Winter flying at Goodwood

12th December 2017

Every aviator looks forward to those cold, crisp, frosty mornings to fly as winter dawns, some fantastic flying, stable air and lovely views of the Sussex countryside. 

The days drawing in and last light nibbling into early afternoon reduce the time available and the cold brisk winds enough to put you off. If you put in the effort though to get airborne, the rewards are considerable.

The weather is not always kind though and often persistent rain and strong winds can hamper our best efforts. However, we are flying for a hobby. Imagine having to fly every possible day, battling against the winter conditions to get aircraft serviceable and ready for operations, no excuses!

Battling with cold fingers, trying to take off engine cowlings, keeping the engine oil warm to enable engine stats. Taxiing through thick mud to reach the take-off point. Towards the end of September 1940, the weather broke into heavy rain and low cloud with the occasional German bomber sniffing about. 602 squadron, based here at Westhampnett had to still scramble to action to intercept these attacks despite the winter weather. By the end of October, the airfield was a sea of mud, especially in the vicinity of the dispersal huts. The cold conditions were to take their toll on the pilots and the operations record books showed a significant shortage of pilots in November due to illness.

The weather didn't improve much over Christmas 1940/41 which then lead to the decision to put down a perimeter track to help aircraft movements. This track was the foundation for the now infamous Goodwood Motor Circuit.

 

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