I never liked Wolverhampton twenty-five years ago, my feelings haven’t changed

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.

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