It’s done. It happened. I am once again, an active display pilot.
Despite some rather sub-optimal weather conditions on Good Friday, the Pitts and I made a successful appearance at Santa Pod Raceway as part of their season opening Festival of Power.
I will admit now that I’ve never before been forced to fly my ‘Flat’ display. Bad weather displays, yes, but the full-on flat display was something I’d not yet flown in anger. The difference between my ‘Bad Weather’ display and my ‘Flat’ display is simply one of height, or more specifically, the height the cloud gives me to play with between the display base and the point where seeing becomes a problem. On Friday the cloudbase allowed me a measly 550-600ft of vertical height above the ground, which meant that with my display base height at 200ft I had precisely not enough clear air to do anything safely beyond flying flat, rolling maneuvers and low passes with tight turn-arounds.
I managed to break out a really rather pleasing variance of rolls, hesitation/point rolls, inverted passes, knife edge passes and various wingovery tight turn around figures and in all honesty it really was an entertaining performance, despite the mizzle and low cloud. I feel pretty pleased with myself.
So yes, it’s done. The season is well and truly under-way and I have another different experience to add to the heap of experiences I like to keep growing – after all, they do make me a better pilot!