Days Out… LAA at Sywell and Flyer at Wellesbourne

A couple of days out recently, first of which was the (not-the) LAA Rally at Sywell. Fooling no one really, they were out in force! Over 600 aeroplanes all told, I gather.

I was along with the Youth and Education Support bit again, and although the wind and facilities prevented us setting up the techy toys, we did have a lot of interest in the Build-A-Plane (Speedy joined TSOB on the Saturday) and lots of kids pelting about in the pedal planes. I suspect we delayed rather a lot of parents, as we were set up right by the entrance / exit!

Even had a visit by a bride at one point – wedding reception at The Aviator and they apparently couldn’t miss the opportunity to get some pics out with the aircraft.

BBQ and hangar party to finish the day and the “Strictly Come LAA” dancing had to be seen!

I’d stuck up my tent behind the B@P bus, and kipped quite comfy.

Airside access had been a bit of a drama in the lead-up but common sense prevailed and it was lovely to see plenty of people wandering amid the aircraft. No one except the marshallers was yellow-jacketed and no one got mowed down by rouge props, so a result.

It was quite a sight on the Saturday afternoon at around 3.30, when the non-campers were starting to leave. I watched fascinated as almost 30 aircraft wound their way across the grass, taxying to depart. Impressive feat of organisation! Full marks to the marshallers and FISOs/ATCOs (not sure which but they did a cracking job!)

Second trip recently was a Flyer Forum “New PPL” fly-in at Wellesbourne Mountford, which neither me nor my fellow TOMS pilot, Malcolm, really had a good excuse to go to but which looked fun anyway!

The trouble with these things is always that far more people recognise me than I recognise, and indeed when I rang up for PPR, it was to a “Hello, Leia!” called over the shoulder of the person answering the phone as she repeated the registration – TOMS is, if anything, even more recognisable!

The weather for once in a way was absolutely perfect, and I had to revise my planning the opposite way to normal – from a detour around the hills back to a straight line!

I flew the outwards leg, and was extremely grateful for the extra pair of eyes on board as we were one of seven joining when we turned up. The slightly plaintive r/t from the aircraft behind us rather summed it up…

“Downwind, MANY ahead,”

Once again the FISO was well up to the job and astonishingly collected.

It turned out that the aircraft who taxyed in behind us was the Carlisle contingent of the group and we all piled over together, looking for a familiar face to formate on.

This was supplied superbly by Keef, as poor Craig who organised the whole thing had had to drop out at the last minute!

With the best flying weather in weeks, the cafe was packed with forumites and “normal” visitors alike, but lunch when it arrived was superb. We caught the end of Keef’s talk on flying abroad once we’d finished, then ambled over to the slightly startled Vulcan crew who’d expected the invasions somewhat earlier in the day.

Nevertheless they were very accommodating and welcoming to a small mob of pilots wanting to clamber up into their aircraft.

XM566 is very obviously an adored and pampered aircraft, the pride and affection in which she’s held by her supporters really shining through as they showed us around and answered a barrage of questions.

They were preparing for the annual open day and taxy runs the following day, which must be something to see. Definitely something to go back for. Since we were quite a large group this all took a while, and it was approaching time to head back again.

Malcolm was P1 on the homeward leg, so I spent most of the flight playing with the beta of “SkyAngel“. At least until the PDA battery coughed and died.

The shadows were already long by half past five as we squinted into the lowering sun – summer’s coming to an end again. Still it was mild and warm as we landed, just missing the refuellers, but in time to see the resident Strikemaster disporting itself over the field and bay.

Looks wonderful, but I’d not want his fuel bill!

The temptation to linger in the evening sun was strong, but eventually we wandered back, leaving the field to the last of the microlights still flying.

A few more nice September weekend would be favourite now!

More on the Flyer trip, with pics on the thread here.

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