Navigation Week Part 3

22/10/16 – After two navigations already this week, Humber Bridge, then Chatsworth, I was looking forward to my third and final Nav of the week. This time it was a Gamston Flying School Community Flyaway to Oxford. Well, it was supposed to be anyway. After doing all my planning the day before as usual I was well prepared for the trip. It usually takes me about an hour to pick a route, plot it on the chart, work out the headings, write up my Plog etc.

The plan was for me to fly out as passenger with Rob and Bob in a Cessna 182 and fly back as pilot in G-GALB as usual. However when we all gathered at Gamston the discussion was about how bad the weather was in Oxford. There was low cloud right over the airfield, and it stayed, and stayed, and stayed. We kept checking every couple of minutes but there was no movement. So after about an hour of waiting we all decided that we needed to pick an alternative. As the weather was better in the east of the country we settled on Cambridge. Tom asked for someone to work out a route and 30 seconds later, thanks to SkyDemon on my iPhone, it was done, then all the required information sent to the office printer and everyone had what they needed. Isn’t technology great?

So off we went in the 182. Now this aircraft belongs to a friend of Rob’s and is pretty new, so it had all the bells and whistles. By which I mean it had a glass cockpit. If you think of a traditional light aircraft you think of the black gauges with the white needles arranged in a six pack. This Cessna 182 was more like an airliner with screens instead of old fashioned instruments. It looked, and felt, very swish. If I had a spare half mill I’d definitely go for something like that.


Rob is an excellent pilot and we had a lovely smooth flight down to Cambridge, with just a slight delay due to having to orbit while a medical helicopter landed at Adenbrooke’s Hospital, which is very close to the airfield, possibly delivering a new heart for someone! Then as usual it was a three minibus job to get us into the middle of Cambridge.

We gt out of the taxis right in the heart of one of Cambridge’s main streets Bridge Street, and as we were all getting hungry by this time, and Rob fancied a burger, we ended up in the first restaurant we saw, a burger house called Byrons? The food was good, the £7 milkshake I had was very good (good job really) and afterwards we all rolled out to have a look at the river, where, despite it being fairly cold, there were still plenty of people punting.

IMG_3636.jpgI must admit I’ve never seen a punt traffic jam before! There were another three just out of sight in the picture below.


After a bit of a walk to work of some of our large lunch, it was already time to head back to the airfield for our return flights. I had my instructor Luke by my side, and fellow student and friend Raybin in the back. Good man that he is I gave him my camera and he took dozens of lovely pictures for me which you can find on my Flickr Album below.


I’d plotted a high route back to avoid having to bother the various RAF airfields we’d be flying over or near, and the weather was kind, and the visibility good. It didn’t take long for us to be back near Gamston and turning final onto the 03 runway.


So another great day out with the GFS Community, and despite it looking like a bust earlier in the morning the change to Cambridge saved the day. Oxford, Cambridge, they’re pretty much the same anyway, aren’t they 🙂

Can’t wait for the next one!

Author: oldmannewpilot

An old man, becoming a new pilot