Sunday morning cloud chasing

Lovely Sunday winter cloud base … cold but oh so nice

This has to be one of my favourite flights to date …

The forecast was giving a relatively calm morning turning to 20-27 plus in showers … a delayed morning .. doing household bits meant it was going to be tight

Fuelled was there when I pulled out so another delay as I took the opportunity to fill up whilst he was there … as I was one up I could pretty much fill the tank giving me options to dawdle if needed once up

Even though it was quite cold the engine started pretty much first touch, warmed up in around 6-7 mins so I started the mile long taxy aiming to get to 50’ oil temp by the holding point. Dead on 50’ as I applied the brake and power checked and then off. The go pro later showed I was airborne in around 10 mins from startup 

Using runway 08 .. pulled up and right after take off and recreated through 1,000 to not above 2,000 … forecast was BKN at 1,400 .. just what I was hoping .. a chance to top out above clouds BUT not too high for poss icing 

The cloud breakup was just amazing and superb light … a few turns around then through, then bank above and peel away .. then some nice waggles in and around … just amazing fun …

After about 15 mins your feet really start to feel the cold … so it’s time to call for rejoin ! ☃️🛬😎

20-22 Down the runway

So last week .. Saturday was fog so thick you couldn’t see your hand in front of you … commercial stuff was going here there and everywhere .. EXCEPT here ! 

Then Sunday broke … fog gone .. yippee … but .. 15+ down the runway 080 ish 

By that time the pup had been walked it was getting up to 18, 19 but still pretty much down the track .. taxiing would be fun as 08 is a long mile plus taxy to the end of the runway 

Tied off the front harness as I was solo and taxied out … it was now up to around 20 … I used the carb heats for the first time as it as really cold … gave me a really high EGT for some reason .. need to check that .. EGT fine once the carb heat was turned off

Then was asked be ready immediate as they were squeezing me out before a landing Airbus .. handy or I would have to wait a bit … 

Take off was instant .. I don even remember the tail lifting .. she just went straight up like a Harrier ! pushed forward a bit so at least I got some forward movement .. then a slightly early turn to clear the centre line as requested

The first landing was great fun .. pretty choppy over the 08 approach in wind so kept the power on but with the 20+ headwind now she felt almost stationary … I now had a full waiting ‘audience’ of a departing easyJet holding at the threshold … no pressure 

As I cleared the cliff edge I eased back the throttle and took up the Harrier style VTOL approach … almost stopped dead on touchdown …great 😉 

Recent flying with the boys

I haven’t put many posts in recently .. partly due to pretty rubbish weather we have been having down here … thick thick fog and then F8 winds and often .. both together !

But .. been squeezing in the odd nip out here and there when I can … 

Sam does take a great photo … he has a brilliant eye for what would make a good shot …

The shot Sam took .. leaning out at arms length was just after he had flown a beautiful flat circle …wingover to start and around … ended up flying through his own wash .. which he hadn’t experienced before. I remember the first time I did it in the Stampe ..on entry to a loop … you get quite a kick if you come back through.

Roll on the marque getting full aero approval .. I know Paul is pushing as much as he can and I look forward .. well sort of ., to the first loop or slow roll 😊🙃

First time up to 5,000’ in the Sherwood

Time to get a little higher today as the clouds and winds favoured a higher trip.

Jersey ATC kindly cleared my to 1000, then 3000 then 5000 to the Southern training area 

Prepared by wearing my ski gear underneath as around freezing at that level this morning … knew it was going to be pretty cold up there

Descent starts around 5 min 15 in 🛬

Brake service

As part of the extended 50 hour service I have been re greasing all the hinges and checking all fixings 

Part of that check was to clean and check brakes and also re grease the wheel bearings after so many landings 

Jacking the aircraft up has always been interesting ..I am always concerned that I don’t damage something by squashing or bending whentaking the entire weight.

I remember in the barn build days loosely jacking the centre of the undercarriage and taking the centre wheel bolt out … not realising that the geometry of the u/c meant it immediately did a ‘Bambi’ on me and played her legs wide apart ! … moral of the story .. keep the legs braced or tied together if removing a wheel .. or have a grab point around the engine

Display 2018 –

20 minutes before display take off time I was trying to get my new go pro 5 to turn on and into film mode … decided I shouldn’t be distracted so gave up and focussed on getting me and the aircraft ready !

My ‘Box entry’ time had been moved from 1251 to 1245 and confirmed as opening the show. It was also confirmed that my exit time was 1251 .. so would be needing to call “1 min to exit” at 1250.

All pilots had been advised that we had about 3 min leeway in the entire schedule so literally any slippage or late entry or late exit would impact that for all others following .. no pressure …

Following, but actually before, the Red 1 question I had decided to get airborne around 1215 … this would give me delay time on inbounds to get airborne and also any delay time for flying clockwise around the island to join at the ‘designated’ SE corner for ore entry into the display area

Having got airborne and turned towards the North coast I advised that I would prefer to cut across to a holding area nearer the fort at St Helier but remaining low and out of site from the crowd lineI ended up getting there much sooner than I’d planned so was holding for around 25 minutes .. it felt a very long 25 ! Also holding in a nice close but safe orbit was the Piper Pawnee and then a few minutes later .. the big old Antonov biplane … all 3 of us orbiting at below 1000’As the minutes ticked around to 1243 I decided to call – Heading for the display- and break out of the orbit to enter .. Diplay control approved and acknowledged and hopped over the top of Fort Regent at around 800’I had decided not to enter, as last year, at 200’ but instead come in at 800’ ish .. fly to datum point and the pull the throttle … this would make half the people think it was about to plummet .. then enter into 2 (turned out to be 3) tight left hand turns down to 200’ and then power up and pull out of the dive and then a simple wing overThe practice on Wednesday .. albeit coming in from the other way, was ok .. but a bit “loose”in terms of crisp turns. Display day was much better  and pulled out nicely at around 200’ at about 80+ mphThe remainder of the display was fine with some steep and tight turns and a nice very slow pass at around 40 mph or just above.Rememberd this year to call ‘1 minute to completion’ and broke out of the display line to traverse the front a little longer before pulling out and climbing to Norimont point for some steep turns and then downwind to final 

Jersey International Air Display 2018

Well pre practice day on Wednesday proved a challenge .. I need to fly in front of the Squadron Leader Display Authority to be allowed to enter the display. We started the day at BKN at 100 … not a great start .. also several aircraft were still due to arrive …

Eventually it scraped up to SVFR so I thought great .. BKN 600 off we go … but the big chief Les .. a really nice genuine chap advised that we couldn’t authorise in less than certain minima and we needed 1000

At around 1400 local we finally just about managed it and I dashed out, started up and got airborne

ATC routed me straight into the Display area .. but this meant I was coming in from the ‘wrong’ end .. didn’t matter hugely but I had planned a different entry for this year .. to be fair I had only planned it that morning on the way in on the motorbike … the idea was to not enter at 200’ but come in at around 800’ .. pull the throttle .. slow right down at datum point .. centre of display line … peel over and spiral down to 200’ .. picking up speed on the way …

On recovery to land I was held at a couple of points due to inbound traffic but eventually got to Corbiere (lighthouse) to hear someone call ‘Red 1 .. ILS’ .. my heart sank .. it was great to hear they were here but it sounded like, due to the bad weather, they were coming in singly .. which indeed they were ..  a few minutes later .. Red 2 .. ILS … by the time Red 3 called I had sort of worked out I could well be number 11 to land ! ! And it was getting not only cold but the base was now about 900’

As Red 3 dropped out of cloud .. ATC advised me to call final … then advised me they were landing in 2’s and 3’s so no .. I wasn’t number 11 to land 😉

I peeled over to a tight base leg and went IMC for about 10 seconds … not great as I don’t have an Artificial Horizon … popped out of cloud and landed about 1/2 mile behind Red 3 …

That evening, at the Government house reception I had the pleasure of meeting Red 3 who said … “ oh you landed in the small yellow biplane .. right after me … that’s a Sherwood isn’t it ?’ … turns out the Reds are very into their GA and know their aircraft types !

Thursday – Air Display day

Woke up to a text from a friend asking if I was going to be at the Static display at 8.00 … oops better get my finger out

Got to the aero club in double quick time and put the fold away steps in the front cabane along with the Flying helmet and handouts for the static .. I had had around 70 + kids sit in the aeroplane on Wednesday static and Thursday looked like it was heading the same way. Taxied around to stand 19 and parked up next to the Bronco and a couple of lovely old twins

Jumped out and turned her around by hand and the marshalls kindly dropped the fencing and helped pull her onto to the grass parking for static

At around 9:20 we still had around 10 people lined up for photos and a sit in so speeded through to allow me to get away for the 09:30 pilot briefing.

Pilot  briefing ….

we all sat around .. it’s a great ..but nervous .. feeling .. you are sitting with some pretty awesome pilots .. including , in front of me .. 3 Red Arrows pilots including Red 1.

We were all duly briefed on entry procedures into the box, what to say on the display frequency .. what Not to say … basically you have 3 things to call

– Entry into box

– 1 minute to leaving display

– Leaving box

The rest of the time you are expected to be silent …

After weather and a final running order briefing … we were asked by Les our supremo .. any questions ….

Well .. the earth could have opened up for me when the ONLY question was from Red 1 … “Can I ask a question about the Sherwood” ….!!!!

I was first and they were last .. what could he possibly want to ask …?

“Given the Sherwood planned box time .. and his take off time .. we all 9 .. will be on the runway at the same time as the Sherwood as we line up for departure for the Guernsey display”

Fair point … and one I could actually answer .. I had already planned to get airborne a good 30 mins before display box time … that stated .. Red 1 turned and said .. great .. no problem .. phew.. two of the Reds then chatted about the Sherwood and it’s build and bits .. really nice genuine guys

That sorted .. we all disbanded and I set off to do the final static and get ready for the display ….

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