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Breakfast Fly Out to Thruxton

Despite the challenging weather conditions, we had a great turnout for our Breakfast Fly Out to Thruxton today!

As we always enjoy meeting fellow pilots, we extended the invitation to take part to non-members of Redhill Aviation and were delighted that several outside aircraft were able to join us.

The forecast wasn’t ideal for our trip out today, showing that it was going to be very windy, with a cloudbase lower than we would have really liked.

TAF EGKK 190459Z 1906/2012 26012KT 9999 BKN008 BECMG 1906/1909 BKN018 BECMG 1918/1921 BKN012 TEMPO 1921/2010 8000 -RA BKN008 PROB40 TEMPO 1923/2009 3000 RADZ BR BKN004 PROB30 TEMPO 2005/2012 24015G25KT BECMG 2009/2012 SCT018=

TAF EGHI 190725Z 1907/1915 25012KT 9999 SCT025 PROB40 TEMPO 1907/1914 9000 -RA BKN010 TEMPO 1911/1915 26015G25KT=

Undeterred, those of us who still wished to take part convened at Redhill Aerodrome early as planned and started checking out our aeroplanes, as well as our planned routes.

Checking the METARs just before departure gave us the following:

METAR EGKK 190920Z 23011KT 9999 BKN024 12/08 Q1010=

METAR EGHI 191050Z 25012G22KT 200V280 9999 FEW013 SCT026 12/06 Q1010=

so we PPR’d with the friendly Thruxton radio team and requested their latest weather which indicated a cloudbase of around 1,800’ and 16kt winds, albeit straight down the runway.

Time to get going…

There were a total of five aircraft which departed from Redhill. The flying conditions were certainly tricky at times, with lowering cloudbases in certain areas, light rain in others and a very bumpy ride all the way! One aircraft which departed a little later than the rest and was treating this as an instructional navigation flight sensibly turned around halfway, as the conditions had by then become really very challenging for the student pilot.

Despite the strong headwinds, most of us averaged a flight time of around 35 minutes. A variety of routes were taken, with some routing via the town of Alton and requesting a MATZ penetration from Farnborough. Others routed slightly more to the south, using the useful feature of Oakhangar as a visual reference point and giving Solent Radar a quick courtesy call.

Nearing the north of Andover, we switched to Thruxton Radio and despite the drizzly conditions, we were soon able to locate the airfield in order to make a straight in approach to runway 25. The strong wind remained straight down the runway and so wasn’t problematic.

We were lucky to have an on-site photographer braving the wind and drizzle to record our arrivals:

As you can see, the aircraft range included RV7, PA28, TB10, TB21, P32R and BE76. We were hoping to be joined by a QUIK GT450, but the weather simply wasn’t suitable on this occasion! We were briefly joined by a TB9 which was hoping to take some air-to-air arrival photographs, but unfortunately the conditions were a bit murky.

It would be fair to say that by the time everybody had landed safely, the conditions were not very nice at all:

A special mention must go to marshaller Neil, who braved the wind and rain to get us all efficiently parked!

On arrival, some aircraft took advantage of the free landing fee offer when uplifting fuel – thanks to our friends at Thruxton for this generous offer!

As well as coming from Redhill, aircraft also joined us from Gloucestershire and Denham. The ages of our participants ranged from under 10 to retired! Here is our youngest (and possibly hungriest!) passenger:

With the aircraft parked up and fuelled, it was time to head inside for breakfast at the Jackaroo Café. The staff were friendly and coped admirably with the arrival of so many hungry pilots and passengers! 

Suitably refuelled, it was soon time to be thinking about heading back. The weather had brightened a little, but it was still as windy as ever. We made our way back to our aircraft, ready for our respective journeys home:

Our flights back were still fairly bumpy, but those of us returning to Redhill had the advantage of a great tailwind, meaning at least we were back on the ground a little earlier than on the way out! The groundspeed record goes to the RV7 who enjoyed 175 knots!

Finally, a special mention has to go to Redhill Aviation member Simon, who has recently obtained his PPL. He flew PA28 G-CBAL for the very first time, an aircraft in which he owns a part-share. Simon's girlfriend encouraged from the right hand seat, while another Redhill Aviation PPL member, who is currently training for his IMC rating, joined them as a passenger.

Thanks to all who took part and if you’d like to join us for our next Breakfast Fly Out to Popham on Sunday 23 April, please get in touch.