Haverfordwest in (very loose!) formation, and a personal milestone

Eager to take advantage of some unseasonably glorious weather, I had another flight booked in the Arrow for this weekend. Ideally I wanted to take Luned and Catrin with me, but Catrin was suffering with a fairly bad cold so in the end I decided that wouldn’t be such a good idea.

I saw David was planning to fly that day too, so after a bit of negotiation I stole one of his passengers (Sean), and we agreed to head off to the same destination together. My first flyout! Sadly David couldn’t fly as early as I usually did, so this was just to be a quick visit rather than the usual trip out to lunch. After a bit of deliberation, we decided to head out to Haverfordwest, a new airfield for both of us, and conveniently one for which we held a free landing voucher!

While most of the UK was bathed in sunshine, there was a front over the Irish Sea that was heading in towards Wales then back out for much of the week leading up to the flight. A call to Haverfordwest in the morning initially gave some doubt as to the destination, when the guy on the phone announced they were ‘overcast’. However, he soon added ‘at about 4000 feet’! That’s probably plenty high enough!

With the decision to go made, I headed over to Kemble relatively early, and took my time getting the aircraft ready to go. I was sitting in the sunshine eating my lunch as Sean landed from his lesson and taxyed back. David soon arrived and we discussed the flight as he ate his lunch in the temporary Club office.

The plan was for us both to leave at around the same time, with David taking off first. The Arrow cruises slightly quicker than a Warrior, so it made sense to give him a bit of a head start! Sadly David was delayed somewhat by having to put oil in the aircraft, so in the end I left slightly before him. We were just leaving the apron after completing power checks as he arrived to do his.

The departure on 08 was normal, I turned before reaching Kemble Village to avoid annoying the neighbours, and maintained circuit height on a downwind leg until clear of the circuit, before climbing up to our cruising altitude. I’d planned on doing some practice hood work on the outbound leg, so climbed up to 4500 feet before identifying and setting course for the BCN VOR (pretty much a direct track to Haverfordwest).

However, the view was so good that this never even crossed my mind. I took the opportunity to experiment with the auto pilot a little (having thoroughly read the manual the preceding week) and it did a passable job at maintaining our track to the VOR as we talked to Bristol and then Cardiff on the way over. It had a bit of a wobble at one point, so I flew most of the leg from the VOR by hand. However, it’s useful to know that I have it available in this aircraft should I ever need a bit of help. Had a bit of trouble getting the DME to work correctly, so might need to raise this with the owner or Roger to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong.

As we approached Haverfordwest I tried to use the chart and some ‘real’ nav to find the field (rather than lean on the GPS too much) and we were soon approaching the field. Their Flying Club were manning the radio today, but we got a good service from them as we approached. I set us up for an Overhead Join for runway 21, doing my best to avoid the local villages as I flew Downwind.

Overhead Haverfordwest

Overhead Haverfordwest

All pre-landing checks were completed normally, and we were soon established nicely on Final. As we got down to 200 feet or so, it was clear that there were a large number of birds on the runway. I initially considered a low flypast followed by a Go Around (in the hope of clearing them off) but I decided instead to land long, which had the benefit of scaring them off as I approached. I brought us down for a slightly firm landing, then taxyed to park. The parking area was quite full, so I elected to park on the disused runway instead.

We walked in to sort the free landing (not in the Tower, but in the Flying Club office!) and then headed in to the Cafe for a cup of tea and a bun (replacing the first one as it was slightly furry!). David arrived some 10 or 15 minutes behind us, and we chatted in the sun as we finished our drinks. I was keen not to be too late back, so Sean and I left David and his passenger to their drinks and headed back.

David's mount for the day

David's mount for the day

Our departure was normal, and we heard an inbound aircraft on frequency as we were climbing out. We soon got a good view of a very swish looking aircraft, moving at a rate of knots as it passed by us. Sean identified it (my aircraft identification skills are virtually non-existant!).

Traffic, 10 O'Clock

Traffic, 10 O'Clock

We retraced the route on the way back, with Sean doing a lot of the flying. We were again tracking the VOR which made the navigation easier! It was obvious how much more flying Sean had done since our last flight together, as his flying was much smoother and he was much more relaxed at the controls.

We talked to Cardiff again on the way back, but Bristol didn’t want to work us so as we crossed the Bristol Channel we switched straight to Kemble to monitor them as we approached. They were relatively quiet, so I joined Overhead as usual and set up for landing.

Approaching Kemble

Approaching Kemble

We were followed down the Downwind leg by one of Ultimate High’s Bulldogs, and I tried not to get too distracted by it as I continued down Final. I tried to land a little long so as not to delay him, but as I touched down he announced he was going around. We taxyed to the pumps to refuel, before heading back to parking. As it was relatively late we headed in to the Club’s office to sort out the paperwork (before they locked up) before returning to the aircraft to put the cover back on.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

Despite having to change plans and not getting my usual lunch out, this was an enjoyable flight. For the first time I’d flown to a destination as a group, and Haverfordwest was a new addition to my log book (although I’ll have to try to get back there sometime to sample the food in the cafe!). Perhaps in the future I’ll have to try to get more involved in more organised flyouts.

Outbound and return tracks

Outbound and return tracks

Outbound profile

Outbound profile

Return profile

Return profile

This flight also saw me pass the ‘magic’ 100 hours P1 mark. This has the (slight) benefit of me no longer needing authorisation from an Instructor for my flights. A more useful benefit is that my Club currency limits mean I now only have to fly every 60 days (rather than 43) before requiring a checkout with an Instructor. This could come in useful over the Winter if I’m prevented from flying due to weather or other commitments.

Total flight time today: 2:35
Total flight time to date: 171:00

3 Responses to “Haverfordwest in (very loose!) formation, and a personal milestone”

  1. Local to reset currency « Andy's Blog Says:

    […] Andy's Blog Poker, flight and anything else that comes to mind. « Haverfordwest in (very loose!) formation, and a personal milestone […]

  2. Oop North! | Andy's Blog Says:

    […] our right. There appeared to be a couple of full airframes parked in a yard behind some buildings (Sean reckoned these were Tornados) and a number of fuselages stripped of their wings too. Si did some […]

  3. Landing voucher, IMC and a Zone Transit | Andy's Blog Says:

    […] was for Haverfordwest, a great airfield out on the West coast of Wales. I’d been there a few times previously, it’s always a good place to have a usual ‘airfield’ lunch […]

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