Magni Gyro M16 Qualifying Solo Cross-Country Gyrocopter Flight from Popham to Goodwood Aerodromeby Alex Prayle Qualified Pilot
It was a calm, sunny day on the ground. All felt good and I was excited to do my first solo flight to land at a different airfield. This was only my fourth day flying this year. My instructor warned me that the visibility in the air had been quite poor earlier that morning but it was improving. The weather was certainly better than some previous weeks. I had used runway 08 at Popham recently and practiced solo navigation in the area including roughly half of my planned route as far as Petersfield and back.
I strapped my phone to one leg to run SkyDemon as a backup and my chart and PLOG to the other leg.
Take off was smooth and visibility initially good. On climbing out and looking South, horizontal visibility was quite poor and I had a moment of hesitation, to consider whether to proceed. However, I could navigate by familiar terrain and I knew I had the option to come back. Reassuringly, I spotted a couple of fixed wing aircraft to my left at a similar height.
During the flight, visibility improved and I had a great view of Butser Hill on the horizon from New Alresford and close up fly past (04:24). Views of Hayling island, Isle of Wight and the bodies of water West of Chichester were clearly visible. As I got closer, I recognised the clearing in the woodland on the ridge, which is the Devil's Humps at Kingley Vale Nature Reserve (05:18). After crossing the ridge, Chichester to the right (05:28) and Goodwood racecourse (05:31) with Goodwood Aerodrome straight ahead.
I had planned an overhead join on runway 14 left hand. As I orbit the numbers (06:50) taking in the scenic view to descend deadside, I noticed two aircraft taking off. On turning final (10:18), I was still at 1000ft, higher than usual but not a problem. Runway 14 at Goodwood is huge for a gyro and the circuit wasn't too busy so I slowed down (IAS 35-45mph) for a steep descent to 400ft before regaining airspeed for a soft landing. Runway vacated (12:08)
After landing, I taxied to park by the tower to get a signature on my qualifying cross-country certificate then walked over to the cafe to enjoy a coffee and a delicious slice of chocolate brownie.
On the return flight, the visibility had improved and it was much faster with the sun and wind from behind me. I had some great scenic views and took a different route via Petersfield Lake (15:04) and Four Marks.
Depart Popham runway 08, flight 37 nm to land at Chichester Goodwood after 53 minutes.
Maximum ground speed during the flight was 68 kt and maximum altitude was 2,248 ft.
Depart Goodwood runway 14, flight 35 nm to land at Popham after 32 minutes.
Maximum ground speed during the flight was 83 kt and my maximum altitude was 2,692 ft