|Posted by andyreohorn on November 23, 2007 at 6:53 PM|
"Game on!" came the call as we tried hard to join in loose formation with a tightly turning Bulldog. The following couple of minutes were a blur of black and yellow, red and white; twisting, turning, wings on the edge of their aerodynamic limits, one pointing to the beautiful angels in the bright blue sky, the other to the white sheep in the lush green fields below. Stall warner breaker pulled, the buffet kicked and punched the wings as it tried so hard to relinquish the lift from those hard working wings.
Momentarily straight and level, a glance to the right and we pulled hard over to the right in an attempt to lose the bumble bee ?dog on our tail. That did the trick, canopy to canopy, each pulling as hard as he dare on that stick, gaining gaining gaining, we are almost on his tail, guns blazing and the imaginary tracer cuts through his tail.
Breaking off to regain some height, we pondered on the day so far. One of those days one is glad to be able to fly, blue sky beckoning, visibility superb, cold November air helping performance. A side bet was placed that Ridders had to carry out a stall turn to at least 9/10 standard and then I would buy lunch for him. Much to my horror, his only fault was to not quite hold the vertical, so I scored him 9.5 and agreed to buy lunch. We looped, rolled and stalled turned our way through the skies, almost alone in the vastness that was our playground today.
Fluffy soft clouds bubbled up as we played, beckoning us to join them, to dodge in and out of them.
Then down we meandered in typical Mad Dog fashion, the radar traces from our flights must provide some amusement for those controllers who watch over us. Rarely a straight line, a different height reading every time; one moment stationary, the next at VNE.
Our height regained, it was our turn to call game on, but wait, our opponent is becoming bored, and he?s rolling around the sky. Not to be outdone and with a chant of ?what ever you can do, we can do better? we joined in the rolling, smiling all the way round. Levelling our wings, ?Game On!? went our call and those black and yellow wings bit into the sky once more. We engaged that bumble bee impostor, he was after our blood this time, buffeting madly as we flew through each others wake, tighter and tighter, head craned behind searching that attacker?. ?dakka dakka dakka? came the sound of his guns, our airframe vibrating as his shots found their way home. Breaking off from the combat to regain more height the talk turned to lunch.
Our lunch was a hastily arranged meeting. Gerard had posted on Flyer Forum for a willing victim to join him from his base and I suggested we should meet for lunch as the only previous time I had met the chap was over a Martini in the City. As we barrelled down short final into an impressive crosswind, the pressure mounted as Gerard stopped taxying below us to watch our landing, the black and yellow of his machine standing out against the green of the airfield.
Down alive and in one piece we savoured our lunch of chilli con carne and nachos as it warmed those cold extremities. Oh the joy of clear winter skies has to be repaid somehow, this time with cold hands and feet. Good excuse for some hot food though! Lunchtime over, brief completed, we marched out to our mighty fine steeds, ready for battle.
And ready for battle we were for a third time. ?Game On!? ?Tally Ho? and our wings danced frantically, desperate to disobey the Laws of Physics, our red and white struggling this time to keep that black and yellow beastie off our tail. He fired?.the bullets whizzed past our canopy. I pulled harder in an attempt to out turn that dastardly pilot. Major buffet, stick shaking like a blancmange on steroids on a bumpy cobbled French street, protesting wings screaming at me to ease up a little. Just a little more, just a bit and I can get onto his tail?the wing let go, the physics won, nose forward and off we go, glad it didn?t flip, his bullets hitting home and we reach the base of our playground and I call a break.
We climbed back up for one more go, more of the same, a lot more hitting each others wake so I guess we were both in this one to win. As it happened we ran out of height and had to call it a draw before we were playing slalom with the trees. But hey, it had been enormous fun, enjoyed by both sides.
Finally managing to get alongside for some photos, we kept station for a couple of minutes and then headed our respective ways home. I managed to get my revenge on Ridders as he had to make a joining call upside down and we soon joined crosswind the right way up (as requested by the Tower!) for a curved final and a reasonable landing, ready for tea and medals.