Friday 24 May 2013 02:26 UTC
Where have you been? What have you seen?
It was barely a fly-in with only two aircraft and three people turning up last weekend. Despite this and the rather unfavourable weather forecast, it was a great weekend of flying and sightseeing.
Iceman flew up in his Commander and The Westmorland Flyer arriving in his immaculate Sportcruiser. With the Robin suffering exhaust fatigue and my Sportcruiser booked by another member, I was without a steed and accompanied Iceman as official tamer of the SkyDemon.
We departed Blackbushe at 11:20 and 11:40 --- yep, twice! As is becoming habitual when I fly with Iceman, the Gremlins had got in; this trip it was the AI which didn't settle until it had been flying so we returned to the 'Bushe to get a stable reference before finally departing en route. Thereafter a pretty smooth flight of around 2 hours 20 minutes of mainly decent VMC with intermittent IMC between the Solway Firth and Bruce at FL45. We broke cloud at around 3500’ at Bruce and followed the coast around to Glenforsa. Just as we arrived over the Sound of Mull, the inevitable happened --- it started drizzling.
On shutting down, we heard a strange warbling sound from under the pile of stuff on the back seats which turned out to be Iceman's new phone (he hadn’t yet worked out how to switch it off!) --- it was TWF calling to say he was about to start from Carlisle. Ice and I retired to the bar to wait for him.
Saturday started wet and we decided that Iceman, who always brings rain when he goes north, ought really to be called Rainman. However, as we could still see the hills at the North end of the sound and the clouds were reasonably high and broken we decided to stick with Plan A which was to visit the beach airfields at Barra and Sollas in the Outer Hebrides. TWF elected to join us in the Commander since he didn’t fancy scud-running for 60-odd miles over the sea if the weather deteriorated. In fact, it improved to the west of Mull and we had sunshine and a brisk north-easterly at Barra.
Iceman did a low overflight to get the layout of the airport followed by a tight 180 onto final for 07. The sand was smooth and mainly dry near to the threshold so the landing itself was a non-event. We parked a little way behind the only other aircraft there --- a FlyBe Twin Otter which provides a regular shuttle run between Glasgow, Barra and Benbecula.
The obligatory photos having been taken, we were escorted off the beach by an amiable security man who, nevertheless, informed us that the the dreaded Hi Viz was obligatory and offered to lend us some yellow jackets (not needed in the event). He let us into the Tower so that we could pay and chat with the FISO. While we were there, the FlyBe Twin otter departed, getting into the air within about 100m. The FISO told us that in a real wind, it could become airborne in less than 40m. Mind you, a ‘real wind’ in that area is a gale or more to us southerners and most of our aircraft would be going backwards in those conditions.
After tea (and cake for Iceman), we headed northwards past South Uist and Benbecula to Sollas beach for the LAA fly-in. This time there was no formality, just the organiser, John McLeod, advising us to land north of the windsock which gave us another into-wind landing. The beach here was very smooth as well, though the parking area was a bit wet. An extremely well-travelled Cessna was there when we arrived and a nicely-finished RV4 arrived a few minutes later. John had set up a shelter of tarpaulins over a frame in which he was barbecuing hamburgers and sausages to refresh the visitors.
Next stop was Stornoway to wash the sand and salt off and for a splash of fuel before returning to Glenforsa. Apparently it has been as dry there as it has been wet darn sarf and they hadn’t seen any rain for weeks. Even Iceman couldn’t change that in the hour or so we were there.
A leisurely start on Sunday morning. A trip into Tobermory for coffee, a walk to the lighthouse and lunch. We returned to the airfield mid afternoon and after settling the landing fees John set off for Carlisle while Iceman and I did the short hop over to Oban for fuel before setting off south at around 17:20 local. Bright evening sun showed the best of the scenery, but made photography difficult from the RH seat.
A very quiet trip back to the Bushe --- smooth air and almost no-one else in the sky for the whole trip. Photo’s in due course when I’ve had time to download and sort them.
As ever, a great trip with good flying on all three days. So much so that another Glenforsa fly-in is being planned for September.
It was a great trip. Thanks to Edward for the write up and to Iceman for organising it.
Over dinner and the inevitable postprandial indulgence in the Glenforsa Hotel's well stocked top shelf we mused on the fact that so few southern UK-based flyers ever seem to venture onto the Northern England chart, let alone the Scottish chart.
It would be really great to see more of you for the September trip. The reward, apart from our scintillating company, is some of the most spectacular flying country in the UK, if not the world.
A Glenforsa trip is top of my to-do list!
The dates never seem to suit me, but one day......
Guaranteed 100% iFree
Quite possibly sent from my Nexus 7 which cost 400 quid less than your iPad.
Capitalisation is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse
A mere distraction for a tamer of SkyDemons, surely?
Indeed, a mere bagatelle! But distracting nevertheless. I started reviewing the photos and video clips last night but didn't get very far.
Link to Picasaweb albums of this year's trip:
https://picasaweb.google.com/1067257306 ... chLAAFlyIn
https://picasaweb.google.com/1067257306 ... 6/FairIsle
https://picasaweb.google.com/1067257306 ... 5356/Foula
Last edited by Remosflyer on Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Confirm that there is a problem with the links. Perhaps you have to be logged on to the owning account for the link to work? It would be nice to see the pics; can you find a generic link that works for everyone? Thanks!
Ahha, the pic links are working for me too, now. Excellent photos, thanks.
Wow. Much better pics than mine.
You really had the weather for it. Although the weather was fine in the outer islands when we were there, the sunshine was a bit fickle and my pictures came out much flatter. I'll select a few and post them for comparison...
Here are a few photos. I was using a movie camera to take stills and hadn't got the instructions to hand so the quality is variable:
At Bruce on the way north
Sollas Beach landing strip
North out of Sollas
An interesting trip despite the frequent overcast. In the sunshine (and especially if looking away from the "sun") the scenery is stunning from the air --- but, of course, flying with Iceman means that such conditions are a rarity.
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