Another fun day to fly with variable and gusty wind and some light rain too!
Today was too windy to go solo and we were back on my least favourite runway used so far 21 (see previously posted the curse of the trees here ). Today’s lesson was mainly about leaving and rejoining the circuit, after taking off on 21 we climbed to 1,300ft, about 200ft below the cloud base and then turned towards Ely which we could see in the distance. I flew out to the drains and then turned through 180 degrees and came back towards Chatteris airfield, I knew it was ahead of me, but I could not see it at first. As we approached it Mike asked how I planned to rejoin the circuit for 21, my plan was to fly to the left and then come around and join on downwind, Mike had a better idea carry straight on and join on base leg, so long as I was down to circuit height before joining. I throttled back to 3,000 rpm and descended to 700ft, there was a lot of turbulence probably the most I have experienced in the microlight to date, I made the radio call to say we were joining base leg and proceeded to land. My approach was a little low so I added more power and came in well clear of the trees, in fact to high and a I rounded out to high also, so power on and around we went. We just flew the circuit this time and my landing was better, but not good so around we went again and this time it was acceptable. After climbing back up to 1,300ft we headed towards Ely once more and then back to the airfield, the weather was getting worse now with stronger gusts! I spotted the airfield a little sooner this time and flew us back for a touch and go, the approach was quite good this time as was the round out, but then the aeroplane suddenly went up, thinking I must have ballooned I put the power on and went around, puzzled I asked Mike what I had done wrong, but for once it was not me, but a gust of wind that blew at an inopportune moment. We went back out towards Ely once again and as soon as I had turned back towards the airfield I spotted it, I think I must be getting used to seeing it, I flew us back for the last time and made probably my best landing of the day in what has to be the most challenging conditions I have flown in to date.
Shortly after I had refuelled the aeroplane Simon arrived for his lesson, sporting his newly acquired headset, a nice pair of DC 10-13XL’s, he is just starting on circuits and made a couple of 50ft passes over the longer wider runway 19, however the weather continued to deteriorate and his lesson was cut short. Simon also has a share in the C42 so needed to refuel it after his lesson, he got his new Jerry can out and this is when we found out not all jerry cans are made equal, unfortunately his has a breather tube that restricts the opening to the point where we could not get the pipe from the pump in. Thus it’s worth checking this before buying a can, they should also have a UN number stamped on them. My Wavian Jerry can seems a good choice and Simon is now going to get the same.
Time for some tea and cake back in the club house!