Monthly Club Flyouts
The Bristol Aero Club, like many flying club, arranges regular group flyouts – ours are on the last Sunday of each month. Students, members and all welcome and as many aircraft join in as there is demand for. The last couple of flyouts had been disappointing, with the weather reducing one to a single aircraft and cancelling another entirely. Most members are VFR only which restricts the options. Destinations are often decided only on the day, when the weather is known.
Today’s adventure involved ten pilots and passengers in four aircraft with Peterborough Conington as our destination, about an hour’s flight away. Pilots take turns to fly a leg, passengers (three students today) swapped around to try out different planes. Each pilot is responsible for planning and executing their own flight, with some co-ordination for PPR and overall timing.
The weather was improving from the north east, and we had easterly winds, hence flying towards the better weather was thought a better idea that going elsewhere.
Outbound to Peterborough
My role was to fly outbound in the Arrow with David, whom I’d shared a flight with a few weeks earlier. Our passenger was a student pilot hoping to embark on a career as a commercial airline pilot. He hadn’t flown in a retractable/variable pitch prop type before, so was interested in the differences.
En-route there was a headwind of about 20 knots and cloudbase of around 2000 feet. After staying below that until for about 10 minutes, I decided to climb up through it (with a traffic service from Brize) and cruised in the sunshine at 5000 feet until about 10 minutes before arrival. Coventry Approach gave me a Basic service, but when I asked for a traffic service to descend through the cloud I was reminded of their callsign (a strong hint that radar isn’t available). Fortunately the cloud was thinning and I spotted a hole.
Although the Arrow flies much faster than the other club aircraft, the PS28 had set off some time before us and got there first. My airborne time of an hour wasn’t that much shorter than the Warriors. There was a reasonable crosswind of 10-15 knots and a squall during arrival which caused some gusts, but I managed quite a gentle landing. We found the airfield welcoming, on the radio, with a marshaller, in operations and in the cafe – a very pleasant destination all round.
Departure took a little longer than we would have liked, with three of us holding on the ground waiting for what seemed like an endless stream of arrivals – there isn’t a separate taxiway and we all needed to backtrack which we did as a group. David flew us back and did beat the others, with a 40 minute airborne time.
We decamped to the AV8 restaurant/cafe for a debrief and enjoyable chat to finish off a good day out.
PIC today: 1:20
Total PIC: 438:10
Total time: 576:35