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irworthiness Directives, ADs… if you’re an aircraft owner or operator you read about them, some major some minor, with degrees of trepidation. Back in early Feb 2020, the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that caught mine and a few others’ attention, when it called into question a batch of 192 Superior Air Parts (SAP) PMA (Parts Manufacturer Approval) crankshafts for O-360 and IO-360 engines. 115 of these crankshaft assemblies were estimated to be installed in certified aircraft with the remaining 77 installed in homebuilt aircraft. There had been three crankshaft failures in aircraft between March 2017 and October 2018 that the FAA said resulted from “residual white layer formation, also known as a compound layer, on certain crankshaft assemblies as a result of improper manufacturing by a third-party vendor.” Superior, however, disputed the FAA’s findings, saying that the cranks had proper material and heat treatment, and that the fatigue fractures noted in the three broken cranks were not consistent with a too-thick “white layer.” The back and forth between the FAA and SAP continued through the spring and summer of 2020, and just when it looked like it would continue to drag on into next year, the FAA published their AD in mid-December, with an effective date of mid January 2021. News story here. Arguments rejected, the FAA decreed that all affected crankshafts will fail, therefore they must be removed and replaced within 25 hours. With one of those crankshafts in the 50-hour-old RV-8 that FLYER’s Safety Editor Steve Ayres and I built together, we along with other affected UK operators have grounded our aircraft, pending news from Superior on what it plans to do for owners of the affected engines. Superior do have a good track record of making good when problems are identified, so we live in hope that it’s just time we lose, respectful that an AD seeks to prevent the ultimate loss, that of life.
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CIRCULATION Worldwide, free to download digital edition from flyer.co.uk
Left Looks beautiful, but it’s got to come out and come apart…
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Contents February 2021
Features 18 I Get Paid for This… Raimund Riedmann
Raimund Riedmann is living the dream of any pilot, as Chief Pilot for the amazing Red Bull Flying Bulls aircraft collection
24 Special Feature 2021 and Brexit…
With the Brexit deadline approaching, we asked you for your questions…
32 My First Solo Polly Vacher
They changed runways in the middle of Polly Vacher’s first solo…
34 Special feature Lochdown Cat rescue…
When the UK’s only flying Catalina was stuck on Loch Ness, a massive operation swung into action to get the aircraft home
44 Accident Analysis Night VMC… an illusion?
‘Night VMC’ might suggest flying at night is conducted in the same way as by day – just a bit darker. Steve Ayres suggests that not everything at night is quite the same…
50 Flying Adventure Shuttleworth showtime…
Paul Kiddell looks back at the success of the summer airshow season – when he flew to the Shuttleworth Drive-in
Your Brexit questions
60 Top Gear Perfect cockpit camera
Peter Steele has a wish list for a perfect cockpit camera, and thinks he’s found it…
Regulars 3 Editorial 6 News 16 Pilot Careers 21 Mark Hales
23 Ian Seager 46 Accident Reports 62 By Association 72 QSY
SIX Free Landings!
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Plymouth applies to Airfield Fund to help reopen airport Right All those Xs! Plymouth Airport has been closed since 2011 but the council now wants to reopen it. Photo: FlyPlymouth Below right Llanbedr Airfield in North Wales has one of the most picturesque locations in the UK. It’s also remote which makes it ideal as a test centre
6 | FLYER | February 2021
Plymouth City Council is considering reopening Plymouth Airport and has applied for support from the government’s Airfield Development Advisory Fund. The council has submitted a bid to the Fund, managed by the Department for Transport and the CAA, to get a clear picture of what level of investment would be needed to reopen the airport for commercial passenger services. Plymouth council leader Tudor Evans said, “This new fund has been set up specifically to offer advice. We said we would explore any options, ideas and opportunities which come our way and that’s what we are doing. “We’ve all seen the aviation industry change dramatically over the last year and who knows what direction it will take.” Plymouth Airport closed in 2011 when the then operator, Sutton Harbour Holdings, a local property development company, invoked an ‘Armageddon Clause’ in its contract with the council, saying the airport could not be operated profitably. SHG wanted to develop the site instead with a mixed use ‘garden village’ concept. This was headed off by planners who safeguarded the site for aviation until 2024. However SHG has itself had changes, with a new owner in 2018, and is now concentrating on waterfront developments. Business leaders and some councillors have publicly stated a desire for the airport to return, citing an inadequate rail service and other strained travel links. FlyPlymouth is the local campaign set up to restore the airport to mixed general and commercial aviation.
Maypole closes One airport possibly regained but another lost – one of Kent’s best-loved airfields, Maypole Airfield, is to close in January. The airfield was put up for sale last summer by the outgoing owners, Andrew and Sally Haigh, who have successfully operated the airfield for about 20 years, as well as a livery business from the stables.
Centre site as a UK ‘centre of excellence’ for testing of nextgeneration aircraft, such as drones, electric aircraft, urban and regional air mobility vehicles, high altitude balloons, airships and near-space testing vehicles. The consultation is here
Airspace review The CAA has published a new procedure to review the classification of Llanbedr airspace Snowdonia airspace. The full procedure is Aerospace has launched a CAP 1991 – and there’s also a consultation on a proposed summary, CAP 1991a. change to the airspace around A new CAA team dedicated to Llanbedr Airfield to create a the review of airspace permanent Danger Area activated classification will run the new by Notam. The reason is to procedure and start work in develop the Snowdonia Aerospace January 2021.
EASA certification for Bristell B23 Czech manufacturer Bristell has received EASA type certification for its all-new Bristell B23 – which Bristell calls its ‘next-generation aircraft’. The B23 has been designed to satisfy European CS-23/ U.S. FAR-23 certification requirements. Bristell says it listened to feedback from more than 500 customers of its previous model, the Bristell LSA, before designing the new aircraft. While the B23 looks similar to the classic Bristell LSA, there are numerous differences. The
fuselage is longer and the tail, flaps and stabiliser are larger. The composite main landing gear legs have been redesigned to carry higher loads and the aircraft’s handling characteristics are said to be much improved. There’s also a twin elevator trim tab function. The B23’s maximum take-off weight is 750kg and it has an empty weight of 435kg, giving a 315kg payload. With max fuel of 120 litres on board, that leaves 229kg for passengers and baggage making it useful as a tourer as well as for training. “The airframe is designed for
long life and has a robust structure, which makes it particularly well-suited to flight training,” said Bristell. Basic equipment includes steerable nosewheel and a BRS ballistic parachute rescue system. Garmin avionics are fitted including twin G3X flightdecks. The standard equipped aircraft meets night-VFR requirements and can be upgraded to meet IFR requirements. Bristell is offering the first 30 B23 aircraft at a discount of €20,000 on the list price of €199,000.
Above Two new Bristell B23 aircraft leaving the Czech factory for German customers Below left Cockpit and panel of the B23, with full Night-VFR Garmin avionics which can be upgraded for IFR flying
Fast Facts Bristell B23 Price €199,000 Engine 100hp Rotax 912S3 Prop 3-blade MTV adjustable Avionics Garmin including dual G3X displays Empty weight 435kg Max take-off weight 750kg Useful load 315 kg Fuel tanks capacity 120 litres Stall speed with flaps 41kt Max speed 117kt Max rate of climb 732ft/min Take-off roll 363m Landing roll 134m www.bristell.com
February 2021 | FLYER | 7
Electric aviation steps forward with US Air Force approval The world of electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft took a massive step forward during a week in early December. The US Air Force, through an initiative called Agility Prime, gave airworthiness approval for Joby Aviation’s four-seat eVTOL. A second company, Beta Technologies, is close behind with its ALIA-250c, said the USAF. Both aircraft will begin flying missions for the military in early 2021. The USAF approval could accelerate civilian certification of the eVTOL aircraft with the FAA. The Pentagon plans to spend roughly $100 million annually to support flight tests, according to the Wall Street Journal. Joby Aviation is incredibly well-funded with Japanese car maker Toyota, putting in $394 million investment in January 2020 bringing Joby’s total investment $720 million. It received another £75m in December from taxi company Uber in a contra-deal which saw Joby take on Uber’s Elevate team. In other electric aircraft news… ■ Embraer announced an electric version of its Ipanema crop-sprayer. ■ Swiss company H55, which is working on a power unit for an electric Bristell aircraft, has 8 | FLYER | February 2021
Above Joby Aviation’s four-seat multi-rotor eVTOL has airworthiness approval from the USAF Inset Bristell Energica powered by H55’s powertrain Below Lilium is developing an eVTOL commercial pilot course with Lufthansa
received CHF 20m (about £17m) from investors to enable its engineering team to gain certification from EASA. ■ German company Lilium has teamed up with Lufthansa Aviation Training to create a course for commercial pilots to fly eVTOL aircraft. ■ Volocopter will launch its first public air taxi operation in Singapore, where it has already flown several test flights. ■ Chinese company Ehang, probably Volocopter’s closest rival, is already flying public flights and recently launched a firefighting version of its 216 passenger drone. ■ French company VoltAero, working on a family of hybrid-electric aircraft, has won significant funding from Europe’s Green Deal Strategy. ■ Another Swiss start-up, Smartflyer, has won a CHF 25,000 (£21,600) prize as ‘a visionary idea that will shape the world of tomorrow’. The Smartflyer SFX1 is a hybrid-electric aircraft with four seats and is planned to fly in 2023. ■ A famous name in French aviation from the 1930s, Mauboussin, is being revived with a new generation of hybrid hydrogen-fuelled aircraft. Two aircraft are planned: the two-seat Alérion M1h and six-seat Alcyon M3c. First flight of the two-seater is planned for 2022.
Swift support for Slingsby Firefly T67 Swift Aircraft has taken over the support of Slingsby T67 aircraft with immediate effect. The T67’s type certificate was revoked in 2019 and EASA Specific Airworthiness Specification No. EASA.SAS.A.390 was issued on 19 October 2020. Swift Aircraft is based at Scottow Enterprise Park (formerly RAF Coltishall) in Norfolk where it has three facilities dedicated to GA activity. The company, which also supports Europa aircraft, is transferring relevant design information, moulds and jigs from Marshalls in respect of the ongoing support for the T67. Swift Aircraft says it will not own the Type Certificate for the aircraft because a surrendered Type Certificate cannot be reversed. However, the ownership of the original design data will enable the
Above A hangar of Firefly T67s! Swift Aircraft has taken over support for the Slingsbys
company to supply original parts or provide alternatives through the established STC process. The Swift group already currently provides support to many UK-based T67 aircraft and was responsible for the refurbishment of 22 Slingsby T67M260 aircraft after their retirement from UK MOD EFTS service. David Stanbridge, managing director of Swift Aircraft, is an owner of Slingsby T67 M200 and M260 aircraft. “Taking over the support of the T67 in this way reaffirms our dedication to support the industry,” said a company statement. “Most importantly, it ensures that owners will not be left with aircraft for which they are unable to gain the support they need to operate under the certified flight conditions they were intended.” Details here
Wing corrosion AD issued for early Piper PA-28s A new Airworthiness Directive (AD) covering corrosion in the wings of certain Piper PA-28 and PA-32 aircraft has been issued by the US aviation authority, the FAA. “This AD was prompted by reports of corrosion found in an area of the main wing spar not easily accessible for inspection,” said the FAA. “This AD requires inspecting the left and right main wing spars for corrosion, and, if corrosion is found, taking all necessary corrective actions.” The AD applies only to certain serial numbers of Piper models PA-28-140, PA-28-150, PA-28-160, PA-28-180, PA-28-235, PA-32-260, and PA-32-300. 10 | FLYER | February 2021
Right Inspection panel fitted – see how it’s done in a video from Aircraft Components
The FAA estimates the AD will affect 11,476 Piper aircraft on the US N-registry. There are likely to be large numbers of the aircraft in the UK and rest of the world. The estimated cost for US owners/operators is $170 to inspect both wings, plus $730 if inspection panels are installed (recommended in a Piper Service Bulletin). The AD is effective from 28 December 2020 and will also apply in the UK and Europe. It can be downloaded here
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AutoGyro starts restructure with insolvency filing German gyroplane manufacturer AutoGyro has filed for preliminary insolvency in a bid to head off company bankruptcy. Chief executive Gerry Speich said, “This is the first step, not the last. This is definitely not a declaration of bankruptcy. It is a well-considered step which is part of the comprehensive restructuring strategy.” AutoGyro has been on short-time work in recent months due to the Covid-19 crisis. “The effects of the ongoing pandemic in the key markets of Asia and North America have significantly reduced the company‘s room to manoeuvre,” said a company statement. “In order to remain operationally capable, filing for preliminary insolvency is the logical result.” AutoGyro is optimistic about its long-term prospects. “Since summer of 2019, AutoGyro is the only
Above AutoGyro’s two main aircraft are the enclosed Cavalon and open cockpit MT0sport Inset CEO Gerry Speich announcing the measures in a company video which can be viewed here
gyroplane manufacturer in the world to obtain the essentially important U.S. FAA approval in the primary category for its Cavalon 915iS and MTOsport 915iS models,” continues the statement. “This opens up new sales opportunities, especially in the commercial market of the Hildesheim aircraft, and will set global trends for the versatility, reliability and the economic advantages of the gyroplanes made in Germany. “In addition, the day-to-day business of the 78 employees at the site will continue unchanged, as production is already busy until the end of January and four more aircraft will leave the factory halls at Hildesheim airfield before the end of December.” AutoGyro has been producing gyroplanes since 2003 and sells and operates them in more than 40 countries.
Mahindra puts Airvan maker up for sale Australian aircraft manufacturer GippsAero has stopped producing new aircraft and been put up for sale by Mahindra, the Indian company which bought it in 2009. GippsAero produced the GA8 Airvan, a popular aircraft for skydiving, tourist flights and humanitarian operations. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) flies Airvans into several difficult to reach airstrips in Indonesia and the US Civil Air Patrol ordered 16. GippsAero and Mahindra have 12 | FLYER | February 2021
Below GippsAero GA8 Airvan
also developed the GA10, a bigger turboprop powered version of the GA8, which received Australian and FAA type certification in 2017. The first one was due to be delivered to charter company Major Blue Air in Botswana. It’s unclear whether aircraft manufacturing will return. Mahindra revealed the closure in an earnings statement in December, as part of a plan to ensure an 18% return on all its businesses. It’s reported that Mahindra has invested $100m in GippsAero over the past 10 years with little financial return. Mahindra is also selling other loss-making businesses including Ssangyong Motors.
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Looking beyond Brexit
Ed Bellamy ponders what the post-EASA system environment might look like
s I write this the Government and European Commission have just agreed to keep talking beyond Sunday 13 December. Possibly by the time you read this we may know whether any sort of trade deal will be done with the EU. I doubt the outcome will make much difference in the short term as to how aviation regulations will change on 1 January, but a trade deal with the EU may accelerate moves towards establishing a bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA) in the more medium term. Thoughts are naturally turning to what the post-EASA system environment might look like – we have known for a while now that the initial approach will be a so-called ‘lift and shift’ from the existing European law. Since 31 January 2020 the UK has been in a transition period in which, despite having left the EU, existing rules and procedures continued to apply, so the effects of leaving were not really felt. On 1 January this will change. As you can tell from the Brexit Q&A feature, the end of the transition does raise some detailed questions, some of which even the CAA do not yet know what is the answer. The basic legal approach though is clear. Moving European law into the UK, cascades down from the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 – known as the ‘Withdrawal Act’. It might seem a bit strange that the first act on leaving the EU is to copy a lot of European law into the UK system, but the idea is to provide legal continuity and freeze the legal position such that it can be carefully modified or dismantled as desired in the coming years. The only modifications that have been made in advance to what is known as the ‘retained’ EU law are changing the institutional responsibilities such that they make sense outside of the EU. So, for example, if a piece of European legislation says that EASA (or ‘the Agency’ as often referred) is obliged to do something, that will become the CAA. After 1 January the retained law becomes frozen in time and will not automatically update when the European version changes. The UK can now change it via the domestic legal process. The distinction between EASA and non-EASA aircraft will continue for the foreseeable future, although this has been changed to ‘Part-21’ and ‘non-Part-21’ aircraft respectively. The ‘Part-21’ designation takes inspiration from Part-21 being the regulation in most ICAO States that governs the design, certification and production of parts, aircraft and the organisations involved in those activities. Part-21 aircraft and associated activities will continue to be regulated under the UK versions of what they were under EASA – for example there will be a UK version of the Aircrew Regulation, Air Operations Regulation, and so on. NonPart-21 aircraft will continue under the Air Navigation Order 2016, which remains largely unchanged by Brexit. The CAA is currently in the process of producing consolidations of the retained law since the actual amending legislation under the
14 | FLYER | February 2021
“The more interesting bit is what substantive changes to regulation might happen…” Withdrawal Act is simply a long list of minor amendments, such as changing institutional names. Hopefully these consolidations will be available soon to allow people to see the law as in force in the UK. The more interesting bit is what substantive changes to regulation might happen now that we have left the EASA system. The CAA’s consultation on opportunities presented from leaving EASA (CAP1985) closed on 18 December, but if you did not have a chance to respond, I suspect there will be more opportunities to engage on the detail in the coming months and years. CAP1985 alluded to the CAA wishing to engage with the GA community more effectively and is considering how it might improve stakeholder forums and engagement, so watch this space. An initial thought for the CAA is that if we are serious about opportunities post-EASA we need to dispense with having parallel legal systems sooner rather than later – the European regulations are in the European legal style and dwarf the old ANO-based regulations in terms of volume by some margin. Whether that means revising the ANO or starting with a clean sheet on other secondary legislation I am not sure it matters, but while a degree of low hanging fruit can probably be picked off by applying tactical surgery to the old EU law this could quickly become very messy, particularly when (for example) some things such as the Rules of the Air were already a mixture of national and European rules. The obvious candidate for simplification is pilot licensing. In airworthiness we tend not to notice much that different aircraft are approved under differing regimes depending on age, weight etc, although it is important that certification regimes are the best they can be. In the operations domain the ANO and EASA rules for GA were generally similar anyway. Licensing though always stood out as being an odd mix of different privileges, ways of revalidating etc and under EASA the distinction of non-EASA licences not being used to fly EASA aircraft. The provisions of JAR-FCL and later PartFCL also exceeded those required by ICAO Annex 1. All that is not something that’s going to be addressed by fiddling with the UK version of the Aircrew Regulation, a clean sheet approach is probably a better idea.
Pilot Careers www.pilotcareernews.com The definitive source for pilot training, career and industry news
Stop, Unload, Roll and Power, Stabilise Helen Owton takes an Advanced Upset Recovery Training (UPRT) course with DEA Aviation under the watchful tutelage of Graham Duff CPL Once I had completed CPL training, I explored where to do the now mandatory Advanced Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) and was recommended the new £1,650 course at DEA Aviation at Gamston. The course is run by Graham Duff, an extremely experienced pilot. The main aim of the course is to give pilots the competencies to prevent, recognise and recover from unusual attitudes – when an aircraft may become unintentionally ‘upset’. We spent a day doing five hours of groundschool, which covered aerodynamics applicable to aeroplane upsets, potential physiological and psychological effects of an upset, startle and surprise and strategies to develop resilience and mitigate the ‘startle effect’. The first hour of flying was spent in a Diamond DA42 and I was lucky to be familiar with the aircraft, after nearly 11 hours flying the week before. The aim was to consider situations where the aircraft may become unintentionally upset using the autopilot. For example, setting the autopilot into a climb and ‘forgetting’ to increase the power. Graham told me a story of how someone had left their oxygen in the baggage compartment and climbed to 12,000ft. They needed to go and get it, so they engaged the autopilot, took their headset off and climbed into the back. 16 | FLYER | February 2021
Above Helen Owton (inset below) decided to take the compulsory Advanced Upset Prevention and Recovery Training course at DEA Aviation in Gamston, where she spend some the flying hours in an aircraft with which she was familiar, the Diamond DA42
Inadvertently, they knocked the autopilot button and accidentally disengaged it, but they didn’t hear it disengage because they had taken their headset off. It was only when they felt themselves pressed up against the aircraft and looked round to find that they were nose down in a steep descent. This was the example he used to gently pull out of a spiral dive. Live examples and recovering from these situations helped to understand how to respond if startled and
you find yourself in a similar position one day. Also, in the DA42, Graham demonstrated an engine failure leading to a spiral dive which enabled him to show how a counter intuitive action of reducing power on the good engine can help in the recovery. This is one of the solutions that could only be demonstrated in a multi-engine and I found that I had to be gentler with the DA42 than in a lighter single engine aircraft. In all situations, the key point Graham kept reiterating was UNLOAD first. ‘Stop, Unload, Roll and Power, and Stabilise’, which meant understanding how the aeroplane was ‘upset’ and then recognising how to recover. We then moved to a Cessna 152 for some more extreme
manouevres. After covering the topics and key exercises first, we did some aerobatic manoeuvres to put the aeroplane into some difficult recovery positions as well as intentionally messing them up to see how I would respond. For example, trying to complete a loop at 95kt which would inevitably go wrong. Then, during a loop, he got us to fly upside down as I felt my legs fly up and hit the dash with the rest of my body dangling suspended from the seatbelt straps. That really showed me that when I’m surprised I must conquer my body and use the instruments to help me recover from the upset. Read the full story of Helen’s UPRT on Pilot Careers News.
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I Get Paid for This…
Raimund Riedmann In charge of one of the most exceptional historic aircraft collections in the world plus a whole array of GA aircraft, Raimund Riedmann flies them all. Interview by Yayeri van Baarsen
How did you get into flying?
I’ve always been obsessed with aircraft. When I was three years old we lived near Innsbruck Airport and as soon as I heard a noise, I’d go outside and look up to the sky. I started building model aircraft when I was 10, and at I first soloed in a glider when I was 16. Tell us about your job?
I’m chief pilot for the Flying Bulls. My job consists of airshow flying and executive flying. Normally, airshows are at weekends, and from Monday to Thursday we fly Red Bull athletes and higher management all over Flying CV Europe. There’s also paperwork involved, Flight operations manager and which I try to do when the weather is bad. chief pilot fixed-wing for the Red The airshows are the icing on the cake. Bull Flying Bulls We have such a beautiful fleet, with unique Now flying: Fleet includes DC-6B, P-38, aircraft like the P-38, Corsair, DC-6, B-25... F4U-4, Su-29, T-34, Falcon 900, Honda Jet Even more special is that we get to truly fly Favourite aircraft: P-38 Lightning. “She’s unique, wonderful to fly and kind of ‘my’ them in three dimensions. With modern aircraft during the routine. I’m so used to the aeroplanes, it’s about managing the aircraft, P-38 that it sometimes feels like I have a but with vintage ones, you really need flying relationship with this aircraft.” skills. Aerobatics is finding the balance Year/hours at job start: 2000/ 5,000 Hours now: 15,000 between demonstrating nice manoeuvres and not going over the edge. Each year we develop a new routine, this year the warbirds and Alpha Jets fly in formation before doing their own thing. favourite flight was to Duxford in 2011. Ever since the first time I I get such joy from showing these aircraft to the public. It visited, aged 15, on a school trip, Duxford holds a special place in allows me to meet great people who share this obsession. An my heart. It’s where I heard the start-up of a radial engine on a enthusiast myself, I love hanging around after the show, talking B-25 for the first time, surrounded by vintage aircraft. All the about old aircraft. It’s not just a profession, it’s one of the most overwhelming emotions of that trip came back when landing important things in my life. Even the executive flying never feels there in the Lightning. like work – it’s still a privilege. If you think of flying as just a job, you’re not right for the Flying Bulls. And your favourite airfield? Salzburg of course! It’s our base, with hangar 7 and 8. What training did you have? Otherwise, I prefer small airfields over big anonymous airports. I After working as a flight instructor, in 1995 I became a co-pilot love visiting tiny airfields, meeting nice people and sometimes on the Falcon 10 for Tyrolean Jet Service, mainly in discovering a gorgeous Tiger Moth in the hangar. Usually I end ambulance service. Having to plan everything on my own and up staying much longer than planned. fly all over the world without much notice taught me to be flexible. In 2000, I got a chance to fly for Red Bull. When a Do you fly much outside of work? few months later they offered me a job, I didn’t hesitate for Not as much as I’d like to. I have a small 1940s Globe Swift that I even a second. Most of our pilots have a military background fly once a month. Ideally, I’d fly it every week. However, when I or are already experienced aerobatic pilots. Ongoing training get home after being around aircraft all day, it’s a bit hard is also important. Every year, we start with a display training explaining to my family that I’m going flying again. Family time camp in Maribor before heading with the entire team to is also important, it’s about finding the right balance. Alaska, where our DC-6 simulator is located, to train and develop procedures, like a think tank. What is your most valuable career advice? Stick to your ideas. If you really want to fly warbirds, you have to What’s been your favourite flight? believe it’s going to happen. I was so obsessed with these aircraft, I loved flying the Lightning through the fjords for the Norwegian that I put all my energy towards flying them. Be truly devoted to celebration of 100 years of military aviation. However, my your aviation dreams and you’ll probably succeed.
“It’s not just a profession, it’s one of the most important things in my life”
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The future power game
n 2018, when the world was a very different place, I wrote about aircraft engines and the emergence of electric or hybrid power. The norm – as in Lycoming, Continental – and Rotax – were still definitely the main players in the piston division, just as they had been for decades, but there were some new players in the all-electric segment. Lightweight electric motors had become more numerous and already on the aircraft market were the Chinese Liaoning Ruixang RXIE and Pipistrel’s Alpha Electro, both of them two-seat trainers with around 60 minutes’ range. Hybrid power was more interesting, mainly because it was more flexible in use, but I couldn’t find any actually on the market in 2018, although there was plenty in development. Hungarian manufacturer Magnus had flown its E-fusion two-seater, which combined a Smart car diesel engine and a Siemens electric motor, the Hypstair was a joint effort between Pipistrel and Rotax using a 115hp 914 and a 200hp Siemens, and Tecnam had something similar slated for fitment in its high-wing P2010, using a 140hp Rotax 915. This and the battery pack was to go ahead of the firewall in place of a four-cylinder Lycoming but Tecnam was the only one to suggest this might all be available as an aftermarket drop in. The only other powerplant swap option in prospect was from British aircraft technology outfit Faradair, which had announced a Lycoming IO-540 substitute ‘power box’ promising 300hp from a bespoke diesel piston engine developed by motorsport experts Prodrive, combined with an electric motor. It weighed in at 250 kilos including batteries, or about the same as the Lycoming for similar power. There was also ZeroAvia, a Californian start-up, which had just flown a Piper Matrix six-seater powered by an electric motor and fed by a hydrogen fuel cell with a small(er) backup battery. They were unusually tight-lipped about the specifics but the technology had already been proven by the ingenious HY4, a German university research project which featured a pair of Pipistrel fuselages separated by a central electric motor and a hydrogen fuel cell, so it was certainly feasible. Two years on and there have been developments, but predictably not as many or as much as we could have hoped. Magnus and Pipistrel say that their hybrids are still in development, and Tecnam has announced a Centurion diesel option for its Cessna 172-sized P2010 single, but there is no news on their hybrid. The ones bucking the trend are Faradair, which hasn’t announced anything more on the Lycoming replacement, but have instead announced funding which will keep it in the UK and facilitate development of its innovative BEHA boxwing commuter aircraft, which is powered by a pusher electric motor fed by a gas turbine driving a generator. And ZeroAvia,
which has secured funding from UK government ($16.4million), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Microsoft’s Bill Gates ($21.4 million between them), this to develop the company’s ZA-600 fuel cell technology which promises to power a ‘10- to 20-seat aircraft up to 500 miles’. That sounds to me as if they aren’t looking to develop an airframe – or even an engine – just the fuel cell which will convert hydrogen into electricity. I’ll be honest and say I was less than impressed when I last encountered ZeroAvia, but the likes of Bezos and Gates will certainly have done their homework, and ZeroAvia are not only still there, but looking like potential leaders in the technology, so I say good for them. A bit like the scarcity of diesel engines in General Aviation, it has always puzzled me that there hasn’t been more effort put into fuel cell technology in general. Yes,
“Hybrid power was more interesting, mainly because it was more flexible” extracting hydrogen (usually from water) is energy intensive (which once again negates the zero emission from its use in a fuel cell) and because hydrogen is very light, it has to be hugely compressed to store any usable amount. That said, the barrage balloons that flew everyday from Cardington near Bedford where I grew up, were inflated by hydrogen synthesised by passing steam over red hot scrap iron. Not remotely high tech, but definitely simple. It is an uncomfortable truth in any electric power argument that, at the moment, the mining of the materials, the production of the batteries and the generation of the electricity to charge them produces more emissions than it saves when the vehicle is used. It just doesn’t do it in city centres. So… the question is, which it has taken me a long time to ask, what might the medium-term future hold for us GA pilots? I’m almost reluctant to flag this up, but how long do we really think we’ll be allowed to fly something which requires leaded fuel? And if the only alternative retrofit is a Centurion or SMA diesel (which may or may not be approved for your airframe), and which is still a diesel which doesn’t yet feature a catalyst but is the main item in a conversion wearing a price tag of 60 or 70,000 quid… Yes, I know, what on Earth are we supposed to do? Working vintage aircraft and cars make Mark particularly happy email@example.com February 2021 | FLYER 21
Squawks Ian Seager
It’s an open goal, let’s not miss
tay with me, this is about General Aviation! I know there are other views, but I think Brexit has to be the dumbest thing my country could do to itself. I’m hugely pissed off about something that will take rights and opportunities away from my family, that will make the international business we do harder, and that has over the last four years fundamentally changed the atmosphere in our open, inclusive and proud country. But it’s not binary, and I do accept that leaving EASA brings the opportunity to change things for the better, and to make those changes without having to go through the complex process of persuading another 27 Member States that it’s a good thing. We’ll be able to limit the horse-trading, or realpolitik if you prefer, to a significantly smaller number of interested parties within the UK, so it really will be easier to work towards the Secretary of State for Transport’s goal of making the UK the best country in the world for GA, and while that’s a (very) lofty goal, making good progress towards it will improve our lot significantly. We have what looks like a regulatory open goal, and in just a couple of weeks we’ll be the only players on the field, the ball will be at our feet and surely we’ll be only 90 minutes away from posting an amazing scoreline. Maybe. A few alarm bells started ringing when listening to one of the CAA seminars this month. I have no criticism for any of the individuals involved, but I am a bit worried about the CAA’s approach to the opportunity that lies ahead. As an example, the CAA could decree that any STCs approved by either the FAA or EASA would be automatically acceptable in the UK. It’s not exactly going out on a limb from a safety point of view. It’s not as if you’re trusting orphaned babies and their Christmas puppies to unknown and incompetent aviation authorities, but according to the webinar the STCs will have to be validated by the CAA, and in some cases reapproved. Sounds innocent enough doesn’t it? It’s not. And there’s a very real risk that this will lead UK General Aviation down a path that heads nowhere but backwards. Faced with the extra time, expense and complexity of certification or validation – and all for a small potential market – some manufacturers will just not bother. For example, an OEM that has a retrofit autopilot installation approved in the US and Europe is highly unlikely to spend extra time and internal resources for UK approval if it only applies to a small number of airframes. The result will be UK owners looking lovingly at their European and American cousins enjoying the latest technology, while they remain stuck in a dead end and often unsupported past. Generally EASA
lags behind the US in terms of approvals, so European pilots get new safety enhancing equipment months, sometimes years, after those in the US. If we choose the validation/recertification route some products will never make it to these shores. One area where the UK could make great progress by diverging swiftly from EASA is in General Aviation licensing (I suggest we stick with EASA for the commercial world). Over the years, between the JAA, EASA and CAA changes, we’ve built a system so complex that fewer people than have had breakfast on the moon in flip-flops fully understand every detail. It’s an embarrassing mess, it needs fixing urgently, and there are some great examples elsewhere of licensing done right. Heading back to my football analogy… When you look at the pitch it’s hard not to notice many of the players limping, presumably because they’ve had a year of shooting themselves in the foot. Those who can are passing the ball between them but no one is daring enough to make a break for the undefended goal. The defence, meanwhile, is in a huddle, coming up with all sorts of plans that will bring the team back
“…a very real risk that this will lead UK General Aviation down a path that heads nowhere but backwards” to its former glory, back to those halcyon days of hundreds of UK-only AANs (Airworthiness Approval Notes), back to the glory of kicking around the irregular pig’s bladder rather than that bloody UEFA approved round ball. It’s time to take advantage of this opportunity, time to be humble where appropriate, and visionary where that takes us in the right direction. Imagine the crowd’s roar of approval (not to mention the safety and business benefits) if we automatically accepted FAA or EASA certification/STC approvals. Imagine the joy of simplified (i.e. FAA) currency and licensing requirements, imagine simple pragmatism sensibly applied! Sadly, we need to keep a bloody close eye on the defence, because right now it looks like they might be about to knock the ball, several times, into our own goal at the wrong end of the pitch. Perhaps, it’s time to paint a new slogan for the players to read when they walk onto the pitch, and we could do a lot worse than ‘Plagiarise, plagiarise, never let anything good evade your eyes’. Publisher, pre C-19 often found flying something new and interesting firstname.lastname@example.org February 2021 | FLYER | 23
2021 and Brexit: Your Questions Answered
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When the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, the UK will leave EASA and the UK CAA will take over regulating all aviation. There are a lot of difficult to answer questions! Dave Calderwood reports…
e have known about Brexit and leaving EASA for quite a while, but with negotiations continuing (at least as I write this), the lack of a specific deal has brought many questions. We asked FLYER readers for their questions, and put this to the Civil Aviation Authority. From a General Aviation perspective the questions fell into a couple of areas, licensing and airworthiness, so we’ve grouped those together in this feature. As you can see, some questions are harder to answer than others, relying as they do on either a negotiated arrangement of some kind, or possibly a future CAA policy if, or when, we begin to diverge from EASA. The CAA has a specific micro website dealing with what it calls EU-Exit which the Authority is constantly updating. It’s here.
Peter Gristwood & Darren Weston: As we understand it, LAPL holders can’t fly to France after 31 December. It would appear that French LAPL holders may still be able to fly to the UK. I would guess that over time there will be a bilateral agreement but will that be in time for next summer? CAA: The LAPL does not conform to the standard PPL in ICAO Annex 1, this is often referred to as a sub-ICAO licence. The UK is currently not expecting any mutual recognition of pilot licences with EASA/EU. This will mean from the 1 January 2021 a UK CAA issued Part-FCL LAPL: a. May be used in UK airspace to operate UK (G) registered aircraft within the pilot’s licence privileges. b. May not be used in UK or European airspace to operate an aircraft registered in another country, unless with the approval of that country or Crown Dependency concerned. c. May not be used outside UK airspace, including
European airspace, unless with the approval of the State or Crown Dependency concerned. From the 1 January 2021, holders of a LAPL issued by an EASA Member State may not fly an aircraft registered in an EASA Member State in UK airspace. From the 1 January 2021, holders of a LAPL issued by an EASA Member State may fly a UK (G) registered aircraft in UK airspace for a period of two years. Martin Pamphilon: I converted my NPPL(A) to a LAPL(A) in 2018 but retained the NPPL. I can’t use the LAPL to fly in Europe next year but can I fly to France using the NPPL with a valid SSEA rating and Class 2 medical? CAA: The UK NPPL, like the LAPL, is considered a sub-ICAO licence even if validated with a Class 2 Medical Certificate. The UK is currently not expecting any mutual recognition of pilot licences with EASA/EU. This will mean from the 1 January 2021 a UK CAA issued NPPL: a. May be used in UK airspace to operate UK (G) registered aircraft within the pilot’s licence privileges. b. May not be used in UK or European airspace to operate an aircraft registered in another country, unless with the approval of that country or Crown Dependency concerned. c. May not be used outside UK airspace, including European airspace, unless with the approval of the State or Crown Dependency concerned. Ben Chapman: ‘Whether you are an EU citizen or not has nothing to do with LAPL privileges, just the SOLI (State Of Licence Issue – Ed). Any U.K. citizen can apply for SOLI transfer and maintain an EASA LAPL’. Is that true? CAA: Yes, you can apply to transfer the State Of Licence Issue from one EASA Member State
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Fly yourFeature Special own
to another. The UK will cease to be an EASA participant from 23:00 on the 31 December 2020, so you must have made an application to transfer to another EASA Member State before that date to continue with the process. You will also need to transfer your medical records to whichever State you have chosen for your licensing.
planned changes for the holder of a FAA Airmen Certificate operating a US (N) registered aircraft in UK airspace. The CAA is consulting on the future of the regulatory structure for General Aviation in the UK, so this may lead to changes in the future. In addition, the UK may seek further agreements with the FAA in the future.
Nigel Hitchman: You forgot to say that any UK-issued EASA licence holder will have to pay the CAA £77 (private) or £146 (commercial) to get a new CAA licence issued within five years. If it’s an EASA licence issued by another State, it’s worse – £289!
Sleeve: For years I held a CAA then an EASA ATPL. When it held no current relevance to my flying, I was cleared for a self-declaration medical. Daft question, but which licence privileges am I now flying on? My ATPL has no expiry date.
CAA: This is covered in CAP 1986 Consultation on the Scheme of Charges for period 21/22, the consultation closes at midnight on the 4 February 2021. We welcome comments on the proposals.
CAA: Professional licences such as the ATPL also contain private licence privileges. The key element is the class or type ratings that are being used. Professional licences and the PPL are issued in accordance with ICAO Annex 1. Whereas the LAPL and the NPPL are not, and as such considered to be sub-ICAO. Think about what flying you want to do, the types of aircraft you wish to fly and where you would like to fly to. This will direct your choice of licence and medical combination. For example: if you wish to only conduct private/ non-commercial flying, using a UK Part 21 aircraft such as a Piper PA28 and would like to fly in European airspace for trips, then a PPL with a Class 2 Medical Certificate would be the most useful.
Phil Parker: I have a LAPL licence. Can someone put it in plain English – can I still fly G-registered Aircraft and will the LAPL medical remain the same, and will the LAPL licence remain a lifetime licence? CAA: Can I still fly a UK (G) registered aircraft? – Yes, within the privileges of your licence and ratings. Will the LAPL Medical remain the same? – Yes, for the time being, but the consultation on the future of the regulatory structure for General Aviation may lead to change. Will the LAPL licence remain a lifetime licence? – Yes, there are no plans to return to limited validity licences. However, there may be a requirement to have your licence reissued in the future. Slipway: What about those of us who fly N-reg aircraft based in UK on ‘piggyback’ FAA licences? When we converted to EASA, we had to get a new FAA one with ‘Part FCL’ on. I am assuming that we can just use our older ones that were issued on the basis of our CAA licences (which I still hold)? CAA: There are no plans to change the licence reference number, even when reissuing a UK PartFCL format licence. Therefore, there should be no reason for the FAA to require a reissued Airmen Certificate in accordance with FAR 61.75. Danny Boy: What will be the CAA’s stance towards operators of N-reg aircraft and holders of FAA licences? CAA: From the 1 January 2021, there are no
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Paul Kaye: What about a pilot holding an ex EASA-LAPL who wants to fly an EUregistered (e.g. D-reg) aircraft in the UK? How will that work? CAA: The LAPL does not conform to the standard PPL in ICAO Annex 1 – this is referred to as a subICAO licence. The UK is currently not expecting any mutual recognition of pilot licences with EASA/ EU. This will mean from the 1 January 2021 a UK CAA issued Part-FCL LAPL: a. May be used in UK airspace to operate UK (G) registered aircraft within the pilot’s licence privileges. b. May not be used in UK or European airspace to operate an aircraft registered in another country, unless with the approval of that country or Crown Dependency concerned. c. May not be used outside UK airspace, including European airspace, unless with the approval of the State or Crown Dependency concerned. Graham Langston: I have an EASA licence but also a UK PPL and a microlight rating. I’ve been trying to get out of the EASA bit
Garmin UK asks about STCs and Approved Model Lists Garmin UK’s Ben Smith: I represent a company called Garmin, a leading avionics manufacturer, mainly focused in Light, Business and General Aviation, but we also have a growing footprint in Commercial Air Transport, as well as UAVs. Garmin is a global company but we have a large footprint in the UK, based out of Southampton, which currently acts as our main distribution centre for Europe, as well as our primary Aviation Repair Workshop, Field Service Engineering, Sales, and Marketing. My question relates to the session on the implementation of the UK FAA Bilateral agreement, and specifically the treatment of FAA STCs under the new UK CAA regime. Garmin has a FAA DOA (actually two) which we use to certify our aviation products. We complete appliance level approvals and then typically for our General Aviation product range we conduct airworthy approvals via a STC route to support the installation of our products. Typically these STCs are actually ‘Approved Model Lists’, which include hundreds of Part-23 Aircraft and Part-27 Helicopters. Once we receive FAA approval, we submit a validation to EASA to approve the installation into European registered types. Currently we hold approximately 20-25 STCs which have been validated with EASA, and have 6-7 STCs pending approval working though the validation process. These STCs include new safety-enhancing technology like our new Electronic Primary Attitude Indicators, a new retrofit helicopter autopilot system, a range of fixed-wing autopilots for various General Aviation aircraft, etc. Our current understanding is: ■ Any STCs which are already validated from the FAA TO EASA will remain valid for installation into UK registered Aircraft post-31 December 2020. These are STCs already on the market and already approved by EASA. ■ From 1 January 2021, Garmin may be required to seek a validation of our FAA STCs through the UK CAA to allow these STCs to be used on UK registered aircraft. ■ The validation will be based on a ‘basic’ or ‘non-basic’ assessment of the existing FAA STC to determine what the validation path should be. My questions: 1. For STCs already on the market prior to 31 December. Garmin often makes minor changes to such STCs to validate new software, features and functions. These typically do not require a new issuing of the actual STC certificate from EASA and in many cases the updates do not require any technical validation. My question is, will the Master Drawing List, and approved software levels be ‘frozen’ from the UK CAA perspective, and any future changes to these
Above Garmin avionics are transforming instrument panels with new products giving pilots tremendous situational awareness
STCs for installation into a UK registered aircraft will require a new validation into a UK CAA only STC? In which case, even for the STCs Garmin has in place today, we may need to conduct validations with the UK CAA to allow the latest features/functions to benefit our UK customers. 2. What is the exact definition of a ‘Safety Element’ to drive the basic or non-basic validation process? Currently under EASA they generally have a clear set of guidance material that we can use to define the basic, non-basic approvals. Can the UK CAA provide guidance to their interpretation of these two cases? 3. Has the UK CAA already defined an application process for both cases of a STC validation? 4. Fees/charges? 5. Time for processing validations? 6. Acceptable definitions, certification guidance (i.e. Is a full technical review expected/required in the case of an existing FAA STC?) If I can also share with the UK CAA that Garmin was disappointed to hear that we will be required to seek new validations of our STCs, and the UK CAA has (as it seems) decided NOT to follow certain other countries (such as South Africa) to accept the FAA STCs via almost automatic process. The result of this will simply mean more paperwork for Garmin, more costs to our customers, and potentially less access to safety enhancing equipment. Garmin would implore the UK to reconsider the process of validation, and consider automatic acceptance of either FAA or EASA STCs via a simple mechanism. CAA: This has entered the CAA through many different points and we believe has been answered. These are very much questions for the certification department. They have a legal element insofar as they relate to the US-UK BASA, but more of them are concerned with a level of involvement of our colleagues.
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because of the Class 2 medical and the cost, and use a self-declared medical. All I need to fly are Permit aircraft and a microlight.”
In relation to the UK Part-FCL LAPL(A) and NPPL, the CAA is currently not expecting any mutual recognition of pilot licences with EASA/EU.
CAA: This will depend on which State has issued your EASA licence. If the UK CAA is the State of Licence issue then from 1 January 2021, this licence will be a UK CAA issued Part-FCL licence and no longer an EASA recognised licence. If the EASA licence was issued by another EASA Member State, then it will depend if the licence is a LAPL or a PPL(A). To fly a UK (G) registered single engine piston aeroplane with a valid Permit to Fly, you can hold either a UK CAA issued Part-FCL LAPL with SEP privileges or PPL(A) with a valid SEP Class Rating. You could also hold a UK PPL(A) with valid SEP or SSEA Class Rating or a UK NPPL(A) with a valid SSEA Class Rating. To fly microlight aircraft, you can either hold the UK CAA issued Part-FCL LAPL(A) or PPL(A) and complete sufficient differences training with a qualified instructor, or hold a UK PPL(A) and complete sufficient differences training with a qualified instructor or have the Microlight Class Rating endorsed, or hold a UK NPPL(A) and complete the required training to gain the Microlight Class Rating. The Pilot Medical Declaration (PMD) is valid for both the UK PPL(A) and NPPL when flying UK (G) registered aircraft in UK airspace. At the moment, the PMD is only valid for UK Part-FCL LAPL and PPL until 31 March 2021, when flying UK (G) registered aircraft in UK airspace.
Max Luke & Jordan Oates: How soon can we expect a clear conversion from NPPL SSEA to UK PPL route? Having passed after the 2018 deadline for LAPL conversion I’ve been waiting for our exit from EASA for hopefully a sensible routing. I’ve taken all my ground exams in preparation, so am hoping to get the flying section done asap and a full UK PPL issued.
Simon Smith: I have a LAPL(A) with a TMG rating and a LAPL(S). I also hold an NPPL. I have a LAPL medical. I own a share in a Jodel (Permit) and a Ximango (EASA) motor glider. I want to take both of them to France next year. What’s the most efficient way for me to obtain the licences I need. Is it likely that the LAPLs will be accepted in the future or are they forever worthless in Europe now? CAA: See above for LAPL answers. With the recent changes to the Sailplane Flight Crew Licensing requirements, the LAPL(S) is now deemed to be a Sailplane Pilots Licence. The SPL with a validating medical certificate – not a Pilot Medical Declaration – is an ICAO Annex 1 compliant licence. If the motor glider is on the UK (G) register, then the holder of a SPL with a TMG extension and a validating medical certificate may operate this aircraft outside of UK airspace.
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CAA: From the 1 January 2021, there will be some changes to the UK legislation which is being used to implement the EASA regulations into UK law. The exact specific of these changes will be known in the new year. The CAA is consulting on the future of the regulatory structure for General Aviation in the UK, so this may lead to more fundamental changes in the future. Andrew Cross: When the Brexit transition period comes to the end, will the Pilot-inCommand of a G-registered CofA aircraft (such as a T67 Firefly) be required to hold an aerobatics rating to be able to conduct aerobatics? Does this answer change if you have both a current UK-issued EASA Part-FCL) licence and a UK PPL Licence? Does the answer change following full withdrawal from EASA (if this is a later date). Does this answer affect aircraft such as a Chipmunk? CAA: The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, converts existing EU law into UK law, and preserves existing UK laws that implement EU obligations. This means for holders of UK Part-FCL licences to fly a UK (G) registered UK Part 21 aeroplane and conduct aerobatics, the Pilot in Command must hold an Aerobatics Rating issued in accordance with UK Part-FCL. The T67 is currently a UK Part 21 aeroplane. At the moment, holders of UK national licences issued under the Air Navigation Order 2016, cannot fly as Pilot in Command in a UK (G) registered Part 21 aeroplane. However, the holder of a UK national licence can fly UK (G) registered non-Part 21 aeroplanes and conduct aerobatics without holding an Aerobatic Rating. The DHC 1 Chipmunk is a non-Part 21 aeroplane. Irrespective of this, the CAA would urge UK national licence holders to seek appropriate flight
No deal will mean no LPV approaches Last August the UK Government put out a statement saying that as a result of leaving the EU, it would not be participating in EU programmes such as EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service). EGNOS provides the Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) signal that enables LPV approaches, with their reduced minima, to be flown. FLYER asked the CAA what would happen if the UK failed to negotiate access to the EGNOS service. The full reply can be read below, but the outcome is that it is expected that LPV approaches will be Notam’d as unavailable and while they will remain in the database, pilots will not be able to use the LPV minima. CAA response: Subject to the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, we believe that the European satellite Services Provider (ESSP) will terminate EGNOS Working Agreements (EWA) with aerodromes, affecting the provision of LPV operations. These will then be Notam’d as not available. The LNAV or LNAV/VNAV operating minima are unaffected. Following termination of the EWA, UK aerodromes will not be supported by the certified service provider/ANSP, i.e. ESSP, although we understand that the signal-in-space will still be received by avionics equipment.
and theoretical knowledge training from a suitable qualified instructor before attempting to fly aerobatics. Martin Brigden-Gwinnutt: I have a LAPL with a PMD while all this Covid-19 stuff is around. I fly a G-reg UK CofA TriPacer. If I get a LAPL medical when all this Covid-19 stuff finishes, can I fly to Europe? Can I dust off my old UK PPL(A) lifetime licence, get a suitable medical and then fly to Europe and further afield? CAA: See above for LAPL answers. If you also hold a UK PPL(A), then you can renew the SEP Class Rating endorsed in the licence and with a valid UK Part Med Class 2 Medical Certificate. This combination would be considered ICAO Annex 1 compliant and would allow you to operate the Piper PA22, if holding a valid Certificate of Airworthiness, outside of UK airspace. You will also need to ensure that the aircraft insurance covers operations outside of the UK.
Edward Spurrier: I’m a PPL with an EASA, ex-CAA, licence, and have meant for some time to do the IMC/IR(R). What will Brexit do to this rating and will the CAA adopt and issue the EASA Basic IR in due course?
Above LPV (Localiser Performance with Vertical Guidance) approaches allow a lower decision height than LNAV
The CAA is not expecting pilots to disable EGNOS within the equipment and indeed, on some models such an action may not be straightforward. The CAA is therefore content to let the avionics box select the highest integrity approach mode available, but any approach should only be flight-planned and flown to the LNAV minima. LPV operations are not available.
CAA: The IMC Rating or IR(R) Rating when endorsed onto a UK Part-FCL licence, not including the LAPL(A), will still be available after the end of the transition period. The implementation of the Basic Instrument Rating (BIR) will be considered by the CAA. If you have an opinion then we would welcome your comments on this in the consultation on the future regulatory structure for General Aviation in the UK. Andrew Scott: What will happen to the Instrument Rating (Restricted) for those that already hold a valid IR(R) rating, those that have an expired rating (and require revalidation/renewal) and those that wish to obtain an IR(R)? CAA: Other than updating the syllabus to take advantage of the benefits of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) the IMC/IR(R) Rating will continue as is. If you are currently training for the rating or need to revalidate or renew the rating, there will be no immediate change. As before, it will only be valid in UK airspace. Trevor Sexton: I currently fly on my old CAA issued (old brown licence) from 1982. As of March 2020 I was no longer allowed to fly EASA type aircraft under this licence. At
February 2021 | FLYER | 29
the time I did not want to change to a EASA licence only to find come January 2021 I will have to change licences again. As I have mainly been flying Permit aircraft it’s not a problem – however, in the future I may want to fly an EASA type. I heard that come January these type of aircraft will be called Part 21 aircraft. Come 1 January, can I start flying Part 21 aircraft on my old UK issued licence. CAA: At the moment, UK national licences cannot fly as Pilot in Command (PIC) a UK Part 21 aircraft. Cliff Nichol: Will the un-expiring IMC Rating that was included within my UK ATPL but removed from my EASA ATPL be returned? CAA: IMC/IR(R) Rating privileges were not withdrawn from the holders of EASA professional licences – they did not exist originally in the EASA Aircrew Regulations. The UK CAA requested the ability to endorse this rating on UK CAA issued EASA licences only. The privileges of the IMC Rating are retained in the UK ATPL(A) issued in under the Air Navigation Order. At the moment, UK national licences cannot fly as Pilot in Command (PIC) a UK Part 21 aircraft. The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, converts existing EU law into UK law, and preserves existing UK laws that implement EU obligations. There are no immediate plans to change the UK Part-FCL professional licences to include the privileges of the IR(R) Rating unless specifically endorsed and maintained. Cessna571: Will my EASA PPL(A) still allow me to fly a CofA PA28? What will I have to do to fly to Le Touquet? CAA: We would need more information to be certain of an answer but in general, the holder of a UK Part-FCL PPL(A) with a valid SEP Class Rating and valid UK Part Med Class 2 Medical Certificate, can continue to fly as Pilot in Command (PIC) of a UK (G) registered UK Part 21 aeroplanes such as a Piper PA28, with a valid Certificate of Airworthiness, in European airspace. You will need to ensure that the aircraft insurance covers operations outside of the UK. You would also need to comply with the entry and customs requirements for such a flight. These details can be found in the country’s Aeronautical
30 | FLYER | February 2021
Information Package (AIP). PatoWalker: Will the PMD be valid on Part 21 aircraft? CAA: The Pilot Medical Declaration (PMD) is valid for both the UK PPL(A) and NPPL when flying UK (G) registered non-Part 21 aircraft in UK airspace. At the moment the PMD is only valid for UK PartFCL LAPL and PPL until 31 March 2021, when flying UK (G) registered UK Part 21 aircraft in UK airspace.
Piet Luijken: At this moment we have three DHC-1 Chipmunks here in The Netherlands on G-registration. What is needed to keep the DHC-1 Chipmunk flying in The Netherlands under the CAA UK National Airworthiness Review Certificate? CAA: From the airworthiness perspective nothing has changed. Pete M: If my aircraft has a technical problem whilst touring in the EU, it is legal for an EASA licensed engineer to undertake repairs and return it to service? CAA: The text of the regulation allows, in unforeseen circumstances, the owner to authorise a person with proper qualifications and experience to maintain and release the aircraft. The owner is responsible for getting the maintenance rechecked within seven days and keeping all the records of the maintenance and the qualifications of the person who did the maintenance. If a continuing airworthiness management organisation is involved, the owner must inform them within seven days (or 30-Days in certain circumstances). The full regulation is in Part-145.A.50 (f), M.A.801 (c) or ML.A.801 (c) Skybolt1: Will BCAR Approvals be valid for design, production (e.g. BCAR A8 -21) and maintenance of all aeroplanes (within specific scopes of approval by weight etc), including those previously EASA controlled? Will the Part 66L licence be replicated under national rules? CAA: The scope of the BCAR approvals is unchanged. Aircraft previously EASA controlled will be known as Part 21 aircraft and their design, production and maintenance will continue under the same regulatory framework but with CAA approval.
JohnM: Are we going to continue with Part ML and related AMP. CAA: Yes Jon Roper at Trig Avionics: After Brexit will I always be able to install an EASA certified avionics product in a UK registered aircraft? CAA: Trig has a CAA approval and should be asking their surveyor. Sportstarflyer: Can those UK-based aircraft currently operated on an EASA Permit to Fly aircraft be transferred immediately to UK regs, under for example, LAA oversight? CAA: Aircraft operating on a Part 21 Permit to Fly issued under Part 21.A.701 a)15 (known as an enduring EASA Permit to Fly) will remain on a Part 21 Permit to Fly. The Part 21 Permit to Fly will be issued by the CAA or a Part-CAO Organisation with Permit to Fly issue privileges in accordance with Part-CAO, CAO.A.095 (d). Flight conditions issued by EASA will be accepted for a period of up to two years after 31 December 2020 providing they remain valid. Continuing Airworthiness Arrangements detailed in the Flight Conditions/Aircraft data sheets shall continue to be applicable. Any change that invalidates the flight conditions or associated substantiation shall be approved by the CAA. New flight conditions will be issued by the CAA (CAA Form 18b). Note: The CAA will be responsible for the issue of flight conditions related to the safety of the design and flight conditions not related to the safety of the design.
MultiMagic & Peter Kelly: Will we now go back to the ‘clear of cloud and in sight of surface’ VFR rule, instead of SERA ‘1000ft below and 1,500ft horizontally from cloud’ that was forced upon us in April? CAA: From 1 January 2021, there will be some changes to the UK legislation which is being used to implement the EASA regulations into UK law. The exact specific of these changes will be known in the new year. The CAA is consulting on the future of the regulatory structure for General Aviation in the UK, so this may lead to more fundamental changes in the future. SkyDriller: If you currently have a G-reg
aeroplane in EASA land, be that on a (currently) EASA CofA or EASA permit, will an EASA maintenance organisation outside the UK continue to be able to sign off on the work, and what licence will be valid to fly it? The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, converts existing EU law into UK law, and preserves existing UK laws that implement EU obligations. This means in relation to the continued airworthiness of the UK (G) registered Part 21 aircraft, your ARC would remain valid until expiry. After the 1 January 2021, you have up to two years to continue to use a CAMO or CAO located in an EASA Member State, after which you would need to ensure that your aircraft is managed by a UK CAA approved CAMO or CAO. In terms of pilot licence, the UK CAA will be issuing a General Validation, which will validate EASA Part-FCL licences issued by EASA Member States for a period of no more than two years or to the validity of the licence or certificate. Skydriller: Will the CAA continue to recognise an EASA medical (Class 1 or 2) from outside the UK on a UK issued PPL (currently EASA or original ICAO flavours)? CAA: From the 1 January 2021, Medical Certificates issued by AMEs approved by an EASA Member State may be recognised by the UK but only if the AME was valid on or before the 31 December 2020 and had not expired, been suspended or revoked by the issuing Competent Authority, when the medical examination was performed. For each EASA Medical Certificate to be recognised by the UK CAA, all forms and tests relating to the medical, the medical certificate and the current approval certificate of the AME must be sent to the UK CAA Medical Department. From the 1 January 2023, examinations and assessments performed by EASA AMEs will not be recognised unless a separate AME approval has been granted by the UK CAA to perform UK medicals.
This article was completed just nine days before the end of the transition period. Some things may change as the result of any negotiated outcome, others will change as the CAA develops policies and regulations We’ll be keeping a close eye on developments, on how the CAA takes advantage of any new freedoms, and on the implications for General Aviation. You can follow the discussion on the FLYER forum.
February 2021 | FLYER | 31
My First Solo
A change of runways in the middle of Polly Vacher’s first solo didn’t phase her. Polly talks to Yayeri van Baarsen about round-the-world flights, and her next fundraising challenge… Solo stats Polly Vacher MBE has flown solo round-the-world twice in a single-engine aircraft, including over the North Pole, raising over £500,000 for the Flying Scholarships for Disabled People When 25 August 1993 Where Canberra Airport (Australia) Aircraft Cessna 150 Hours at solo 26 Hours now 2,908
How did you get into aviation? As a child, I used to jump off chairs, trying to fly – I’ve always been interested in aviation. At 19, I did a glider lesson and loved every second, but couldn’t afford further flight training. Later, when I had a family, I somehow thought flying would be too dangerous. At 45, I did a skydive for charity and was completely hooked. I ended up doing 245 of them! It wasn’t until my husband’s job took us to Australia, in 1993, that we both learned to fly.
Canberra had two runways, the bigger 35/17 and the smaller 30/12. I departed from the smaller runway and in the middle of my circuit the controller suddenly said, “We’ve changed runways.” I thought my instructor had no confidence in my landing skills and therefore I had to use the bigger runway... However, it turned out the wind direction had changed. After getting our licences, my husband Peter and I flew around Australia, which gave me my love for long distance flying.
How did your flight training go? I thought it’d be like driving a car in the sky, but obviously it wasn’t. I hadn’t taken into account the third dimension. Also, I found it strange that I had to use my feet to steer the aircraft on the ground. Although I initially had some difficulties with landing the aircraft, I thoroughly enjoyed my flight training. Australia was a great place to learn. Because there was so much space, you didn’t have to worry about other aircraft. The weather was good, which meant continuity. And I loved the fact they taught us spins, which was very exciting!
You did three long distance solo flights to raise money for the FSDP – did each flight have its particular challenges? Yes, with Wings Around the World, the challenge was its longest leg – 15 hours of flying across the Pacific. Voyage to the Ice was the most difficult one as I flew over the North Pole and Antarctica. Flying there is no joke. I’d done lots of survival training to prepare, from camping alone in the Alps to a week in the Lake District with two ex-marine commandos who gave me a hell of a time. I even learned to shoot in case I’d have to land on the ice and would meet a polar bear. Luckily, I never needed this training. The scariest moment was when my engine quit after I’d passed the North Pole. I got it going again, but I
Tell us about your first solo? My first thought after take-off was, ‘Oh, now I have to get down again…’
“I learned to shoot in case I’d have to land on the ice and I would meet a polar bear” 32 | FLYER | February 2021
spent the rest of the trip thinking, ‘Please don’t fail!’… The main challenge with Wings Around Britain was that I’d set myself the task of landing at six or seven airfields per day. It wasn’t just landing though, at each airfield there was a reception and I’d give a disabled person a ride. That journey was sheer exhaustion. Although you had to stop flying, you’re still fundraising, this time with your beloved donkeys? Losing my sight in my right eye after surgery went wrong was horrendous. I was lying in hospital, feeling very sorry for myself, when a card from the vicar of a church in North Wales arrived. This gave me the idea for the Donkathon. Travelling 200 miles to St Melangell with my two donkeys, Wizard and Muffin, while raising money for multiple sclerosis, which my nephew has been diagnosed with. It was a light bulb moment. From then on, I’ve only looked forward, not backwards. Know that if for some reason you have to stop flying, it’s not the end of the world. Are there any similarities between planning the Donkathon and a RTW-flight? Loads! This journey will take a month and requires lots of training. Helped by amazing volunteers, we need to organise places to spend the night and plan the route carefully so it doesn’t include steep hills or busy roads. In its own way, I’d say organising the Donkathon is as challenging as a RTW-flight! You can support Polly’s fundraising here
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On the shores of Loch Ness, Miss Pick Up gets a lift from a 150 tonne crane
34 | FLYER | February 2021
Lochdown Cat rescue… When the UK’s only flying Catalina was stuck on Loch Ness with a major engine problem, a massive operation swung into action to get the aircraft home before the worst of winter hit. Matt Dearden tells the tale…
n case you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months, you might not have been aware of the most talked about ‘C’ word in aviation. No, not Covid-19 but Catalina! On 17 October 2020, the UK’s only airworthy Catalina flying boat, Miss Pick Up, had to be rescued by the RNLI following a problem with starting one of her engines. With only one functioning engine and no water rudder, a Catalina is all but uncontrollable on the water. With darkness setting in, she was at the mercy of the winds and waves so the rescue and subsequent tow by the RNLI to a mooring buoy was essential to the aircraft’s survival. After a restless night wondering if the aircraft would still be there in the morning, our engineer, Garry Short, made his way up from IWM Duxford in Cambridge to see if the fault was simply a broken starter motor. Sadly, it turned out to be something deep within the engine related to the auxiliary gearbox preventing the starter motor from turning the engine over. It became apparent the aircraft would need to be taken to dry land for the damaged engine to be replaced. I’ve been involved with the group since 2015 and this was the biggest crisis the group had faced since it was formed. As you can probably imagine, the ‘other C’ word had devastated our cashflow for the 2020 airshow season. Usually, the Catalina would be flying most weekends, either in the UK or abroad to help generate the much needed funds to keep her flying each year and well into the future. I took the initiative to set up a crowdfunding page once it became apparent the cost was going to be massive due to the logistics involved. It is not feasible to do an engine change on the water and Loch Ness has nowhere an aircraft with a 104ft wingspan can exit the water up a ramp. The only option would be to use a
very large crane (150 tonnes!) to lift her out of the water to somewhere where the engine change could be completed. We were very grateful for the help offered by the landlords of Temple Pier West on the shore of Loch Ness, Morag Menzies and Gordon Menzies, who allowed us the use of it to accomplish the engine change. Gordon also rented us some workshop space for the engineering while the engine was off. Further crane hiring sessions would be needed for the engine change as well as boat hire, transport costs to bring the spare engine up from IWM Duxford, various other logistical costs and a final big crane session to lift the aircraft back onto the loch – the total cost was going to be just shy of £30,000. The response to the crowdfunding call was simply staggering! Within just a few days we had raised £20k which really spurred on our team of volunteers who were initially somewhat down in the dumps over the task at hand to get the Catalina home. News of our plight spread both fast – and worldwide – which was very unexpected. Eventually, we managed to raise a little more than the original amount, and that extra funding will go towards the cost of repairing the damaged engine. The generosity of everyone who donated cannot be overstated, especially in these current times. I think everyone was just looking for some positive news among the continual doom and gloom. With funding well underway, the first crane session was booked in to lift the aircraft from the water just a few days after the initial troubles. This was the riskiest operation along with the final crane session to restore her to the water. A few years ago, another Catalina was destroyed during a lifting operation in the USA. It was being removed from the water and onto a barge with a large crane following some issues during the February 2021 | FLYER | 35
filming of a Nicholas Cage movie. However, instead of using the Catalina’s designated two lifting points in the centre of the wing, they chose to use slings in various non-structural areas which sliced the aircraft into four pieces during the lift and wrote it off. As far as our Catalina group knows, the two lifting points on Miss Pick Up had never been used in her 77 years of flying. Of course the airframe undergoes thorough inspections each winter, with many of the structural parts undergoing NDT (non-destructive testing), however you can never tell for certain if something will work until you try it! Thankfully the lifting points worked exactly like they were designed to and the lift onto dry land was a non-event in the end.
Top The Catalina is very hard to manoeuvre on one engine, requiring lots of power! Above middle Failed engine obvious from the feathered prop Above Shattered rear blister following the result of contact from a ‘helpful’ boat Below Stressful wait on a mooring buoy while the problem is diagnosed
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Scottish winter It took another couple of weeks to complete the engine change which went pretty smoothly considering it was accomplished outside and away from our home base of Duxford at the beginning of a Scottish winter. The group always keeps a spare overhauled engine in Duxford in case of these sorts of eventualities with old piston engines but changing an engine out in the field is not something that’s been done before. The overhauled engine is just a bare engine without any of the ancillaries attached such as the starter motor, manifolds, carburettor etc. These would have to be transferred from the damaged engine once it was removed from the aircraft, so it was fortunate that Gordon had a small workshop the team could use for this. The bigger delay was the repairs to the port blister window at the rear of the airframe that was damaged by a boat who came to help following the initial engine problems. Our Catalina no longer has its original wartime blisters. These were removed after the war when the aircraft was converted to a water bomber and lost along the way. Once she was finished being a water bomber, new larger one-piece
Garry Short Karen Scott
perspex blisters were fabricated and installed in their place. Repairing the damaged one required some specialist fabrication skills that took time to source and implement. While we have a spare Perspex blister in the USA, it would have taken even longer to get this shipped to Loch Ness, hence the decision to make a temporary repair to the damaged one for the flight back to IWM Duxford. Finally, on 30 November 2020, everything was in place. The flight back to IWM Duxford was planned in two parts. The first was flying the Catalina off Loch Ness to Inverness Airport where it would be refuelled before continuing on to IWM Duxford. The biggest challenge was wind. While the Catalina can be operated on the water perfectly safely in winds up to 15kt or so, when she’s suspended by a single cable in the centre of her mass, any wind at all will cause her to weather cock into wind, the fin and side of the aircraft acting like a giant sail. As the winds looked to be lightest through the night, the best compromise would be to do it at daybreak and then immediately fly to Inverness. On 1 December 2020, the team awoke at 0530 in order to be in place at the quayside by 0630 ready to take advantage of the early morning light winds.
Top Tight fit for a big crane down Gordon’s lochside home driveway Above middle De-cowl and prop off… Above …before lifting the whole power-unit off the airframe. Alan, one of our volunteers inspects the damaged engine Left The extent of the work involved in swapping all the components over for the engine change becomes even more obvious when you see all the accessories to the rear of the engine. Almost everything here will need to be removed and replaced
February 2021 | FLYER | 37
Left Again, homeowner Gordon very kindly loaned us some workshop space to do the hundreds of items involved in an engine swap – vital in the cold Scottish winter weather! Below With the engine refitted, it was time for the final big lift... Bottom … which was perfectly executed by the Stobart Crane team. Note patched blister on left rear fuselage
38 | FLYER | February 2021
With the air temperature just above freezing and sunrise not arriving until around 8am, the crane hire chaps got into place while the flight crew of Paul Warren Wilson (our chief pilot) and myself ran the engines up before the lift. It was a surreal moment sitting in the cockpit, lit by torchlight, looking out towards a giant yellow crane in front of us and the dark and cold waters of Loch Ness to the sides and behind. It was freezing cold. I was wearing six layers and still felt cold. I thought about all those WWII crews who would have flown this very aircraft in similar if not colder conditions. Everything looked familiar, but also completely alien. Despite the cold, both engines fired up as they always had done (apart from that time six weeks ago!). With the oil cold and thick, the rpm was kept low to keep the pressure down. With them thoroughly warmed up, the props were cycled and mags checked. All was well with the big Cat, so Paul and I vacated the aircraft and left it to the crane and boat crews to get on the most critical part of the whole operation. The crane’s cable was attached to the Catalina’s lifting points and everyone held their breath as she was lifted into the air once more. With some deft crane manoeuvring, Miss Pick Up was returned to the waters of Loch Ness for the final time. There were three boats attached via lines to the Catalina, one on each wingtip attached to the floats and one at the stern. Only once the crews were satisfied they had the aircraft under control on the water would the crane hook be disconnected and the Catalina towed away from the quayside. Even though there was barely a breath of wind, the aircraft was still trying to weathercock and point into wind. With the aircraft safely away from the quayside, I hopped into a tender with Paul and our crew chief Chris Hodson for the short ride out to the aircraft. Stepping in through the side entry, as so many crew would have done before us, was a special and proud moment. With the engines still warm from earlier, we started them up and water taxied the aircraft out into the main channel of the Loch ready for the take-off run. Crashing waves… When on the water, the Cat is always travelling forwards because piston engines are always producing some thrust. To complete our pre-flight checks, we had to increase the power on one of the engines to steer the aircraft into an orbit on the water. The waves in the main channel were surprisingly large and were crashing over the cockpit and temporarily restricting the view ahead every time we turned through into wind. I had never seen anything like it from the cockpit of an aircraft. It felt like we were in a submarine, a very leaky one with large amounts of water finding its way through the gaps in the sliding windows. I was glad my most outer layer of clothing was waterproof. The wind was picking up, but with the Catalina back in its element, it was all systems go! We
Left Not really shorts weather… it was cold and a hat was definitely required for the pre-flight! Below Saying goodbye to our temporary home on the shore of Loch Ness
February 2021 | FLYER | 39
40 | FLYER | February 2021
Above Hello, hello! Nessie stowaway makes an appearance at Inverness Left The good thing about a flying boat, is large bits of water become potential forced landing options Below All smiles from Capt. Matt, FO Rich and crew-chief Chris
powered up the engines for take-off and she leapt out of the water, skimming the tops of the waves before lifting gracefully into the air. The quick flight over to Inverness was a massive relief for everyone. The newly replaced starboard engine felt a little rough and we could feel a few more vibrations than normal in the cruise but all indications were normal. Even if it had stopped, we were going to Inverness anyway! It took some time to get the rest of the crew from Loch Ness to Inverness Airport via road. Paul had other commitments and so left via road, leaving me in charge for the rest of the return to IWM Duxford. Garry had a good look over the starboard engine and found the rough running to be due to an HT lead that had come loose. It is a testament to the whole team that this was the only fault after six weeks of maintenance in a remote location. Unfortunately, the airfield at IWM Duxford was closed due to Covid-19 but had agreed to open especially for us on the Wednesday. However, if we stayed in Inverness for the night, that would increase the risk of us getting stuck waiting for a weather window large enough to fly the near 500 miles back from Scotland to Cambridge under VFR conditions. The decision was made to fly as far south as possible on Tuesday afternoon to minimise that weather risk. With limited daylight hours, Tatenhill in the Midlands was chosen, just 100 miles from IWM Duxford. The flight south went perfectly. Both engines behaved and the blister window repair held up
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Above Watery sunset heralds the end of day one of the flight home Below Proudly holding up the Saltire – with help from Nessie. To all those who helped us out in Scotland and with the crowdfunding, a big thank you from the team!
42 | FLYER | February 2021
perfectly. The views throughout the flight were stunning, taking in the Scottish Highlands, Lake District and Peak District en route in the watery winter sunlight. Miss Pick Up touched down some two-and-a-half hours after departing Inverness for her night stop just before sunset. We put her to bed for the night under the stars and hoped the skies didn’t stay too clear as frost would have presented a further problem. Like all aircraft, she cannot fly with ice on her wings. Thankfully the skies did cloud over enough and kept the frost away. With the en route weather looking suitable and Miss Pick Up raring to go, we took off into the winter skies once more for the final time that year. After another smooth flight, Miss Pick Up touched down in IWM Duxford on Runway 24 at 1148 on Wednesday 2 December, having spent over six weeks stranded at Loch Ness. Thank you again to everyone who has donated to this rescue mission. We are eternally grateful to you all. Please DO come and see us next year at IWM Duxford where we would be delighted to show you around Miss Pick Up and thank you in person for your generosity. A lot of people have asked if there will be a documentary about the whole operation and I am pleased to write that yes, there will be! The film crew team from Plane Resurrection followed us throughout the mission, so look out for it during summer 2021 on your TV!
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Safety Accident Analysis
Night VMC… an illusion? To the unwary, ‘Night VMC’ might suggest that flying at night is conducted in the same way as by day – it’s just that bit darker. However, as we struggle with recency and lower total flying hours this year, Steve Ayres suggests these accidents come as a stark reminder that not everything at night is quite the same…
manager and emergency services reported that it was a very dark night and that there was no distinguishable horizon. Evidence was consistent with a slight right wing down, nose low, and high speed impact with the water. A right turn would have been necessary at some point after take-off to fly towards the destination airport and evidence is consistent that a right turn had been initiated. Although the reason for the impact with the water could not be determined, the overwater departure in dark night conditions would not have provided adequate visual cues to assure a positive rate of climb during the departure and initial turnout on course as a pilot would be vulnerable to illusions if flight instruments were not used to conduct the take-off and initial climb.
During the two-hour night time VFR instructional cross-country flight in a Beech 76 Duchess, radar data identified the aeroplane on an easterly flight track, when the first of two manoeuvres over mountainous terrain was initiated. The first manoeuvre was a left turn from about a 048° course heading to about a 176° course heading. Throughout the turn, the aeroplane’s altitude remained about 5,600ft mean sea level (msl), and the ground speed decreased to 55kt. At the completion of the turn, the ground speed increased to about 67kt, and the aeroplane began to climb to 6,600ft msl. The aeroplane then made a right turn course reversal and resumed the easterly, heading for about 10 miles
The instrument-rated pilot took off in dark night conditions over a lake that bordered the upwind end of the runway. The airport manager witnessed the PA32RT depart and reported that the take-off sounded normal. Two witnesses who were facing the lake reported that they observed an aircraft take-off from the airport, and fly about 100 to 200ft above the lake surface. It then banked to the right and disappeared from sight. About 10 to 15 seconds later, the witnesses heard what sounded like a crash into the water or an explosion. There were no distress radio calls from the pilot and there was no radar information for the flight. The airport
“It was a very dark night and there was no distinguishable horizon” 44 | FLYER | February 2021
before a second left 180° turn manoeuvre at an altitude of 6,200ft msl and a ground speed of about 121kt. At the apparent apex of the turn, the aeroplane was at 6,100ft msl and a ground speed of 50kt. The aeroplane then began to descend, and the ground speed increased to 74kt and then decreased to 50kt. The last radar return showed the aeroplane at an altitude of 5,700ft msl and a ground speed of 67kt near the accident site. Radar data revealed that both manoeuvres were similar, except that the second manoeuvre began over higher elevation terrain. The aeroplane’s separation from the terrain during the second manoeuvre was as low as 1,200ft above ground level before radar contact was lost. Weather reporting in the area of the accident site indicated extreme turbulence and severe up and downdraughts during high wind conditions. Although there is evidence of strong wind in the area at the time of the second manoeuvre, there is no consensus among the available wind data. However, the upset occurred immediately downwind of relatively high terrain and inside of a temperature inversion, which can promote wave action and turbulence. Thus, the aeroplane likely encountered a downdraught and the pilot was unable to recover, resulting in the aeroplane’s subsequent impact with terrain. The instructor was newly hired and this was his first instructional flight with the company. A representative of the operator reported that manoeuvres were usually performed to facilitate a two-hour flight. All flight was barred below 500ft agl and minimum cruise altitude of 2,000ft agl in mountainous terrain. It couldn’t be determined if the pilot or flight instructor were aware of the weather conditions or terrain elevations while doing the manoeuvres.
At about 1827 a privately registered Cessna 150M, with a passenger seated
have always been slightly troubled by the term ‘Night VMC’, not for its strict definition, more for what it seems to imply. I can certainly remember when instructors would say to me ‘it is pretty much the same as flying in the daytime, but it’s just dark’. I may be alone in never quite finding it that straightforward. Getting the balance right between instrument attitude references and ensuring my own anti-collision with what seemed totally inadequate lookout queues, was always a challenge. Add to that all those sensations experienced when accelerating and decelerating, pitching and rolling, and it definitely made night flying a dark art that took some serious training and regular practice. The following accidents suggest having such a healthy regard for the potential pitfalls is the safest approach.
on the right and the pilot seated on the left, took off from the Montréal/ St‑Lazare Aerodrome, Quebec, for a night flight under visual flight rules. At approximately 1830, the aircraft conducted an approach to Runway 07 at the Montréal/Les Cèdres Aerodrome, Quebec, followed by a go-around. The aircraft then conducted a 180° turn over the interchange between Highway 20 and Highway 30 and flew westbound over Highway 20 at a very low altitude. At approximately 1834, the aircraft conducted another 180° turn, flying eastbound over Highway 20 at a very low altitude. When it was close to the interchange between Highway 20 and Highway 30, the aircraft turned south and flew over Highway 30, still at a very low altitude. At about 1836, nine minutes after take-off, the aircraft struck power lines crossing Highway 30 at kilometre 7 and crashed to the ground. The two occupants received fatal injuries.
A Piper PA-28-181 aeroplane, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in Blairsville, Georgia. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and another passenger was seriously injured. According to the passenger, who was in the front right seat, the take-off was normal, and they flew around the local area to look at Christmas lights before returning to the airport. As they got closer the passenger could see the lighted runway in front of them. During the approach, the pilot described to the passenger that he needed to hit ‘markers’ on the GPS that he was using for navigation as the aeroplane approached the runway. She said the pilot was relaxed and didn’t seem to have concerns about the flight. The aircraft’s engine was running fine, with no unusual noises in the cockpit. Everything appeared normal. The next thing the passenger remembered was seeing rescue personnel. The pilot’s handheld Garmin GPSmap 496 was located in the wreckage. A review of the data revealed that, at 1936, the aeroplane was inbound for Runway 08 on a heading of about 074° at a groundspeed of 63kt at a height of about 186ft above airfield elevation. Eleven seconds later, the aeroplane had descended to a height of about 77ft above airfield elevation and had suddenly turned to a heading of 023°,
“The runway can seem out of position and in the worst case, results in landing short” when it was about ½ mile from the end of the runway and shortly before data recording ceased. The pilot had logged 15 instrument approaches in the six months preceding the accident. However, the types of approaches were not recorded. His last recorded flight at night was four months earlier, at which time he logged only one landing. The published inbound course for the RNAV (GPS) RWY 08 instrument approach was 076°. The RNAV (GPS) RWY 8 instrument approach plate stated that the approach was not authorised at night
and had a minimum descent altitude equivalent to approximately 1,030ft above airfield elevation. According to the FAA, a ‘black hole’ approach occurs when the landing is made from over water or non-lighted terrain where the runway lights are the only source of light. Without peripheral visual cues to help, orientation is difficult. The runway can seem out of position (down-sloping or up-sloping) and in the worst case, results in landing short of the runway. If the runway has a city in the distance on higher terrain, the tendency is to fly a lower-than-normal approach.
Ayres’ Analysis After reading this eclectic collection of accident reports it is difficult not to conclude that VFR flying at night exposes us to very particular risks more akin to flight in IMC than flight in VMC, especially when in ‘dark night’. Starting with ‘brakes off’ the take-off needs to be conducted in much the same way as would be the case for an IFR departure. Granted, many airfields are brightly lit or border brightly lit spaces, but many are not and those inky black spaces can become a tempting go-to place if attention is allowed to wander from the instruments for too long. Having slipped the surly bonds of Earth and clambered skywards, more challenges await when manoeuvring without normal visual references. Unable to see the ground and blind to the normal sensations which accompany flying by day around hilly terrain, vertical currents turned what should have been some benign general handling manoeuvres into disorientation and ultimate loss of control with fatal consequences. While the third accident was more about the risks of night low-level sightseeing, it does illustrate that even when there is plentiful artificial illumination, spotting obstructions can be extremely difficult. Having successfully navigated the upper-air portion of the flight, the recovery is not entirely hazard free. Devoid of accurate glide path information, the pilot in the last accident was obliged to carry out the latter part of his approach on the aspect of runway lights. Challenging in the best of circumstances but when accompanied by rising ground on the approach, potentially disorienting street lighting and poor recency, margins can quickly become eroded with fatal consequences. Understanding potential hazards on the approach is, of course, an essential part of flight preparation and should extend to cover those on the approaches at diversion airfields and incorporate possible runway changes too! Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is most unlikely any of these accidents would have occurred in day VMC and yet it is all too easy to fall into day VMC mode when flying at night. Ensuring a correct scan of instruments and the outside world, observing proper safety altitudes at all stages of flight and making sure the approach has been thought through in order to remain clear of hazards will go a long way to keeping safe. Plus, of course, the usual requirements of being qualified, current and free from impairing drugs. So is operating in night VMC the same as day VMC, but just a bit darker? For the most part, yes, but with some really, really important differences! February 2021 | FLYER | 45
Safety Accident Reports
Steve Ayres summarises and comments on accident reports from around the world and looks at some rather nifty tyre pressure sensors which might just warn of an impending flat…
Bogged down Bristell NG5 Speedwing G-COLF Tiger Moth G-BAFG Private Strip, Birdsedge, Yorkshire Injuries: None
While backtracking, the pilot of G-COLF noticed an area of undulating soft ground across Runway 08. After turning around at the threshold, he taxied forwards to position beyond the area before starting his take-off. While crossing the ground the aircraft became bogged down and the pilot applied increasingly more power to overcome the resistance. G-COLF’s power setting increased to such a level that bystanders thought it was starting its take-off run. They then saw the nosewheel caster left before the aircraft veered off the runway and collided with G-BAFG on the adjacent grass parking area. The pilot of G-COLF believed his aircraft may have become stuck in a rut on the runway, leading to the left wheel spat digging into the ground and causing the aircraft to pivot under power. The proximity of G-BAFG to the runway edge meant that the accident pilot had little time to react before the collision. By their nature, unlicensed airfields can have their own specific hazards, to which pilots need to be alert. In this case, parked aircraft near the runway and high power, to avoid bogging down in undulating soft ground were catalysts for an accident. Comment We’ve all been there – forgotten to remove the chocks, park brake left on or bogged down. In this instance it had to be the latter,
especially as the bad ground had been spotted on the way out to the threshold. But there’s only so much power that’s safe to add before stopping to think through the potential consequences of adding more… something will ultimately give way!
Misalignment – 1 Piper PA-38-112 G-BPPF Compton Abbas Airfield Injuries: None
The pilot was visiting Compton Abbas Airfield and, having taxied out for departure, proceeded to line up on what he thought was the runway. However, he had actually lined up to the left of the runway. During the take-off roll, the aircraft pulled to the left, which was subsequently diagnosed as a binding left brake. This, combined with his starting position, meant he got close to a line of parked aircraft. The pilot described that he lined up to the right of what looked like two ‘black cones’. The UK Aeronautical Publication (AIP)1 page on Compton Abbas details the runway markings which include black and white runway threshold markers positioned to the side of the runway threshold. The pilot of G-BPPF probably lined up between the marker board and the left side chalk line of the runway. It’s the AIP that contains validated aviation data, but image tools such as Google Earth can be useful to pilots who are visiting places with which they may not be familiar. While they do not give detailed, up-to-date info, they can add a visual image of what to expect.
“Unlicensed airfields can have their own specific hazards, to which pilots need to be alert” 46 | FLYER | February 2021
Misalignment – 2 Replica WAR FW190 G-CCFW Lower Upham Farm Airstrip, Marlborough, Wiltshire Injuries: One serious
The pilot was flying G-CCFW, a Replica WAR FW190. The skies were clear with bright sunshine and light winds from the south-west. At around 1200, the pilot returned to the airstrip to land on its southerly runway. On landing, the aircraft had travelled a short distance when it ‘stopped violently’ and pitched over onto its back, trapping the pilot. The pilot was removed from the aircraft by emergency services and had suffered serious injuries. The aircraft was damaged extensively and deemed uneconomic to repair. The aircraft had landed in crop to the left of the grass runway. He reported that he mistook the unmarked grass runway to be part of the crop in the adjacent field to the right of the runway owing to its similarity in colour. Instead, he made an approach to and landed in the field to the left of the runway, where tractor marks and the edge of the grass airstrip had created the appearance of a ‘false’ runway similar in size and shape. The sun overhead may have reduced the contrast between the grass strip and the crops, contributing to the reduced conspicuity of the grass airstrip. The pilot reported that the runway has since been marked out with white chalk lines. Comment It’s that time of year again. Any markings on grass quickly get washed away or muddied, sun angles can be blindingly low, colour contrast between landing surfaces and their surrounds, poor. Having only recently averted an off-strip touchdown myself by catching sight of much rougher terrain than expected beneath me, I know how easily it can happen. All it cost me was an additional landing fee although, as these events highlight, the outcome is sometimes extremely serious. And such occurrences are sadly not restricted to
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Safety Accident Reports grass strips either, ‘take-off misalignment’ in poor visibility or at night occurs on paved surfaces with worrying frequency.
Power surge Aeronca 7AC Champ
“The aircraft pivoted to the left and came to a stop wedged against the telehandler”
N83032 Ankeny, Iowa Injuries: One serious
The pilot reported that he attempted to hand prop the engine numerous times without success. He returned to the cockpit and turned the magneto switch to the ‘off’ position and advanced the throttle to between ½ and ¾ travel. He then exited the cockpit and turned the propeller backward five to six ‘blades’ to clear the cylinders. The pilot again returned to the cockpit and turned the magneto switch back to the ‘on’ position, but he did not retard the throttle back to idle. He attempted to hand prop the engine again, and it started. Due to the engine’s throttle setting, the aircraft moved forward over the wheel chocks and struck the pilot, resulting in serious injuries, and then a hangar, which resulted in substantial damage to the firewall and fuselage. Comment Hand-swinging props has never been a favourite pastime of mine having grown up on a diet of horror stories, with this type of accident featuring prominently, of course. Getting the technique wrong is pretty unforgiving and any sense of complacency must be banished. In the end, it comes down to check the settings and then check again… and again!
Blind panic Tecnam P92-EM Echo G-WHEN
telehandler. The impact dented the left wing leading edge near the wingtip, displaced the wing and distorted the flap. The propeller was severely damaged, and the lower engine cowl was dented. The pilot and a construction worker, who was standing close to the telehandler at the time, were uninjured. The lime green coloured telehandler was parked perpendicular to the tarmac taxiway, at the edge of an area of hard ground, in front of a newly constructed low hangar. A taxiway widening strip, referred to as a ‘ditch’, ran alongside the taxiway on the opposite side to where the telehandler was parked. The ditch had a smooth unfinished surface which had been added to widen the taxiway to allow glider wings to pass the building site. It was about 100mm lower than the taxiway surface and had chamfered edges. Just prior to the collision, the aircraft was being taxied towards the left side of the telehandler putting the ditch on the right side of the aircraft. The pilot described how he allowed the right main wheel to run into the
ditch to make room to pass the telehandler. In his opinion, it was the wheel running in the ditch that caused the aircraft to swing around to the left and into the telehandler. Individuals who responded to the collision commented that there was a dent on the left leading edge consistent with the outer section of the left wing contacting the telehandler, causing the aircraft to swing to the left and hit the main body of the vehicle. Comment The precise details of how a bright green telehandler came to be struck are slightly confusing, but that can perhaps be forgiven, taking into account the pilot’s probable emotional state. Having just been forced to turn back on a flight due to bad weather, which caused them to become disorientated and lost, then surviving the threat of an engine failure and potential forced landing, one can only imagine how they must have been feeling. But any euphoria of having got back safely vanished as they faced the telehandler. A useful reminder that the trip isn’t over until the aircraft is signed back in or the hangar doors locked.
Safety kit Aviation Tyre Pressure System T€126 Details
Lleweni Parc Denbigh Airfield, Denbigh Injuries: None
The pilot reported that he intended to fly to a nearby airfield and that when he departed the cloud base was obscuring the high ground. He also stated that as a result of the low cloud he became disorientated and lost. Moreover, his engine started to run roughly, and he ‘anticipated’ that he might need to carry out a forced landing. However, the engine continued running and he returned to the airfield and landed. While taxying back to the hangar, the left wing struck a stationary telehandler parked alongside the taxiway. The aircraft pivoted to the left and came to a stop wedged against the 48 | FLYER | February 2020
Don’t want to be let down by low tyre pressures this winter? Why not simply replace your tyre valve caps with this clever and discreet Aviation Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (ATPMS). Derived from systems used widely on bicycles and motorcycles these Bluetooth connected devices will give you real time tyre pressures even when airborne. Just check that your mobile phone or smartwatch is able to connect with the wheel sensors in flight or simply use them when checking tyre pressures and temperatures on
your walk round. With ATPMS, you will get an alert as soon as the tyre pressure drops below a certain pre-set level as long as your personal device is within the Bluetooth range (-30m) and the App is running. Batteries on these sensors last for around a year so should keep you connected through to your next annual and, who knows, they may just save the cost of a major airframe repair. We’re testing some, so will report back in the next issue.
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50 | FLYER | February 2021
Shuttleworth showtime… Paul Kiddell looks back at the surprise success of the summer airshow season – and flying in to the Shuttleworth Drive-in Airshow…
ummer 2020 provided a brief respite from lockdown restrictions with a welcome opportunity to escape and enjoy some memorable flying adventures. While some smaller fly-ins went ahead, the airshow programme was decimated. One notable exception was the Shuttleworth Collection, which adapted magnificently and held its first drive-in airshow at Old Warden on 18 July. The huge success of the day led them to offer limited fly-in slots for the drive-in show on Sunday 2 August and it was with considerable excitement that flying buddy Alex Smith and I purchased tickets and secured a fly-in slot for 1130. With Old Warden some 2.5 hours south of our Eshott base, we decided to take full advantage and build a flying weekend around the show. On Saturday afternoon we set off in our EuroStar for our first stop, Breighton, one hour south. The endlessly flexible Newcastle ATC provided an efficient zone-transit directly over Newcastle city centre with its iconic bridges. Looking down on the wonderful city, it seemed a lifetime ago that the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) admitted the UK’s first coronavirus cases into its specialist isolation ward on 31 January. Opposite the RVI, it was sad to see St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United, which hadn’t hosted fans since 29 February. The Durham County Cricket Ground looked immaculate and provided an interesting contrast with Tudhoe village cricket pitch a little further to the south. Tudhoe cricket green has an unusual claim to fame in that it marked the most northerly point in England to be hit by a V1 ‘doodlebug’ flying bomb in WWII. The ferocious V1 assault on London from June 1944-March 1945 is relatively well known with around 8,800 of the pulsejetpowered flying bombs being ramp launched from France and Holland. What is less well known, is
that as the Allies advanced after D-Day, the Germans launched more than 1,000 V1s from Heinkel He 111s. On Christmas Eve 1944, He 111s operating in the North Sea off the Humber, launched some 45 V1s at Manchester. The raid had limited success and one rogue V1 headed northwest instead of west with the V1’s 850kg warhead finally impacting Tudhoe cricket ground breaking many windows over a wide area, luckily without causing any serious casualties. Fortunately, our navigation proved more effective and we soon arrived at busy Breighton, home of the famed Real Aeroplane Company (RAC). The expansive 800m x 30m grass strip lies in the south-west corner of the former WWII Halifax bomber base, and can be hard to spot for the first time visitor. Due to potential non-radio formations and aerobatics which remain north of the runway, there are no overhead joins and all joins are downwind to the south. It was great to see Breighton stalwarts and great friends Andy Wood and Charles Sunter, while pals Jez and Diane Poller produced welcome cups of tea. As we chatted, the resident 1938 Bucker Jungmeister got airborne – simply marvellous – definitely my ‘Lotto’ win aeroplane for sure! Breighton has long been a hotbed of Buckers ever since Taff Smith founded the RAC in 1989 after completing his epic 25-day, 12,600-mile flight from Australia to England in his Bucker Jungmann, G-TAFF. Breighton remains one of my favourite UK fields with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, full of interesting aeroplanes and equally interesting people. Such is the demand for this unique atmosphere that Breighton built new hangars for another 32 aircraft a couple of years ago, and the airfield is now home to some 85 aeroplanes. Breighton holds regular fly-ins during which many of the historic residents are flown. At other times the landing fee is £5 and both avgas and Jet A1 are available 24/7 on credit card pumps.
Opposite A couple of the reasons for the flying trip to the Shuttleworth Drive-in Summer show, at the top, the 1925 DH-51 powered by a 120hp Airdisco V8, and below, the magnificent DH-88 Comet racer, Grosvenor House, from 1934
February 2021 | FLYER | 51
Above Durham County Cricket Ground Right DH-82B Queen Bee and former radio-controlled target G-BLUZ at New Farm Far right Newcastle bridges and the Sage Gateshead cultural centre Below St James’ Park the home of Newcastle United, with Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) top right, which handled the first Covid-19 cases in the UK. Below right Ben Ashman briefing Adrian Jones on the Minimax SSDR
52 | FLYER | February 2021
Departing Breighton, we crossed the Humber and followed the River Trent east of the Doncaster zone heading for our next stop, New Farm in Northants, which was holding a fly-in. It was late afternoon as we approached but Safetycom was alive with a stream of arrivals and departures. We landed on the 550m R27 over the trees before parking amid a delightful array of flying machines. These ranged from a classic 1941 Piper J4 side-byside Cub Coupe to fixed-wing and flexwing microlights and powered parachutes. Everenthusiastic strip owner Courtney Chambers has a passion for collecting classic fixed-wing microlights (he currently has eight) and the fly-in had attracted many Shadows, X-Airs and other Single-Seat Deregulated (SSDR) microlights. SSDR must be single-seat, have a max take-off weight of 300kg (315kg with a BRS) and a stall speed not exceeding 35kt. There is no doubt that the CAA’s light touch on SSDR has re-energised this sector. It doesn’t make many headlines but CAA statistics show that on 1 January 20 some 707 aircraft were registered as SSDR. Certainly the CFM Shadow, designed by David Cook in 1982, is enjoying a revival for those seeking cheap and fun flying and type aficionado Adrian Jones told me about his plans to convert one to SSDR with electrical power. Being unregulated, Adrian is, of course, free to experiment as he wishes.
Fear of heights…
It was great to see Courtney and his wider team putting on yet another relaxed and fun fly-in and being rewarded by a large turnout. Indeed, so many friends were present that it must have taken us an hour to walk the 30 yards to the BBQ. Friend Clive Mason was still trying to persuade me to overcome my fear of heights (yes really…) and go up in his powered parachute… Perhaps one for another day, on the basis that tomorrow never comes! Also present was the sole airworthy de Havilland DH-82B Queen Bee, resplendent with her military markings. The Queen Bee was devised as a low-cost, radio-controlled target for antiaircraft gunnery training and 412 were built between 1933 and 1943. It might look like a standard Tiger Moth but has significant differences, including a wooden spruce and plywood Moth Major fabric-covered fuselage instead of the Tiger’s fabric covered, steel tube fuselage frame. The enclosed rear cockpit was equipped with radiocontrol equipment including pneumatically operated servo units operating the rudder and elevator. Fortunately, LF858 survived being shot at for a living and during its restoration to airworthiness in the 1980s, the great survivor was restored as a two-seater. Today G-BLUZ/LF858 is owned by a syndicate, affectionately known as ‘The Beekeepers’ and was flown in from Old Warden by
Clark Stanley. With time marching on, we departed for the short flight north to Sywell to overnight at the Aviator Hotel. Taxying in, we were delighted to see that we’d arrived in the middle of a Luscombe fly-in with seven of the classics lined up in front of the hotel. The Aviator had recently re-opened and had great Covid-19 procedures. After an excellent meal, Alex and I enjoyed a few beers and some appropriately loud, suitably distanced conversations with our Luscombe pals, including organiser and type champion, Nigel Barratt, who was celebrating 30 years of owning his beloved 1946 Luscombe 8E G-BRUG. Also present were our friends Mark Chambers and his dad Colin, who’d flown their 8A from the Aughrim hillside strip in the Mourne Mountains in County Down. Alex and I have visited the scenic strip several times and it was great to catch-up with the local craic from Northern Ireland. Interestingly, of the 70 registered Luscombes, only 42 have current Permits. My friend John Tempest suggested that when they were imported in the 80s they were 40(ish)-year-old aeroplanes providing cheap flying, but as they now approach 80 years old, corrosion and sourcing A65 and C90 engines are becoming issues. As is usual on these spontaneous occasions, we probably stayed far too late in the bar but after a good night’s sleep and fortified by a ‘full English’, we were ready for another day. Sywell Airfield was operating weekends on a skeleton staff with blind calls on the radio. Marcus Ansell was overseeing fuel, PPR and pretty much everything else, so it was good to chat while we refuelled with unleaded to feed our frugal 80hp Rotax 912. We had a truly brilliant stay at Sywell and just as the Luscombe crew were rising, we blasted-off to do a couple of strips before the big show. First stop was nearby Tower Farm at Wollaston just east of Northampton. The field is easy to spot with a huge water tower at the western end and we landed on the upslope of the 580 metre R27. We are so spoilt in the UK with access to vast numbers of interesting strips of endless
Below Mick Broom departing New Farm in his SSDR Shadow, the second seat is now occupied by a fuel tank
February 2021 | FLYER | 53
Above Matthew Boddington displaying his Be.2C replica Below Cars arriving at Shuttleworth Airshow
Above Shuttleworth Lysander in Lysander III (Special Duties) configuration which was employed by No 161 RAF Squadron on clandestine night flying operations from RAF Tempsford, taking agents into occupied France Above right Curved approach into Sackville Farm Runway 31 Middle right 1935 Hawk Speed Six landing as Stearman smoke clears Right Shuttleworth Sea Hurricane
54 | FLYER | February 2021
variety and character. I estimate there are 1,500 landing sites available to the EuroStar and thanks to generous owners and operators like Peter at Tower Farm, I don’t expect to run out of exciting destinations any time soon. As we took off, we spied Matthew Boddington passing overhead in his RAF Be.2C replica en route to display at Old Warden. Many FLYER readers will know that Matthew subsequently had a very serious crash in the Be-2C in September and we’re absolutely chuffed that he’s recovering OK. Our next stop was Sackville Farm Airstrip, two miles north of the old RAE Bedford Airfield, which incidentally is still active (£50 landing fee for SEP!), as well as being used extensively for car storage. In accordance with the brief, I flew a ‘Spitfire-style’ curved approach to R31 to avoid Risely village before landing on Sackville’s huge 730 metre grass strip. We received a very warm welcome from owner Tim Wilkinson and were invited into the clubhouse for a brew. Sackville has a thriving flying community, which includes LAA machines, microlights and gliders and is well known for its annual hot air balloon meet which attracts upwards of 100 balloons. Tim is the third generation of his family to fly from the site after his grandfather Jack started flying an Auster from the field back in 1946. Sackville is a real gem but our slot time was approaching so we soon departed for the short journey to Old Warden. Old Warden tower is only manned on show days with Restricted Airspace (Temporary) and ATZ activated by Notam and our entry was facilitated by the cheery FISO. It’s always a thrill to arrive overhead Old Warden on airshow day and see lines of historic aircraft being readied for action. We enjoyed a great view of the magnificent house set in 425 acres of grounds which encompass the airfield with the six Shuttleworth Collection hangars, the Swiss Garden and the agricultural college. The Shuttleworth Trust was formed in 1940 by Dorothy Shuttleworth in memory of her only child, Richard, who was killed aged 31 flying a Fairey Battle on a night Navex out of RAF Benson. Petrolhead Richard had been an avid collector of both early aeroplanes and cars in the 1930s and his collection went on to form the basis of today’s worldrenowned museum. Notably he purchased, restored and flew the Collection’s 1909 Bleriot, which today is the oldest flying aeroplane in the world. He was also quite the adventurer and flew his Comper Swift G-ABWE to India in 1932 to compete in Viceroy’s Cup Air Race. Today, Shuttleworth has one of the finest collections of airworthy historic aircraft in the world and what a thrill it was to land on R20 adjacent to many of the Collection’s treasures. We were marshalled in by Dave Georgala, who like all the ground crew sported white overalls, although
Dave’s were appropriately stained by castor oil sprayed by the resident rotary aero engines. It was good to see Dave who has marshalled us in on our last four flying visits and no sooner had we shut down than he was busy parking our good pals Nigel Hitchman and Dave Haines, who arrived in Nigel’s RV-6, followed by Jon Crook in his EuroStar. Dave G is a volunteer and, like us, a member of the Shuttleworth Vintage Aeroplane Society (SVAS). SVAS plays a key role in supporting the ongoing operation of the Collection and donates around £100,000 a year to the Trust, funding the odd aircraft purchase (the Trust’s Lysander was purchased by SVAS) as well as rebuilds, engine overhauls and spares. It also provides around 43,000 hours of voluntary work annually. Membership is £30 per year and provides unlimited access to the collection, up to 50% off airshow tickets and a quarterly magazine. A great way to support our aviation heritage and have fun at the same time.
Cars were streaming into the site as we walked past so many superb aeroplanes from a bygone era. The drive-in format sees Shuttleworth divide the grass spectator area into 5m x 5m squares and car occupants remain in their square except for going to their area ‘welfare hub’ containing food and drink vendors and toilets. The grass areas slope up from the runway and create a natural amphitheatre, perfect for airshows. After booking in, Alex and I were directed to our own square, next to Nigel, Dave and Jon. Our other neighbour had arrived in a very smart camouflage Chipmunk and amazingly turned out to be a former RAF colleague of mine, Alec Trevett, so it was good to catch up on old times. We’d all come equipped with folding chairs and in no time the flying display got underway with Cranfield University’s Jetstream 31 beautifully displayed by Roger ‘Dodge’ Bailey and Joe Brown. The fully instrumented Jetstream flying laboratory allows students from 25 universities across the world to fly as flight test engineers, monitoring real time performance parameters during the flight. The Jetstream will shortly be replaced by the larger SAAB 340B, so this was a novel and welcome display. Indeed, the collection puts enormous effort into creating imaginative displays and the four-hour long flying display was tremendous. The sound of WWI era rotary engines and the smell of castor oil is a highlight of any Old Warden display and we were treated to the 130hp Clerget 9B in the Sopwith Triplane and Le Rhones in the Sopwith Pup (80hp) and Avro 504K (110hp). Castor oil is pumped into the fuel/air mixture to lubricate the rotaries and as it’s a total loss oil system, the castor oil gets sprayed everywhere. Good news is that February 2021 | FLYER | 55
Above The Edwardians, like this magnificent Avro Triplane replica only fly in still or light wind conditions Right A 1935 Hawk Speed Six leading Mew Gulls, with amazing sound from the three de Havilland sixcylinder racing engines. Below The beautiful shape of DH-88 Comet Grosvenor House Bottom Nigel Hitchamn and Dave Haines in Nigel’s RV-6
56 | FLYER | February 2021
SVAS have recently bought an exceptionally rare, airworthy Clerget 9 to act as a spare for the collection’s Triplane and Camel. While broadcast commentary was available on car radios, we much preferred to listen to the aircraft – in the new format, it’s nice to have the choice. Another unique formation consisted of three British racers, the 1935 Miles Hawk Speed Six accompanied by the famous Alex Henshaw 1936 Mew Gull G-AEXF and David Beale’s beautiful Mew Gull replica G-HEKL, all powered by sixcylinder de Havilland Gipsy Six / Queen engines of around 200hp (David’s Mew Gull was featured in FLYER, summer 2020). What an incredible sight and sound as they tore around the circuit. A personal favourite of mine is the 1925 de Havilland DH-51 Miss Kenya G-EBIR, a big three-seat tourer powered by a large 120hp Airdisco V8, which was the first aircraft to fly in Kenya in 1926 where it operated for 40 years before being returned to the UK and restored. Add in an exciting barnstormer display, Peter Kynsey doing aerobatics in a Jungmann, the impossibly agile (and brave) Kirsten and Gemma wing-walking atop two 450hp Stearmans, some great formations including a Lysander/Gladiator and a Spitfire/Sea Hurricane and you can sense how well the aviation enthusiast is catered for at Shuttleworth displays. But for me, the greatest historical aeroplane flying in the world today is the exceptional de Havilland DH-88 Comet G-ACSS Grosvenor House, which famously won the 1934 MacRobertson air race between England and Australia. Powered by two 230hp Gipsy Six R, the aircraft had three large fuel tanks giving a range of nearly 3,000 miles which enabled pilots, CWA Scott and Tom Campbell Black, to fly the first leg, Mildenhall to Baghdad direct in 12 hours. The Comet finally arrived in Melbourne after 70 hours and 54 minutes (of which 65.5 hours were airborne), ahead of a KLM Douglas DC-2, the forerunner of the great DC-3. Grosvenor House, (named after the owner Arthur Octavius Edward’s Hotel in Park Lane which is now a five-star Marriott) was finally restored to flight in May 1987 after being grounded for almost 49 years. What a privilege to see this beautiful aeroplane display in the capable hands of chief pilot Dodge Bailey. On his approach to land, the gusty wind saw Dodge go-around, a treat for spectators but maybe not so much for Dodge. Sadly, the winds were too sporty for the marginal Edwardian aircraft to wrap up the show and it was time for us to depart. It had been a truly outstanding day and I must thank everyone at Shuttleworth for pulling out all the stops to put on a brilliant show in challenging circumstances. We departed in high spirits and as Jon broke off to return to Brown Shutters Farm near Bath, we November 2020 | FLYER | 59
flew in formation with Nigel and Dave as we headed to Hinton to overnight with Nigel. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone had finished earlier that day with another Hamilton win and passing close by, the absence of crowds meant it was spookily quiet. Hinton’s PAC-750 parachute aeroplane had finished for the day so we followed Nigel straight in on Hinton’s hard 700m R24. Hinton is a great sports flying field with parachuting, gliding using a Eurofox tug, as well as the base for many interesting LAA Permit machines. But everyone had gone home and as Nigel put the RV away in the hangar, we tied down for the night. We enjoyed a lazy evening at Nigel’s and in the morning were ready for another fun day. Nigel decided to join us in his 80-year-old Piper J3C-85 Cub for a morning fly-about. As Alex had never flown in a Cub, he jumped in with Nigel for some vintage fun as we headed off to nearby Bicester. En route we avoided a large-ish Notamed area south of Bicester where Tom Cruise was parachuting out of a helicopter for his new Mission Impossible film. I’m not sure our £2m third party liability would even cover breaking Tom’s fingernail, so we kept well clear!
Arriving at Bicester, we joined downwind for 600 metre R24. While the huge grass site is famously one of last omni-directional grass landing areas, there are two mown runways, 600 metre 04/22 and 790 metre 12/30. What a pleasure to land at this most historic airfield where organised flying has taken place since 1916. In 2013, MOD sold the airfield to Bicester Heritage who are developing the site as a national centre for historic motoring with supporting businesses. While there was some controversy when the Windrushes Gliding Club left, Bicester Heritage maintain that it is keen to continue aviation and certainly I felt very welcome when I PPR’d. It is clearly
Above The amazing AeroSuperBatics 450hp Stearman with Gemma and Kirsten Left G-CEVS at Bicester in front of the original 1934 tower and hangars Below left Nigel and Alex enjoying the 80-year-old Cub at Bicester
putting a huge effort into restoring many of the 1930s buildings and also have some smart and reasonably priced accommodation on site. Parking in the southwest corner near the original 1934 tower, we wandered over to the hangar where the resident joy-riding Tiger Moth was undergoing a 50 hour check. Alongside were many interesting residents including LAA Chairman Steve Slater’s Currie Wot, G-APNT, Airymouse. Designed by Joe Currie, two Wots were built in 1937 only to both be destroyed in a German air raid on Lympne aerodrome in May 1940. Post-war, Viv Bellamy, CFI of the Hampshire Aeroplane Club persuaded Joe, by then HAC chief engineer, to produce drawings to enable more Wots to be built and John Isaacs (of scale Spitfire and Fury fame) built G-APNT in 1958. The Wot went on to be the mount of Westland test pilot Harald Penrose and he wrote the classic book Airymouse about the simple pleasures of grassroots flying. February 2021 | FLYER | 57
Above Heading home up the Trent passing the decommissioned coal-fired power station at Cottam Right Expecting overflying visitors, Roger and Joan Syratt used bedsheets to make a large ‘N’ and ‘P’ in their garden in Winslow!
Route Map 1
8 654 10 3 7 9 1 Eshott 2 Breighton 3 New Farm
4 Sywell Farm 9 Bicester 5 Tower Farm 7 Old Warden 10 Turweston 6 Sackville 8 Hinton 2 Breighton
58 | FLYER | February 2021
It was time to depart and as Alex was loving the whole Cub experience, he jumped back in with Nigel as we headed for Turweston. It made a change for the EuroStar to need flap flying in formation with Nigel, normally he needs it when alongside us in the RV-6. En route our little formation did some orbits of our good friends Roger and Joan Syratt’s house in Winslow. Warned of our plan, they’d used large bedsheets to make a large ‘N’ and ‘P’ in their garden, much to our amusement! We soon arrived at Turweston, another former wartime bomber training field – and LAA HQ – where we landed on the 1,200 metre R27 before parking-up and heading for lunch at the excellent Flight Deck Café. The café, on the first floor of the impressive Tower building offers fabulous views of the airfield and was busy with punters in the ‘new normal’. After a fine lunch, we wandered down to the Midland Aeroplane Company (MAC) which specialises in vintage aeroplane restorations and maintenance. Owners, Sam, Alan and Tim and their team were busy on a wonderful variety of aeroplanes including a Jungmann, an incredibly rare 1940 Cessna 165 Airmaster with its huge one-piece wing and even some classic homebuilts including a Nipper, a Tailwind and the only UK Monnett Sonerai with a current permit. Restoration work was nearing completion on Nigel Rhind and Kathy McDonald’s L-21B Super Cub which was absolutely gorgeous, painted in USN markings by resident painting company Mick Allen & Sons. Nigel R was certainly very excited to test fly it and enjoy it once more. The incredible Mystery Ship replica built by the late Ron Souch sat in the corner and the good news is that MAC will be re-permitting it with a view to it returning to the airshow circuit next season. After 30 minutes of drooling in this super-friendly hangar workshop, it was time for Alex and me to say goodbye to Nigel and head northwards. Alex had really enjoyed his Cub experience thanks to Nigel’s generosity and I had to put up with him all the way home going on about how great the Cub was! Having done a lot of Cub flying with Nigel over the years including some epic Europe adventures, I couldn’t help but agree – who doesn’t love a Cub…? Flying up the Trent, we spied one of the two red and white Oil Spill Response Boeing 727s doing circuits at its Doncaster base. The former FedEx 727s carry 15,000L of dispersant and spraying is conducted at just 150kt, a mere 150ft above the waves, which must be very exciting. After refuelling at Breighton we finally arrived back at Eshott at 1830 after a memorable weekend visiting 10 airfields in nine hours of flying. It made me incredibly happy to experience a 2020 airshow with great pals, while enjoying plenty of fun flying along the way. Here’s to the 2021 vaccine and a return to normality!
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Buchan Aero Club Netherthorpe Airfield welcomes visiting pilots. Radio: 123.280 Strictly PPR by telephone. T: 01909 475233
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Flying Lessons, Experience Flights, Trial Flights and Aircraft Hire in York and North Yorkshire. There is a friendly, informal atmosphere at Full Sutton and our hope is to make you feel at home on the ground and in the air! PPR Essential Full Sutton Airfield, Stamford Bridge, YORK. YO41 1HS Tel: 01759 372717
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A FLOURISHING CENTRE FOR AVIATION POSITIONED IN THE CENTRE OF THE UK With both hard and grass runways, Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green aerodrome is ideal for learning to fly and hosts four fixed wing training schools, one helicopter school and a microlight school. Each of these offer trial flying lessons so you can get a feel of what learning to fly is all about.
Tubeless tires High performance brakes Positive pedal response Progressive brake action Bolt-on replacement Other kits available for: STC Diamond DA42-DA40 Cirrus SR22 Extra 300/330 Pilatus PC-6 Average saving on the airplane: 3,5 to 7kg
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The perfect cockpit camera? compensation, programme selection, auto-focus mode and drive mode. No having to access menus or scrolling through endless options, literally ‘on the fly’. It feels like an old film camera, which is rather nice.
Good image and video quality
’ve been a compulsive picture-taker since I was barely big enough to pick up my dad’s folding Kodak Retina 35mm camera. So, although combining my love of photography with my love of flying was inevitable, the two aren’t always compatible. Hurtling along at 120kt while fiddling with camera settings, or looking for that dropped lens cap, never seemed a good idea. Especially if you’re heading towards another pilot doing the same thing. I decided to draw up a list of qualities needed in a ‘cockpit camera’. Something that could take still images of those fantastic airborne views, but with the minimum of fuss. I’ve tried 14 different cameras and the best so far is the Panasonic LX100 with its wonderful Leica lens. Here’s my criteria list and the LX100’s qualities:
Small enough to stow within reach, light enough to not become a missile if things go pear-shaped, but large enough to use easily
Weighing at 395g and measuring 115 x 66 x 55mm means it’s compact enough, but still usable. Tick. 60 | FLYER | February 2021
A fast, wide, stabilised lens
The enemy of photography, from any moving, vibrating vehicle, is camera shake. A F1.8 Leica lens and a max shutter speed of 1/16000th of a second, plus optical stabilisation and good results at high ISO speeds (up to 3,200 before the image gets a tad noisy) really helps. Another tick.
A wide zoom up to 75mm
Zooming in magnifies the effect of camera shake, especially if the air is anything other than billiard ball smooth. On a flight over an open-air theatre I asked my passenger to take some shots for me on an SLR but, ‘don’t use the zoom up to its 200mm max’. He used the zoom. Every shot was blurred and useless… 75mm is not the most I would use, but it works well, and I’m happy to crop the much larger RAW images on my PC. More on that later.
Physical controls that can be used with flying gloves rather than menus for important functions The LX100 uses analogue controls for aperture, shutter speed, exposure
The Leica Vario-Summilux lens is a real gem. Leica has been in partnership with Panasonic since 2001. In fact Leica produces its own identically specified camera, the Leica D-Lux109. It comes with a different body and a 25% higher price tag. It’s slightly larger and heavier, but doesn’t have the front grip of the LX100 which, in my opinion, makes it harder to handle. As I mostly take stills with this camera the video is less important to me, but nevertheless it is excellent. 4K video is great, but has its problems when it comes to editing (see my piece in FLYER’s August issue: Flight Filming on a Budget). Using 4K is less of an issue on this camera as I may only video 10 minutes of the flight instead of the whole flight.
Lens cap can’t drop off becoming a distraction, or worse, an obstruction
The LX100 does come with a normal lens cap, but you can buy the alternative DMW LFAC1 cap for around £30. Once the camera is switched on, the three lens cap ‘petals’ open up. Pretty clever, especially as it will still fit through the direct vision panel of a PA28.
Large, bright rear screen, doesn’t switch to viewfinder when obstructed
This is a major pain on some cameras which, when the rear sensor is blocked, assume you are looking through the viewfinder and shut the rear screen off. Easy to do in a moving aeroplane. Happily, the LX100 has a small button to choose between screen or viewfinder.
Usable wearing flying gloves…
Yes, LX100 has easy to use control dials.
Opposite Writer Peter Steele reckons the Lumix LX100 strikes a great balance of form and functions to be a great cockpit camera Above Lens petals that open mean no loose cap, while control dials on top of camera body are easy to find and use Middle While manufacturers manuals can get you started, a good third-party user guide is an excellent way to really practical user tips from the technical nitty gritty Far right top Haze can be a big problem… Far right lower …but using an ‘auto levels’ adjustment or ‘dehaze’ function in photo editing software can add clarity
Good travel camera
I’ve used it pretty much everywhere. For general use the lack of a zoom greater than 75mm is a drawback, and normally I avoid digital zooms, but the LX100 has a feature called iZoom. This doubles the zoom range for video and full-size Jpegs with minimal reduction in image quality. So, the LX100 passes the test. Here are some general tips for successful cockpit photography: ■ Clean the window you’ll be using, both inside and out. ■ Avoid resting the camera’s lens against the glass – you’ll probably pick up the aircraft’s vibrations which won’t help camera shake. If you are shooting through the prop window, you’ll end up with the prop in view as a v-shaped shadow on your image. If you use too high a shutter speed. To blur the prop, use a shutter speed below 1/125th of a second.
Shoot in RAW – these files are the uncompressed original images before the camera’s software shrinks them down to a Jpeg. RAW files on this camera are 15MB, the Jpegs are 5MB, so the RAW file contains three times the information. You can use Photoshop to edit these files, or any of the free editors (the best probably being this one which is pretty powerful). You can crop RAW files, effectively ‘zooming in’ and export them as JPEGS while still retaining detail. ■ Haze can be a big problem. Years ago I took shots over the Isle of Wight and the haziness of the images rendered them useless. Using the ‘auto levels’ adjustment on Photoshop Elements cleared up the haze like magic. All the modern photo editors have ‘level’ adjustments (Adobe Lightroom has an aptly named ‘Dehaze’ slider). ■ Buy a guide: I like The Pocket Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX100 by Rob Knight. It’s a small book telling you the ■
stuff you need to know and leaving out the rest. ■ Accessories: another pilot. They let you get on with the business of flying while you get into your creative zone. They are also a relatively cheap accessory as they’ll normally fly at the drop of a hat. Plus, their only cost is refuelling them with coffee and bacon rolls… In conclusion, the Panasonic LX100 works better than any camera I’ve tried in 14 years of flying. There is a new version out, the LX100 II, which has a larger 17MP sensor and costs around £500, but the original camera is still available at £100 less, or £300 second-hand refurbished. The countryside can look stunning from the air and some of the images I’ve taken are among my best in 50 years of photography. I urge you to give it a try! Peter Steele
Pooleys 2021 Flight Guide / Pooleys 2021 Diary Flight Guide from £27.99/Diary £8.99 | www.pooleys.com
opping out of pilot bags for more than 60 years now, Pooleys Flight Guide is packed with definitive information on 982 UK aerodromes, 570 landing charts and multicoloured area charts, private airfields, farm strips, helicopter landing sites, and well, the list goes on and on… Pooleys diary has all of the usual stuff (days, weeks, months, Tube maps, rail maps, world maps, address books and notes pages), plus a whole load of specialist (and useful) aeronautical information – it even features a mini logbook. For 2021, the format has been changed to ‘one week’ to a page with a page for notes too. EH February 2021 | FLYER | 61
By Association Looking after General Aviation The UK’s flying associations at work
AOPA Year of opportunity ahead On 31 January 2020 the UK left the EU, entering a transition agreement which ended on 31 December 2020. The EU considers the agreement to be a Treaty which is one of the problems in the discussions taking place on the Trade Agreement. Regardless of our position, the fact is we have left the political union with the other 27 member states. Equally it is a fact that geographically the UK is part of the European continent, and with our intertwined history we will always be connected to Europe. There are several European institutions
that the UK will remain engaged with; Eurocontrol, ECAC and Eurocae, and internationally, ICAO. Aviation is a global industry and once the political dust has settled, we will need to start rebuilding relationships across the Channel. The UK CAA has been consulting with GA regarding what regulatory changes could happen post-EASA exit, so there is an opportunity to revisit the regulatory environment. I passionately believe that we need to remove regulations which do not improve safety but only add to the cost. It will be an interesting debate with the
CAA as to which regulations can be changed, as much will depend on levels of risk appetite it is willing to accept when amending the current rules. To a question once put to me,“Is GA safe?” I replied, “Yes it is, but it’s not risk free.” So, 2021 should be our year of opportunity as we re-establish our aviation credentials. Happy New Year. Martin Robinson
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association www.aopa.co.uk
FDFG Flying display guidance… your thoughts? The Flying Display Focus Group is made up of experienced industry practitioners and regulators. So, what’s its purpose? You may think ‘safe’ and ‘exciting’ in the same sentence, in relation to flying displays and airshow sites, is a contradiction in terms. Well, I think evidence shows it isn’t. That’s because much experience, risk management and creative thinking is applied by event organisers, display pilots, evaluators, flying display directors and yes, regulators, to ensure it’s both!
Proposals or issues that originate within the CAA or the airshow community are circulated to the Group for members to comment on. The purpose of the FDFG is to assist the CAA GA Unit in the development of flying display policies and guidance in order that attention is given to areas of interest or concern in a collective effort to maintain and improve safety at flying displays, for participants, and the general public. We also want to enable exciting display performance and inspire others. If you attend airshows for pleasure or
have a formal role in airshows, the FDFG members welcome any observations, ideas or comments you may have that would give us further insight to developing safe and exciting air displays for all of us. Please don’t hold back! Please send us your views. I hope we can also count on your support. Email. Lawrence Hawthorn
Flying Display Focus Group
Light Aircraft Association Looking back, looking forward What a year 2020 has been. It has certainly stretched us all to new limits. From a flying point of view, we all handled the spring ‘lockdown’ and further restrictions through the year remarkably well, with fewer ‘Skill Fade’ incidents than some expected. I owe a big thank you to the LAA HQ staff whose flexibility, as well as investment in ‘smart’ software and telephone systems, has meant that even when we were all locked into homeworking, we maintained a full level of member services.
We cheerfully embraced video conferencing, not just for business meetings, but socially too. We’ve run seminars, and even our AGM, online and the LAA Virtual Pub Nights on the last Friday of each month have offered regular get-togethers and a chance to informally chat with members from far and wide about, well, everything! Who would ever have thought this time last year that ‘unmute’ would have become one of the most-used words in the English language? And, what a year ahead to look forward to. We’ve got the exciting prospect of
Permit to Fly factory-built light sport aircraft between 450 and 600kg being made available in the UK (at last!) and 2021 is the LAA’s 75th Anniversary year. Best of all, thanks to the amazing vaccine developments it is reasonable to hope that more normal life (and flying) will resume. Hats off to our scientists and, isn’t it nice for science and technology to be cool once again? Happy New Year! Steve Slater Light Aircraft Association www.lightaircraftassociation.co.uk
Aviation associations Got something to say? You’re welcome to contribute to this page, email firstname.lastname@example.org 62 | FLYER | February 2021
This issue’s glorious FLYER Club opening shot comes from Jonny Salmon, who is joining the team here at Seager Publishing to become the new champion of all the FLYER Club activity. If you’ve got a shot you think deserves to appear here, send it to me at email@example.com
A big thanks – from us to you! As 2020 begins to retreat, we want YOU to join us at FLYER in looking at what lies ahead. We’ve got plans to put the smile back on your face – so, let’s do it together!
can’t say I’m disappointed to see 2020 drawing to a close. Obviously we’ve not heard the last of Covid-19, and it may be a while before things are back to normal, but with ingenuity, care and planning we’re absolutely determined to make 2021 a year to remember (for all the right reasons) for the FLYER Club community. Meanwhile, in addition to adapting to the current situation, we’ve also been working on future plans, and 2021 will see a number of exclusive Club fly-ins and events (both physical and virtual if regulations allow), and a NEW and significantly improved way to read the magazine for those viewing on mobile devices. Flying as often as we can, we’re also very aware of the regulatory changes that will be taking place next year as the UK ends the transition period. This issue asks – and answers – many of the ‘aviation post-Brexit’ questions, and you can be sure that we’ll keep you as up-to-date and fully informed during the year.
Club members will get access to exclusive interactive sessions with aviation experts. Our aim is to help you focus on the important things in aviation, namely the flying itself, without having to spend hours of your life digging through impenetrable regulatory documents! Finally, a big genuine thanks, not just from me, but from the entire FLYER team for your support this year. Back in February we couldn’t have imagined the changes the year would necessitate, and it’s thanks to you, our readers and advertisers that we’re here today and planning tomorrow. We really couldn’t have done it without you, and we look forward to thanking you in person at our very special get togethers next year.
February 2021 | FLYER | 63
The FLYER Club
Out & About As you can see in these photos, FLYER Club members and readers are out there enjoying aviation and having fun, with many using our FREE landing fee vouchers. These photos all come via the FLYER Facebook page, and if you’d like to get involved and share your flying experiences, you can either post your photos there or send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org If your photos are too big for email (about 10mb is the maximum) use a free file transfer such as wetransfer.com When you send us your photos – and videos – include a few words about who is in the photos, where and when it was taken, who took the photo/video, and any other relevant notes.
Dan Johnson Doing my differences training (Dan was the Garmin Flying Start competition winner from spring)
Simon Tobias The perfect day to make a run along Hayling Island
Keir Williams Caught some great weather for some post-lockdown 2 flying, cnd completed the LAA Permit test flight for our Vagabond with my dad.
Dawn Evans Koliber tracking the coast towards Skegness, last weekend
Nick Somerville At least this cockpit is much warmer than a sleigh! (We see a certain resemblance, Nick!)
64 | FLYER | February 2021
Brian Riddington Flight over Spurn Point on the Humber Estuary
Mark Turner A bit overcast at Gamston today... collected RV-8 from maintenance at the best part of the day
Steve-Beq Clark Escort duty for the Maule as this wonderful WWII veteran Auster from Tatenhill went to its new home
Sarah Philpott Me, heading back into Sleap (EGCV)
Andrew Thompson Sun setting over the Needles after a lunch trip to the Propeller Inn, Bembridge
Mark Saunders A bit of Cubbing at White Waltham in preparation for actually getting to fly this!
Simon Tilling Fantastic view from a trip in the Chipmunk to visit the Sandown Airfield on the Isle of Wight
Andy Archer Post-lockdown 2 flight – flying a C42 in search of snowy summits, above Totridge Fell, Forest of Bowland, Lancs February 2021 | FLYER | 65
Free Landings In association with
If you’re a member of The FLYER Club, click here for your personalised vouchers and save £67 by claiming one FREE landing at each of these airfields valid for February 2021, although not at an aircraft’s home field. No jets. Please contact the airfield before setting off If you’re not currently a member of the FLYER Club, but would like to receive six new free landing fees every four weeks plus other Club member benefits, then click here to join!
01236 722822 | EGPG www.cumbernauldairport.org Cumbernauld Airport was established in 1966 and has an 820m tarmac runway. The airport is located in central Scotland ideally placed between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It provides a flying school for instruction, aircraft maintenance and two helicopter companies. Avgas and Jet A1 are available onsite for pilots to self-serve. Winter opening hours are 09001700, seven days a week.
Nearby attractions Westerwood Golf Course, Antonine Wall, Falkirk Wheel, Kelpies Helix Park, William Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle, Glasgow & Edinburgh city centres. PPR 01236 722822 Radio 120.605
01296 681816 | https://tinyurl.com/y4kcr87 Holmbeck Airfield, opened 1985, is a 500m grass farm strip in Buckinghamshire, 1nm NNE of the disused Wing Aerodrome and 2.6nm west of Leighton Buzzard. Owners Bob and Rita Perkins live onsite so there is always a warm welcome. Tie-down spaces available, microlights welcome. PPR by phone. Wing village is a short walk away with two popular pubs. There’s also a self-service tea cabin with toilet facilities for visitors.
Nearby attractions Ascott House and gardens, the Three Locks Golf Course, Aylesbury and Leighton Buzzard. PPR 01296 681816 / 681925 Radio 135.475
Radio Accepts non-radio light aircraft, but PPR
PPR Prior permission is required
66 | FLYER | February 2021
Refreshments Including restaurants and cafes etc
Microlights are welcome
Fuel Aviation fuel available A avgas, UL UL91, M mogas
While you’re there When you visit these six airfields, why not show your support by enjoying a meal in the cafe or filling up with fuel? It’s good to support GA in the UK.
Free Landings are for FLYER Club member use only – click here to join!
01341 241356 | EGFD Llanbedr Aerodrome is on Snowdonia’s beautiful west coast on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. It is being developed for UAS testing and is on the Government shortlist to become a UK Spaceport! GA is welcome, although restrictions will apply during drone flying and other non-GA activities. Snowdonia Aerospace LLP manage the airfield, FIS, PPR and hangarage. Avgas and Jet (F34) both self-service daylight.
Nearby attractions Snowdonia, walking, beaches, Royal St David Golf Course, Harlech Castle. PPR: admin@snowdoniaaerospace. com Radio: 118.930 Llanbedr Information. Out of hours blind call Llanbedr Traffic. Tel: 01341 241356
07749 384366 | EGPS | www.buchanaeroclub.co.uk Longside Airfield is situated 2.5nm north-west of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. An unlicensed WWII airfield with a rich heritage, it’s home to the Buchan Aero Club, which operates a diverse range of GA aircraft, including microlights, SEPs and gyroplanes from the 500m tarmac runway. There’s a clubhouse with good facilities, onsite avgas and mogas by arrangement. PPR essential. All aircraft are assured of a warm welcome.
Nearby attractions Aberdeen PPR 07825 811111 Radio 118.280, callsign ‘Longside Radio’
01909 475233 | EGNF | www.sheffieldaeroclub.net Netherthorpe, the home of the Sheffield Aero Club, is believed to be the shortest licensed grass runway in the country. The club supplies training in the Cessna C150, C152 and C172 plus a Mainair Flash 2 Alpha flexwing microlight. The office is run by very friendly staff. Strictly PPR by telephone. Please note that the upper limit of the Netherthorpe ATZ lies within the Doncaster CTA.
Nearby attractions Clumber Park, the Welbeck Estate, Rother Valley Country Park and Lindrick golf course. PPR 01909 475233 Radio 123.280
01983 716926 | EGHN | www.eghn.org.uk Sandown Airport is on the Isle of Wight, a mile from the town itself, and is operated by its owners, Sandown Airfield Ltd. The Air/Ground radio frequency has a radius of 10nm and a max altitude of 3,000ft. If the station isn’t manned, please make blind calls on that frequency. For PPR, contact the cafe on 01983 716926 or Dan on 07900 894044.
Nearby attractions The beautiful Sandown Bay and town are very near, with their golf course, pier and sandy beaches. PPR 01983 716926 Radio 119.280
Win! A print or digital Pooleys UK Flight Guide QUESTION: What is the distance between Holmbeck and Sandown in nautical miles? To enter, post your answer, name, address and email details to Pooleys February Competition, FLYER magazine, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or send an email to email@example.com The closing date is January 26 2021.
The winner’s name and address will be passed to Pooleys, then deleted from Seager’s database. Pooleys will send the winner their prize and, in order to do so, also offer to supply them with further information about the company’s products and services. The winner for December 2020 is: Ken England, Sedlescombe, Battle.
1 Cumbernauld 2 Holmbeck 3 Llanbedr 4 Longside 5 Netherthorpe 6 Sandown
5 2 6
February 2021 | FLYER | 67
What a year it has been for FLYER While this is the February issue, it was put together at the end of the year, so you’ll have to forgive us for looking back at all about the things that happened this year… FLYER went from a print magazine to an all digital one – and we created The FLYER Club. While the leap to fully digital was somewhat of an unknown step, eight months later we’re glad that we did, because now we’re reaching more people than ever. FLYER’s readership is growing, more and more people join us for our weekly livestream, and most importantly the number of FLYER Club members grows every week.
The FLYER Club has proved to be exceedingly popular. Here is what we have done since May:
Number of FREE digital issues of FLYER released
Number of landing fee vouchers we provided to Club members
Number of Club member photos we shared in the magazine
Number of livestreams we broadcast, watched in over 50 countries
Who is the FLYER Club for? Whether you are an aviation enthusiasts, a pilot or thinking about becoming one, joining the club will bring you many benefits plus you become a part of UK’s biggest GA community! 68 | FLYER | February 2021
Want to join us? If you’re not already a member of The FLYER Club and you’ve read all these pages you must be thinking, ‘How do I join? Right now. This instant. I can’t stand being left out any more…’ Well, good news, it’s easy. Just follow this link: https:// subscriptions.flyer.co.uk, complete the simple form, decide how you want to pay and start enjoying the benefits instantly.
Current member benefits
■ Our back issue library is open, and we’ve just added all of our 2013 issues ■ Save 5% whenever you shop at Pooleys (excludes Bose headsets) ■ £10 off when you spend £40 at Transair (excludes Bose headsets) ■ Free copy of A View from the Hover ■ An initial conversation with
Dr Frank Voeten, FAA & EASA AME ■ Get your club membership paid by Stein Pilot Insurance ■ Twice-weekly General Aviation weather briefings ■ FREE Landing vouchers, available through the FLYER website
■ Back issues – there’s another five years on the way with more to follow ■ Mini weather webinars – the first one was popular, did you miss it? There’s another one in the works and members will be notified when it’s due ■ Our first members’ Fly-in – once things have settled down. We’ll be announcing details, plus more events, in 2021!
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February 2021 | FLYER | 69
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February 2021 | FLYER | 71
For the funny, the weird, the wonderful and the just plane strange…
LAA organises UK flying tour for 75th anniversary
Above See the sights of the UK on the LAA’s tour – this is Fowey
tour head to Scotland for a night stop at Glenforsa, via Carlisle for fuel and lunch. Perth Airport figures prominently in the tour, with three night stops, leaving routing to individual pilots although there are planned activities. On Saturday 29th, it’s the Perth Fly-in and Meet the LAA Day. On Sunday 30th, the tour heads south on the east coast via Eshott for lunch, before dropping in for the night at Breighton and The Real Aeroplane Company.
On Monday 31st there’s a stop at Leicester Airport (home of the 1979/80 PFA Rallies) before heading home. “The bywords for the tour are fun and flexibility,” said the LAA. “It is designed so that participants can fly the entire route, or duck in and out for as long or short a period as their time allows. “Each individual pilot will be responsible for their own flight planning, but as in the previous round Britain tour in 2016, there will be plenty of experienced pilots who will be very willing to assist the less experienced.”
Heroes & Villains HERO Pete White, event organiser of Cornwall Flying Club based at Bodmin Airfield and Aeronca enthusiast, had to cancel a bunch of events in 2020, but undeterred he’s come up with a full list for 2021. They include the iconic Lundy Sunday fly-in which slotted in between lockdown and tiers last summer to become one of the world’s busiest fly-ins of 2020. This year’s event is on Sunday, 1 August. More here. VILLAINS Thieves stole electronic equipment from a
It’s President Monks
he Light Aircraft Association (LAA) is staging a 10-day flying tour of GB next May to celebrate the Association’s 75th anniversary. The tour will start on 22 May from Sywell Aerodrome, current home of the annual LAA Rally, and will head for Rougham, Suffolk for an afternoon stop before a night stop at Headcorn, Kent. Camping is allowed ‘under the wing’ although pilots and crew can opt to stay in hotels or B&Bs. The planned route – subject to weather – then goes via the LAA’s former base at Shoreham to Goodwood, Henstridge or Dunkeswell, both LAA strongholds, before a night stop at Bodmin Airfield, home of the Cornwall Strut. On Monday 24th, the tour follows the west coast to Kemble, onto Shobdon or Wolverhampton or Carnarfon, Wales (pilots’ choice) before a night stop at Manchester Barton (to be confirmed). Tuesday 25th sees the
Russian Ilyushin Il-80 at an airfield near Rostov. The Il-80 is known as a ‘doomsday plane’ because it’s one of four that would be used as airborne command posts in event of nuclear war. It’s reported that 39 units of equipment and five radio boards were taken. HERO Max Ward RIP, Canadian aviation pioneer who died in November aged 98. Max was a flight instructor for the RCAF during WWII then became a bush pilot afterwards, In 1953 he founded his own airline, Wardair, in Yellowknife with a single de Havilland Otter that operated throughout the
year on wheels, skis and floats. The airline grew with more Otters, plus Beavers and Bristol Freighters, eventually becoming Canada’s third largest airline by 1989, when it was sold to Canadian Airlines. VILLAIN What is it about boys and their, er, toy? The pilot of a major Russian airline flew this unconventional route in an airliner with more than 100 passengers onboard. He’s now been sent to the naughty corner.
The UK’s David Monks has been elected as the new President of FAI for a two-year term. An electrical engineer, Monks, 53, caught the bug for aviation when learning to fly helicopters in 1995. Since then, he has held positions in several air sports organisations, including Chairman of the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom and of the Helicopter Club of Great Britain at the time of his election. He has also been very active within FAI, namely the FAI Rotorcraft Commission and the FAI Air Sport General Commission, since 2009.
Linda beats PPL blues Renowned PPL Theory instructor and examiner Linda Wheeler has launched a complete set of revision packs for all nine of the new online Private Pilot Licence (PPL) e-Exams. “Following the recent launch of the new online PPL exams, many students have approached me for help, as they are finding the new system much more challenging,” said Linda. “Several had become disheartened, as they had attempted and repeatedly failed the new online exams. “I pride myself on achieving a 100% pass rate with my students and I’ve been able to maintain this, despite the significant change to the nature and format of the exams. I was determined to find a way to help those who were asking for my assistance. That’s when I had the idea of the revision packs.” Revision packs for each of the nine subjects are now available at Linda’s website for an introductory price of £30 per subject until 31 January 2021. More here.
Send your QSY submissions to QSY, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or to firstname.lastname@example.org 72 | FLYER | February 2021
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