Thursday, 22 September 2011

Nice flight today

Time for a day out in the 'Top Toy'; our group-owned 1951 de Havilland Chipmunk.

These pictures, especially the airborne ones, are best viewed full size by clicking on them twice.

Pre-flighting the Chippy at Liverpool John Lennon airport this morning

Forty minutes or so later, Sierra Lima is on the much more appropriate setting of Sleap Aerodrome's grass apron. The landing had been a cracker - a straight in approach to runway 23, holding off over the displaced threshold to touch down 3-point on the numbers and roll to walking pace in plenty of time to take the first turn-off.

After the usual lovely lunch in the cafe in Sleap's Tower, I did a circuit followed by a touch-and-go so I'd have completed three landings (two at Sleap, one back at Liverpool) which enables me to meet the legal requirement for passenger carrying of having made at least three landings in the last ninety days. In the picture above I'm downwind left hand for runway 23, further out than I'd like to be as there two others in the circuit.

Curving around to a short final for runway 23 for my second landing at Sleap today. This was for a 'touch and go'; a landing followed by an immediate take off without stopping on the runway. If you enlarge this picture by clicking on it twice, you can see the displaced threshold with the '23' numbers, in white on the runway surface, denoting the start of the usable runway (the several hundred yards from the start of the tarmac to 'the numbers' is rough and unusable). The first turnoff that I took in my original landing can be seen soon after the numbers on the left.
It's not easy, by the way, to fly the aeroplane to a tightish final like this while taking photographs at the same time!

After the touch and go, I headed north from Sleap back to Liverpool. Here passing the Shropshire town of Wem. Out here in open airspace we are not under any air traffic control authority and can wander around at will.

The short movie below that I filmed on today's flight
gives an impression of what it's like in the noisy
cockpit of a small aerobatic 2-seat aeroplane.

Cruising along at about fifteen hundred feet affords a bird's eye view of the richly rural Shropshire countryside

Whitchurch, Shropshire

Combermere ahead, Osmere to the left

Leaving 'uncontrolled' airspace now, I am cleared by Liverpool Approach to enter the Liverpool Zone under Liverpool Air Traffic Control. I've just passed my zone entry point of Oulton Park Motor Racing Circuit and are headed to Helsby Hill, my current clearance limit. The forest of Delamere lies between us and the Mersey glinting in the distance. John Lennon Airport is just the other side of that estuary.

Passing Helsby Hill having been handed over from Liverpool Approach to Liverpool Tower I'm cleared onward across the Mersey to position left base for runway 27 at Liverpool

A glance out to the right shows the extensive chemical works at Weston Point. The River Weaver snakes in from the right to join the Manchester Ship Canal which itself closely follows the south bank of the Mersey.

Crossing the Mersey, the ruler-straight Ship Canal clearly visible in the foreground

A closer look at Weston Point showing how the Ship Canal clings to the south bank
of the Mersey

Cleared to land, I curve around onto a short final for runway 27 at Liverpool John Lennon maintaining about 100 knots all the way in from Helsby in order to prevent delay for following traffic

Becoming established on short final, pulling the power right back while holding height to bring the speed back to flap limit speeds, re-trimming at 80 knots with flaps 'one' set, further reducing to 70 knots with 'flaps 2' set, and then stabilising the approach, trimmed at 60 knots.

To the right of the runway can be seen two concrete aprons. The far one is the commercial apron from where the airliners operate, the nearer one is the General Aviation (GA) apron for light aircraft. The Ravenair hangar where our Chipmunk lives is the nearer (green) one on the GA apron. The main taxyway is parallel to the runway, between the runway and the aprons.

Having vacated the runway at point 'Foxtrot', I slide the canopy back and pause to let an Easy Jet (taxying out from the commercial apron) pass before following it along the main taxyway. I'll be turning left up ahead where the yellow centre line diverges onto the GA apron, while the 'Easy' will continue straight ahead then follow the taxy way as it curves round to the right to the end of the runway, for departure.

It's lovely blattering along on the ground in the Chippy with the canopy open, the prop blast tugging at one's hair. Almost as good as flying it; but not quite!



  1. Only just discovered your blog Vince via your post in the Flyer forum.
    As a new student PPL training out of Liverpool I found your trip back form Sleap interesting and useful, your photos should help me identify landmarks :-)
    As I have an interest in steam, railways and some interest in canals I also found your other items on this page interesting.

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Glad you found it useful.