Bad weather local

With Luned and Catrin away for the weekend, it seemed only fair that I treat myself to a day of flying. Sadly, the weather didn’t seem to be playing ball, and leading up to the flight the longer term forecasts weren’t optimistic.

The night before’s 24 hour TAFs were still not promising, but did appear to show a small improvement in the weather during the afternoon. Keen to at least get something done, I planned a couple of flights (including a relatively short local) and decided to make the final decision in the morning. The morning’s weather was pretty poor as expected, but the forecasts still seemed optimistic for some improvement in the afternoon. I modified my booking to start at 12:30 (instead of the usual 10:30) and completed the flight planning before heading up to Kemble at around 11:30 or so.

I arrived at Kemble around lunchtime, and availed myself of a sausage and bacon sandwich from their catering van (AV8 is currently closed due to fairly major roof damaged caused in a recent storm) while waiting for the conditions to improve. I chatted with another pilot in the Club office who had similar plans, and as the weather started to show signs of brightening up in the West, I headed out to the Arrow to perform the A check.

As I completed the check, the skies were becoming noticeably clearer, so I got myself settled and prepared to call for start. It has been my recent practice to call for start using my handheld, but this wasn’t possible on this flight as Kemble have recently moved to an 8.33 frequency, and I seem to have my handheld locked to the wider frequency band! I used the 430 to call for start, asking for a local to the West followed by some circuits on my return.

I was cleared to start, then to A1 for checks. While taxying I noticed that the AI appeared to be ‘hunting’ up and down, something I made a mental note of to mention to Kev after the flight. Conditions were definitely improving as I waited at A1 for the engine to warm up before completing the power checks.

Poor weather out to the South and East

Poor weather out to the South and East

Clearing conditions to the West

Clearing conditions to the West

Once the power checks were complete, I took to the runway to depart to the West. After takeoff I was careful to pay attention to the newly modified Restricted Area around Highgrove House, which used to only apply to Helicopters and Microlights. It now applies to all aircraft, and extends from the surface up to 2000 feet. The conditions initially allowed me to climb to around 2500 feet, so I was sufficiently high for it not to be an issue. I did make a slight detour to remain outside the lateral limits while climbing however.

I continued South and West towards the Severn Bridges, but it soon became clear that conditions really weren’t favourable even for a short local flight. I opted to return to Kemble, contacting the FISO to ask for some circuits. These were approved, and I turned to the South East to remain clear of Highgrove in case I had to descend to remain clear of cloud.

Plenty of cloud around

Plenty of cloud around

I carried out a relatively straightforward Overhead Join as another aircraft performed a Stop and Go on the runway. He took off as I was descending on the Deadside, and the FISO checked I had him in sight as I turned Crosswind. The FISO seemed to assume the other aircraft was remaining in the Circuit, and as I had lost sight of him I asked the FISO for his current position. The FISO’s response was “If I knew that, I would have told you!”, fair enough I suppose!

The other aircraft then reported that they were departing to the South, so I had the circuit to myself again. I carried out 3 nice consistent circuits, all with very smooth landings. Things didn’t all go perfectly though, as I realised that I’d landed with only two stages of flap on the first circuit, and on the second while climbing away realised I hadn’t fully advanced the prop control on Final.

After landing for the final time, I was cleared to backtrack and taxy back to Lyneham’s parking area. As I parked up near the bowser, conditions looked to have improved even further, but at least I’d done enough today to reset all my currencies and give me another couple of months before requiring a currency check.

All done for the day, and conditions look even better!

All done for the day, and conditions look even better!

I refuelled the aircraft and pushed it back into the parking spot before putting the cover back on. I headed back to the office to settle the post flight paperwork as usual, before heading home feeling satisfied, but ultimately a little disappointed.

Today's flying

Today’s flying

There is a good chance that this was my last flight of the year. It has at least meant that I have almost all of January to fit in another flight before running out of currency. Hopefully I can manage this and avoid a currency check to start off my 2019 flying year!

Total flight time today: 0:45
Total flight time to date: 336:10

One Response to “Bad weather local”

  1. 2018 Summary | Andy's Blog Says:

    […] Writings of a UK based Private Pilot « Bad weather local […]

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