The good news was that our TB20 was back up in the air after having had its engine fully overhauled and zero-timed. Those bits of shredded camshaft that were circulating inside the engine in the summer hadn’t done it any good, but everything had been re-engineering, overhauled or replaced to make it almost as good as new. It is now officially a zero-timed engine and should be good for at least 2,000 airborne hours.
Rich had suggested that we share a short flight to get ourselves reacquainted with the aircraft, something that pilots commonly term “rust removal”. We planned a landaway to Cranfield, each flying a leg and making at least one instrument approach. On the day, we were limited with time and weather, so went to Coventry instead. Rich flew out and I flew back, so I have plenty of photos of the first leg but none for the return.
Gloucester to Coventry
It was pretty wet and murky as we departed, with little wind. Although there was one training aircraft commencing the NDB procedure for 09, and another doing VFR circuits on 22, we were offered a VFR departure from 27 if we accepted a Basic service – procedural IFR would not have allowed that because of the conflicting aircraft.
The clouds looked pretty uninviting immediately after departure.
A few minutes later, once we’d broken through the layer, it was nice and sunny.
The autopilot and repaired servos worked well, with Rich using a flight plan in the Garmin GTN650 to navigate us via TOBID waypoint and DTY VOR. After listening to the ATIS, we switched from Gloucester to Coventry and asked for the ILS procedure. They don’t require PPR for normal inbound arrivals here, so it was no problem at all. After confirming which approach procedure we wanted, we were given a squawk code and told to report when established outbound from DTY VOR. Reporting progress at 13 DME from DTY, then 18D and again after the localiser acquired.
We parked at the western apron, paid our landing fee at the flying school and walked outside to the nearby pub for a coffee before returning. The local pub seems to have smartened itself up since I was last there – perhaps under new management – and we found it quite friendly.
Straightforward IFR flight back to Gloucester
I booked out with ATC by telephone, then after a quick pre-flight check, we listened to the ATIS and requested start. Entered at the same Bravo mid-runway turnoff we had exited before, then backtracked prior to departing with a left turn. Our VFR clearance was to remain below 1500 feet (which was about the cloud base). Once clear, I climbed up through the cloud layer and routed direct back to Gloucester.
I asked for and was granted an RNAV procedural approach via LAPKU and NIRMO, letting the auto-pilot do the hard work. The VFR circuit was still on 22R but with little wind or circuit traffic, we were cleared for a straight in approach. There was a cloud bank above the ridge to the west of the airfield, but once through that we had the runway in sight as we descended below 2000 feet.
All that remained was to reduce speed for the final stage of flap and power off over the threshold for a reasonable touchdown.
It had brightened up since our departure, but perhaps wasn’t enough to entice more pilots out for the day. After parking, we cleaned the windscreens, washed off some of the months of accumulated grime and downloaded the engine management data for analysis.
It was a very positive feeling to have CORB back in the air again. I’d forgotten what a joy she is to fly, especially now that the auto-pilot servos work properly!
Flight logs below