On Friday, I stopped by Scone on my home Dundee and found myself being offered a flight in a friends SkyRanger microlight. My friend intended on flying to Kingsmuir, which is a little grass strip in the East Neuk of Fife, not too far away from Crail, taking the scenic route out over Dundee, Broughty Ferry, Leuchars and Saint Andrews. It was an opportunity too good to pass up, so taking a chance with my back pain I get myself into the aircraft and found a comfortable position where my legs would not foul the rudder pedals and off we went.
During WW2, Tealing was an Operational Training Unit for pilots fresh from their basic flying training where there were taught the necessary skills for flying in combat. The main runway has a chicken farm built over it with Dundees’ main electricity sub station, located it its western end, a cross runway can also be seen. The usual pattern for wartime RAF airfields was to have three runways, with at least two of them being hard or paved runways and a third which could also be paved or just grass. Tealing has two because of its proximity to the Sidlaw Hills.
Receiving a Basic Service from Dundee Tower, out first reporting point was over Broughty Ferry Castle, an inbound Tayside aircraft was also instructed to call over the castle all be it at a much lower altitude and we never did see it, such is the nature of flying and the need to maintain a good watch for other aircraft.
Having passed over the castle, we changed to Leuchars Radar, for another Basic Service, which allowed us to directly overfly the base. Being Good Friday, there was nothing doing and the base was completely empty. The only operational aircraft would be the two QRA, Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons, ready to be scrambled at a moments notice.
From Leuchars, it was over the River Eden and over the Old Course at St. Andrews and the town itself. I saw another golf course being built over towards Craigton Park, although at this stage it looked like a large field full of puddles.
After St. Andrews we played the game beloved by all GA pilots… where the hell is Kingsmuir!
It is quite hard to spot from the air, we both were quite close but the ultimate winner was the GPS, who knew where it was all the time. A standard overhead join, which is pilot talk for we flew over the airfield and descended in a safe and predictable manner keeping a good look out for other traffic making the necessary calls on the Safety Com frequency, which is a common radio frequency for airfields that have no assigned radio…. and we were down.
Kingsmuir is quite quiet at the best of times but it is a favourite place for local pilots to fly to and it was not surprise to see no other visiting aircraft, although one of the based aircraft was out being pre-flight checked so we had someone to talk to! I was quite pleased to see this Rallye as I had been after a decent set of photos of it for a while.
The aircraft distinctive colour scheme goes back to it’s former life when it was a display aircraft for the Breitling Watch Company. Watches for people who have a serious amount of money to spend…
David, my pilot was very patient as I wanted a flying shot so while he sunned himself by the Clubhouse I hobbled across the runway to await the next landing.
I just love this red pan tile roof, it makes such a nice focal point and contrasts well with the blue sky. The red tiles is a traditional roofing used in this part of Fife.
We took the direct route back to Scone, skirting the Leuchars MATZ, the military control zone to the east of Cupar and Ladybank, overflying the traditional Tay crossing point at Newburgh.
Landing back it was time to play “who and where they are in the circuit” game as we joined overhead for landing.
This American registered PA28 Cherokee was still there at the Engineering hangar.
So there we have it, my thank-yous said from an ever grateful passenger to my pilot friend and it was back home to do battle with Lightroom and process the days photos.
The full set of photos can be seen on my Flickr page https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwshack/with/13970157062