I had to abort my local flight from Biggin Hill, after entering potentially freezing IMC weather shortly after take off. An occluded front had recently passed through, but the airport TAFs and METARs throughout my route showed windy, but good flying conditions. However, just minutes after reaching cruising altitude, I entered a band of light rain. This wouldn’t in itself, usually prevent the flight from continuing, as I have an IR(R) rating, however, the air temperature was only +2 celcius, and I didn’t want to risk airframe icing, so I made a quick decision to return to base.
The problem was compounded by the proliferation of controlled airspace in this part of England, which gave me little room for manoeuvre. My only safe and easy exit was the way I’d just come. The return wasn’t pleasant. It was now raining at Biggin Hill too, and the spray on the windshield made the approach unpleasant. The video makes it appear far worse that it was in reality, but it gives you a flavour of what I was contending with.
I made the approach with no flaps and at a higher airspeed than usual, because of the expected turbulence over the trees on final approach, and the possibility of gusts which had been blowing strongly all day.
I hope you enjoy the video.
Video: VFR into IMC flight