Video: Biggin Hill to Kemble in freezing weather

It took nearly two hours to defrost Oscar romeo, fit cameras, and get the engine started for my last return trip of 2017.  My destination was Kemble, a lovely tarmac strip in the Cotswold district.

Overnight temperatures fell below 0 Celsius, and the forecast suggested they wouldn’t rise above 2/3 Celsius during the day.  With the conditions forecast to be CAVOK, that wouldn’t be a problem for flight, so long as I could remove all the ice on the aircraft beforehand.  

Oscar Romeo isn’t kept in a hangar, and so before I fitted cameras, I moved the aircraft into the sun.  The sun did a good job, but some stubborn ice on the wings and elevators needed treatment.  I used half a litre of special de-icing fluid, which did the trick.  Any ice, even a small accumulation can seriously degrade the performance of the lifting surfaces,  so everything has to be removed.

I always rig the cameras before doing anything else.  That then leaves me free of all distractions when preparing the aircraft for flight.  

With the addition of new mounts on the wings, fixing the cameras can now take thirty minutes or more.  

The route to Kemble was via Guildford, Farnborough, and the IFR waypoints of NIGIT and ABDAL.  The cold calm conditions made for a very comfortable flight.  

We transited the Odiham MATZ (military zone) to the west of Farnborough.  No clearance was required, but it’s good airmanship to obtain a ‘MATZ penetration’ from the controlling authority.  

Kemble has a very long and well maintained tarmac runway.  You have to keep your eye out on approach, as there’s a smaller strip to the south west, and a gliding site and parachute zone nearby.  Kemble is a FISO aerodrome, and so FISOs issue instructions on the ground and information to pilots in the air.  They request that pilots make standard overhead joins, which suits me fine.  I’d researched the aerodrome’s noise abatement procedure prior to the trip, but I’m not sure I completed it correctly in practice, as I found myself very wide on the downwind leg.  

Kemble was built as an RAF training and maintenance base in World War 2.  From 1966 – 1983 it was home of the famous ‘Red Arrows’ display team. A monument to this takes pride of place in front of the air traffic control tower.  

I had a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Kemble, and look forward to returning there soon.

Video: Biggin Hill to Kemble Inc MATS penetration