There is a
need for capable freelance instructors in the Lower
Mainland but there's not enough business to support the
few of us that do it full time.
took a week off.
raining outside... The weather is likely to deteriorate
during the next month, but we might be lucky.
Since the last update I flew the following:
Mustang II, Chipmunk, Cessna 150 tailwheel, Cardinal RG, Warrior, Airvan, and Cessna 152.
It was good to get
James off solo... We were airborne early to Pitt Meadows on the
Sunday morning to do five circuits there and off he went for his
He brought the aeroplane back in one piece and so we were able to fly over to Delta Heritage Air Park for breakfast.
His second solo was at Langley where the aeroplane is based. The runways are shorter, narrower, and in the evenings runway 25 is into the setting Sun at this time of the year.
On this day I had a booking in the Cardinal RG at Boundary Bay, but I took it easy and flew the Chipmunk there and back rather than drive the dreaded Number 10 Highway. I covered both Boundary Bay and Langley with ease. Bob Salway is able to cover much more than me as he has a Cessna 140 to shuttle around in.
On Wednesday I
packed two small carry on bags and drove to Boundary Bay to put
the car in the hangar...
The Airvan needed a run, it's a hangar queen these days, and Alice was on her way to pick me up... Just time to give the Airvan a couple of circuits and landings on 12 followed by a full stop on 25. Put it away and drive to CYVR.
Air Transat 275 took off that afternoon to arrive early on Thursday morning at Gatwick Airport. I picked up a hire car, and drove along the familiar roads to Redhill Aerodrome, my old base of operations.
At Redhill Aerodrome there was a hot scone sitting invitingly on the counter of the Pilot's Hub to be consumed with clotted cream, jam, and a decent pot of tea. I scoffed a scone.
Chipmunk G AMUF is still based at Redhill
After tea and a scone I was off to White Waltham, an easy drive around the M25 (often a car park), and down the M4 to junction 8/9.
I organised the repair of this Condor a few years ago; she has just been sold (White Waltham)
Once again on familiar
backroads I took an easy drive to Guildford where Paul was kind
enough to give me a bed at his house.
Friday morning I drove back to White Waltham in the rush hour and was stuck on the approach to the M3 for a while, but not too long. Otherwise it was an easy enough drive.
There are traffic lights, but these tend to be smart, and the road system works very well.
Preflight on Saturday at Bourne Park
On Saturday I
wanted to go to the Chipfest at Sywell but the weather didn't
look good... It was good enough however, overcast and cool, but
we delayed going.
We flew up the Sywell in the Beagle Bulldog to find the Chipmunks (the three that turned up) had already gone to Turweston. They arrived back as we were heading south later on.
Build something historic
Tiger Moth joyrides were happening
Spitfires, Harvards, and Tiger Moths are much more available to be flown these days
Sunday morning I
did a dual check flight in a Cessna 152 with instructor John
Hosking. In two circuits I proved that I was competent to fly
this type of aeroplane.
The aeroplane goes out at £160.20 per hour dual, and £126.04 solo. There's a landing fee of £16, and circuits are £6.
The controller wanted a readback of everything... There's ATIS here now (125.3) and so you call the tower with both the letter and the QNH. Initial call: "Redhill tower this is Cessna 152 Golf Charlie Echo Zulu Mike", "Redhill tower Golf Zulu Mike requests taxy clearance, going to Popham with information Tango, Q N H one zero two zero".
"Redhill Aerodrome Information Tango: runway in use three six, wind variable 2 knots, greater than ten kilometres, 2,500 feet BKN, 1020mb, temperature 19 dewpoint 13..."
Each airfield will issue a squawk code, at Redhill it was 3767, and Shoreham 3763, these are airfield codes not 'discrete' codes, and I suppose they have internet based Radar screens.
I wanted to fly
the Super Cub, and there are Katanas and DA20-C1s available too,
but no one to check me out in these. Insurance requires a
checkout even if you have thousands of hours in these types!
They need instructors at Redhill, it's a busy place. I'll have to wade through the 16 exams, and their expense, and then teach here; there are jobs for me!
There was a Fly-In at
Popham and so Daren (Thai RV9A) and I flew there in the Cessna.
Unlike Canada no-one is shy about grass strips, Redhill is grass,
White Waltham is grass, and Popham is grass among many such
airfields in Britain so if you imposed a Lower Mainland school
regulation here you'd run out of places to go.
There was a NOTAM to the effect there would be a Royal Flight into Farnborough. I talked to Farnborough Radar and routed via Frencham Ponds to the south, and then past Lasham which was very active with high performance sailplanes.
Joined the circuit at Popham and followed an autogyro in. The place was active with a lot of funny aircraft floating around.
We arrived and were presented with a goody bag containing a certificate, 12" ruler, notebook, diary, and two water bottles. We still had to pay a £6.00 landing fee.
There's always something to
see when flying across England... I need another camera, the
Canon G1X is not doing a good job... If I don't manual focus I
get rubbish shots... I'm beginning to hate it.
The dull light didn't help I suppose.
Next stop was Goodwood and a £17.50 landing fee...
Spitfire and Tiger Moth rides
Where to night
We took off and flew along the coast to Shoreham where the landing fee was £31!
We stayed at the
Bridge Inn, £35 per night per room, shared bathroom, but very
good for the price... Across the road was an excellent Indian
It's a habit to talk nit noy pasa Thai between Daren and myself, and there we were doing such and it turned out the people at the next table were Kon Thai... Serendipity, Thai is very much a part of me now.
Monday morning I
taxied to the fuel pumps and angled the aeroplane to make it
easier to fuel both sides, and of course easier to move the
aeroplane quickly away from the pumps in case of fire... But the
fuel bloke gave me shit, "don't stop the aeroplane like that
sir, we don't do that here" in an authoritarian tone... Some
people annoy me.
Nevertheless I pushed the aeroplane back and then oriented it wingtip to pump. Avgas here was £1.73 per litre.
Shoreham and headed east along the seaside to Eastbourne, then up
to pass the Royal Observatory enroute to Headcorn and then back
along the railways line to Redhill.
In anticipation I squawked 3763, called up, but forgot to add "Q N H 1 0 2 2" (26 right, 19/13, Few at 4,900 feet).
It's very relaxed flying here, a transponder is not mandatory, and the radio work is easy when you need to use it.
Landmark at the corner of the Gatwick zone
the Cessna in time for a busy day's schedule we drove up to
It's changed dramatically here with where the flying schools used to be there's a big grey block building like out of a futuristic population control movie... Dark, and imposing, and for bizjets... Biggin is all about business jets, with a bit of training, and Spitfires in the mix.
At Shipping and Airlines they were surprised to see me again. I can rent this Cub for £110 an hour next time
There were two
imposing intimidating gates to negotiate... How do you get in? Am
I authorised? I drove up to the first gate and it swung up... A
light sign illuminated besides the road with the car's licence
plate number! Big brother knows who you are.
Once through I went to the Shipping and Airlines hangar first, and then we drove around to the other side of the airfield where Singh Bamrah still has Falcon Flying Services... He and I did some business in the past, and he was always very decent, and honest. He was pleased to see us.
On Tuesday I went
for a long drive to Middle Wallop to see the Sopwith Pup I used
to fly, then to Old Sarum where I had a ploughman's lunch for
I have not found anywhere expensive for food here, and paid the same as I would pay for food in the Lower Mainland of BC.
From Old Sarum I drove through scenic places and thatched cottages to Compton Abbas aerodrome.
I learned a lot, obtained prices and acquired a sense of the aviation situation in England. It's not too bad, 'seems to be vibrant in spite of the landing fee costs, and it was a pleasure.
Since retirement and declining health is inevitable for me being the wrong side of 60 I had to check out where I might go. I really enjoy the social life, the history, the beautiful countryside, and the flying here. Maybe I'll be able to fly to France again in the future.
There's also a pension, and so I think my old age will be less difficult, lonely, and worrisome.
I went home to Weybridge where I lived for seven years. The Wey Navigation canal is on my street.
Thursday night was
pub night at the Dog and Duck near Redhill Aerodrome... I booked
into a small hotel in Copthorne and drove back to Outwood.
Once upon a time I did professional aerial photography and thirty years ago I presented the Dog and Duck with a 20 x 16 framed picture, it's still there, on the wall besides the loo, and depicts people dining outside in the sunshine with some vintage and classic cars in the car park.
Taken with my Hasselblad, there has been no camera in my life since that produced such a fantastic image.
There are a few examples of such pictures from my Hasselblad, these are pictures of Langley Airport here in BC.
There is still a
lot of me in this part of England.
It was very nice meeting people I knew and flew with in the past, I once made a mark in the British aviation scene...
I look around and I see that I can create something fantastic again if I put my mind to it.
Leaving England, aim to be back in the Spring
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