This episode of the Ready for Departure podcast details an in-flight emergency that Steve recently experienced whilst he was pilot in command of an Ikarus C-42 microlight. Steve and fellow pilot Adrian were returning from Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport when the pilot’s door suddenly blew open, sucking out anything that wasn’t strapped or screwed down.
Listen as Steve replays the incident, with the help of actual ATC recordings of the incident and explains how he rectified the situation (along with commentary from inside the cockpit as the problem is diagnosed and eventually resolved).
In this episode Steve talks about completing differences training on a new type of Microlight aircraft, the Ikarus C-42. Whilst it uses the same Rotax 912 4-cylinder engine that Steve is familiar with, the C-42 is a high-wing aircraft and has some notable differences when compared with the low-wing Eurostar EV-97 aircraft that Steve normally flies.
It took Steve a number of lessons with an instructor to get to grips with the change, but now completed Steve has access to a fleet of five aircraft thanks to the PPL hire scheme at the school where he rents his aircraft. This means more flying and more podcasts! Listen in and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple iTunes if you want new episodes instantly downloaded to your Apple device.
Fellow microlight pilot Adrian and I decided to see if we could make it to one of the local farm strips to the north of Barton.
Rossall Field, which is the base for attitude airsports, a small microlight school where flexwing, fixed wing and quite rarely, tailwheel microlight flying is taught, came recommended to us by another pilot. Rossall Field is a farm strip at Tarn Farm in Cockerham, Lancashire with 2 runways (both with reciprocal bearings). Runway 02/20 is 305 metres long and 11 metres wide, and there is a shorter 10/28 runway which is just 270 metres long. Compare that with Barton’s shortest runway (which I have operated from only once, during training) which is a generous 398 metres long and 60 metres wide!
Rossall Field is close to 2 other microlight sites and Cockerham’s parachute dropzone, so correct field identification is really important.
Spotting the site proved to be just as difficult as the time I tried to find Ince Airfield (still not landed there yet!). A grass strip with a farm next to it, from 2,000 feet looks pretty much like any farm with green fields! And there are lots of those in Lancashire!
Once we’d found Rossall Field and hung around for a while, Adrian brought us back to Barton. It was pretty simple navigation back to Barton – pick up the M6 and route southbound, through the inactive Warton MATZ due to it being a weekend, on to Chorley Lakes and then the newly re-named Middlebrook football stadium VRP.
I’m sure Adrian won’t mind me saying it wasn’t one of his better landings (and I have certainly landed worse myself since this trip), you’ll hear me say on the video “you can blame me for that one if you want” and it was because at one point I realised I’d fouled the control stick with my map on final. I moved it away as soon as I felt the stick touch the map, but it might have been enough to put Adrian off. Anyway, it was a safe landing so that’s all the counts. And I don’t mind admitting Adrian is a better pilot than me!
So all in all, a great little trip that gave both of us really valuable experience and, due to splitting the cost, was a very cheap way to spend the afternoon. While only a 64 mile round-trip, it’s certainly a favourite flight in my log book (perhaps not THE favourite) and it’s given me the confidence to find more microlight and farm strips to land at during the remainder of 2018 and beyond.