The Not So Bleak Midwinter

I previously did a bit of whinging about low cloud, high winds and poor visibility. But sometimes the weather clears and flying on a clear winter’s day can be amazing: clear, cold and crisp, with long shadows and low sun making for some nice photos, even from a dodgy old iPhone like mine…

Low lingering fog at Scone Palace:

Further upstream, the Tay valley at Dunkeld filled with low fog and cloud…

Fog all cleared on the Tay near Kinclaven:

The River Isla near Alyth:

Notice how the low sun highlights even the smallest bumps in the terrain:

Same day after lunch. Switching to the RV6 means faster, higher and further than the Cub. This view is looking south towards the top end of Glen Isla:

North of Blairgowrie the low sun highlighting meltwater channels from the end of the last ice age:

The River Ericht on its way to Blairgowrie flowing through the deep gorge past Craighall Castle:

Back over the mountains again. Looking west towards the afternoon sun. I think we are somewhere to the south of Glenshee:

So winter isn’t all cold and wet and windy. Thus far there have been quite a few flyable days, but a few years ago it did manage to snow INSIDE the hangar at Perth during the “Beast from the East” – just have to hope for the best…

Happy New Year 1945

More WW2 L-Bird photos from the Life Magazine archives, these ones taken by John Florea and William Vandevert in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge (late December ’44 into early January ’45).

Thick snow on the ground hampered wheeled transport, luckily the liaison aircraft had the ability to swap wheels for skis:

Maintenance in the field, no fancy workshop facilities in this treeline. Notice the chap on the left in use as a mandraulic jack. In the Scottish Aero Club we refer to it as the “flabtraulic jack” – we are not in our first flush of youth or at fighting weight any more..!

Hand propping the engine. Lots of care required to avoid slipping and getting run over by an aircraft without brakes:

A group of tank destroyers from above, probably the M36..?

Burning Belgian village from the air:

Hard to tell, but these could be knocked out German Panthers…

A farm on fire, note the shell craters in the background with soil kicked up onto the snow:

More tank destroyers at rest, possibly the same unit as the previous photo but taken from a different angle…

Fast forward 77 years to the Cub’s first flight of 2022, seen here over Wolfhill (pic by Brenda). It was a lovely clear winter’s day with some lingering fog patches and light winds. Perfect for sedately chugging over the countryside at 600 feet:

We didn’t go far. We didn’t go high and we didn’t go fast. Just tootled off to the northeast for an hour looking at things and taking the occasional photograph.

By the time we got airborne all the fog patches had cleared, leaving the low winter sun to throw long shadows across the fields:

Bimbling along in a Cub is very relaxing, especially at low level. You can wave at people and sometimes they even wave back! It wasn’t too cold, and the window was open for most of the flight. A good start to the flying year…35 minutes in the work helicopter last week does not count!

Happy New Year 1945 / 2022 !