The CIX VFR Club The Stapleford Gang
Club Events - Visit to RAF Marham
Marham RAF Station, Norfolk
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The CIX VFR Club
Club Events - Visit to RAF Marham
Marham RAF Station, Norfolk
 Report Tuesday 25th January 2005  
"One of the best outings yet.": Tony For the first time, member pilots started this outing from several different aerodromes. The weather was reasonable with occasional bands of hazy cloud at low level from Biggin Hill to just north of the Thames and east of Daventry.

Tony flew the club Spitfire G-SAJD in formation with a Hawker Hurrricane, piloted by our new Associate member and Vatsim-UK Capital Regional Training Scheme Manager, Colin Billing. Tony took the lead and did all the navigation, while Colin did most of the ATC - an arrangement which worked well for them. Tony remarked that the Hurricane wasn't quite as fast as the Spitfire. Early in the first flight, Colin had a problem with his voice connection and decided to orbit while trying to sort it out, while Tony continued to land at Stansted and waited for him there. When Colin caught up again, the two took off together again to exit at Puckeridge, flying through London Luton's overhead (Hemel to Pirton), then westward towards Gloucester. Although the landing runway was 36, they elected to land on 27 for its extra length and width.

Vintage aircraft at Marham

Vintage Aircraft outside Marham Aero Club

  They had planned to land at Cambridge en route, but it closed while they were still heading towards Daventry. Inevitably they passed a few others also en route to Marham, including G-SEMI, and were catching up to VH-DAH as they approached Marham.

At Colin's suggestion, and in true Warbird style, they chose to approach and land using the RAF's "run and break" technique, first at Gloucestershire, then again at Marham, although on the latter approach VH-DAH was not far ahead of them with a potential for a confliction. Colin said he expected the military boys at Marham to know all about the procedure, and it seemed they did. Tony commented "It is fun diving down towards the threshold, level out about 200ft over the runway at about 300mph, cut the engine for the climbing right turn to downwind at circuit height. Then it's wheels down at 160mph, add a bit of power to keep over 120mph, check the downwind heading and look out to the right for the threshold. That's when I lost sight of the runway, so started the turn round towards the landing direction and kept looking... When I spotted it I was turning too fast and a bit high, so I eased out of the turn a bit, called finals, flaps down, slowing to about 90mph, lined up - cleared to land, and down. Keep rolling, there's another one behind! In fact I slowed down too quickly, and Colin came past me."

"I had a very cross wind to fight on landing - I don't know what I did to upset her!": Peter D Peter (G-GYAV) joined at Gloucester to find 5 other aircraft on the ground around him, necessitating some careful steering. In fact he narrowly avoided "popping up" inside what looked like an ATR to his right, or another 172 directly ahead! He had an uneventful flight direct to Marham via Daventry, but began to experience unusual belts of low cloud which fortunately cleared when required.

Peter said "Nearing Marham I began to experience sudden sharp yaws to the left, which indicated turbulent winds (very unrealistic, but that's FS). During my initial approach, I was asked to orbit to the SW of R06 centreline. Rolling out of the orbit onto long final I turned out to be way south of the runway centreline, caused, I now know, by the strong northerly wind. I was really struggling to get back onto the centreline. With ATC giving "winds calm" it was only when I was on very short final, crabbing in almost sideways and still experiencing these violent yaws, that I twigged what was the problem. Shift-Z revealed that the wind was 340 32 knots! That's about as cross a wind as it gets for a 172!

Gloster outbound

G-GYAV Gloster outbound

Now if they can only get SB3 to be as smooth as MPS they are on to a winner!: Pete A Pete's trip was also fairly free of incident. He left the Chipmunk in the hangar and took the 172 G-SPCA, as it has Radio Nav equipment, and having Daventry VOR was a definite plus across featureless East Anglia. Pete was on the ground at EGBJ as Tony and Chris stormed in overhead, but due to not having the Common Shapes Library yet iin his new installation they looked like very fast Cessnas. Pete departed Gloucester behind new Associate member Eliot (on his first outing with us). Eliot was quite a bit faster in the Siai Marchetti SF.260 and Pete didn't see him again until he was on the ground at Marham.

Pete remarked "The weather was strange again. I twice found a cloud bank that disappeared just as I thought I was going to get in to trouble, and the wind was a constant 340 (I think) at 7 knots. That was until I came in for finals! Tower told me wind was calm. Calm? Well yes, but gusting 0 - 40 knots! This meant an approach to the runway of about 30 degrees and just as I was flaring, there was a sudden gust which lifted me 100 ft. My landing was consequently very heavy (workshop check on the nosewheel when you get her back to Biggin, Pete) and I had to crab down the runway to my exit".

" find the assembled crowd in the VNAAFI with Tony 'Biggles' Driver, Hurricane Colin and large mugs of highest quality VRAF tea.: David David (Piper Arrow VH-DAH) Started out from Halfpenny Green (or Wolverhampton Business Airport as it's now known) where he completed his flight training (real world) and routed to Gloucester as he had done several times when based at EGBO. All was well except for getting his left and right mixed up on the join for downwind, and needing to do a overhead pass to get to the correct side of the airport. A few PC problems and brief bit of cursing at a slightly well-known computer software company, and he was back on the ground and ready to go to Marham. David says "Leaving Gloucester, to let the slower C172 contingent get a bit of a head start I went out and did a couple of circuits before setting off enroute. I noticed Peter (G-GYAV) ready for departure at the hold on one of my approaches".

The cross country bit was painless, - freecallling Marham Approach with about 40 miles to go and getting a radar service for the approach. On finals, after receiving my landing clearance, I found the warbirds! They shot past me at what seemed like 350knots (it was actually 300mph, i.e. fast) straight down the runway and then peeled off to climb to join the circuit. Very disconcerting. I did a couple of touch and goes later to keep Tower awake, then landed and taxied in to park alongside G-GYAV.

"We lost the air speed indicator half way through the journey. but regained it just as we entered the circuit - lucky": Eliot Designed in the early 1960's by Stelio Frati and first flown in 1964, the SF260 really is a unique aircraft. Still in production at Aermacchi's factory in Italy over 1000 airframes have rolled off the production line, the majority of which are flown by Air Forces around the world in the training and light ground attack roles. No wonder Pete in Cessna 172 G-SPCA was left behind! Colin Billing also flies one of these Eliot's Siai Marchetti

New member Eliot Wassell, in his racy Siai Marchetti SF260 G-BBVG on the apron at Gloucester prior to departure.

Aircraft seen on Servinfo at Gloster or Marham
Pilot Aircraft
David Humble (M) VH-DAH Piper Arrow
Pete Allnut (M) G-SPCA Cessna 172 SP
Tony Driver (M) G-SAJD Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV
Peter Dodds (M) G-GYAV Cessna 172N
Eliot Wassell (M) G-BBVG Siai Marchetti SF260
Colin Billing (M) G-MKZA Hawker Hurricane Mk II
Mark Newburn G-BMRK
Dan Adams G-BXYT
Chris Yates G-JECB
Trevor Watchorn G-TWLJ
Seb Miell G-SEMI
Not Identified G-GBLR
ServInfo Marham map

Says it all really!

  Thanks once again to David Humble in Sydney for suggesting a memorable event.
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