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Leg 03 EGPA to EGPB

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ATWC SiX - Leg 03


Pilot - Brian Buckley

Having lived in the Highlands for nigh on 16 years now, I have got to know a few people up here.

As you know, the more people you know, the more people you get introduced to. So I was sat in one of the hostelries in Inverness minding my own business when I was approached by a guy I had never seen before.

'Brian isn't it', the guy said.

'Aye' That's correct.

'Donald, Donald Grant, We have a mutual friend who told me where you'd be this evening, so I thought I'd come and have a chat. It was Richard who told me where to find you'.

'Ah! Now it makes sense', I said, things were becoming clear to me.

Richard, a long time friend of ours, has a Son-in-Law that is a first officer for Cathay Pacific and he knows that I was in to all things aviation.

'To get to the point, I am flying from 'Snicky' -(local term for Inverness) up to Kirkwall in a couple of days and I was wondering if you'd like to come along for the craic', said Donald.

'What? You don't need to ask again' I replied. 'When and where will I meet you?'

Donald told me where to meet him and sure enough, I was on the apron at EGPE at the specified time and date. It was an early morning flight and I was there in plenty of time, so it didn't take long before we were taxiing out to runway 05 for a VFR flight to Kirkwall. I could not believe my luck.

We were supposed to fly back the same day but I got the shout from Mutley's HQ saying that if I was in the area, would I like to take a prized relic off a guy called Kasper, then fly it over to Sumburgh. Well it would be remiss of me to refuse, so I met up with Kasper and took the 'prized relic', The Baton, from his care and started to look for a suitable aircraft for me to charter.

As it happens, there was a friend of Donalds in Kirkwall that assured me he had just the plane for me.

We arrived at one of the hangars at EGPA where he had his little aircraft hangared for the winter.

'Are you sure this will get me to Sumurgh' I asked.

'Och! for sure it will Brian', Sandy assured me.

I looked at my briefing for the flight to Sumburgh and showed it to Sandy. He assured me that even with my present post Christmas weight, I would be a few pounds under the stipulated 1000pound MTOW for this leg of the journey.

'OK, I'll take her, I nervously agreed.

And off I went, promising to have the delicate little thing back in one piece in a day or so.

01 Route Chart.


Having checked the weather and conditions for my route, I decided to take a dawn departure the next day, to give me chance of getting up to Sumburgh in time for lunch.

02 Conditions


03 Weather


My main worry was payload, I was unsure if everything would balance out correctly, so I climbed aboard and checked all the documentation. I was surprised to find that even with a full payload of fuel and given that I had stuffed myself silly at Christmas, I would still be within the bounds of the given restrictions of the leg.

04 Payload


After doing all my checks I made sure the 'Prized Relic aka The Baton' was securely strapped where I could keep an eye on it. You never know in these parts of the world, I may be followed and The Baton taken from me. So it was to be up front with me all the way.

05 Baton Onboard


Now I know you are all wondering just what I would be flying in winter, given a MTOW of 1000lbs.

Well here she is in all her glory.

06 Ready to Taxi


She is the Aeroprakt A-22 'Foxbat' is available as a Ready-To-Fly factory built aircraft or as an advanced kit. Building time for the kit is 300 to 500hrs. Designed by former Antonov design engineer, Yuri Yakovlev , the A-22 is one of a line of many aircraft produced by Aeroprakt in the Ukraine. Construction is aluminium with some parts of the wing and control surfaces covered with Ceconite. The A-22 is powered by the reliable Rotax 912 or 912S engine, and the 3-blade composite ground adjustable propellor from KievProp is very quiet. A cabin width of 120cm (128cm at the elbows) ensures ample room for pilot and passenger. As a comparison, the cabin with of a Cessna 172 is 100cm and a Jabiru SP is 97cm (107cm at the elbows). Transparent doors with convex sides allow for excellent downward visibility. The instrument panel has room for a generous instrument layout. Dual controls are standard with options of either conventional control yokes or a centre stick. A centre stick with a "Y" grip is also available. Basic VFR flight and engine instruments are included with the ready-to-fly aircraft. A stall speed of 50kph (30mph) using the full span flapperons puts the A-22 safely into the microlight category. The all round visibility from the A-22 is spectacular. The aircraft has a baggage compartment that allows up to 20kg to be carried.

This model is by Rick Piper and can be found here: http://flyawaysimulation.com/downloads/files/15776/fsx-aeroprakt-22-foxbat/

Having been given clearance to taxi I make my way out to runway 33 and commence my journey.

07 On My Way


I was a little daunted by the weather but I have flown in worse conditions, so it was a case of grit my teeth and go for it. After all, it is a worthy cause, I thought to myself.

08 Bye bye Kirkwall


It's not long before I get to see what awaits me further north and it does nothing to settle my nerves, especially considering what I'm actually flying.

09 Trouble Ahead


Soon after and I'm flying over Eday Airfield. A strange one considering where it is located within the Orkney Islands, as it is known locally as London Airport. This is because it is situated on the shores of London Bay.

10 Eday Below


After flying over Eday, I spot a ferry out to the East, so I divert from my course for a little looksee.

11 Ferry Ahead


Having spotted her and I would presume the passengers will have spotted me, it would be rude not to say a quick hello. Wouldn't it?

12 Say Hello


Having got myself a couple of waves from the passengers, I fly back to my original plan and start my approaches to North Ronaldsay. I'm not landing but I thought I would just fly past and give the guys on duty something to look at.

13 Passing North Ronaldsay


You can sometimes see Loganair flying in and out of here.

I fly further North to take a peek at the lighthouse that guards the island.

There are no lighthouse keepers here anymore, but there are the staff that man the visitor centre. So without further ado, I say good morning to them also.

14 Buzzing the Lighthouse


I get myself back on course and this time head for FairIsle. A tiny island but one that is much worth visiting. It is the most remote of the inhabited islands around the UK.

15 On Course


As I head towards FairIsle, I can't help but notice that the sun is now up. I'm still very cold though. Oh! did I not mention the fact that I'm bloody freezing in this aeronautical greenhouse? I am!

16 Sun is Up


Then soon after I see FairIsle ahead.

17 FairIsle Ahead


Passing FairIsle, I alter course to a Northerly direction to pick up the ILS for runway 09. The weather seems to have abated and it looks like a fairly easy approach.

18 Turning North


Unfortunately, the further North I get the weather or should I say, the wind increases and I'm being tossed about like a cork in a boiling sea. It is all I can do to not throw up. Nonetheless, I'm on the ILS for runway 09 and trying to keep it steady.

19 Heading for the ILS


Being blown about so much that I had fears of ditching with The Baton on board, which would not go down well back at Mutley's HQ, I request a different approach and try to come in on runway 27. Hopinging beyond hope that I would fair better on this approach, I find myself with a full right rudder just to on course. Scary stuff in a glorified Microlite.

20 Trying Again


I am now battling with the wind but know I have to land this thing, if I stand a chance of meeting Dai and giving him The Baton. So, battle on I must. Hard right rudder lad.

21 Hard Right Rudder


Well it wasn't pretty, but I got her down. Just over 50kph, full flaps and she just sat down.......with a bump or two. The point is, I'm on the tar and relatively safe.

22 Runway Clear


Taxiing off the runway I declare 'runway clear' and taxi to my allotted parking, relieved that I'm down in one piece but also that The Baton is safe also. I couldn't face the Boss if I damaged The Baton. And I know how ugly he looks when he cries. So, knowing that, I find my parking slot and I think to myself, where is the bar?

23 Parked


24 Handing Over


Parked up, engine shut down, I just have to get to the bar and await Dai's arrival. Take your time Dai, I'm going to waste the company credit card. I need to calm my nerves somewhat.

Not a bad flight but ruined in the end by winds that sort of dictated that I should not have been in the air in that little tiny bag of bolts. You live and learn.

Sumburgh is a lovely airport and what's more, it has good bar facilities.

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Well done Bri, can't say I would have liked to have flown a microlight on that flight.


So, you have reached the magic 1000lbs weight? You certainly have piled on the pounds since we last met.


Love the edits with the baton  :thum:



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Well done Brian, I'm not the least envious of you. Wouldn't have flown that leg even if I got paid to do it  ;)


And extra credit to you for taking such good care of the Baton, although strapping it in was perhaps a bit over the top  ;)

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Nice one Brian.  So sorry that you suffered from the wind, and so soon after Christmas too!  :D


You're a brave man to attempt that flight, and in a tee-shirt and jeans as well if the last photo is to be believed. You must have been freezing!  Still, lucky you didn't have your kilt on of you may have frozen off your undercarriage!! 

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  • 1 month later...

Great leg Brian :thum:


Seeing the Foxbat makes me want to dust the cobwebs of my Icarus, but think I'll try it out on a more tame route.


You must have been freezing in just a T 'n jeans... hope there was a nice warming drop waiting on the bar for you.



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