Woke up on this gloriously shit bank holiday Monday. Weather was awful. Decided to just go to work instead. Managed pretty much a full day. It was fairly quiet I guess. Walked the dogs. Did a home check for a cat. Went for a two hour run as the gym was closed. I think it’s probably been the worst weather in August for years. Back to work tomorrow, will make a nice change from today.
Had a bit of a stomach ache this morning. Topped it up with coffee. Had breakfast. Wasn’t in any great hurry to get up. Walked the dogs and had lunch. Finally got out and drove to a grotty shopping centre miles away to get on Shaun the sheep. Relocated to Bedminster where I got a few more before walking back into the city centre and getting all the others, by the time I got back to the car I had two to get. Drove round and got one, then finally the last one at Horfield Common. That’s it, 70 sheep done. Did the accounts. Had a bath. Phoned mother. She asked about borrowing money, I told her not to ask. So she didn’t.
So this morning started early. Breakfast. Coffee. Read the paper. Printed out the ‘spot wind’ charts. So a pretty standard morning. Then plotted out the entire route again from Gloucester to Wolverhampton, back to Worcester and then across to Wellesbourne and back to Gloucester. About 109nm. Walked the dog. Drove up to Staverton in a rather relaxed manner. Met up with James. We went through the route a couple of times and then rang the destination aerodromes, found out the current wind and active runways. Then we walked down to the helicopter with a couple of very large dumbbells. James fuelled her up. I setup the GoPro. Then James span her round into wind and then left me to it. So I got comfortable, set everything up and went through the start-up checklist. Fired her up and then waited for a break in the very busy radio traffic. Soon got going though, up to Tirely Bridge and then on to my first destination, took about forty minutes and I was soon in view of the first airfield at Wolverhampton. Due to the runway in use I took a very long circuit round it, but lined up perfectly and was soon on the ground. Sheet signed, landing fee paid and lunch eaten. Back in the air and straight off to Worcester, this was a bit of a diversion, but I had to basically make the flight longer. Soon at Worcester and then over to Wellesbourne where the approach was fairly simple and straight in. Again, got the sheet signed. Spoke to James where he told me I needed ‘exactly an hour’ of solo to complete the required ten hours. So I flew back to Gloucester and then went up and down the river for twenty minutes before flying back into Staverton. Shut down on exactly the hour flight time. So total for today was 2.6 hours, which is a bloody long time on your own in an aircraft which is about the size of a toilet cubicle and just as comfortable. Still, all done and all signed off (except the woman at Wellesbourne stamped the sheet but didn’t actually sign it, one for James to sort out). So that completes all my solo flying requirements. Now it’s on to some advanced stuff and instrument flying. Drove home. We walked to the Swan and had a bit of a celebratory meal. It was one big achievement ticked off.
So it was an early start this morning and lots of exchanging text messages with Captain James. There was a problem. Shobdon was basically closed this weekend due to an air race. So instead he gave me a plan to Halfpenny Green, which is basically Wolverhampton. Problem was this was only 90nm when I needed at least 100nm. Anyway, planned it and drove to Staverton. We then added a bit of a ‘dog-leg’ via Worcester. That made it about 109nm with all the mucking about. So I altered the plan to get all that in. We set off just gone midday and the route to the first aerodrome was basically a straight line, plus it was also pretty much a straight in landing. People there were lovely, they were briefed that I was coming back tomorrow on my own. We then ate our packed lunches and took off again in front of a somewhat large audience. Headed to our second destination, due to the wind the approach to that one was a confusing pain in the ass. Got there though. I hope it’s easier tomorrow. We paid our tenner landing fee and then departed. Got to speak to ‘London Information Service’, he was as interested in my flight plan as I was about his well being. Soon we were back in Gloucester airspace and it was all over. That was 2.2 hours. On the way back in we did a full engine off landing. He did surprise me a bit and said, ‘Now don’t enter autorotation unless you see your tail rotor fly past the bubble or this happens’, at which point he chopped the throttle, the aircraft yawed badly to the left and the horn went off. I instinctively lowed the collective, right peddle and flared. I was at 65kts without even thinking about it, this all occurred in 1.2 seconds, if it didn’t I wouldn’t be writing this. We landed with the engine on idle. Now tomorrow I get to do it all over again, but this time the instructor seat will be taken by a 12Kg dumbbell and hopefully I won’t have to do the 1.2 second shuffle.
Lost weight again, it’s becoming habit forming now. Spent most of the day working on the other console, found some very interesting errors on there. Still got a hell of a lot to fix. Walked the dogs. No rain today. Was heading out to do some sheep but got stuck in traffic so gave up. The world will not end if I don’t get all the sheep. Most of flight plan ready for tomorrow, but just looked at the Notam and there is an air race over Shobdon all weekend. So no idea whats happening tomorrow now. May just blast it and do both tomorrow.
I won’t babble on about work as it was mainly dull. Lots of code changes and lots of bits of testing. Walked both dogs, it didn’t rain. Did more dentistry. Walked to the gym in the blazing sunshine, did Pump, walked home in the pissing rain. Phone call from Captain James, planning on doing the dual nav on Friday and then I’ll do the solo nav on Saturday. He’s given me my waypoints, I’ve done the first part of the flight plan and plotted it all out on the map. Can’t do anything now until I have the spot wind charts and the air temperatures, which will be much closer to the flight.
Started fairly on time. All about buffer formats again today. Thankfully, not problematic. Although I did find out a couple of interesting things about a certain console. Walked the dogs in the rain. Did lots of dentistry work, which may sound bizarre, but will hopefully make sense in a couple of weeks. Finished vaguely on time. Went running for two hours while Jamie squealed like a girl doing one of his online shows. He had a weight-watchers curry, apparently he could shit out more. I had salad. Just beginning to think about the holiday, started looking at vests. Bought some Kindle books. Need to think about a new Pink Floyd album for the plane, I can’t keep doing ‘Dark side of the moon’.
Started later than usual, mainly as I was feeling very tired. I haven’t had any issues with sleeping lately, so must just be that I was knackered. Dragged myself to the long commute to work. Had coffee and breakfast, fed everyone else and cracked on. I’m trying to look at two tasks at once at the moment, nothing stressful, actually quite interesting. Weather is awful. Walked both dogs in the rain. Walked to the gym in the rain. Did Combat. Walked home in the rain. Ate salad. Will no doubt go to sleep in the rain.
Well the weather was so piss poor today I decided just to work instead and build up the time for when it’s better. Ended up doing seven hours, while it was pissing down outside. Working on something a bit different today. Eventually it did stop raining and I took the dogs out. Did the accounts and went for a long run. Finished off with a bath. Back to work tomorrow, so very much like today.
So yesterday started very early. There was an event that I’m not going to talk about here as it’s not about me that was due to occur and we were waiting to hear about, but as with many times before it was postponed and postponed quite late which was annoying. Anyway, so back to plan B which was the company do. Jumped in the car as I’d already had a case packed just in case (no pun intended). And actually made it there just in time for the teams to be assembled. We had various activities, including ‘power turns’ which are these great twin engine buggy things. Rifle shooting, which I was okay at. Archery, which oddly I found I was very good at. Axe throwing, not that great, even if I was imagining the target was mother. Then we had this team building game where we had to go from one side of a spiders web to the other. It was made out of bungee cord and there was a plastic spider at the bottom. If you touched the cord it would slowly move down it. You could only pass one person through one hole though, so me being the lightest was posted through one of the top ones, Anders and Richard had similar treatment. The bigger guys stumbled through the others in various ways. We managed about sixty-five holes in twenty minutes. We then had quad bikes and these strange Argo tank things. Oh, and blind Land Rover driving. We did pretty good considering our team was all over forty. We finished second overall. Then we had human table football, which was this inflatable thing where you have to move across poles. It was a knockout comp between the six teams. Now Richard and I played up front for our team. Neither is particularly a ‘football’ person. Both of us scored and both of us really enjoyed it. But it was very knackering. And how did our team of past-its do? Well, we actually won.
The evening mostly consisted of eating very mediocre food, drinking vast quantities of wine and singing some very bad karaoke, mainly in duets with Steve. I actually ended up going to bed at about midnight, it was a very tiring day.
Got up fairly early and had breakfast at nine-ish. Was planning on doing some Geocaching, but something had gone wonky on the GPS as it said the closest one was over 35Km’s away. So drove home instead which took almost four hours.
Had lunch and then headed out for a couple more sheep. Went for a run and now had pizza. Dillon still can’t play the piano.