Thursday, August 13, 2009

The way a day should be!

Tuesday was a dodgy sort of day in Melbourne. As I headed for the airport at 0700 it was raining and looking generally crap. Check in was easy and Sherry - the captain on the flight - did a good job of getting us to Sydney, smoothly and on time.
During our descent we popped out of the cloud at around 8,800' and serendipitously just about over the little airstrip I was eventually heading for. That made me feel positive about our chances of flying. The ARFOR was for a trough to approach from the west with showers, rain, low cloud ahead of it. Maybe some TSRA.
When we got on the ground in Sydney it was raining and the vis progressively worsened. Maybe this wasn't going to work. The weather radar (search on the Apple App Store for Pocket Weather AU if you are in Aussie) showed a great band of rain across the Southern Highlands but it was clearing to the east and appeared to have nothing following it.
An hour later and we were at the Mittagong airstrip (YMIG). Its 06/24 1200 metres of sealed strip at an elevation around 1,840 feet with a row of hangars. It was a WWII training strip and is now run by the Berrima district aero club.
The surrounds are a little tricky - the strip is in a hollow with higher ground in several directions. The wind favoured 06 but with a left cross wind. Final approach to 06 has some high ground so you sort of follow the terrain down as you approach. I tended to aim well into the strip as there was a little curl over going on final with some sink.
I love flying the Storm Century 5XL - it's a wonderful aircraft, a LSA with a cruise in excess of 120 knots TAS. It handles so smoothly and responsively, a great roll rate and very light control forces.
First flight we headed off for some upper air work, stalls, steep turns and a general fly about. There was scattered cloud at about 5,000' so we stayed just under that and had a barrel of fun!!
Returning to the strip was a little different. Some mechanical turbulence, a little sink and some xwind. Nothing major but enough to make you fly the aircraft.
The next flight was in a way even more fun. My passenger just loved the aircraft, after we had been flying around for a bit we headed back and then he said "can we just keep doing this for a while longer?". A man after my own heart - there's nothing better than just flying around (except perhaps, as Rattie said, messing about it boats).
Finally however we had to pack it in and get into the car to head back to Sydney airport. I managed to change my flight so that I left almost as soon as we got to the airport. 80 minutes later I was back in Melbourne. So from YMML in the morning and back to YMML in the evening all within 12 hours with some great flying at Mittagong in the meantime.
Isn't that how every day is supposed to be?

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