Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A friend of mine recently called this thing I am going through, this ambivalence about not flying and about selling the Dragonfly, as my online nervous breakdown :)

He knows and I know that I really do not want to sell at all.

What I want is to resolve all the issues I can, which reduce the likelihood of flying: - Distance from airfield, rigging and derigging time, weather.

Can't do anything about the weather (other than live abroad - currently not an option), but the other two have to be within my capacity to address. So I have been looking to cut my journey time so that, if the weather changes, I can jump in the car and be at the airfield soon afterwards. That is NOT easy in Suffolk which is notoriouslly intolerant of aviation (planning restrictions etc).

I'd like to be able to roll up and just pull the plane out of the hangar fully rigged. When gaps in the weather are fleeting, you really don't want to be arsing about on the ground for too long.

On the BMAA forum people have been very helpful with suggestions of ostensibly GA airfields which tolerate microlights, and I have visited a couple. Elmsett has one runway but then because the aircraft there are heavier, cross-wind take-offs are presumably less of an issue. Grond handling there is the problem as usually there is nobody about and I am told people have gone home disappointed because they couldn't move whatever was blocking the doorway. The day I was there it was a heavy twin-engined beast which needs a tug to move it.

Yesterday I visited Tim Spurge's beautiful set-up at Great Oakley, near Harwich. Forty minutes from my front door, it feels massively closer than Sutton Meadows, so each trip would save me a tenner in petrol, which might -with a few trips each month- justify the considerably more expensive hangarage. I must say that I am very tempted. Security is very good, they have concrete floors, powered, lifting bi-fold doors , all aircraft are fully rigged and they have two wide, prevailing wind strips: 04,22, 27, 09....and quite honestly I could land diagonally across the intersection in any direction.

I am feeling up-beat. Looks like I might be on the way to finding a local field...and possibly even a way of keeping the Dragonfly, though that will mean that if I do three-axis, I will have to find some other way to afford a fixed wing.
In the meantime, the conversion is going to take a while anyway, so I might as well make the most of the next 6 months or so of Dragonflying.


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