I’ve been flying a bit lately with one of the other TOMS owners, a fellow Cambrian (former)student from Pembrey, and we fancied going somewhere new. Eaglescott in Devon was the plan today. I had a free landing voucher and it was close, although over the chilly water of the Bristol Channel.
It’s remarkable how much quicker getting the aeroplane untied and ready to go it is with two people, and Andy retrieved the lifejackets from the hangar and while he set up his GPS as a bit of insurance against the haze, and rumours that Eaglescott could be tricky to find, I finished up the internal checks.
I was flying the outward leg and we had the airfield practically to ourselves, either the wind or the forecast gusty wind having put most people off by the looks of it. I had brief second thoughts myself as I climb out. The horizon was distinctly indistinct until we gained a few thousand feet and levelled off above the worse of the haze.
Gower soon disappeared behind us and in the haze Devon took longer than usual to appear. Last time I flew over this patch of water you could see the other side even before finding yourself over water and I rather missed that comforting view. I gazed down at the enormous container ships below, and occasionally flicked my eyes at the GPS. I’m not used to using one, but without the opposite shore in sight it was useful to have some idea if the drift, so carefully worked out on the ground, actually bore any relationship to the real wind.
We stayed with Swansea until safely back over dry land then changed frequency to Eaglescott. Barnstaple rolled past below us and we turned our attention to looking for the ‘golf ball’ and radar station which was handily near the field.
The “Golfball” — our almost-there landmark.
This proved reasonably conspicuous. Much more so than the field in fact! My overhead join was going swimmingly until I suddenly realised I was downwind and had slot sight of the runway altogether. Bother. It was somewhere near that hangar wasn’t it. Oh. There it is. Too late to turn for it now. Going around!
Back up to circuit height to try again. Loud exclamation of annoyance when I realised I’d lost it again.
Low and slow next time around. First stage of flap downwind and keep it tight and at the “bad weather circuit” height of 500′. Much better. That’ll do. Really I suppose I should have opted for that after the first missed approach. Next time.
We landed on the slight upslope and in the strong headwind a comforting amount of the 600ish metres left.
Finding the taxiway proved marginally easier than finding the runway — at least it only took me two attempts not three…
The welcome was warm and the clubhouse cosy and littered with comfy sofas, armchairs and magazines to peruse with the coffee. It was quiet today, as at Swansea most people seemed to have decided the weather wasn’t worth the effort in spite of the blue sky.
We had a stroll around and watched the remarkably short takeoff of a pretty Citabria. Then it was back on with the lifejackets and head back. Andy flew us home, to a landing in the gusts that put mine to shame. Jammy. Next time he gets the outward leg 😉