Bournemouth - Bristol Filton - Bournemouth - Cardiff - Bournemouth, that was the plan for the day.
I flew the first two sectors, and Steve was doing the last two.
First IFR nav ever, that was quite a moment.
Flight plan filled, aircraft preflighted, there we were, walking on the airpron to board our plane with a strange feeling, that feeling you get when you prepare yourself for something new and you don't really know what to expect.
A moment later, cleared for take-off, I applied full power and soon the tires were sliding onto the runway at 75 kts indicated airspeed, our VR.
Positive rate of climb, gear up, 100kt, props back to 2500rpm / 25" manifold pressure, after take-off checklist.
On the climb-out, we picked up a bit of ice but as we punched through the cloud layer, the sunshine got rid of it without any trouble. Blue sky up there, as usual.
Flying roughly 150 kts true airspeed at Flight Level 80, we got handed-over to Yeovilton Radar, Cardiff Radar, Bristol Radar and finally Filton Approach.
I joined for a hold above the airfield followed by a procedure NDB (Locator) on runway 27. Despite it being my very first approach away from Bournemouth, it oddly went fairly well. As I was going around at my MDA (Minimum Decision Altitude, NDB approach), I got a glimpse of the now-stored Concorde, parked just South of the runway.
Incredible piece of engineering it was. Oh well. I had better going back to my flight because a moment later my instructor was throwing an engine failure at me. That's where it suddenly got very busy, Filton Tower asked me to contact the Approach and assigned me a southerly heading, while I was dealing with the simulated engine failure and doing all the drills.
A few minutes later, the City of Bristol was flowing under our left wing, I could get a clear view of the University of Bristol's Memorial Tower, where I studied Aerospace Engineering. Brought back some good memories.
The cruise flight back to Bournemouth was pretty much eventless, and the radar vectored ILS that followed was definitely a lot easier than the previous ones we made with a 40 kts wind.
Back on mother Earth, quick swap of the crew , and we were soon back in the air at sunset, to Cardiff this time. Most of the flight shared the same route, flying into the N864 Airway northbound and leaving at EXMOR, a waypoint a dozen miles South of Cardiff, for a runway 12 ILS approach.
The Welsh capital suddenly emerged as we were descending towards Cardiff International in the cold night. Some shiny orangish reflections got the windshield all illuminated. It does feel quite intense in those moments.
We came back in some smooth evening air to Bournemouth to complete the flight with a procedure NDB followed by a circle to land (visual circuit with a simulated cloud ceiling of 800ft).
Airborne life continues...