It was a very cold day, and the hangar kindly brought Oscar Romeo inside to melt the layer of ice that had formed on the wings. This also meant I had the luxury of doing the pre-flight checks in the warm! I pre-loaded the GNS430 with my route, filled up with fuel, and set course for Dorset.
I took off from runway 03 at Biggin Hill, turned west to Guildford, south down to Midhurst, south west to Portsmouth, over to the Isle of Wight, then north into Bournemouth. It wasn’t the most direct route, because of Gatwick and Southampton airspace in the way. I had considered asking for a controlled airspace crossing over Southampton, but it was a VMC day, and it wasn’t going to take all that much longer to dodge the Class D. Plus, the views were nicer that way. You can view the flight track here.
On the way down, I was just coming out of the Midhurst VOR, when I noticed that the next heading on the plog didn’t look right. I’d made a mistake with one of the digits. Had I not spotted this very obvious mistake, this would have been a very serious problem, and would have had me heading east south east, rather than south westerly. It reminded me of the importance of doing a gross error check on my plan before getting in the cockpit. This is a basic check of the headings, to make sure that they make sense with the route desired.
The return journey was a race against the sun!
With a sunset at 1628, and an estimated flight of about 70 minutes, I was cutting it fine leaving at 15.15. this would have allowed me to reach Biggin Hill, and divert, if necessary, before official night, but it was tight. I have a night rating, so it would have been legal, but I’m quite rusty on my night flying.
The falling sun made for some amazing views on the way home. I’ll say no more, but just share the pictures here. Scroll down for the two videos from these flights.
Video: Biggin Hill to Bournemouth VFR
Video Bournemouth to Biggin Hill VFR