Back to Wellesbourne

I’d taken Ben flying as one of my passengers on my first landaway after getting my PPL, and his wife had accompanied us on a trip more recently. However, Ben had always been keen to take his young son up for a flight too. Luckily, all the factors lined up and we planned a ‘safe’ trip up to Wellesbourne for lunch.

Always a little wary of carrying a young child on his first flight, I had the two of them sit in the back in case Tay was in any way worried during the flight.

Ben and Tay ready for the off

Ben and Tay ready for the off

The route planned was virtually direct from Lyneham to Wellesbourne, leaving the Zone via Malmesbury and using the HON VOR for navigation up to Stratford upon Avon before the short hop across to Wellesbourne.

ATC offered me a departure on runway 36 due to the wind, and despite not having used this runway before I accepted it as it involves a pretty short taxi, and is also oriented to allow departing virtually on track to Malmbesbury. All checks were normal prior to departure, and after checking everyone was Ok in the back we took to the runway and took off.

The weather today was almost perfect, with a high cloudbase, virtually nil wind and the air was almost turbulence free. The conditions could hardly have been better for Tay to take his first flight. We passed Kemble after departing and tracked towards the HON VOR as planned.

Tay was excitedly spotting clouds from the back, and when I asked if he wanted to fly through one I got an enthusiastic ‘Yes!’. It took a little while for a suitable cloud to appear, and I climbed up to pass through it. We were only IMC for 10 or 15 seconds, but at least I was putting my IMC rating to good use!

Wellesbourne was characteristically busy for a weekend, and there were two aircraft in the circuit with myself and another joining as we approached. I spotted the other joining aircraft off to our left, and continued ahead of him to the overhead. Announce a ‘wide deadside descent’ to remain clear of Wellesbourne itself, before aiming at the upwind end of the runway.

As I approached the runway on the crosswind leg, another aircraft was completing a touch and go. Initially I was a little concerned that I had ‘cut him up’ as he turned right to slot in behind me. However, in hindsight it’s possible that this was just the standard noise abatement turn for the runway in use.

Continued around the circuit normally, extending my downwind leg slightly to allow for traffic ahead of me, before continuing to a relatively good approach and landing.

We took a few photos before heading over to the Cafe for lunch. As ever it was fairly busy, but we were in no rush and it was good to see an airfield getting plenty of visitors (both flying and non-flying) on such a pleasant day.

On arrival at Wellesbourne

On arrival at Wellesbourne

Once lunch was complete we reversed our route back to Lyneham. The navigation back was helped considerably by using the VOR (it’s relatively featureless between Wellesbourne and Cirencester) and I arranged for us to carry out an ILS approach.

The runway in use was 06, and Lyneham only has an ILS on runway 24. As a result this approach had to end in a circle to land on to the active runway. I had carried out this procedure a number of times during my IMC training, so it was fairly familiar to me. During training I had often neglected to take into account a tailwind when descending on the ILS, and as per usual I made the same mistake on this flight!

The ILS as a whole went well, but I had to make a number of corrections to maintain the glidescope due to the tailwind. Carried out a nice left hand circuit to make a good landing on 06, albeit with a small amount of lateral drift. This is something I really need to work on when landing, perhaps a session of crosswind circuits is in order to try to get this sorted?

On the whole, a very enjoyable flight. It was good to introduce Tay to the wonders of flight. Hopefully we’ll be able to make more trips in the future.

The route and track

The route and track

Total flight time today: 2:00
Total flight time to date: 136:55

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