Today was one of those days when you don’t achieve your goal but you’re exceptionally glad that you tried!
We were intending to fly out to North Weald to meet up and compare notes with another person building the same type of kit aircraft as us (a Vans RV-14, if you’re interested). When we arrived at Biggin the cloud was low and the visibility not great – not a problem for J, who is instrument-rated, but there wasn’t much other light traffic on the move. The forecast suggested things were clearer in the direction of our destination, so we decided to go up and have a look.
We climbed through the cloud layer pretty quickly after leaving Biggin and were immediately in bright sunlight. About 10 minutes in, however, the cloud layer below us began to solidify and it became clear that a visual approach to North Weald (the only option at this airfield) was not going to be remotely feasible. We continued until a couple of miles short of the field, gave them a call on the radio and left a message for the guy we were meeting to let him know we couldn’t get in.
With the late afternoon sun shining down on us, we flew back to Biggin just brushing the top of the cloud layer. The combination of the early evening light and the formations was just incredible.
It was a good reminder that forecasts can be wrong, the weather is unpredictable and that anyone who flies (especially in the UK in winter!) should always be prepared for a change of plan.
I am so happy we went up, though – if we’d decided not to try, we’d have missed these amazing sights.