Time for a longer trip. A chance to check out the bladder range, as that is more limiting than the fuel range of the aircraft. Also to confirm the running of the post-overhaul engine.
I chose the airfield at “Leeds East” as a destination target. Far enough away to be a challenge but not so far as to take ages to get back if the aircraft broke! Right next to the East Coast Mainline for a quick train home and with copious hangarage from its days as RAF Church Fenton. And the weather was lovely too. A perfect day out.
The last time I was there was during Basic Flying Training…there were three schools, at RAF Cranwell, RAF Church Fenton and RAF Linton-on-Ouse. My course was at No.1 Flying Training School at Linton, flying the Jet Provost Mk3:
During the night flying phase of the course we used Church Fenton for circuits, so I’ve only seen the place in the dark. I was looking forward to seeing it in the daylight as the newly reopened and renamed “Leeds East”…
The route was plotted on Skydemon and followed the normal east coast routing. Southeast from Perth over Fife, crossing the Firth of Forth and down to Newcastle, hugging the coast until past Durham Tees-Valley and over the North York Moors, past York itself and into Church Fenton. Here’s the routing…planned in magenta and actual in blue:
Some photos from the trip. Here we are approaching Blyth ready to transit the coast southbound past Newcastle Airport. Over our old friend the wreck of the Zephyros… ( https://wp.me/p84TeY-1l )
…the distinctive harbour at Seaham…
After crossing the North York Moors we passed the old airfield at Wombleton…
Prop stopped and canopy open for some fresh air after 2 hours flying…
The control tower is very definitely ex-military.
The fueller was a bit taken aback when I asked for 36 litres – “But there’s a minimum order of 75!” – a quick radio call to the airfield manager in the control tower sorted it out and I wasn’t charged for more than the aircraft could take. Another aircraft was in for fuel at the same time so that probably helped.
The view from the tower, all alone in a vast parking area! There was a strategically placed picnic table at the base of the tower where I had my lunch, and then after a quick loo stop it was time to head back.
Off we went in a southwesterly direction then turned north, paralleling the A1 at Wetherby…
The route northbound was inland of all the controlled airspace. No need to talk to anybody on the radio, but a “Basic Service” from Linton started a process of handover from one controller to the next, through Leeming, Durham and Newcastle before being handed back to the familiar voices of Scottish Information.
The Southern Uplands…
…with its giant wind farms:
Crossing the Firth of Forth northbound – enemy coast ahead!
Drilling rigs mothballed off Kirkcaldy:
Mugdrum Island in the River Tay at Newburgh on the descent towards Perth. (EDIT: HOT NEWS…the Cessna 206 skydiving drop aircraft from nearby Errol had an engine problem and landed on this island over the weekend of 5/6 May)
And finally shut down outside the hangar after a total of 4 hours flying. Welcome home!
Unfortunately it wasn’t a joyous welcome. Post flight inspection showed that the bracket holding the right hand wheel spat had broken:
So both spats were dismantled and the brackets taken off…
And then it was a call to the UK dealers (they were on holiday) and the TL Ultralight factory in Hradec Kralove in Czech Republic to see about getting replacements. The unbroken one was showing signs of wear as well so it was decided to replace both. At 5 euros a bracket it’s not breaking the bank .
We’re not grounded. The aircraft flies fine without the main wheel spats. But it’s annual inspection and permit renewal time anyway.
So. Long range navigation. Got back to Perth feeling as if I could have done another two hour leg. Six hours flying in a day including stops would be enough. But at an average of 115 knots that would be 690 nautical miles.
Here’s what 680 miles might look like. Adventure awaits!