Day 8, Flight 2 – Beccles to Earls Colne (Captain: Paul)
All of us are quite sad that this will be our last leg. It’s also our shortest runway, so we plan to use the entire displaced threshold for our run-up. AK climbs like a home-sick angel in the relatively strong headwind. There are some towering cumulus ahead and sharp showers in the distance.
From Beccles it’s a straight-forward route around the Norfolk & Suffolk coastline, taking in, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Sizewell (making sure we are clear), Orford Ness (radar development station from WW2) and round to the hook of Harwich our first coastal way-point 8 days ago.
As we cross over Harwich and fly down the Stour estuary Paul tunes the ADF to the Maningtree mast turns up the ident volume. He selects the ADF on the comms box and we instantly have Steve Winwood singing ‘Valerie’ at full volume through our headsets, with Paul playing air piano on the dash! It seems like a fitting end to the tour (although I didn’t really know the song – but the old guys on board seemed to enjoy it).
We turn south west at Maningtree for Earls Colne but have to snake our way around some storm cells, not something we’d choose to fly through with clear skies around them. Weather is just as the met office forecast!
There was no other traffic at Earls Colne so we come straight in on a long-final on our last leg.
We receive a warm welcome from the staff at the club, who were probably relieved to see the safe return of AK even more! After emptying out the aircraft (no mean feat), and completing all the tech-logs and pilot flight logs it was all over!