Compton Abbas for Lunch and Popham for the Biennial
Flight Review (BFR)
Today was the dreaded BFR which was arranged for
early evening at Popham, so decided to have a pleasant trip to Compton Abbas
for lunch before this. It was a reasonable day with a light South
Westerly wind and good visibility. We flew the usual route passing
Chilbolton and South of Salisbury before a positioning for a straight in
approach to 26 at Compton Abbas. Compton was very quiet with no
movements all the time we were listening but ironically we ended up being
overtaken by another aircraft, also on a long final to the field.
The restaurant was very busy with many visitors
coming in for lunch by road. We enjoyed our respective baguettes and sat for
a while pondering the forthcoming BFR.
The flight to Popham was pleasant although there
were some quite rough thermals in the area South of Salisbury. We routed
past Chilbolton and at Popham joined via a right hand circuit on 26. We took
on fuel and were greatly pleased to find that the airfield had purchased a
taller ladder for re-fuelling which makes it much easier to reach those high
fuel caps on the 170. Then it was a short taxi to the clubhouse to await
Martin's biennial fate.
Thoughts on the BFR: Well its not supposed to be a
test and there is apparently no standard specified as to who is good, bad or
otherwise. However, if your instructor/examiner jumps out half way through
you are probably not doing too well. For Martin the big decision was who to
fly with and also if they are available to make the long trek to the
airfield on a day when the weather is suitable. In addition a vital factor
in the choice of instructor/examiner is, do they understand why people like
Martin fly and do they also understand why we like ancient aeroplanes?
Martin is instantly put off by young instructors at
flying clubs who wear uniforms and are only there for a short period while
they put in enough hours to branch out into the heavy metal airline world.
Some of these individuals may also not be the most suitable candidate for
practical reasons. The instructor/examiner is the pilot in charge during a
BFR and many of our old aeroplanes have less than sparkling handling
characteristics and may be of a type that they have never flown before.
Given all these considerations to juggle the choice
this year was sensible and very rewarding. Martin arranged to fly with Chris
Thompson after he had been on duty at Popham. This way he did not have to
travel anywhere and we were able to decide if the weather was suitable, well
in advance. Chris clearly understands the attraction with older aircraft and
he could not be described as a spotty youth in a uniform.
The session was very rewarding and Martin managed to
brush up on a number of topics. Although it was a very busy 1 hours flight
he did not feel under pressure and found it easy to treat the time as a
When logbooks and forms had been signed we departed
from 26 to our home strip. This had been a very productive day.