IMC on a flustery day

Between getting familiar with the new aeroplane and also the various expense and running about with that, it’d been a while since I’d done any more on the IMC.

Next session was supposed to be NDB holds, but since ‘BG doesnt have an ADF and since I was quite keen to get some more familiarisation in, and combing that with the IMC seemed a useful idea, we went up just to do some general handling and VOR tracking.

It was a rather flustery, windy sort of day and getting ‘BeeGee’ untied and the cover of was an rather breathtaking process (flying the club planes does mean that someone else has done all that of course!)

In spite of the wind the parachutists were undetered so I moved aside for the jump-plane to precede me before doing my power checks, which still take me that bit longer at the moment.

In typical fashion, the flustery wind was favouring lumpy old 10 (the rubbish weather almost always does!), so I taxied out decidedly cautiously, freewheeling down the hill to the threshold with the engine idling and my hand hovering at the brakes.

Power back on to get turned around and lined up with full rudder stomped in to try and minimise that turning circle then off we went.

In the brisk wind the takeoff roll was pleasingly short, hardly more than I’d been used to in TOMS, and BeeGee rattled over the ‘join’ between the runways without attempting to launch herself airborne too prematurely.

On with the transponder and instruments as we climbed and on with the foggles too, as the cloudbase was considerably higher than it had looked from the ground.

The VOR/DME worked rather well to my happiness, as we’d only flicked it on for a quick check on the way to Strumble on the test flight before buying the aircraft.

It picked up Brecon from Swansea without fuss on the 260 radial, at 30 miles.  (Useful thing to know for getting home!)

Neither my heading, nor height keeping her particularly special today, although I don’t know whether that was down to unfamiliarity, the turbulent conditions, or simple clumsiness!

On the plus side BeeGee proved quite a lot less inclined than the Tomahawks to wander off while I used the radio and VOR which is useful.

We tracked overhead BCN before turning north to pick up the 360 radial for a few miles and then returning to Swansea.

In the absence of an official let down procedure for Swansea, we simulated a cloudbreak over the bay, using the radial as a ‘marker’ for the coast —  as long as we were to the left of it we knew we were over the sea.  Another useful thing to know!

Lower down it was turbulent again, and by the time we were at circuit height and joining downwind it was distinctly bumpy.  Final for 10 is over some of the rougher terrain in the area and there can be strong patches of sink, Dave reminded me to be very ready on the throttle.

I made rather a hash of the first approach and as we sailed towards the midpoint of the runway still at some speed that gave the aircraft no inclination to settle onto the runway, I opted for the better part of valour and opened the throttle.

I raised the second stage of flap and climbed away for another attempt. Oh well, at least now I now knew how the aircraft performs in a go-around when I stuffed it up…

In the meantime a rather plush Citation had arrived on longish final for 04, and not wishing to compete with something so much larger and faster we stuck in an orbit downwind for 10.

Given the challenge I’d just had on 10 I certainly didn’t envy him the crosswind he must have had on 04!

Second approach was marginally tidier but still not my most stellar arrival.  We live and learn!

I dropped Dave off at the pumps for his next flight as I refuelled and took BeeGee back to her parking spot (more manouvreing practice getting lined up there without the differential brakes!).

Next IMC session will need a club aircraft for the kit I think, but looking forward to taking our own aircraft further afield soon!

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