Since our new starter is still only managing to turn the prop over once or twice at a shot, we’ve been trying for some time to return to the engineer for a “checkup” to try and resolve the problem. It’s become too much of a deterrent to flying. Often it starts, but who wants to go anywhere knowing the the aircraft may refuse to bring them home again!
Weather had added its own stumbling blocks and there’d been several cancelled attempts already, but today it was my turn to try and the day dawned full of huge clouds and blue sky and little or no wind. Great flying conditions as long as you stayed away from the showers.
Handily Malcolm was already in Devon, having camped over to attend a concert the previous day, so arranged to meet me at Dunkeswell for the drive back.
Any excuse to go flying works for me, and I happily bussed my way out to the airfield, where I caught up with club gossip as Derek helped me get TOMS ready to go.
The long lines of cumulus stopped abruptly at the coastline and I climbed merrily up to five and half thousand feet for crossing the water, just because I could! Back over Devon I descended and swerved to avoid some more of that coastal cloud.
TOMS practically knows her own way to Dunkeswell but the join required a bit more thought than average, since it was a lefthand circuit, and from my northwesterly angle of approach and between the glider field positioned where it is, and parachuting meaning no overhead joins I couldn’t really think of a graceful way into the circuit other than an odd sort of U-turn while safely outside the ATZ.
Still no, hurry and Malcolm had arrived in time to tell air/ground that I was heading to maintenance, with the result that I got nice simple directions along the rather narrow taxiway to the correct hangar. (Hangar 13 rather ominously! Good thing I’m not a conspiracy theorist!)
After all the careful planning around getting back and forth, I then was dumbfounded to see a very familiar black and yellow bulldog touch down and taxy in, and more so when I bounced across to see Paul and discover he was in fact going back to Swansea that afternoon!
Shamelessly, I abandoned Malcom in favour of a ride back in the Bulldog. Malcolm managed to make the trip worthwhile by taking TOMS for a quick bimble and at least saved a detour into Swansea proper.
I always enjoy trips in other people’s aeroplanes and in the amazing vis it was great fun to just sit back and enjoy the view. There’s something pure magic about being able to sweep your eyes from one horizon to the next, and take in in one go, Caldy, Lundy, Devon, Gower, the Beacons, Nash Point, Flatholm and damn near the Severn bridges, all in one long happy stare!
Back at Swansea in the nick of time before it closed to visitors (allegedly), we left G-DOGG in TOMS’s parking spot and retired to the pub to wait for Paul’s parents to come and meet him (and drop me back home!)
I enjoyed the flying hugely, quite apart from the relief of having the aeroplane where it needs to be after weeks of trying. Count the day a success!