For the last 2 weeks the weather has not been conducive to flying. A tropical cyclone passed to the north of us and it seems to have set up a pattern where tons of warm moist air is being driven down from the ICTZ, bringing with it bouts of torrential rain and the odd embedded thunderstorm.
Definitely not weather for flying. Two flying events have been cancelled or postponed – one a fun navigation rally and the other a speed rally. The speed rally is now scheduled to take place next weekend and lots of us are anxiously scanning the long term forecasts to see what the likelihood of it actually happening is.
I’d made peace with a ground bound weekend – although I did take the opportunity on Saturday morning to traipse out to the hangar to potter around polishing things and putting the RAM ball mount for the mini iPad onto the instrument panel. Prior to this I was using a suction cup mounted RAM mount but it kept falling off and the weight of the whole setup with the ipad in situ seemed to distort the plexiglass window somewhat. Now it looks really nice squared away on the right side of the panel with the EZ-Roller mount on an articulated arm. It’s purely there for navigation backup – I use SkyDemon on the ipad and the EFIS runs navigation data from EasyPlan ( a local Navdata provider).
Some disassembly of the panel was required but nothing needed disconnecting and it was only a few screws – so not something that requires any approval. In a fit of misplaced energy I also started polishing the DECT screws that hold the cowling in place – fortunately there are more of those than I have the patience to polish at one setting so it may well be an ongoing project. (Or maybe not….).
As I left the hangar on Saturday morning it seemed that there would be no flying for the rest of the weekend. On Sunday afternoon my friend Steve messaged me to say that he’d seen the sun and would it be a good idea to go flying? Well, I don’t need to be asked twice, so I popped into the car, picked him up and we set forth for the airport.
Well, we were probably the only GA aircraft flying that afternoon. The weather was, in a word, glorious and the air was smooth. Yes, there were clouds about but we were tooling around below them. All the rain had made the landscape green and inviting – so we cruised around at 6500ft (about 750AGL) simply to enjoy the feeling.
We did a touch and go at Vereeniging (FAVV) and then a low approach/runway inspection at Panorama (they have a grass field and I wasn’t keen on testing how soft / muddy it was after three weeks of rain). Back to a deserted Rand airport, we turned finals into the setting sun as the tower closed for the day, “ZU-IBM, the tower is now closed, runway 29 land pilot’s discretion”
This is the sort of flight that I imagine when I’m daydreaming about flying…..