Friday, 17 July 2009

A flight in strong winds

Today's flying was mainly about weather, both being in it, and being beaten up by it. The forecast suggested that out to the west conditions would improve, so with tantalising blue specs suggesting quite low cloud tops we climbed to 6,000' after leaving Devizes. The blue gaps disappeared and we (me, Martine and the dog) spent an hour-and-a-half droning through clouds with the only variation being the amount of rain outside (or inside for that matter).

The wind, generally coming from about 330 on the surface was blowing at 25G35 on the Isles of Scilly, and Culdrose spoke of something called a drifting buoy that was reporting 40kt winds between Lands End and St Mary's. It was a sporting landing, but it wouldn't be the last of the day. After lunch and a walk around town we took off and made our way towards Perranporth for fuel. I'd called them earlier to check on their opening times, and they reported gusts of 55kt, but by the time we got there things had calmed down and they were only reporting 310 at 20G38. The approach to 27 brings a fair bit of turbulence, but even once down it was a struggle to get to the pumps. Taking off was actually worse. I hate those few moments when the weight is coming off the wheels, and the wind is trying its best to blow you off the runway. We 'enjoyed' some pretty rough turbulence for the first three-hundred feet.

It took about an hour-and-a-quarter to fly from Perranporth to Lydeway, all of it turbulent. Five miles from the strip, Lyneham told me about some heavy rain, which had the decency to wait until we landed to make itself known. It meant putting the cover on in the rain, but that seemed preferable to landing in it.

The dog, by the way, proved to be a trouble-free passenger, occasionally standing up to take a look outside.

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