I hear that the BMAA are going to start a ‘Strip Skills’ course, and a very good idea it is too. At Shobdon we are somewhat spoilt with long and wide grass or tarmac runways (the latter which allows for winter flying without getting bogged down), but using some of the many ‘farm strips’ is an exciting thing to do. Hell, you even have to work out your own altimeter settings for the QFE. Anyway, here’s today’s somewhat bumpy contribution – and the question is ‘Where is it’?
The Pembrokeshire coast is both dramatic and beautiful, and well worth a visit. This is the Solva estuary. Nearby is Haverfordwest airfield where you can stop off and sample their excellent cafe – but more of that to come.
We don’t do training over the Elan Valley – too remote, no phone signal and, most of all, too much wind rotor. However, once you have your licence, going through the dams is a fabulous flight, but you can see how choppy it gets once you descend – not for the faint-hearted.
So, there I was taxiing to H/P Bravo when I was told to hold position and wait for ‘heavy traffic to pass through’…………………wait for it
One of the ‘rights of passage’ once you have your licence is to go to the Isle of Wight for lunch. It is easily doable from Shobdon, even in a flexwing, and be back mid-afternoon (try that in a car or motorcycle). If you have a transponder, you can also try out the ‘listening squawks’ along the way (Bristol and Solent). There are some glorious sights to behold along the south coast – like the Beaulieu Estuary shown here.
This is a ‘real time’ microlight circuit at Shobdon in a flexwing QuikR. During your pilot training you do lots of circuits as a way to learn take-offs and landings and also getting used to using the radio. It all seems so slow and serene, but as a pilot you are working hard – there are various checks, radio calls and the discipline of flying at 65mph and 500 feet above ground, whilst keeping a careful lookout for other traffic. The main difference here is that, once reasonably competent, you’ll be using the shorter, south side grass runway which is just to the left of the main tarmac runway. This video was taken during the summer before the change of runway designation from ’27’ to ’26’ as it is now.