VFR on top - or so the story went... see the Hawksview Guinness Tour story later
In this issue :
Shaw's Report - .
Cheshire Flyers ‘NAV Competition’ – 2022- the count so far.
Dreams Dashed - but still hoping to fly.
Well I didn't expect that!. - Garry Roberts with a scary story.
The Hawksview Guinness Tour 2022 - Charlie Appleby tours Eire with Rob Garbutt.
Aircraft performance in extreme temperatures.
Inaugural EuroFOX Fly-in Old Warden - Renate Maddocks-Born reports on a skulk
Ditching is survivable - CAA advice on preparedness - worth a read before FAF3.
DON'T MISS OUT - Diary dates of the 'official' Club tours (FAFs) for 2022 (at end of e-zine). These are now also on the 'What's On' calendar on the website.
Not much for me to report this month other than a marriage, honeymoon in Jersey followed by holiday in Cornwall and a broken RKID which refuses to allow itself to be fixed.
So, as you can imagine I’ve done no flying😥
I feel sadder than a squirrel with a nut allergy…
Still, with Manchester Barton fuel at £2.46/l (ouch!) think of the money I’m saving.
Anyway, onwards and upwards, we’ve got two great events to look forward to.
Firstly, there’s Mike Gilman’s Alpaca Picnic Fest on Sunday 28th August - a family fun day with a large gathering of classic cars and motorbikes all in aid of East Cheshire Hospice. Cheshire Flyers are supporting the event and we have the option of landing in an adjacent field if you fancy dropping in or camping over. For more info refer to the WhatsApp channel.
Secondly we have the FAF 3 flyout to Alderney (and possibly France). Ideally reserve the dates Weds 7th Sep to Tuesday 13th in your diary. You probably won’t use all of them but it gives a decent weather window to make the most of. Accommodation is proving a little tricky – although we are working on that one. More info as it develops on WhatsApp Flyouts.
With the trip to Alderney and potentially France looming I applied for a new passport as the old was due to expire and Europe requires a minimum of 6 months validity. Hearing drastic tales in the media of 10+ weeks delays to the issue of new ones I feared the worst. I tried desperately on a number of occasions to get an emergency appointment for a new one – all in vain, so I reluctantly applied online. Five days later my new ‘black’ passport arrived in the post. So much for the media. Result!
So, I’m all set to go, apart from a working plane that is – a minor detail…
That’s it from me, short and sweet this month. A massive thanks to all the contributors below for the excellent articles. See you in the skies, if not before…
Ian Shaw 😎
Club Night Report - July 18th, 2022
A constructive discussion around meetings, guest speakers, Zoom, encouraging students and supporting newly qualified pilots was had in the Market Tavern. 18 members turned up which made for a sociable evening with lots of points of view aired.
Cheshire Flyers ‘NAV Competition’ – 2022
As at 15 August - here is how the count of 'new' airfields visited is shaping up....
15 pilots have visited 208 new airfields between them. That's new to each of them so the number of unique airfields amounts to 117. That's incredibly impressive if you think about it. We pilots of the lighter small aircraft can really get about and there are also a large number of possible airstrips available to land at.
John Bradbury posted an announcement on the departure from Cheshire Microlight Centre flying school of his FI Mark Atkinson.
"Having spent 16 years providing his services as a flying instructor for me at CMC, Mark Atkinson is moving to pastures new. Most will be aware that Mark has commuted almost daily from his home in Blackpool, therefore the offer of a FI job with Graham Hobson (Northern Microlight School) virtually on his doorstep at St Michaels, needed little in the way of consideration.
Over those 16 years, Mark has taught many of our members to fly and, I am sure, like me will wish him well for the next chapter of his flying life.
Mark’s last day at DHF is Sunday 7th August."
Hopefully a few of Mark's current and previous students managed a visit to DHF. However, no reason not to call in to see him at St Michaels in the future. Everyone in Cheshire Flyers wishes him the best for his new job; perhaps he can spend a bit more time flying and less on the M6!.
Lundy Sunday was cancelled due to poor weather and no Cheshire Flyers were able to attend, though some from other locations were weathered in there with very low cloud base.
Steve Bettley posted some details for the hoped for Fly-by over Mike Gilman's Alpaca Picnic Fest (see later in the e-zine for details) on 28th August. More flexwings needed. Quite a few Cheshire Flyers are planning to visit either by plane or on wheels, with some camping over. Should be a good occasion.
Gordon Verity and Steve Dancaster enjoyed a trip to Llanbedr - their first visit with a scenic route through the Llangollen valley.
Darren Elliston proposed a meet up at Dairy House Farm as a starting point for those joining the August Sunny Nat Nav, with the destination being the fly-in at Rufforth East. A few Cheshire Flyers made it to DHF to bid Mark Atkinson adieu and possibly to eat pies too.
Alan Shuff posted some photos of his 5-day trip with Steve Dancaster to Ireland, calling at some of the same airfields that Charlie and Rob visited (see Charlie's story later in magazine).
Gordon Verity shared some pictures of a flight via Shobdon to Dartmouth and flying an approach to Liverpool airport plus a scenic trip to and from Caernarfon.
There was a bit of chat about air density and reduced engine performance in hot weather. Some pilots had noticed a perceivable difference in climb out performance for eg. Proof of the real concerns was evidenced by an email that the BMAA tech office saw fit to release in mid July (after CF was published). Reminder here . I expect we're all a bit relieved that the heat has relented, but now it's forecast thunderstorms which are much less predictable.
He'd flown so very long ago,
Some solo hours passed by.
He thought a simple microlight
Would be not hard to fly.🤭️
He flew it over Cheshire's plain,
And tried to learn the checks.
He got it wrong and got it right,
Things simple, some complex.
Instructor said, while plodding out,
"I don't expect perfection".🙁
Instructor got just what he'd asked.
Wrong answers, wrong direction.
And still the student paid his dues,
And signed his cheques, did he,
How many landings would he need,
To fly alone, and free?🤔
He gave it up, it wouldn't work,
His funds were running low.
Resigned to be an earthbound flop,
No more the sky to know.😥
But if a seat is going free
He'll use it well for you.
He may have lost the solo fight,
But still can be P2.😊
Well I didn't expect that!
Garry Roberts with a tale of things you'd prefer not to have happened
It was 5:30am. Most people think of this as the time to roll over and fall back to sleep, but not me; I was standing in the middle of a field with wet feet, still wearing the clothes from the night before. A ground fog tried to stop the morning light from breaking through but it was obviously losing the battle as an orange hue started its job of drying everything up. In front me, covered in droplets, was my C42 standing proudly next to my friends EV97, both of our tents placed (as Dan confirmed the day before by pointing and laughing at them uncontrollably) way too close together for two heterosexual men, especially given the 50 acres of ground available to pitch. I was at Spamfield on the IOW the morning after, to be exact and, other than a mild case of regret, I knew I had to get a wiggle on and get out of there before the weather closed in.
I had expertly weighted the centre of gravity of the plane to be within 24 squirrels of its maximum when fully loaded with fuel. I use the European squirrel as I find all others way too accurate and would never like to be seen to be overweight. The BMAA hasn’t fully adopted the European and certainly haven’t a conversion yet for the English squirrel as a measurement of weight, so I am always within tolerances no matter how many squirrels I pack.
Right then; enough about squirrels (I’m not even sure why you keep on bringing them up) and back on the story. We took off after having a quick wash in the beautiful porta-loos and doing all our checks, flinging ourselves into the morning sky and into a fairly picture- postcard view of the world. One notable thing out of the usual was the head wind. We had laughed all the way down to the Island the day before about low revs and cracking ground speeds, hypothesizing about flying to Venice in 37 minutes and outpacing commercial flights. Well, this morning was most certainly a contrast to that journey south. What seemed like a light breeze had some pretty fierce upper level currents which, coupled with the closing clouds from the left gave us an uncertainty in our vision of making Sleap for a late breakfast.
Two hours later and only passing Wolverhampton we had been right to doubt it. I was at 1700ft, “The weather is closing in” I chatted to Nathan on 129.835 “But I think I can see a route under and around this dodgy bit of rain”. I was lead in the two-plane team and about ½ mile in front, able to inform Nathan of anything hideous ahead. Just as Nathan was replying to me my engine coughed, stalled, and restarted. “Oh, that isn’t good” went through my head. It coughed again, this time for longer, then stalled and again restarted. I had my carb heater on full, so I don’t think it was icing; I think it was just so moist out there everything was complaining. In either case I was way too low not to take it seriously so I quickly took an executive decision to divert to Wolverhampton, joining on a long-curved base (ish) while calling out to an empty ATC.
Anyone that hasn’t experienced the ATC and the hospitality at Wolverhampton really should do. We landed, non-PPR of course and were treated to a cup of British Standard while waiting for the ATC and café to open. When the ATC did eventually open, they wouldn’t take a landing fee as it had been a precautionary landing (seen in some worlds as a 'short-twitcher' moment).
I should point out that the chap in the photo (ATC man) has the world’s biggest job: everyone and their uncle calls and radios in and, on this occasion, he was on his own in the Tower. Even with all that on his plate he took care of us and made sure we were out of the weather while he stopped people from crashing into other people in flapping things. We (both me and Nathan) were extremely grateful. Thank you unknown blue t-shirt wearing nice chap.
We ate our breakfast, watched the marvel of a large helicopter taking off and filled up with some tasty UL91 over the course of about an hour, then set off again. I left the cowling flap shut and got the temps up nice and high to make sure everything was dried out. I had opened her up and checked things over but could only see the marvel of a 30-hour engine shining back at me. We took off rather uneventfully and headed back into what was still a bit of a rough day. Within my limits but not a day I would have chosen to fly had it not been for the urge to get home. That’s one of my key takeaways from this: leaving the plane there and returning in a couple of days would have been a faff but the better option. I’m not sure what drives everyone else but sometimes I make the wrong decisions and nearly always these “Swiss Cheese” events are a hunger not to have to admit defeat.
Flying back into that weather was perfectly alright; it was a bit moist but perfectly safe. What I hadn’t calculated for was the cumulation of events that followed. Just before we passed by Cosford things started to get a bit sketchy; the cloud base now was at 1600ft, still VFR but certainly on its limit. To make matters worse a plane seemed intent on flying straight at us. He was above us, so in the cloud and, from the looks of his “Pilot aware box surely could see us” I bleated to Nathan. We had strayed as far right in an attempt to get out of his way as we could, but he was still coming at us, and with less than a football pitch away was only 3ft above Nathan.