What a day! I’m learning to drive at the moment, I figured it was about time, and would be a handy skill to have in getting myself to the airport. As luck would have it I chose a driving instructer with a passion for flying! So, cut a long story short, I had an hours driving lesson followed by the prospect of doing some flying. The bonus was, my driving instructer had no qualms about being left at the airfeild while I went off and did some Practice Forced Landings and some glide approaches. That chewed up a good hour of time, and then I was set to take my passenger. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
I had booked G-BMFZ for around 2 hours, from 3:30 in the afternoon till 5:30. The weather this morning was dark, low and forboding. A pretty typical cold front for Cornwall, and my hopes wern’t that high that I’d be flying. But as the day wore on, the weather was definately lifting. By the time three o’clock came round, you could see for miles. The clouds were bunched up and showery, but resonably high to allow some VFR flight. So I grabbed my knee-board and maps from my fligth bag and scurried off to G-BMFZ, where Phill, who’s incidentally turned 80 today, was promising me that he’d preflighted the Cessna 152. Without further ado, we jumped in, belted up and I started going through the start up procedure. In no time at all we’d made our way onto the field for some power checks, before making for runway 31 for a swift departure towards the north coast. Bobbing and weaving under the clouds was interesting, especially as the horizontal indicator was just rolling around with a will of its own. The direction indicator spun pretty much anytime we made a left turn, which was amuzing to watch. So, mental note to self, stay out of the clouds, pretty much at all costs! We dodged around them and picked out a sunny spot and tried a practice forced landing. It was horrible! I would have got us down, but not in the field I’d picked out. Trrible! I turned in much too soon and landed up too high and too fast. So back to 2000 foot we went and I gave it another go, this time I did a little better, but I still turned in too soon, and once again was a little too fast for comfort. With the weather being less than friendly today, we headed off to Roserrow golf course to give it a try there. The sun was shining here, and it was much easier to see what I was aiming at, but this time I got it bang on and would have made a lovelly landing. So, full power, flaps away and back to the airfield to do a series of touch and goes, and practice that glide approach, of which I did four of. So, a final circuit before doing a normal landing. I’m still, in fairness, landing a little ‘flat’, and need to get used to pulling the stick all the way back, and looking out the side window. My landings are perfectly safe, don’t get me wrong, they’re just a little ‘flat’!
So, engine off, chock in, grab my driving instructer. Remember her? I got her to sign into the club as a 1 day member, and that was it. I did a quick check of the thing, just to make sure nothing had fallen off in flight, and peered into the fuel tanks. In not much time at all, I’d got the engine started, and moved off to the runway before heading off with my first passenger! Lift off was all the sweater for it too. I climbed to circuit hieght, and departed towards the south, heading towards the bay of St. Austell. My map was stuffed down the side of my seat, only the truly VFR instruments worked! Ideal! I dailed Newquay Radar into the radio and gave them a call. They asked me to do a right hand turn to 090 degrees, which I complied with. Then I realized why. I’d forgotten to turn the blasted transponder on. I turned it on. I took us down the river Fowey before turing left and flying over Par habour and up towards St. Austell. Now, it sounds silly, but I’ve never flown over my house, so I took the oppotunity to do the obligatory ‘fly round my house’ thing! It was pretty good actuarlly! After doing a few ‘circles’, I headed off towards Gorran Haven to do the same round my instructers house, flying along the coast line all the way. Trenarren cove looked fantastic with a large yacht anchored up. We got to Gorran, and did some 360 degree turns over her house. She was very excited to see her car! Which was funny, as I’d said exactly the same when circling my own house; "Look, theres our [my wifes] car". With all that out of the way, I pointed us towards the Fal estary where there is always impressive shipping! And sure enough, there was an asortment of rather large ships spread out on the river. It was time to head for the north coast and make the trip back to Bodmin. We followed the river inland towards Truro, where we left it. Heading towards Perranporth and Newquay, we crossed the A30. I steered us around Perranporths ATZ and set course for Newquay’s ATZ. The cloud base meant that I had to cross there ATZ, which meant I had to ask for a crossing. They told me that would be fine, and to anounce when clear of the zone, which I duly did as we crossed the windfarm to the East of the Newquay airfield. Newquay airport is something else from the air. Its the old RAF St. Mawgan airbase, and its huge! It has one of the longest runways in Europe, and its wide too. Newquay was behind us and the river Camel was ahead of us, to the right, the Royal Cornwall Show was well into it’s last day. There was field upon field of neatly lined up cars! Within no time at all, Bodmin airfield came back into view and I positioned myself for a downward join, there was no way you could do an over head join in this. So I said my farwell to Newquay, and retuned Bodmin radio. 31 was still in use, which was perfect. I dropped us down to circuit height, joined downwind and performed a nice, soft, safe landing! Parked up, engine off, chocks in, all that was left was to pay and have a nice hot cuppa tea!