Monday, 20 February 2017

Foxbat Flight over Shropshire

 What started as an almost throwaway comment on Facebook, ended up with an invitation to go flying for the morning with my friend Graham from the airfield at Otherton near Penkridge.
Duly prepared with the rather cold weather I arrived at Otherton just before 10am on the 7th of January. Graham was already there and busy preparing the aircraft a Foxbat microlight for departure.
Following a safety briefing we taxied to the active runway and took off into an easterly direction toward the Cannock Chase. To my surprise the Foxbat climbed out at a fair rate and before long having made a right hand turn we were heading over towards South Shropshire.

As some photographs show the ground was white with frost in some place and not in others making for a lovely crisp view unobscured by haze.
The first set of images that follow were taken just before take off and before landing at a surprise location, more about which further down. 

The next set of pictures start with the approach to a private strip we commonly refer to as Millington Air Base. At this location "lives" a Hawker Harrier GR3 (XV808) in full running order and this was the surprise Graham had arranged with owner Roy. There is also a picture of the Foxbat, G-CEWR, sitting on the airstrip during our visit.


This is the final set of pictures taken during our flight further west and on the way back to base. During the flight Graham listened in to RAF Shawbury radio to get early warning of any military traffic. We spotted a couple of Hawks off the nose of the aircraft flying at a lower altitude. There was also some helicopter movement, but we did not see any nor did we see the Hercules that was cleared for an approach. What we did spot and gave a wide birth to was a balloon not far from Bridgenorth.

By the time we were approaching Otherton close to midday it had become a bit more hazy in the distance but it did not affect visibility greatly.

After landing we put G-CEWR to bed and made our way off the airfield heading for home.
It was a great experience that I hope to have an opportunity to repeat at some time. My thanks first of all to my friend and pilot Graham and to Roy for allowing us, in his absence, to see his Harrier.

Theo Claassen
21 January 2017

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