Club flyout to Elstree and Cranfield

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I joined the Bristol Aero Club in their monthly flyout from Kemble. It was a similar format to November, with two or three pilots per aircraft each taking turns to fly a leg. We routed Kemble-Elstree-Cranfield-Kemble and I flew the leg between Elstree and Cranfield. This time, only the two PA28s were involved – each with three pilots. I took the opportunity to practice an ILS approach which is very attractively priced at Cranfield.

Kemble to Elstree

Phil flew us from Kemble to Elstree VFR with a relatively low cloudbase but good lateral visibility.

Low cloudbase en-route to Elstree
In the circuit at Blackbushe
Descending into the circuit at Elstree
Short final
Short final for Runway 21 at Elstree

We met up with another club member for lunch who lives locally and drove there to meet us. The airport cafe at Elstree has improved substantially since I was last there. Despite being busy, they rustled up an English Breakfast in a Wrap in no time. Yummy!

English breakfast in a wrap
English breakfast served in a Wrap – a new one on me

Elstree to Cranfield

I flew the next leg, routing carefully around controlled airspace in loose formation with the other club PA28. Cranfield directed me to the hold above the CIT NDB, which is left handed. This is awkward arriving from the south west and required a teardrop hold entry. The ILS procedure can then be entered via an extended hold. I’m unclear if it was designed this way as a gruesome training exercise for students – surely it can’t be because they thought it was the most efficient. I was a bit rusty and made a few minor errors. Button pressing on the GSN430 takes a bit of getting used to compared to our GTN650, but most of the procedure was using the standard ADF and ILS dials. There was a very strong westerly wind which I didn’t account adequately for, so my holds were offset to the east. The approach was already in use so we had to go around the hold a few times before being sequenced for the ILS, which itself went OK in the end. Perhaps being used to the TB20, I was a bit fast on final as we transitioned from instruments to VFR but recovered to land in fairly strong headwind. Cranfield’s restaurant has improved since I last visited and the landing fees remain some of the lowest in the UK for a fully instrument capable airport.

Route Elstree to Cranfield

Cranfield to Kemble

Departing Cranfield
Departing Cranfield

Visibility and cloudbase were deteriorating on the last leg of the day. Rod flew us just north of Brize Zone and back to base. We all decamped to the Thames Head pub for a debrief, joined by a couple of instructors and other club members.

PIC today: 1:05

Total PIC: Time today 267:30

Total Time: 399:25

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