I wrote to the LAA sometime ago requesting that I be allowed, offering my 80 plus hours in the Stampe SV4 and around 12 on the Chipmunk (ex Air Atlantique – Mike Collette – local Jersey resident)
The LAA quite rightly asked how ‘recent’ my time was and on checking it’s over 7 years ago … I know it all comes back very quickly .. BUT I do t want it coming back during my FIRST take off roll !
I called Paul at TLAC and he kindly arranged for Howard (Barbour) instructor, to sit with me through some circuit bashing. Three dates came and went as the weather earlier this year confounded every attempt. Then, in April we finally cracked it .. The grass strip was waterlogged on the Thursday but dried ok for the Friday BUT we then had around 20m viz and a base of about the same !
On driving up to Little Snoring you just felt it would lift … And sure enough by 10 am it did to reveal lovely fluffy white clouds
Howard kindly let me do it all from the P1 seat and we took off a lovely grass strip in G-TLAC for some initial upper air work. Such a benign stall … Then back into the circuit for some classic lovely tight right base approaches … What an unbelievable wonderful fantastic aircraft this is to fly … You strap the ‘plane onto you ! not you into it ! you just think of the turn and she goes …. My second approach below
The first approach takes your breath away .. Then you get into the groove and happily wing over and roll her out into a very short final .. Flaring out for my second attempt and so so close to 3 pointer … Then I got slightly excited and pushed a little too far forward on lifting the tail on take off .. Howard gently reminded me of the angle I should be looking for …
We had around an hour then landed for a breather then up again … Normal circuits in Jersey involve longish straight in approaches so we tried a couple of those which makes you realise that seeing over the nose is tricky so you side slip … We tried a couple of long ones of these with a nice little kick straight at the bottom of the roundout …decide I hate long straight in and prefer the much sportier tighter approaches !!
After some amazing approaches Howard ‘kindly’ chopped the engine and said “power failure” .. Cheers mate !! I hauled her around and kept the nose down to keep the speed up but it was going to be tight …. Landed part on the taxiway and part on the grass strip … Nice and gentle .. Howard advised I could have pulled harder and she would have carried in turning to make the taxiway !
Howard then left but Paul was happy for me to do a few more with my son Sam who quite rightly had a go … Loved the responsiveness !
LAA have indicated that this will be fine for allowing me to test fly her out of Jersey… Happy days