Updated: Jun 27
Steve Speake explores the dark side and sees the light (or does he?)
In this bumper issue (I couldn't leave anything out):
Shaw's Report - our Chairman Ian's holiday reminiscences.
Club Night Report - Thanks to Steve Slade.
Coming up at Club Night - A great opportunity to chat and discuss plans for forthcoming flyouts.
Achievements - Congratulations due.
A Scott and a Scout went flying - Dave Moore's verses.
FAF1 in two episodes - John says if time off is in the diary then he is flying somewhere hopefully.
Spamdown - Dave Creedy on Spamfield, Sandown and hints for a successful flyout.
Phone freefall - Sharon Cox on jettisoning her iPhone from high above the Peak District.
MAAPPER Musings - Dave West's touring tips; fly with others and you have a choice of tools (in the literal sense of the word) 😁
Enstone ends well - Gordon Verity on more unpredictability to be prepared for.
Alphabet Airfields competition - ends August 31st.
Favourite Amazing Flyout 2 2021- July 9-13: reprise of Orkney tour or somewhere else.
Low Level Route - new procedures.
Link for Lynx - John Bottomley has some Lynx components to give away.
A 'specs saver' for Cheshire Flyers - Charlie Appleby tells of a discount available.
Some great articles below and worth noting that most of the trips transpired from failed Plan ‘A’s or impromptu ‘Weather’s great – lets go here’ flights. All of which I sadly missed 😢.
For a change we’ve had some decent weather although I chose to spend our ‘scorchio’ week in a Devon country cottage which was neatly positioned between a very busy Dunkeswell and the Devon & Somerset Gliding Club. I managed to get through three days of perfect weather, watching the WhatsApp Flyout channel light up with tales of trips to the four corners of the UK – whilst gliders performed aerobatics above me, and all manner of aircraft headed into Dunkeswell, before enough was enough!
So, I trogged down to the gliding club.
“Hi, I’d like a trial flight please” – (not said that in a while).
I was introduced to the very officious membership secretary – who incidentally had a big photograph on the wall confirming who he was as well as his own car parking spot!
“Well you’ll have to join the club first, then come down first thing in the morning to put your name down on the flying list for the day ahead” he uttered. “It costs £104 plus membership joining fee. We expect you to be here all day to help out; you might get to fly for 15 minutes or so, you might not – it depends on who turns up”.
Mmmm – didn’t seem like a great use of my time, especially considering the fall out I was bound to receive from Diane. With no intention of coming back I confirmed “Sounds great, I’ll check my (very empty) diary and get back to you”…
Apparently, they are the most successful gliding club in the UK. It seemed to be run more like a golf club to me – not that I don’t like golf – even if it is a good walk spoiled (sorry Ken).
As much as I’d like to have a go at gliding, I just couldn’t see why they are so successful – its not that cheap either. If your flights are limited to 15 minutes a time, then you have to wait ages for the next slot to open up – how long does it take to obtain your licence? Or am I missing something? Global warming or not I’m sticking with a Rotax up front for now.
However even THE most successful flying club in the UK (CF of course) can adopt great ideas from other clubs - and I did very much like the idea of the Chairman’s car parking space – should we ever get back to the Wheaty!
Club Night May 17th Report
Many thanks are due to Steve Slade who took us through his experience of microlighting, from the early days up to today. Steve was all set to be a commercial pilot having been accepted for the British Airways flight academy but a tragic accident while he was on a field exercise with the army cadets left him with permanent spinal damage and without the proper use of his legs. He did not let that prevent him from his flying aspirations, adapting a fixed wing microlight for hand controls and competing in national and international competitions. His day job was with Rolls Royce. He also makes his own beer and enjoys making world records. Inspirational and very nice chap.
Club Night Next - June 21st
Our guest speaker has had to cancel very last minute so Steve had no time to arrange an alternative. However, the benefit of this is that it presents an opportunity to chat about any issues members would like to raise. It is also a good time to discuss the forthcoming FAF2 - long range weather forecasts, and so on. July 9-12/13 or a combination of those dates.
Well done to Stuart Prentice who passed his GST on June 10th, coincidentally his birthday.
And Congratulations to Stanley Littlejohn who completed his First Solo on 16th June, 2021
Well done both!
A Scott and a Scout went flying
David Bremner arranged to photograph Bob Scott's Sirius; Dave Moore's lines
Cheshire Flyer had new cap,
But couldn't take it flying.
Covid plague had kept him grounded,
Sad, disgruntled, sighing.
After jabs, perhaps immune,
a photoshoot to try.
Airplane ready, weather steady, let's get to the sky.
Photoshoot with man with Scouts,
(One old, one new but older).
Keep him in our airborne view,
His pilot, old or bolder.
Strange how plane can disappear,
when breakaway is done.
Sky is empty, Scout has vanished,
doubt replaces fun.
Safely left proximity, we'll head to safer space.
Pass inactive Liverpool,
John Lennon left no trace.
Sigh again, life has its downturns,
Let us keep upbeat.
Point the nose towards the South,
Put Sleap on Demon's street.
Fly us down past Whixall Moss,
Keep Shawbury to port.
Safely down on Sleap one eight,
A crosswind made it fraught.
Bob's Sirius has starred in eMF. David Bremner wanted some photos for an article being written on 600Kg microlights.
FAF 1 in two episodes
Diary dates set so want to fly if possible
Those of us still working full time need to make the most of diaried club tour dates. Lots of discussion took place over what to do on the FAF1 dates, with the weather forecast being very difficult to call in an increasingly unsettled May. In the end the good decision was to abandon the Orkney tour, painful as that was given all the enthusiasm and preparation by lots of Cheshire Flyers. However, for Saturday 22 May John suggested a day trip west, where the weather looked to be fairing up as the day progressed. When the Orkney trip was postponed, some made alternative plans for the weekend, however, a 3 ship group agreed to head for Mona, where we were blessed with blue skies and sunshine as well as being greeted and made very welcome by Nigel and Sarah and others at Mona flying club.
Episode 1: westward ho!
The weather forecast suggested a need to leave Cheshire with possible showers but good visibility around them, to head west for better conditions with no weather and an improving situation for the return leg home. Anglesey and the North Wales coastal route never disappoints and the flying there was uneventful; there was time for a local bimble around the island and then the shorter route back via the mountains was chosen. Mindful of the wind direction, there was a need to keep as high as cloud base would allow, which unfortunately prevented a flight directly over Snowdon.
Episode 2: a sally north
Sunday did not look great on the forecast so alternative plans were made, in the hope Monday would be flyable; northwards looked pretty OK and the weather was forecast to clear in Cheshire in time for an evening return. It transpired to be very showery on Monday morning but do-able with the prospect of quickly being out of the weather as we proceeded north. It was an exciting departure; with a heavy rain shower blocking our direct track up the Low Level route, John called up Liverpool and asked for a transit directly through Liverpool's airspace to Southport. This was, thankfully, approved although immediately followed by an instruction to remain south of the M56 to allow passage for an Embraer coming in to land at Liverpool. We saw said plane in the distance and orbited as we had been told to; ironically over my house practically but I didn't realise in time to take any photos because we had to obey the ATC straightaway when cleared to Southport. This sector was made additionally exciting by John's tablet losing SkyDemon temporarily and I had to navigate by topography (ie point at the sea) for a very short while.
As anticipated the weather improved dramatically well before Blackpool. We stopped at Cark for a short while, snack and toilets, where it was eerily quiet and decided to eat the rest of our packed lunch at Kirkbride. It was a pretty smooth flight really and Kirkbride was bathed in sunshine with the usual great views of the Lakeland hills. Of course you can see Scotland over the other side of the Solway Firth too.
Coming back there were significant energetic clouds over the Lake District so we were forced to climb to 7,500 feet to go over the tops rather than be buffeted about in the valleys under the base. We saw the whole of Windermere in one view and then made an ear-popping descent to stop at Rossall Field for Ts & Ps. It was quiet there too, though James came over to say hello.
The two salvaged days turned out well. The moral of this tale is that it's always worth taking the opportunity of time planned and flying somewhere where weather allows.
Remember that FAF 2 July 9-13 is fast approaching.
Orkney is still number one choice but as always it depends on the weather. Even if a long trip is thwarted by the weather it may be possible to make some enjoyable one or two-day trips.
Dave Creedy provides some hints for the perfect fly-out, illustrated with Gordon Verity's photos
The Annual BMAA Microlight Fly-in at Sandown, Isle of Wight
G-EZZY made a leisurely start on the Saturday morning from Hawksview. Plenty of time was allowed for checking and preparing the aircraft, ensuring a relaxed crew and a calm and settled pilot – the most important element of any flight is the preparedness and state of mind of the pilot. Aircraft change very little between flights, other than bits falling off, but pilots are fickle, unpredictable creatures subject to last minute panic attacks.
Hint 1: if you don’t feel right don’t fly.
Warm, stable weather was forecast to the south. Low cloud lay ahead as we exited the LLC, but big bright gaps to the West would have provided an escape if required. However, we were able to keep to our planned route and make Wadswick without any drama for sharing a delicious fish platter, at this gem of an airfield, with its fantastic Farm Shop and Cafe.
Hint 2: choose en route stops from Sharon’s good food guide; best to plan for lunch around noon to avoid queues.
After the obligatory £10 donation to the Air Ambulance, onward we flew towards the gap between Southampton’s and Bournemouth’s empty controlled airspace. Just squawk 7011 and listen, no need to talk. Using the handy “dual watch” facility we eventually picked up Sandown Radio, which was working overtime to deal with excessively detailed calls from those who had chosen to ignore the briefing on brevity. We joined overhead which made slotting into the circuit pattern seamless.
Hint 3: an overhead join is good practice (except where parachuting is taking place). Despite all their imperfections, overhead joins were invented to allow brains to engage before entering the circuit for landing (although in practice it clearly doesn’t work for everyone).
On landing we were marshalled by Gordon to the fuel pump; Gordon and Karen had arrived from Compton Abbas having spent a few days staying with an old friend in Dorchester. After re-fuelling, we paid our landing and parking dues for the overnight stop.
Hint 4: if you need fuel, best to uplift on arrival otherwise you will be “Billy no-mates” on departure.
Having indulged in essential refreshments we retired to our hotel, the Premier Inn adjoining Merrie Gardens. On the way there we met up with the advance camping party of Steve D, Alan and Milton for beers. A computer failure at the hotel meant we got our expensive rooms but little else, other than inconvenience, a big mistake for any business when Gordon is involved but that’s another story.
After a couple of G&Ts in the hotel rooms it was back to the airfield. Aviators were gathering for the rave. The Cheshire contingent bagged one of the new covered banquettes in the outdoor dining area and indulged in exceptional, freshly made, tasty, pizzas. A proficient rock/blues band provided entertainment. An inverse correlation between alcohol intake and Covid rule compliance was proven yet again, but we flow tested when we got home with negative results.
Psychedelic band Firepit fuelled by pizza boxes Evening exit; to avoid charges
Nine Cheshire Flyers graced the table: myself and Tricia, Gordon and Karen, Steve and Shuff, Milton, Garry and Nickie. In an inebriated state we shared our fears and ambitions, resolving all issues and carried the positive outcomes into practice the following day.
Hint 5: CFers will gladly share their experiences provided they are “Brahms.”
Next morning, Gordon, Karen, myself and Tricia enjoyed a superb, gargantuan breakfast at Richie’s amazing diner before taking a taxi to Shanklin for beach, coffee and the historic gorge known as the Chine.
Hint 6: Breakfast is the most important meal in a pilot’s day, don’t skimp.
Leaving Sandown, we headed west for the Needles and Hurst Castle VRP admiring the spectacular views of the Solent before crossing to the mainland for a thermic rock and roll flight back to Wadswick. Against all odds we just made afternoon cream tea before the cafe closed. The remainder of the return flight became smoother as we headed northwards. After packing the aircraft safely away it was round to the Appleton Thorn for beer and a meal outdoors in the sunshine.
Hint 7: Flight planning and timing is critical; check airfield café closing times to avoid missing afternoon tea.
Another successful adventure completed.
Sharon Cox bemoans the unseen force that ripped her iPhone out of her hands
Schlup….. and my phone was gone
I numbly watched the slow-motion clip of my iPhone 8 somersaulting past the aircraft port wing. I heard nothing apart from the slurp of air as my iPhone was sucked out of my hands. I mentally kicked myself, grimacing at the stupid, carelessness of my action. I was dumbfounded by the unexpectedness of what I had just done, and then philosophical as I quickly ran through the practical implications.
OK – it was inconvenient to be sure; I was starting a fly-out and now had lost my comms on the first leg of the weekend trip (20 minutes into the flight). But I was confident (perhaps misguidedly) that my phone was backed up and that photos, and contacts, were in any case accessible from the iCloud. I was very hopeful that I could simply restore all my apps and so on back onto a new phone. I determined that losing my phone was not going to ruin my weekend, even though I would now not be able to take any photos. Whether I would be able to maintain that equilibrium remained to be seen since I am one of those sad people that cannot be more than a half-metre from their phone 24/7. Would I be able to stay sane? I couldn’t help reflecting though.
Phone falls from 2500 feet above the Peak District and survives… nah – the stuff of fantasy surely. My last phone broke when it fell out of my pocket on disembarking my car – about 2 feet to the ground.
Phone falls from an aircraft 2500 feet (amsl) above the Peak District, survives and is repatriated to its owner in just over 24 hours. Nah - impossible to contemplate; one would never imagine that it could potentially happen.
Well…. this girl and her phone are not meant to be parted. Read on.
Our first stop was Sherburn-in-Elmet where I borrowed John’s phone to text home to explain why I wouldn’t be checking in or contactable. My son was cycling in the Peak District so I requested that he be told on his return home so that it didn’t ruin his trip as I knew he’d be exasperated with me and I needed him to research my next phone option in a hurry.
From Sherburn we flew to Fishburn where we ate our packed lunches outside, next to Control, because it was too long to wait for food to be cooked at the busy café, where tables were pre-booked in some cases. Next stop was a fantastic field at Lempitlaw. I had advocated this stop if we couldn’t get into Athey’s Moor, which we had wanted to but there was no answer to the phone calls for PPR so we didn’t risk it. Anyhow, Lempitlaw turned out to be as good as Paul Kiddell’s recommendation had suggested. We met Ewan Brewis, the owner, a flexwing pilot himself, who maintained a great airstrip with a comfortable static caravan affording beautiful views of the airfield and surrounding fields and hills. It is a stunning approach into the field, as was the scenery for all of our weekend trip.
We were all enjoying a chat with Ewan over tea and biscuits in the caravan when John received a text at around 4pm. Amazingly it said something like “The phone has been retrieved and is working”. The enormity of this took a while to sink in. We were all astounded. At that point we didn’t know how it was found or by whom as I didn’t recognise the phone number for the text. Eventually I spoke to my son who explained that some detective work, Apple’s ‘Find my phone’ function combined with Google maps and coordinates, led him to find the location which turned out to be a bit of a walk into the surrounds of a quarry but not far from a footpath. He used his phone to get mine to make a sound so that it could be found, which, I have now learned, can be done when the phone is on silent and locked. This meant that the phone signalled its location and could be retrieved.
Edward had been optimistic that if the phone was reporting its location, then it could potentially be found but it involved 1.5-hour drive back into the Peak District. Second bad decision on my part (first being opening the window on TU and putting my phone in front of it), if my son had known I’d dropped the phone when he was cycling it might have saved him time, but on the other hand he would not have had access to a pc with