Downing College Cambridge

Business Trip to Cambridge

Company Travel Policy In my previous company which had tens of thousands of employees, the company travel policy stated clearly that the CEO’s personal permission was required for any private flight. My current company (total employees = 1) also has the same policy, but it’s much easier to persuade the boss (myself) that I could fly to a business meeting instead of driving. My accountant assures me that this is

Continue reading

Le Touquet via Blackbushe for lunch

Great day for a multi-leg trip to France John had flown with me last year to Plymouth, when we enjoyed some great sunny weather. He’d promised his partner a flight to France for lunch. Since she lived close by Blackbushe airport, he asked me to pick them both up from there and fly to Le Touquet. Since it didn’t seem too much out of the way, I agreed to that,

Continue reading

Thorney Island

Only open once a year Thorney Island is an army base, located between Portsmouth and Chichester on the south coast of England. It holds a fly-in just once a year, hosted with help from their resident microlight club. Although the runways look long, there is a road which bi-sects the main runway, effectively reducing its useful length to some 700 metres. After asking around other club members, I arrange to

Continue reading

Grass Strip Practice

I’d wanted to gain some experience of grass strips, and had been proposing a club flyout event where some of the club instructors could help explain the different factors around these with some practice and guidance. The outcome was that Dave (who I’d previously shared flights with to Cherbourg and Coventry) advertised a day’s training to club members. In the end, it was only the two of us and one

Continue reading

LAA Rally at Sywell

My first major rally The Light Aircraft Assocation (formerly the Private Flying Association) is a fairly large and well run organisation catering for the needs of private aviators, especially those who want to build and maintain their own aircraft. They have delegated authority to approve the design and modification of so-called Permit (or Annex 2) aircraft, which covers pretty much anything that isn’t an EASA CofA (although there are exceptions,

Continue reading

Cambridge on a balmy summer afternoon

The Arrow is back! I’d  planned a flight this afternoon, but learnt that the Arrow had completed its flight check the day before after repairs which had it out of action for almost two months. My 60 day currency before I needed a flight check with an instructor was only 3 days away, so on arrival at the airport when I realised that someone else had cancelled their booking I

Continue reading

Evening landaway to White Waltham – through Atlas Control

War zone AWACS aircraft orbitted overhead, scanning the sky for unusual activity. Banks of radar controllers monitored the frequencies, checking that all known traffic remained on their assigned track. Helicopter gunships and tornado fighter aircraft stood ready to take to the air at a moments notice should any anomoly occur. Banks of surface-to-air missiles were deployed around the city to respond even more quickly. No, not Afghanistan, but London 2012

Continue reading

France for Lunch – Cherbourg Club Flyout

We’d originally planned a full weekend trip for this club flyout, with an overnight stop in Dinard, but the continuing poor weather put paid to that. The initially long crew list had gradually shrunk with members dropping out for a variety of different, legitimate reasons. In the end, we were down to 3 pilots taking two aircraft to Cherbourg for the day. However, the weather did look very promising with

Continue reading

Dunkeswell in the Arrow

We’d hoped to fly to France for lunch – possibly Cherbourg – but the weather wasn’t up to it, so we decided to go to Dunkeswell instead. Our crew would be Dave, a friend from the Bristol Aero Club, my daughter and her friend. Dave, an experienced Warrior pilot with an IMC, hadn’t flown in an Arrow before, so was keen to understand the differences. With a quick weight and

Continue reading

Club flyout to Haverfordwest

Change of destination The original advertised destination was St. Mary’s in the Scilly Isles, but strong winds and a front full of CBs in the south west made us choose an alternate destination of Haverfordwest in the south west corner of Wales. I’d been there before, but not in the Arrow. A long list of interested parties dwindled during the week or two preceding the event, but we still managed

Continue reading