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Fly UK Summary

Well, what a week to do fly uk!

The weather had been very challenging all around the UK. It’s fair to say the bravest most experienced and maybe those most inclined to press on low level and get places for the challenge had done well and got way up to the top of Scotland.

It seems where one started made quite a difference. G-BYFFs Mark and Alan had elected to head North first but got stuck at Manchester before heading South again.

We headed to Devon and Cornwall first getting stuck at Bodmin !

Many crews gave up early, some never started.

The thing about Fly-UK is you fly to your own level, do what you are happy with, but most importantly find time for fun and socialising too. You always have the support of other pilots and often instructors too. Considering it? Go for it. It will massively boost your confidence in a week if you are a fairly new pilot to cross country flying.

For Elly and I and G-CBLX “Red Sparrow” Fly UK 2011 turned out to be Fly South West  and the Isle of Wight !

It was great to fly with Mark, Alan, Mike, John, Myron and all, great to meet the other pilots we enjoyed a night out with in Bodmin, fantastic to experience the ever humbling kindness, accommodation, assistance and community spirited welcomes from locals at Bodmin, Halwell, Sandown. many thanks to all we met.

Elly and I will be back on Fly UK another year for sure, maybe in another aircraft, watch this space !

Finally, a mention to Tom Dawson, the organiser of FlyUk every year. Well done, thank you, see you again.

Written by in: Fly-UK,Latest Flights |

Halwell to Sandown, Isle Of Wight

We arrived at Sandown on the Isle Of Wight around 1520hrs on 24th June after a 2 hour flight along the south coast.

The weather had been quite windy and we’d caught the edge of a few showers en route. Hugging the coastline we could see that conditions inland we’re far worse, however as we neared the island things we’re improving, apart from the wind.

It was definitely gusty and strong and called for a powered landing and rapid tying down of the wing.

G-BYFF and Juliet Tango we’re already there and we made plans for staying the night.

Many thanks go to John of Specialist Flying School who allowed BYFF and CBLX into his brand new hangar for the night.

Alan and Mark kipped in the hangar but Elly and I we’re treated to a room he lets to course students normally. Aaah hot shower and a bed :-) But first we all wandered down into Sandown and found an excellent sea front pub for some food.

It was also the week of the “Island Games” which meant town was brimming with teams from islands all around the globe.

The next morning was …

… visibility challenged shall we say. That is the view towards the runway.

So, Elly and I enjoyed a day on the pier and had lunch with Mike and his co-pilot ?  Mike needed to get home so was watching weather all day and finally got a brief window and escaped late afternoon.

Next morning the weather reports were looking better but it still started foggy. The only thing flying was a model plane!

John did some essential airfield maintenance and mowed a classic, model sized, 3 runway airfield into the taxiway with his mower !

so we sat and enjoyed the sun as it finally started breaking through, eat copious amounts of food provided by the excellent airfield cafe and chatted flying !

My lovely other half Elly enjoying the sun, cake and tea :-)


Finally, having heard radio reports from aircraft overhead saying it was bright clear and sunny a couple of miles down the island and over the mainland we started making plans to get away.

First off was G-BYFF disappearing briefly into the haze climbing towards a thinning ever bluer patch reporting it was only about a 100feet thick and you popped into clear air.

Half an hour later and it was burnt off and so Elly and I bid farewell and departed Sandown at 1610hrs.

The sea fog was very localised !

Nice shots Elly, and one more crossing to the mainland…

It was a great sunny flight home which took 1hr 50 minutes landing at Kemble at 1800 hours.



Written by in: Fly-UK,Latest Flights |

Halwell, Devon

Friday June 24th 2011 -

We arrived at Halwell airfield in Devon around 11am, a nice grass runway airstrip with a series of low hangars and a little clubroom for tea/coffee and well earnt biscuits :-)

The locals (South Hams Flying Club) were extremely welcoming and put themselves out running ourselves and crews from various other aircraft up and down to the local garage for mogas.

Alan and Mark arrived in G-BYFF too.

Sorry, no pics from Halwell.

Refuelled we prepared to depart to Sandown on the Isle of Wight.

Written by in: Fly-UK,Latest Flights |

Fly UK – Bodmin to Roche via Lands End

We last left you with the news we were weathered in at Bodmin for another day ! Since then mobile signals and internet connections have been rarer, so please forgive the delay.

It’s now the Wednesday evening following our return to Kemble on Sunday, here is the rest of our Fly-UK story.

Despite being stuck in Bodmin we had a great time there. The club members, the airfield management (Mark) and Michelle (catering) made us most welcome and helped in many ways. For example hangerage was provided, lifts into town, lifts for picking up a can or two of fuel, breakfast stuff left out in the kitchen for us etc etc.
Wednesday night we enjoyed a meal with some of the founder members of the club and enjoyed many tales of foreign flying tours and amusing scrapes.

On Thursday we were joined late afternoon by 2 other aircraft from our home base of Kemble. The weather had improved enabling them to get down and join us having had a rough time in North Wales.
G-KEJY piloted by my old instructor Mike Oakley with trainee pilot Steve and G-???? Phil Shepherd in his Sports Cruiser. Phil had just fancied popping down to say hi and didn’t stay much longer than the time taken to have a cup of tea and buy a dozen eggs. Pardon? Yes, buy a dozen eggs, from an enterprising and hot pants clad local girl who had wandered by to seek the position of egg supplier to the airfield kitchen ! Apparently the eggs made it back to the Cotswolds in one piece too.

G-KEJY and ourselves decided that as the weather had calmed and it was still early that we could depart, fly around Lands End and return to Roche airfield , which is only a couple of miles from Bodmin !
We also heard another microlight was coming, a Sky Ranger Golf -Juliet Tango. So we left a note for them.

We had a fantastic flight, blue sky, few clouds, evening sun. Our route took us out to the North coast near Perranporth, over Portreath and down towards Lands End then we crossed over and returned via the South Coast. Our ground speed on the way down was only about 40mph but on the way back around 75 at times, yep still windy aloft!

Roche is a great little airfield, basically a great big hay field with three very tidy runways mown into it, a few small individual hangars, a static caravan and a toilet with a double glazed front door !
We landed around 9pm. threw up the tent and dashed to the pub missing food, but fortunately we’d eaten at lunch time so a snack from the garage en route sufficed.
Steve and Myron from Golf-Juliet Tango based at Gloucester’s Over Farm airstrip joined us and we had a good natter over a few beers.

Roche was Ellys 2nd ever night camping under canvas ! I dont think she relished it much but we slept ok. I think FlyUK and the enforced 60mph fresh air consumption had worn us out by then.

We awoke to a lovely sunny morning…


Ian often finds it a herculian effort getting out of bed but took things a step further that morning… (cheers for the pic Mike)


A cereal bar and half bottle of water later and we taxied down the airfield to be as near to the road as possible and walked to the garage for a can of fuel, twice :-(


Having fuelled up we departed into the crisp morning air en route for Halwell, just inland from Torbay in Devon.

I meant to ask them how they make it so creamy, but sorry, I forgot.

Written by in: Fly-UK,Latest Flights |

Failed escape, weather turn back.

Ok, time for an update.

Well, 8 aircrew from 5 aircraft made it to Bodmin. It seems 4 other aircraft went into Perranporth but due to closing time got stuck there so didn’t get to Bodmin. We too had intended to do Perranporth for fuel then fly around lands end and back up to Bodmin. However 20+ knots headwind on the way down from Dunkeswell meant we wouldn’t make Perranporth before close so Bodmin it was.

So, we had 1x CTSW, 1x Rans, 1x SportCruiser, 1x Jabiru and us the lone Flexwing !

So, we all went to ex Bodmin Jail restaurant for an evening meal and tales and had a great time.
5 of us kipped on the club room floor with access to the bar / kitchen too. Club very very welcoming.
3 kipped in tents.

At 5am Irish Frank bounced in waking us all. Forecasts showed low cloud and rain would be steaming in from the SW so by 0630 3 had left ! We set off at 0725 leaving just Keith with his Rans.

Well, we were heading for Eaglescott, initially we were between few clouds at 500 feet and broken clouds at 2000ft, after 20 miles that was becoming scatterred at 500 and overcast at 1500ft, mmmm not much gap!
We met a hot air balloon around Launceston which seemed to be descending to land. The view was great with brightly lit fluffy clouds below us and sunlight glinting off the Roadford lake reservoir ahead NW of Launceston. We were about 20 miles into the 40ish to Eaglescott.
5 miles on things were getting worse. The cloud was building rapidly ahead coming in from the NW coast and about 2 miles beyond the reservoir we faced a solid cloudbase below us, we descended in turns to find it was at about 500 feet above ground. My charts showed ground rising a further 400 feet on our planned track!

Overcast at 500 feet AMSL - ahead on our track to Eaglescott

To the West the coast was obscured by cloud, the East was clearer over Dartmoor but cloud was building and it was 15 miles off track to et there plus maybe a 50 mile total detour. If we got to Eaglescott and couldn’t land our endurance would then be too limited for comfort, plus if course Dartmoor has high ground and very limited landing options if needed.
The only safe bet was return Bodmin.

We’d been keeping an eye behind in case it was filling in and it had been ok, so we turned back and pulling the bar in pulled on 65mph ! (I know we’re slow!) . We’d heard Keith take off and then land again so wondered if he’d seen cloud worse between us. I was a little worried. Calling Bodmin Radio got no response as it was too early to be manned.

Cloud was higher toward Bodmin but I noted some good landing out options N of the Bodmin moor and we had about 500 feet to zip through before the ground dropped away 400feet into Bodmin airfield.

I was happy to be down, but also happy that when for the first time weather had been a challenge, my training had kept me cool, assisted my assessments and informed my options. I had not made a daft, gung ho or pressured call. It was simple, return to Bodmin, if that was not doable, land in a field close to A30 or worst case a pan call to Plymouth approach for Vectors to them.

Back at Bodmin it closed in overcast about an hour later and rained.
Low cloud all day.
Keith had been concerned with low mag drop, lower revs on climb out. So landed again to be safe.

We spent Monday doing the Courthouse Experience and then Bodmin Jail both were very interesting.

Historically trials were far from proper and minor misdemeanour’s recieved harsh sentences. Pilots beware !

Life for Conspiring to Avoid A Landing Fee

Life for Avoidance of Landing Fee








We treated ourselves to a B&B (well we’d saved a lot on fuel!) and had a good sleep.

Tuesday, today started with cloud 20feet over the b&b but it lifted alas to 20 gusting 28 knot wind. We are happily in the hangar here now.
Club members have been very very helpful offering lifts to town and petrol station etc.

Maybe we shall escape tommorrow.
Those fixed wings aircraft at Perranporth did make Swansea today. A gyro did pass through here briefly too and did lands end.
Those who headed N have done well, some making Lamb Holm in the Orkneys, although they’ve got wet and flown rather low at times !
Alan and Mark in BYFF got winded in at Barton then today at Caernarvon.

It’s not a great week for fly uk!


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