So for paperwork purposes I’m officially in microlight-dom.
Half an hour in an Ikarus so I could be ‘screened’ for any particularly egregious bad habits (Notthing too dire – bobbing the nose about a bit rolling into turns, and – in an X’Air side effect – giving the rather more engineered Ikarus an excessive bootful of rudder)
Then back in the X’Air and instructor shaking head incredulously at the takeoff roll, which, on Swansea’s tarmac with fewer ground references, felt as though we were drifting up into the air at walking pace.
These circuits had a certain amount of interest added by the presence of a “cut-away” parachute canopy which set off towards the active runway!
Overall conclusion was that I could hold off more, but was in general unlikely to write myself off.
A stroll around found another Old Park resident planning a Rosemarket trip and it seemed the obvious thing to join them! Quick fuel top up and away we went, me, now parked firmly in the left hand seat.
Didn’t quite get the usual welcome – my phone call for PPR had apparently not reached the right ears it seemed, and the opening sentence from the arrivals comittee included the phrase “that machine” – never promising.
Still the weather was too nice and the rest of the company, pilots and family alike too good to be put off. We nosed around a little Thruster which was tied down for the night, and gulped coffee before daylight became pressing and we needed to go back.
Sunday was a lazy day which somehow, unplanned ended up back at the strip and given such a perfect calm evening it seemed positively silly for me not to have a bit of solo jaunt, so off I went. Grinning in a sort of happy/frantic concentration as, at the bare minimum approved weight, Rhubarb leapt into the air, climbing like fury.
I stooged around grinning at the long shadows on the ground below for a while before being sensible and doing some slow flying and changes of configuration to check the livelier solo handling before coming back to land, slopping off height over the beach and dawdling to let the returning Skyranger go first.
It was the flattest calm I’ve ever flown in at Old Park and through some fluke or otherwise I’d managed to get the approach stable a long way out and hardly needed to touch the power until rounding out.
Lost the centreline a shade before touchdown but otherwise I was pleased and taxyed in grinning.
Nick was posting on Facebook already and it crossed my mind that while I’ve still never seen the picture taken when I flew my “first first solo” (film lost somewhere!), this landing was captured on no less than 3 digital devices!
Thank goodness it wasn’t a complete clatter of bits!