A Fun Day Out
Alastair Shaw & I decided to make use of the recent spell of warm weather and planned a trip out west. We discussed options such as Islay (both of us have been there before) and Tiree (apparently the eatery beside the airport isn’t open any more) before finally settling on Glenforsa (Alan Laing had been in earlier that week and had found the runway in superb nick after the dry weather).
We set off heading west into glorious weather, looking forward to an enjoyable flight, a bite to eat and flight back however, we didn’t realise quite what an interesting day lay before us .......... !
Round about the Dollar / Tillicoultry area, working Scottish Information, another flight came on frequency and announced himself as “Rainbow One Romeo .....” – an unusual a call sign. Turned out he was a Royal Flight with Prince Andrew on board who had been up in Ayrshire and was heading down Lancashire-way!
The rest of the flight out was pretty uneventful except that Scottish had asked me to report approaching the Oban area and although the radio had remained relatively quiet for the best part of 40 minutes or so, as soon as I was about 10 miles short of Oban Airfield, it seemed as if all of a sudden, everyone wanted to talk and I was actually past the airfield before being able to get a word in!
Arriving at Glenforsa (my first time), a stiff wind from the south-east suggesting a fair crosswind, I decided to fly a precautionary circuit just to get the feel of the place. I overflew the runway at 300 ft only to experience some stiff turbulence and did find myself wondering if we might change our minds and head off to Oban instead however, the landing turned out to be much smoother – probably the shelter provided by the trees behind the hotel.
While we were tucking into the Glenforsa Hotel’s superb food, a couple other planes came in (one being the Robin from RAF Leuchars) but the second one caught a nasty bit of sink and ended up burying its prop into the ground and sticking its tail vertically up in the air. The 2 PoB were OK thankfully but the plane suffered a broken wheel, prop and a few other bits of bent metal. With the plane parked in the middle of the runway, our stay had to be extended a bit until photos were taken and the bunch of us then manhandled it off.
It was about this point Alastair realised that, being involved in the Scottish Election the following day, he was supposed to collect the ballot boxes for his Polling Station but our delay was putting that at risk. Nevertheless, a couple of phone calls and he found he could get the boxes delivered to his house so – problem sorted!
Just when we were finally ready to go, the Scottish Air Ambulance helicopter arrived – nothing related to the activities at the airfield but to airlift someone to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
We finally got off the ground and an uneventful flight saw us landing back at Fife around 7.30pm, slightly later than planned.
All in all, an eventful but enjoyable day and a couple of “firsts” for me .......... first time into Glenforsa and first time onto a grass airfield!