Destination Sandtoft Airfield [EGCF] on the Northern Chart…
So it took us nearly a year, but finally we have made it onto the Northern Chart! Sandtoft Airfield [EGCF] was to be our destination.
Sandtoft Airfield (ICAO: EGCF) opened in February 1944 as a satellite for RAF Lindholme, Bomber Command. It is located in Belton, North Lincolnshire, England approximately 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Doncaster, which pushes it just off the top of the Southern half mill chart so a good choice for the day’s challenge.
As usual, the weather had conspired against us but last Sunday everything aligned and off we went. I didn’t fly up there and knew that it was going to be a long slog back on my leg, due to the strong wind. There was still so much flooding that didn’t seem to have gone down since we last flew over it. Awful for those involved. However, a beautiful flight north with little pockets of cloud to fly over and new territory below. At one point we were at about 4500′ above the cloud but could have been at any altitude. It was fantastic and super fast due to the strong tailwind.We found Sandtoft fairly easily. We were having a final try out with the ApproBASE app before it went to Apple and it mapped out the right hand circuit beautifully on all of the devices we could muster. Excellent! There was an interesting landing over a huge car lot. Final leg follows the line of a road and it was a bit disconcerting to see a car cross just as we were about to land.
There was easy parking, and then a very warm welcome from the folks in Control. The Sky View Cafe has one of the best views of arriving aircraft and we lingered over our bacon baps. Then it was time to head home. We checked the fuel, there was probably enough to get us home. I started up the engine and then we had second thoughts. We always make sure we have more than enough fuel and anticipating the strong winds we decided that we needed a top up. Good thing we did!
It was an utter slog home. Visibility forward was dire as the sun shone on the haze and we played with altitude to find the best ground speed. It really was a case of following the magenta line a lot of the time and then relief when the NDBs kicked in. Large towns were completely invisible and we kept thinking that aircraft were coming towards us, only to realise that it was light reflecting off flooded fields in the far distance. Very disconcerting! I have decided I am definitely a VRF girl, a long flight with no viz is not terribly interesting. I never thought I would say that!
A rather ‘solid’ landing bought us home. Thank goodness we had taken on the extra fuel, we would have been rather low if we hadn’t! Gales this weekend so I think I will be earthbound.
I have a hankering for sunny skies so roll on the summer!
Sandtoft Airfield/ Aerodrome links: