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Leg 02 - Gamston (EGNE) - Kirkwall (EGPA)

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I was late, boy was I ever!

Inspired by my first love (No not Sharon but the Gooney Bird / Dakota) I decided to fly this delivery with the DC-3.

However when I got around to flight planning the restrictive rules in the UK made it impossible to make this flight and be more or less on time. The flight plan would have to be like this.




That would not be a workable solution so I asked Sharon to make a Big Six available at the airport. She did ask "Are you sure?"  in her most innocent tone of voice. Not suspecting anything and with enough runway length I did not see any problems and replied "Yeah, make it happen!".

A flight plan for the DC-6 looked much more reasonable:




But the weather could be an issue, oh well I am IFR certified so still no problems as far as I could see.

That all changed when I arrived (much too late) at the airport. The runway was good enough, but how was I going to get the big propliner out of this spot?




However it was nearing 21:00 Zulu so I'd better move soon to make the deadline.
With some help and careful placement of prop blades we were able to tow the plane from her position.




It was an extremely tight fit but we managed to get her onto the runway.
Sharon had long before I arrived arranged another flight to get to the next stop. I didn't blame her. What a position did I get myself into?
I reviewed the flight plan one last time and lined up on the runway.




Ok, all set and I finally relaxed in the familiar surroundings of the cockpit. The engines were purring and I had a baton to deliver!

I did not had a lot of room left on take off but all went well and we left this tiny airfield to fly to the tip of Scotland.




Climbing steadily I noticed a strong head wind. This would be a flight for arm wrestling the controls.




But for now all was fairly calm and the Six climbed away happy to be in her element.




This continued for a large portion of the trip but the further north we came, the more clouds we encountered.




And near the last portion of the flight: thunderstorms!




The relatively calm weather was gone and the big plane received a good thrashing.




The thunderstorm was quite severe and some updrafts were so powerful that even with the throttles back at the stops I could not force the plane down!






Luckily the weather improved near Kirkwall and I had time to study the procedure one last time.




I lined up for finals somewhat lower than regulation permits as I always do on smaller fields (i.e. when I can get away with it). Modern glide slopes and such are just not designed for propliners.




With the limited runway length available I wanted a touch down just over the threshold.




After a successful landing (I did walk away and did not break the plane ..) it was now time to get some rest. I would notify mission control of my escapades the next morning..




I left the plane through the cargo exit and took the baton with me to the hotel.
Tomorrow I will no doubt hear when the baton is picked up.
Now to look for Sharon...

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