First weekend in October and still sunny -The strip was awash with pilots pulling aircraft from their hangars and all wearing matching, slightly baffled expressions at the fact it was still t-shirt weather to do this!
We’d decided (a month late and after the free landings!) to visit Pembrey, having heard good things about the cafe. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d visited what had once been a very very familiar airfield.
Nick was flying the outward leg this time – I’d rather snaffled those lately! I walked around the aircraft anyway, shooing off the latest crop of spiders and delighted in not having to pull all the covers off now we’ve got a roof!
I ran my hand down the tail bracing wires, my fingers snagged on a rough spot. I squinted a little closer. Just mud. How in the world did it get all the way up there? I crumbled it away and inspected the wire. All good and spider free.
Less spider free was the gearbox, where a little bugger could be seen squatting. After some debate it was decided that he’d have to take his chances, and it’s certainly true he was gone when we landed!
We pulled out and up the little ramp and after a quick check-in with Pembrey started up and headed off up the hill to the start of the strip, trying to avoid blowing away the bloke assembling an Europa at the top.
The vis couldn’t have been more different from the last time I’d flown – a brief midweek spiral up to 6500′ looking for a top to the haze which I never found!
Today there were clouds about, and more of them the further west we flew, but the vis below and around them was forever and Lundy island and Devon beyond were both clear in the distance.
Nick decided to go ‘around the back’ of town – overflight rules or no, it’s nervous-making having nowhere to land other than a back garden! Swansea is bigger than you realise from the ground when it comes to skirting around it.
Especially into a 20 knot headwind.
The radio was behaving itself and Nick rattled off our location and plans to Pembrey as we approached Burry Port. Unusually it sounded chokka on the radio. Two aircraft taking off in opposite directions were joined by a helicopter all before we turned into the circuit.
A sporty crosswind had Nick working for the landing in the last few feet and we were met by a mate of his with an enthused bit of marshalling!
Lunch (Well – double brekkies) was indeed all it was cracked up to be and in fact sufficiently enormous that I couldn’t in fact, finish it!
We caught up with Bryan of G-BIBT and then headed off before the darkening cloud caught us up.
My turn to fly and since it was there and no one else waiting to go I backtracked the length before departing in a fraction of it – still EFATO would have been spectacularly undramatic!
I went the ‘long way’ home to Whitford point and tracking round Gower where I was recognised on the radio and advised of the local traffic situation – who were in their turned warned of a “little X’Air”
Well, accurate cheek anyway…
Crosswind at Old Park too and carrying a bit of speed and power I landed longish, blessing Rhubarb’s lack of inertia !
There’d been a hint of vibration on the last leg and Nick decided to balance the carbs. I did the less technical job of removing the bugs and making a failed attempt at the mixed oil/mud/bug-goo on the struts. (Eventually cured by – of all things – HobBrite!)
Having finished this little bit of fettling and with the dark clouds broken up to what looked like being a beautiful sunset…
Well, we couldn’t go home… Could we?
Swapping seats again, we climbed back aboard. Rhubarb started instantly, apparently as keen to fly yet again as we were.
We climbed out and turned left along the coast, to Ogmore where we drifted up the valley, admiring the large flat fields! A patchwork of crops and pasture and hedges and stone walls. I gazed down and wondered about the history that had caused such a higgle piggle of boundaries and border.
We flew skirted Bridgend and waved to the farm that had been the site of our unplanned landing a few months earlier.
Back south abeam of the strip Nick glanced at the fuel.
“Just out to the end and back?”
I laughed, as hopeless a case myself. “Why not.”
We continued past the strip along the coast in the other direction towards Britton Ferry. To our right the rising ground pushed the scattered clouds up into tall, soft plumes and pink-lit piles that were almost luminescent in the low sun.
Too pretty to resist by a long long way and we climbed and turned to chase and play among them. Around and between and under and over them, playing in a giant three dimensional labyrinth of gold and salmon.
Laughing with delight at the sight of it all and at each other’s glee we lingered as long as the last of fuel let us before leaving that particular playground behind and descending back to the strip where a still laughing Nick burbled some approximation of our intentions to anyone still out there on Safetycom before neatly popping her down.
I’ve said it before – and I’ve said that I’ve said it before – but, we really are so lucky…