Thursday, 16 July 2009

Patience is a virtue (in the circuit)

I flew into Southend today. I was asked to join downwind right-hand for Runway 24, and was told that I was number two to a C172 already established downwind. Although the traffic had been called I looked and looked but couldn't find it. The Tower asked the traffic to turn base, and when he did I spotted the aircraft a long way ahead. I'd guess that it was at least two and possible three miles from the runway. It's always a bit of a pain when someone flies a large circuit and I'll admit that I was quietly frustrated.

As I taxied in, I heard the instructor in the C172 tell the Tower that he was getting out and that the student was about to head of for his first solo. What's more when I stopped I saw that the instructor was Full Flap TV's Rob Bull. We chatted as he looked nervously at the student heading for the runway. I don't know who's more worried in these situations, the student or instructor. By the time I'd paid my bill, checked the oil and put my lifejacket on, the C172 was back with a beaming pilot at the controls. I just had time to congratulate him and shake his hand before heading off to Le Touquet. Any frustration at the size of his circuit had gone - the world has another pilot and that's got to be a good thing.

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