, and returned to the parking area as we were taxying out ourselves.

There was a little confusion as I followed a flex-wing microlight to the hold, when he turned round and started heading back towards us. Unsure as to what he was doing, I just stopped, and eventually he aligned himself ready to do power checks. I turned parallel to him (but with some distance between us) so that we could also do the power checks at the same time. The microlight then backtracked right down to the threshold, before taking off long before he got close to the intersection anyway! Runway behind you and all that I guess!

Had to wait for an arriving aircraft, and then the biplane cheekily ‘jumped the queue’, taking off from the intersection as we backtracked down to the threshold! Nice to know you’ve got the performance to do that I guess!

The Nav on the way back went pretty well. We talking to Bristol this time as there appeared to be a lot of traffic in the area. We were warned a couple of times of other traffic, but it was a good day and we spotted then easily. As we switched to Lyneham for the recovery, he immediately told us to make a right turn ‘to avoid infringing the Bristol Zone’. The GPS track shows that we weren’t really in danger of cutting the corner of the South Eastern corner of their Zone, and even if we did, it didn’t start until above 3500 feet, and we were cruising well below 3000!

This was my first visual recovery in quite some time, and I had real trouble spotting Lyneham as we approached. The ADF and GPS were both indicating we were heading in the right direction, but the small hill to the South of Lyneham always makes it hard to spot from this direction. Glen soon pointed it out to me though, and I made a nice Right Base join, and another good landing back at Lyneham.

The Route and Track

The Route and Track

It was great to be back in the air again, and as ever Glen was good company. Now we need to see if we can start adding some new destinations to our logbooks!

Total flight time today: 2:05
Total flight time to date: 129:25

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2 Responses to “Dunkeswell again”

  1. A co-pilot in the family! « Andy's Blog Says:

    […] about meeting up and perhaps heading off to the same destination. It had been a while since I last saw him, so it seemed a good chance to get together again. He flew in to Kemble in his little single […]

  2. Club Checkout | Andy's Blog Says:

    […] again. This was likely to be a slightly strange experience, as I had flown with Glen a number of times before, initially from Lyneham with me as the ‘experienced’ pilot, and him as a […]

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