Thursday 23 May 2013 21:38 UTC
Where have you been? What have you seen?
This report is submitted on behalf of AerBabe and myself. We take great pride in representing you all as we take part in this prestigious aviation event. It would not be an exaggeration to describe today's conditions as challenging... The challenge being just what to have for lunch, or our next drink, as we sit out the English summer here in sunny Barton. A number of intrepid participants did venture forth earlier, but soon returned, looking somewhat sheepish However, all is not lost. As we compose this report for you, there is a prob 40 chance of an opening to make a southward dash through the low level route into the heart of England with our two highly advanced machines.
Watch this space for further reports of our intrepid adventures.
Report submitted under the supervision of AerBabe (Punctuation Polizei)
Engurlish levul 6 profishent
We're bringing you this update from the Red Lion Inn, Bobbington. Just a few miles from H'penny Green. There are quite a few empty pint glasses on our table...
The weather eventually cleared enough to the south of Barton to allow all but one of the teams to escape. I think the solo flexwing pilot who stayed behind was quite low hours - he made a very sensible decision and I hope he doesn't feel bad at being left behind.
Both our teams had hoped to collect the Malvern waypoint before going to H'penny Green for an overnight stop. But the weather really wasn't good enough, with low cloud and rain. We soon decided to just cross our fingers and hope we'd make it to H'penny Green. There were lots of discussions about possible diversion options.
My team arrived just a few minutes after anglianav8r's. Just as we tied down the Blade it ... I believe the technical term is 'pi55ed' down.
We're now comparing tales of derring do and gazing wistfully at the glorious flying evening. Let's hope tomorrow allows us to pick up some more points.
Another day, another airfield cafe.
Grateful to have the editing powers of AerBabe at my disposal, under whose supervision this report is compiled.
AerBabe is 'designated responsible adult' for the day
On the bright side, my fears of the crew developing scurvy on long sectors has proved to be unfounded. Cos we aint done none. [AB: "innit"]
Engurlish levul 6 profishent
The joys of aviation.
My first Glenforsa (non) trip - flew to Belfast City, bus trip to Enniskillen to join a friend, and spent the next three days at the airport looking at the low cloud base............
Suiting the action to the words
Well, that was fun (I think?).
Wolverhampton were generous hosts and I will report on that in the general forums. Both aircraft finally got away from Wolverhampton at about 0845 on Saturday morning, having stayed firmly on the ground all day Friday. To describe the conditions as 'sporty' would not really suffice and I hadn't been airborne very long before I curtailed my grand plan for the day. Having intended to hoover up nine waypoints, I cut out the first two. Turweston were most helpful when I called in for fuel. The wind felt ferocioous as I made an off centreline approach to get around the farmhouse on short final to RWY27(Grass). The landing was described as "a goodun" but my approach looked like I was "coming down a flight of stairs" as I resisted natures attempts to throw me into the adjacent woods and fields. After quenching our thirst and fuelling our starship, we set off for the last four waypoints which took us as far as Southam VRP. Then it was the long haul northwards between the Birmingham and East Mids zones and through the low level corridor to Barton Upon Manchester Ship Canal Int'l.
The spotters at the tower were loving the entertainment as various machines, large & small, danced about on finals endeavouring to return to earth in a tidy manner. Yours truly was pleased with a very smooth landing until a gust threw him up about 10' the second landing was, I'm relieved to say, uneventful. We didn't fly as much or as far as originally intended and funds intended for fuel were used in hotel bars instead But it has been the most rewarding flying I've done ........So far. I shall leave it to AerBabe to report on her escapades on the final day. Suffice to say that their award was thoroughly well earned. However, I have to report that she was not particularly effective as 'designated responsible adult'
Engurlish levul 6 profishent
Thank you, RB!
Starting to recover and will post a full PIREP and pics soon.
Why? What did/n't I do?! Apart from getting temporarily unsure of position trying to go from my hotel room to the bar.
Being a gentleman, discretion is my watchword. 'nuf said
Looking forward to your report. I had an 'interesting' time at Sywell on Sunday and they were telling us about your antics on Saturday, but I wont steal your thunder
Can you email the photos, ta muchly
Engurlish levul 6 profishent
With apologies for the delay... and starting with our view of Halfpenny Green on Thursday evening. Never had runway lights been so welcoming!
And a couple of gratuitous shots from the Friday. Don't let me be bored with a camera!
anglianav8r's mighty steed
Police helicopter EC135.
Our plan on Saturday was similar to anglianav8r's. Get as many waypoints as quickly as possible, get in to Barton with our GPS logger before the competition ended (there were penalties for being late), and get home while we still could. It didn't quite happen like that.
Our first leg went well. We got out of Halfpenny Green and headed south towards the Malvern Hills. There was a significant headwind, but the cloud was high and it wasn't raining. We found British Camp with no problems and notched up our first waypoint of the day.
We then picked up another six waypoints (I think - I don't have the charts), including Southam Cement Works, the Daventry VOR, and Enstone Airfield before heading to Sywell to refuel. While the strong winds meant quite significant turbulence in the air, as anglianav8r alluded to earlier, it was on the ground that the problems started.
We parked for fuel and as we got out of the Blade, the gusty wind got under the wing and tried to get the machine airborne again without us. I was hanging on as tight as I could, but I was no match for the wind. Thankfully, another team had landed right after us and they came running over just in the nick of time.
Fuel in, we got the Blade into the lee of the buildings and tied down firmly enough that we could take it in turns to refuel ourselves. A quick check of the met revealed no change in the forecast winds, but it was the ground that was the problem, not the air and we were confident we could get back to Barton. I commandeered a fireman and a passing stranger to hold onto the wing for us while we got back in and we headed off.
Unfortunately, about a third of the way back to Barton, we suffered a comms failure. We weren't far from Tatenhill and Guy signalled he was going to land there. Our initial reception was frosty, to say the least. There isn't room in a Blade for a full airfield guide and we didn't know they don't take flexwings or non-radio aircraft. Without a radio, we couldn't check! Apart from the one rather unpleasant individual, everyone else was lovely, if a little bemused by our presence. The fault was traced to a loose connection and Guy stuck an adapter in his pocket to make an intercom. If the loose connection were to fail again, at least we could talk to each other - pretty sensible, given the conditions. It turned out we were to be glad of the precaution, but that relief would be short lived.
Back in the air we had time to calculate our ETA at Barton. We knew our diversion had made us late and we were going to miss the deadline by 30 minutes. Neither of us could remember the penalties, though we recalled they were pretty heavy. It was half way through this discussion that the radio failed again. I took the controls while Guy fixed us up with the intercom. That lasted only a few minutes more. We later realised it was the internal batteries in the headsets that had ultimately failed us.
The rest of our flight back to Barton was thankfully uneventful, apart from a slightly sporty landing. On the ground and out of the aircraft, Guy said "I really don't want to fly again today". "Thank #£&%" I replied.
Anyway, after the scores had been calculated, it turned out that we were the third highest scoring team not using GPS. And the highest non-GPS flexwing.
I've posted some more pics from the competition and our practice flights here, but I'll sign off with these two.
Shell shocked prize winners
Gratuitous arty shot of the Blade wing
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