Fly-In Picnic

It's Wednesday morning and cool outside. Rain is expected this afternoon, and for the next week it is forecast to be cool with occasional lawn watering periods. England's green maintenance system.
As pilots we learn about the weather, but I never believe forecasts to be accurate; in my opinion you look outside and if it's flyable go flying! If you are aiming to go somewhere, then check the weather along your route, I prefer an "Actual" to a forecast; check the metars and pireps.
Regardless, it seems the glorious weather we have had for weeks until yesterday is at an end for a while.




As the lockdown eases and social distance meetings become socially acceptable it's good to see fellow aviators.

Isolation and social distancing have their impacts on people's minds, and no less mine.
Here in England people are very social, and I am thankful that there are friendly neighbours who are good for a chat at social distance. In this respect I am glad I am not in Canada.
When I lived in Langley there was much to complain about... People kept their social distance; the town had plenty of smokers and sad people. But Langley also had good restaurants, and a friendly coffee shop run by a Chinese family. One could go to Starbucks or to Tim Hortons, but I preferred to go to Mc Burney's Coffee and Tea House for a more social experience.
Of course Ban Chok Dee Thai Restaurant in Langley was a favourite place for me to be too.
Pubs in Langley? No, nothing worth bothering with.
Langley through to Vancouver has a few places to go, but for the solo person few of these are social where you can strike up a conversation with an open person.
Most local people are transitory, and they are intent on working to afford the high cost of living. I think this focus causes them to be cool. There's a prescribed level of conversation that people who are strangers are careful to comply with.
Friendly yes, but a local person will not let you get through to the heart of their personality, they must comply with social rules of expectation.
I was very lonely in Langley, I was very lonely in Ladner, and I thought back to those days in Redhill, England, when people would drop by the house for tea; I had many friends here in England and I still do.
When we set up Sea Land Air Flight Centre at Boundary Bay Airport I made it into a British Flying Club/School and made it a very social place to be. There was tea and coffee and biscuits, and I had people from the other flight schools around from time to time It was a venue for social interaction as well as being a friendly flying school with modern training aeroplanes (Diamonds). But there's only so much I could do in the BC social culture.

On the other side, BC has not had the lockdown we have had here and people continued to fly there, though being able to fly throughout does not mean I would be able to earn some money instructing.
On the other hand I would have been able to get up to $9,000 from the Federal and Provincial governments. Here in England I'm entitled to nothing!
So I watch my funds diminish... The plan was to sort my UK pension out, due on my 66th birthday... I now learn I could have claimed this in March...
So I go on the government website, and it requires you to go to a third party website to verify your identity. These companies do credit scoring.
I chose the Post Office, and this took several goes including downloading an application to my phone which scanned my passport, read its chip, and did facial recognition. Finally it verified who I am... But still when applied to the government website my identity cannot be verified... I will only take a certain amount of stress, and so I put it off until another day, tackle it again when my mood is better.
Some of the problem appears to be a lack of a credit rating for me here in England. I have had this problem before. Everyone needs a credit card, a loan, or a mortgage; totally against the idea of only spending what you have.
There are many problems with this Covid 19 crisis for everyone... I sent messages to the Post Office and to the Gov website with standard replies... The phone number is not active... Much is stopped and suspended while staff are furloughed, and self isolating. All stop!

At Popham I wandered around the temporary plastic covered hangars and met a chap with an RV4... We were having a chat about it until the chap I was talking to asked me if I was me! After thirty odd years facial recognition is not so easy, and for me in particular I have flown with so many people I do not often recognise someone from the distant past. Gavin didn't recognise me, but he did recognise my voice!
Often it has been drilled into the pilot's brain, Michael saying "Ball in the middle" or something!
In Gavin's case I had recently come across his name in my logbook before I met him last week, I was teaching him aerobatics in the Slingsby T67A in 1985... Another coincidence?
I think for many pilots such experiences remain in their memories, as with the training I have taken from instructors in the past. But for the instructor, teaching many pilots, the memory of specific people becomes a blur. The more thousands of hours you have, the more thousands of people you have flown with.


England is very green, like a park, and beautiful to fly over on a summer's day. 26th May.


We go on a fly-out to fly-in

At the beginning of this century I was teaching at the Professional Flight Centre, Boundary Bay Airport, and in typical Michael fashion, I made the tea for many, and supplied the biscuits.
I also organised group fly-outs taking aeroplanes from several schools and going somewhere. It was good and social, but it did not last.
Here in England social gatherings of like minded people are more stable, a part of the culture, and so the fly-outs and fly-ins of various groups of people continue.
Goodwood Aerodrome has its Tuesday Club where its members go on fly outs every Tuesday and so on the 26th May they decided to go to Charlton Park, the Earl of Suffolk's estate in Wiltshire.
I decided to join them by flying the Katana from Popham. This aeroplane is available for rental courtesy of Airbourne Aviation at a reasonable rate.

Covid rules meant I had to wear a mask and sweaty rubber gloves while inside the cockpit, and the cockpit is sterilised between flights... I also had to fly alone as there's nobody living with me.

Like eating, flying is essential for the aviator, you have to keep your hand in, and if you let it go a while it can be awkward and expensive to get back to where you once were.
I have done my three landings, and so I am good for the next 90 days from when I flew the Warrior a couple of weeks ago. Of course since only solo flying is allowed for me at the moment, I am not carrying passengers.


I took sandwiches and cake to share. I had a bottle of lemon squash as it was a hot day.

Flying is much more expansive here with so many airfields and even countries within easy reach of a light aircraft. It's a lot of variety compare to the Vancouver area, but then flying in BC is spectacular.
I am very fortunate to have been able to do both, and then there's flying in Thailand too.


The landing fee is worth it to keep a beautiful place well tended, mown, and available.

Meanwhile in Guildford


Bicycle rides are never boring, there's so much to see, and people are very pleasant.


The Germans threatened to drive tanks all over the English countryside at one time.


Yum Yum; 'put back the calories I have just ridden away.

It is so important to stay fit, especially in these stressful times.
As alluded to above I know when to let go of something when the stress reaches my limit, as in the frustration with the Post Office verification troubles... A walk or a bicycle ride resets my brain, and reminds me that there is a life worth seeing outside the walls of the house.
I repaired a slow leak in the front tyre tube of the bicycle, and I have a spare tube together with a bicycle spanner in case of a future puncture.
Guildford is brilliant for bicycle rides and walks, there are so many open spaces, parks, and the countryside as well. There is so much to discover.

Last week I completed a second proof read, correction, and edit suggestions for part 2 of a friends' novel.
Yesterday I received the whole novel: parts 1 and 2 together, to do a final review, and this should be easier to do with the weather we are due.
So I will post this update now, and get on with the job.

Stay healthy

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