I’d not been flying our TB20 at Gloucester much over the winter due to weather and other commitments. A short landaway would revive my currency on type and I selected Welshpool as a suitable destination. I had also wanted to explore possible options to visit National Trust and similar properties during the summer months – Powis Castle is within walking distance and the gardens were open.
Mid Wales Airport, as Welshpool is formally called, required PPR but this was easily obtained using an online form. The webpage was really clear with helpful summary points on the circuit height (1500 feet due terrain), circuit pattern (for noise abatement) and parking (differs between winter/summer). Landing fees are waived with uplift of 50 litres of fuel, and payments are accepted either in the office or using the Aerops App.
It had been raining intensively in recent weeks, and the ground everywhere was waterlogged. Few grass strips would have been suitable, and the rivers had overflowed. It’s a relatively short flight but always good practice. I spend a lot of time instructing in PA28s, from the 150 hp Cherokee up to the Turbo Arrow, and the small differences when flying the TB20 are easily forgotten. It’s a very comfortable aircraft to sit in, plenty of space unless you are very tall, with much wider seats and cabin than many other similar types. The 250hp engine packs a fair punch unless fully loaded.
The wet weather and stronger winds reduced the traffic at Gloucester, but the sunshine burst through making it one of those pleasant January winter days. The cold air further improved engine performance.
After paying my landing fee with the friendly welcome at the desk, I walked to Powys Castle. It took about 45 minutes for three miles of which about half was on the main road.
Departing through the floods
Welshpool has only a Radio service, rather than FISO or ATC, which is perfectly sufficient for the level of traffic. I was advised that runway 22 was in use, and suggested to do my power checks at Alpha. As you can see from the photo below, the taxiway through the hold was flooded so instead I entered the runway at the mid-point and backtracked. The runway itself was clear, but an earlier conversation found that it does at times get flooded. Maybe that PPR was a good idea after all.
My flight back to Gloucester was fairly uneventful, with a 30-40 knot tailwind making it pretty quick.
Airborne time was 40 minutes outbound, but just 28 minutes back .Skydemon logged an average speed of 141 knots, peaking at 181 over the ground. You can see from the track logs that my outbound trip was flown more consistently with the autopilot than the return leg which was mostly hand flown.
PIC today: 1:30
Total PIC: 1,958:40
Total Time: 2,170:50