Apr
11
2010
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Trip to Welshpool and back.

Sunday 11th April 2010 and it was considerably warmer than the last couple of times I’d flown, much to the relief of my passenger Elly. I’d made a couple of plans and we chose Welshpool.

It was a nice sunny day so we departed Kemble around mid-day (yes I dont really do mornings!) and set off via the Severn Bridges spanning the twinkling Severn surface and off up the very picturesque Wye Valley, over on up to Hereford, passed Shobdon airfield, Ludlow and off left keeping a lookout for gliders off Long Mynd before dropping down into the steep valley in which Welshpool airport nestles. (faster aircraft advised to stay high until in the ATZ)

The outbound Kemble > Welshpool (Mid Wales Airport) took us 2hrs 10 flying time.

On arrival we refuelled and then were told we could park right next to the “tower” window which is on the ground floor.  Flexwingers, be aware, this sounds great and you can keep an eye on your machine and no distance to walk and grass to tie down into, BUT, it’s opposite the pumps and they have a few helis in and out refuelling, so tie down well or ask to park elsewhere !

Just beyond the “C” in the photo is the way in. Inside you find the desk to sign in and pay, cant recall, but it was reasonable. There is also a cafe serving standard bacon/sausage butties, breakfasts etc. Just ask if no-one there and they come and serve you. Also a vending machine too. Good views of the runway.

The airfield is nice, well kept, good condition runway and taxiways etc. Two hangars with a mix of aircraft. An air ambulance also is based there…

Air Ambulance at Welshpool

Elly and I went for a wander along the Montgomeryshire canal towards town. It’s probably a 30 min brisk walk all the way into town. The area is beautiful and the fields along the canal were full of lambs.

On the way back my sole cabin crew stewardess / Penelope Pitstop impersonator had her pic snapped as proof of visit…

and we then prepared to depart…

I do like my aircraft’s new accessory.  (The luggage pod, what were you thinking?!).

The return leg took 2hrs 05 and was pleasant until around Gloucester when it became more apparant the surface wind had picked up to a quite gusty crosswind, rather more than perhaps forecast.

Arrival at Kemble was more arrival than landing. Unfortunately I bounced CBLX as a gust dropped in the flare, drifted sideways and contacted again before applying full power and going around.  Second time far better but alas we had done damage.

It transpires I must have used a lot of the shock absorber on the right side and that coupled with the engine being set at a slight angle (to counter torque) thus the spat that side being closer to the prop arc, amazingly amazingly allowed the spat and prop to have a very very brief discussion !  Only long enough for 1 blade to take a bit into the spat top corner, but not for the next 2 blades coming around !

So, that kind of spoilt a fantastic day out !

Such is life.

Anyway, some 8 weeks later after messed up orders and delays from French bank holidays etc, I had a new blade from Arplast.  Also the fabulously talented Mark down at Galaxy Microlight, Wing Farm made my spat look good as new too with fibreglassing and respray.

Thankfully no other damage, all fixings, mounts etc on airframe checked and engine fine too :-)

Paul at Flylight (UK Importers of Air Creation) said he has known it once before but it’s very rare and very unlucky!)

I’ll say! Calculate the time span that spat must have been in the prop arc to only damage 1 blade, very short indeed.

So, visit Welshpool, check the weather, add more wind than forecast and as I am doing now, practice powered approaches lots when you have an aircraft you haven’t flown for that long yet, you might need to be good at them when you get home !


"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,
for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." -- Leonardo da Vinci

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