Sometimes it’s nice to fly with no purpose at all in the world other than the fact it’s a sunny day and you can.
My nominal excuse for taking the day off work was to meet up with some Flyer Forumites who were coming into Swansea, but since my weekend flight had been scuppered by weather it was impossible to stay on the ground on a sunny day so, as everyone else headed home, I headed… nowhere in particular.
I idled northwards and circled a few reservoirs, wandered over to gaze at a windfarm and then climbed to join the scattered clouds and turn and dodge among them and over them and around them. I spiralled up circling a tall, fluffy specimen, hopped over a narrow band of a flatter sort, and generally admired the view. I couldn’t remember the last time the cloud had allowed me up so high and I was almost giddy with glee.
My reverie was interrupted by a call from air-ground, checking up on everyone’s position as a fast jet on his way to the range was coming through.
“5400′ somewhere over Pontadawe,” I reported, and thought I heard amusement in the operator’s voice as he informed the jet that “In that case there’s no traffic to affect.”
Happily I practised steep turns, and slow flight, dawdling in the sunshine — these skills came so hard once, and now here I was, and all over again I was grinning and telling myself what a lucky sod I am.
From a slightly less lofty altitude I glided downwards, slipping towards a PFL in a field that I discovered from a thousand feet up, would have left me wrapped around a cunningly hidden mast. Climbing away again for more friendly ground I headed towards the beach with the intention of taking a sightseeing amble about Gower. One of the microlights had the same idea in mind and we kept a wary eye on each before he descended away below me and turned for the field while I continued on to gaze and Worms head and spot a paraglider about to launch themselves towards me from Rhossili Down.
I rocked the wings in the hopes of reassuring him he was seen and not about to find a prop too close for comfort, and turned inland over the iron age (I think) earthworks at Harding’s Down.
Striking in the late afternoon sunshine they stood out clearly.
But time was ticking in and reluctantly I thought it time to head for home.
Back on the ground, I was slightly dismayed to find the front cowl latch unlatched, although I was 100% certain I’d secured it. Refastening it quickly revealed the problem — the screw turned all the way without catching anything at all and a peer at the lugs revealed them very worn.
Still — at least screws are cheap — the aeroplane has been having trouble starting which is likely to prove rather more of an expense.
Nevertheless, it was a pretty day.