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Great Fly-In Opportunity

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Yesterday I spent the day praying that the wind would abate and the rain would

hold off. I had been told of a fly-in near Market Rasen, about 20 flying miles

from my local field, and I really fancied the chance of actually going for a bit

of 'vol-biv'.

To this end, I had packed up my sleeping bag and lightweight(ish) two person

tent, and figured a way of securing them on the motor. I also fully loaded my

radio, GPS, aux. batteries etc. onto the top of my not so lightweight reserve.

With a full ten litres, it was quite a weighty beast.

I made the decision with the co-operation of SWMBO that we would drive up to the

field, with 20:00 hrs as the latest go/no go cut off point. When we got up

there, the full size widsock was still flying quite well, but I got the wing out

to ground handle, and managed to convince myself by about twenty minutes to

eight that it was flyable. All kitted up, wing laid out, the first launch failed

as the wing came up too quickly for me. The second attempt, with a bit of trim

let out was perfect. A short run and up I went. Needless to say, the climb rate

with all my gear was a lot less than sparkling, but I decided to set off. SWMBO

was going to roughly parallel my route, so in the event of an out landing, I'd

try to put down near a convenient access road. Nikki saw that I was headed out

OK, so set off herself.

Earlier in the day, I had phoned RAF Waddington ATC, and succeeded in getting a

clearance through the Scampton restricted zone (R313) at any height I fancied.

My climbing was still almost non existent, and with a line of pylons in the

distance, I kept an eye on them with the intention of flying next to them for a

while, just to be sure I was high enough to clear with plenty of margin. I was

bimbling along at just over 500 feet, with the trims right in and subject to ups

and downs with the last bits of thermal activity. Then all of a sudden, when I

was about as far from Nikki's planned route as was possible, the mottor faltered

and stuttered and lost revs. I opened and closed the throttle a few times, and

the revs recovered, and if anything, it sounded like the motor had picked up and

was running sweeter than before. Sure enough, I now had a positive rate of

climb, not outstanding, but for sure it was in the right direction.

With my clearance, I was able to cut a big corner, and as I turned east, the

wind was in my back. I was still climbing, well now, so I started to ease out

the trims. A bit at a time at first, then all the way to the stops. In no time I

was up to 1500 feet and whistling downwind at a GPS indicated 80 kmph (48 mph).

The last ten miles flew by, and in no time I could see the field. I didn't see

the windsock to start with, possibly because it was straight in line with me. I

flew over the field, saw the windsock, and plotted my approach. Some lazy 'S'

turns at tickover brought me down to 600 feet, and with the field assured, I cut

the engine. I have learned to my cost, that that is the best option for me. My

landing was straight across the runway, clearing the orange plastic fencing at

it's edge by about 30 feet, and startling one or two of the assembled company.

Touch down was fine, but my dicky hip came into play and I stumbled down on my

right side. With the weight I was carrying, it was pretty good though, and I

managed to keep the motor clear of the ground. Gathered all in and wandered off

to find somewhere to camp.

By the time Nik got there, the tent was up, so we lit the disposable BBQ,

grilled a gorgeous steak each and combined it with some rather good pre-packed

salad. We sat down with a glass of wine each and watched the last vestiges of light die from the sky in

one direction, and an illuminated Lincoln Cathedral about ten miles distant in

the other direction.

Anyway, after a nights kip, I went and had a chat with the field owner, who's

lovely partner was rustling up bacon sandwiches in a portacabin kitchen. Pete

the owner was 110% welcoming, and showed me round the club house and facilities.

Here we get to the point of the posting. Not only has he invited me, and any

other paramotorists back any time we fancy, but he was positively crying out for

me to organise a fly in for paramotorists at his venue. We would have the

benefits of loads of parking, water and porta-loos, butties at the weekend,

camping space, plus a number of tarted up older caravans available for anyone

who prefers that option to canvas. He owns loads of the fields around, so stick

kicking is a real possibility. So now, all I have to do is organise

it, and we can have a great East Midlands fly in. Anyone up for lending a hand?

Sorry for the length of posting, but I'm still buzzing :-)


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