26/10/2016 – It was pretty misty today so I completed my last hour of solo circuits. I was pretty pleased to get circuits over with. They’re pretty boring and repetitive when you’ve done them for many hours, although of course vitally important. It was very calm, almost no wind, and the mist made it the ideal day for circuits. One great thing about it was that I was really happy with my landings, they were some of my best ones. And of course there was no one in the aircraft to see how well I’d done! But I got another check in the box on the way towards my licence.
27/10/2016 – Another navigation today, this time looking for Hucknall and Sheffield City Airports. Both of these airports are unfortunately closed now. It’s such a shame that so any airfields are closing. General Aviation seems to be beset by these kinds of problems. Land is a precious commodity in this country and it’s almost always going to be valued more for housing, retail or offices than it is for flying. Understandable I guess but it ignores the very real contribution makes to the economy of this country, and the technological development that aviation can lead.
I think a lot of people assume that being a pilot means you’re rich, and there are plenty of well off people who fly. But there are also plenty of ordinary working people who fly too. They may give up drinking or smoking to pay for their hobby. Or maybe they don’t take expensive holidays. Sure there are a few people who spend half a million on a new plane, but there are a lot more people who spend a couple of thousand getting a share in an old plane with a group of like minded people, and share the costs themselves. And it is projected that there is going to be a demand for over 100,000 new pilots in the next 10-20 years. Without airfields to train them there’s a lot of possible job opportunities lost, and in a field where the UK is one of the world leaders.
Anyway, back to navigation. Hucknall is just north of Nottingham, and Sheffield City Airport is to the east of the centre of Sheffield. It was a bumpy, cloudy day, (very bumpy in fact) but the visibility was fine and I found both airfields where I expected them to be, and in the time I expected. Spotting disused airfields is quite a bit more difficult than active ones, so I was pretty close to them before I actually saw them. I headed back to Gamston away from the poor weather, and had one of my best ever landings. I even got a round of applause from Luke!
If you want to know more, the podcast, as always, contains an expanded version of the above.