A Sunday Outing
Once a year, Abingdon (an RAF airfield just south of Oxford) opens its doors to the public and hosts an airshow with plenty of stalls, attractions and excitement for the whole family. One of our club members runs a hospitality tent there, and offered a free landing and some free tickets through the club. Dave and I agreed to share a flight there in the Arrow, taking Sean along as a passenger. Other club members joined in later on – Dom also flew in with his YAK, and Mark in a club Warrior.
Since it was such a short flight from Kemble to Abingdon (about 15 minutes), and our landing slot wasn’t until 12:15, Dave and I agreed to first visit Enstone where we’d practice a few circuits. The weather was pretty cloudy when we turned up at 9:30, but looked promising for later in the day.
After departing Kemble, we asked Brize for a Basic Service. This was declined due to controller workload, probably the first time this has ever happened to me. It was busy with traffic inbound to Badminton, which was open for the horse trials.
I made three circuits at Enstone and the landings improved significantly each time. We popped in to the clubhouse to pay the landing fee (they have a scheme where you get as many landings as you want for a fixed fee), and after a quick tea-break it was Dave’s turn. After just one circuit, we routed around the west of Brize Zone. This time Brize were able to provide a Basic Service and confirm there was no parachuting at South Cerney. We slightly cut short our route and this put us bang on time to arrive for our slot at Abingdon.
It was quiet on the radio, so Dave asked for and was able to make a straightforward right base join. It seems that the poor weather earlier in the morning (very low cloudbase elsewhere), had caused several cancellations.
Family Day out
It was very sunny, possibly the best day of the year to date, and we probably should have used sunscreen lotion. Many families were enjoying the event, with plenty for all ages to do, from driving tanks, various stalls and exhibitors, choice of food and of course an outstanding air show.
For me the best displays included the Breitling wing walkers and the Lynx helicopter. I had no idea you could do a backflip when stationery in a helicopter before, never mind the wide range of aerobatics.
After the displays finished, it was an easy and quick departure, back at Kemble by 17:40. We refuelled from the club bowser and put the Arrow to bed.
Total PIC today: 1:05
Total PIC: 156:15
Total time: 253:30