I took a long flight around Kent, Sussex and Essex this week, to help our flying group out after the new engine was fitted to the aircraft we use. After the engine is fitted, the aircraft has to undergo a short running-in period, which involves flying the aircraft at high RPM. As part of this, the group’s instructor and I took a 2 hour tour of Kent, Sussex and Essex, starting out from Biggin Hill, and landing at Andrewsfield, where the oil was changed, and the oil filter checked and replaced.
We flew west towards Guildford, south through Midhurst and Chichester, and then east along the coast through Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and Dover, before routing northwards over Ramsgate, the Isle of Sheppey, over the river to Southend, then descending over Chelmsford for our landing at Andrewsfield’s grass strip.
Video: Take off from Andrewsfield Aerodrome
After the oil change, I flew the leg back down to Biggin Hill alone as our group instructor, needed to fly the group’s other aircraft back also. He overtook me as we approached the QE2 bridge. By the time we reached Biggin Hill, the winds had whipped up considerably, and while the ATIS recorded information was telling us we had crosswinds of about 12 knots or so, by the time I reached the threshold, it was gusting about 21 knots.
I hit a considerable windsheer as I approached the threshold of runway 21, which threw me off course, and required immediate decisive action. I aborted the landing, and called a ‘go around’.
Video: ‘Go-Around’ due to windsheer
The controller was extremely helpful, offering me the option of landing on runway 29 instead. While, the airport’s anemometer was indicating an equal crosswind on both runways, my crabbed approach into 21 led me to believe that 29 may have been favourable, so I requested this. I had to hold for a short time while landing and departing traffic on the other runways cleared, before making my final approach. The approach to 29 was far easier, and the touchdown reasonably smooth.
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