Mission NPPL – 2nd Cross Country Flight Completed

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During the recent hot spell we’ve been having I haven’t gone flying very much. Enclosed cockpits with rudimentary window ventilators get a little cosy on hot summer days – too cosy for my liking. And, as anyone who has done their HPL exam will know, getting too hot and sweaty while trying to focus on something that requires total attention is not the best recipe for safe flying.

Anyway, July 8th was a little cooler than previous days, and despite having done some preliminary planning to go to Croft Farm (near Defford, Worcestershire), I was half in mind to just spend a little time with my instructor consolidating precautionary landings, and some other areas that needed brushing up.

There was a weak warm front approaching the south coast, and despite my chicken little approach to bad weather, I was persuaded it wouldn’t spoil the conditions in the midlands for a good few hours. So, with my full english breakfast rolling about my already nervous stomach I set about completing the flight log for the route. Croft Farm is PPR (Prior Permission Required) only, so I gave them a ring, and booked in my arrival, allowing myself 45 minutes. Then, armed with my cross country ticket, I topped up the fuel tank, and set off. It was a great flight, and although it still got nice and warm, I coped fine. Croft Farm, like so many farm strips, completely vanished from my view on downwind, and I only managed to re-aquire it once I was on base. After a bit of side slipping, I got things nicely set up for landing on 27, and managed to get her down, and off at the halfway point.

I had my eyes peeled on the return flight as a Chinook passed to the east of the field travelling north-south at low level a couple of minutes before I took off. Must have just been the one as I didn’t get mashed to a pulp! The return flight was pretty uneventful, and thanks to a few knots of tailwind, also a few minutes quicker – although it was more bumpy due to the increased mid-day thermal activity. Before I knew it I was back on home turf, and landing on RWY28 at Halfpenny Green.

The icing on the cake was that the following day I passed my Meteorology exam, so now all I have to do is one more hour of solo flying, and polish up my skills with some mock exam flights, and then do my GST (General Safety Test). Beer and curry was consumed, and a lockyears farm strip guide ordered to start planning some more missions into the wilderness.

It’s not over ’till the full bodied lady sings, as they say, but I still marvel at how I got this far. Again, a huge thanks to Les, my instructor, and Steve Wilkes at hadair.co.uk for the use of his Ikarus C42 microlight.

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