Yesterday was one of those days when I felt especially grateful to myself for having had the courage to jack in a job I didn’t enjoy and go self-employed. It was warm, sunny and springlike, and not at all the sort of day one wants to be stuck in an office. I spent the morning getting dinner into the slow cooker and working on a book I’m proofreading for a client, and watching Lee thermalling over our house in Wilhelm with a trial lesson (he’s the bottom aircraft in the picture below). Then at lunchtime I headed down to the airfield.
It was the perfect flying day: just 5kts of wind right up to 5,000ft. Thermals were the only thing to worry about; each of those little white clouds in this photo is there because of a thermal, a rising column of air, and this can make for some fairly bumpy conditions on blue sky days!
After refuelling Wilhelm we took to the skies. It was a bit hazy, and (as predicted) a bit bumpy, but I didn’t mind. It was my first flight since passing my skills test, and therefore my first flight as proper, licensed pilot in command. It was SO nice to be able to fly for fun again!
That said, as we approached Kemble I got a reminder that the learning never stops. I was doing the flying and the radio, but there were so many aircraft buzzing around Kemble (everyone was out enjoying the weather!) that I could hardly get a word in edgeways to let them know we were nearly there! Added to this was the complication of approaching from a slightly awkward angle for the runway in use, and having to figure out how to join the busy circuit neatly and safely. I’m not ashamed to say that after my initial radio call I required Lee’s help to negotiate all this (even though I’ve been there on my own before on my solo cross country!)! We made a great flying team, as always. This is Lee’s photo of Kemble on the way in.
You can see the control tower at the bottom of this photo.
After we landed they asked us to taxi to the North Apron – “on account of our wingspan”, hehe – where we got to park in the vicinity of one of the 747s in for scrap. Wilhelm looks about the same size as the 747 in this pic, but it’s only because it was quite a long way away!
After booking in (we had a free landing voucher!), we went to the “AV8” restaurant for lunch. It was so warm and sunny that we sat outside, for our first outdoor meal of the year. I had a delicious toasted cheese sandwich. You can just about make out Wilhelm in this photo – he’s the aircraft in the distance on the far right.
It was so warm, in fact, that I didn’t even need my coat!
After lunch, we had a little wander around and I took the mandatory photo of the former Red Arrows jet that sits permanently outside the control tower.
On the way back we took a detour over to Broadway before heading home. Here’s me. Looking very happy because I’m living life to the full!
Finally, another of Lee’s photos, taken just as I was about to turn onto final approach back into Wellesbourne.
It was a perfect afternoon and a great reminder of why I went to so much trouble to train to be a pilot!