The dreaded local, but at least I wasn’t flying this time!

After flying with David a few weeks ago, I managed to persuade him to join the Club. Successfully Inducted and Checked Out he arranged to fly this weekend and invited me along. Family commitments meant he could only fly in the afternoon, so the aircraft was booked 2-5pm. Leading up to the day I was again suffering from a cough and a cold, so the flight was (for me) still in some doubt right up to Sunday morning. However, I decided to give it a go and we arranged to meet at Lyneham.

Provisionally the route was to head down to the Isle of Wight to check out Sandown, before returning via Popham with the possibility of landing there. The full route was Lyneham -> Marlborough -> Popham -> Goodwood -> Sandown and back via the same route.

Lyneham were on 06 today, but we were offered an intersection departure from the disused runway. David was understandably a little hesitant at the departure procedures (this being his first flight from Lyneham without an Instructor, and him being more used to the environment at places like Kemble and Compton Abbas). That was part of the reason for my being alonside him, to offer him help and advice until he managed to find his feet.

A student was heading off to do circuits, and we followed her through the taxy route and power checks. She was cleared for takeoff, and once David was ready we were cleared to take off in turn. Initially we were going to just depart from the intersection, but we were full of fuel so decided a backtrack might be in order. The other aircraft was calling ‘Downwind’ as we began our takeoff roll, and we turned to the South East at 500 feet.

Understandably David was still getting used to things, and I prompted him to switch to the Approach frequency as he’d climbed to 1300 feet before doing so (usually we would do this at or around the 500 ft turn). We headed out of the Zone, climbing up to 2000 feet as we went.

It was obvious as we climbed to altitude that visibility today was far from great. Into sun it was quite tricky, but nowhere near as bad as our last flight back from Sywell together. We flew close by Popham, and neared Goodwood as our turning point before heading over to the Isle of Wight. Both fields are definitely ones to add to the wish list for future destinations!

Recently Bembridge has closed due to disagreements between the land owner and the airfield operator, so it was sad to pass close by without seeing any aircraft movements. Hopefully things will be resolved soon, and I can add this airfield back onto my list of favourite destinations. It would be a real shame if it were not to open again soon.

We then headed over to Sandown, a grass field also on the Isle of Wight. We found this easily, and it also looked like a good place to visit in future. This was becoming a flight of purely spotting future landing sites! Our tour of the Isle of Wight continued, and we spotted Lee on Solent over the other side of the Solent. Recently this has become available to visiting aircraft, so hopefully we can get in there as well!

Heading back, we retraced the route. Visibility was now much better as we were no longer heading directly into the Sun. At one point David thought he spotted a glider heading straight towards us, but after taking avoiding action was unable to spot it again. I always have trouble spotting gliders, particularly when they’re not side-on or thermalling!

Visiting Popham would have been a close thing in terms of returning in time for sunset. David has recently completed his Night Qualification, but hasn’t yet received his updated license, meaning he cannot legally make use of it yet.

Approaching Lyneham from the South always makes finding the field difficult for me, and today was no exception! Luckily David was on the ball and didn’t follow my ‘bum steer’ to some non-existing field off to our left! We were offered a straight in join to runway 36, and David brought us in for a nice landing. As we closed down I was greeted by the welcome site of Luned and Catrin waiting for us, waving from the other side of the fence. Always nice!

On the whole a pretty good flight, not least because I gained some time to play with the Sky Demon GPS software on my PDA. Maybe I’ll give this a go using their one month trial facility sometime soon.

2 Responses to “The dreaded local, but at least I wasn’t flying this time!”

  1. flyerdavid Says:

    Andy, thanks for coming along. The procedures from Lyneham certainly take a bit of getting used to, and your help was much appreciated. We spotted quite a few airfields today, including Lasham, Bourne Park and microlight sites like Clench Common too. We departed with full tanks, so were advised not to land on the outbound leg; next time I’ll make sure we land away before any extra detours.

  2. Andy Hawkins Says:

    No problem David. You’re right of course about the extra airfields we spotted. Just goes to show how little real attention I was paying (too busy playing with SkyDemon)!

    Good point about the full tanks. Perhaps a quick check of the takeoff and landing charts would have been in order?

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