FLYER February 2022

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February 2022

THE UK’S MOST READ GA MAGAZINE

Whaaa...t GETTING A BIT RACY

UK MOTOR SPORT FROM THE AIR

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NOSEWHEEL ON A CUB? NXCUB IS A NEW BACKCOUNTRY STAR

BREATHE IN PASS OUT

DETECT CO WITH AV8 INSPECTOR



Editorial

FLYER Club Telephone +44 (0)1225 481440 Email subscriptions@seager.aero Website www.subscriptions.flyer.co.uk

Dave Calderwood

Editorial Telephone +44 (0)1225 481440 Email editor@seager.aero Website www.flyer.co.uk Seager Publishing, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN

B

Back to the future

odmin Airfield on a cool, damp December day is a bit different from the sunny wildflower-filled meadow we highlighted last August. That story was about how Bodmin discovered, by accident, that its naturally grown grass areas provided the perfect growing conditions for many varieties of orchids and other flora – more than 150 species. Seeds from Bodmin’s meadow are highly prized by farmers wishing to return fields to a natural state. Despite the wildflowers being less visible in winter, there’s still much going on at Bodmin. Pete White, the indefatigable club organiser, has already come up with a set of events for 2022 and is actively promoting the airfield as the UK’s first AeroECOfield. One very worthy event is what Pete calls FOG – Feet Off the Ground – which takes disadvantaged children for a short flight. Among other initiatives is a move towards newer, more economical aircraft such as a Van’s RV-12 which is proving popular – so popular that a second one is being sourced. The RV-12 is less maintenance-hungry than some of the older aircraft, as well as burning less fuel. One other benefit is that the balance of avgas versus UL91 being consumed is swinging towards the unleaded fuel. Whether it’s the active events, the eco initiatives, or the newer aircraft, one result is that there are more younger members of the club, reversing a long running trend. There’s still very much a place for older club members and, indeed, on the day I visited several were busy preparing for the installation of some Portacabins to be used as training rooms for student PPLs, replacing some damaged by fire. Last month we announced our Fresh Air for Flying initiative to highlight the ‘good-for-the-environment’ moves that are being made throughout GA. Bodmin is a prime example, but we’re keen to hear from others too. If your club or someone you know is making a difference, let me know. My email address is below. I’d love to hear from you. PS: Click here for last summer’s Bodmin story.

EDITOR Dave Calderwood  dave.calderwood@seager.aero EDITOR AT LARGE Ed Hicks ed.hicks@seager.aero PRODUCTION EDITOR Lizi Brown lizi.brown@seager.aero ART EDITOR Lisa Davies lisa.davies@seager.aero CONTRIBUTORS Mike Ling Ed Bellamy Christof Brenner Chris Bullock Leia Fee Mark Hales Dave Hirschman Mike Ling Yayeri van Baarsen FLIGHT SAFETY EDITOR Steve Ayres steve.ayres@seager.aero PUBLISHER & MANAGING DIRECTOR Ian Seager ics@seager.aero PRODUCTION MANAGER Nick Powell nick.powell@seager.aero SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Kirstie May kirstie.may@seager.aero FLYER CLUB CHAMPION Jonny Salmon jonny.salmon@seager.aero ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Zoe Yeo zoe.yeo@seager.aero EXHIBITION MANAGERS Darran Ward darran.ward@seager.aero Paul Yates paul.yates@seager.aero FINANCIAL DIRECTOR Martine Teissier martine.teissier@seager.aero CIRCULATION Worldwide, free to download digital edition from flyer.co.uk

dave.calderwood@seager.aero

© Seager Publishing 2022

Mark Mitchell

At FLYER we aim to produce the best possible magazine for our readers. All correspondence is welcome and will be read, but we can’t guarantee a written reply. We welcome contributions from readers, and guidelines are available from us. We take great care to ensure what we publish is accurate, but cannot accept any responsibility for any misprints or mistakes. Our reviews examine what we believe to be a product’s most important points, but readers are advised to check a product suits their needs before purchasing. No part of this publication may be produced in any form without permission.

February 2022 | FLYER | 3


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Contents February 2022

Features 18 I Get Paid for This… Erika Armstrong

Despite having lost her medical in an accident, Erika still works in aviation teaching the next generation of pilots

26 Cover feature CubCrafters NXCub A nosewheel Cub more popular than a

tailwheel version? Who knew? CubCrafters did, with its latest NXCub

36 My First Solo Susie Whitcombe

Aviator and painter Susie Whitcombe soloed on the same day as her husband…

38 Technical Aerobatics Thinking about adding an Aerobatics Rating

to your PPL? Leia Fee did just that with Ultimate High…

46 Accident Analysis Badly behaved pilots…

Some people have difficulty accepting advice, even when it comes from the very experienced. When that advice is about flying, novice pilots ignore it at their peril…

52 Flying Adventure Operation Stirling

CubCrafters NXCub 26

Chris Bullock and Lee Wilson overfly UK motor racing circuits in honour of Sir Stirling Moss. …

60 Top Gear Sensorcon AV8 Inspector Two active CO detectors put to the test

Regulars 3 Editorial 6 News 14 Instant Expert 16 Pilot Careers 21 Dave Hirschman

23 25 48 62 72

Mark Hales Ian Seager Accident Reports By Association QSY

FOUR Free Landings!

36

38

52

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52 February 2022 | FLYER | 5


Take-off

Aviation news from around the world – for the latest visit www.flyer.co.uk

CAA proposes changes to cost-sharing flight rules

Above Cost-sharing has proved popular through websites like Wingly

6 | FLYER | February 2022

The UK CAA is considering changes to regulations on cost-sharing flights and has launched a consultation on its proposals. The consultation will run until 12 January 2022. The proposed changes: • Direct costs: a definition of ‘direct costs’ to be amended to provide clarity on what this includes. • Common purpose: If a flight does not start and end at the same site (A to A), pilot and passengers must have a common purpose for travel to that destination (A to B), other than the payment and receipt of remuneration or other valuable consideration. This proposed change is intended to stop charter flights operating under the guise of cost-shared flights. • Equal shares: The total direct costs of the flight must be shared equally between all occupants of the aircraft (including the pilot). However, the pilot can opt to pay more than the equal share if they choose. We hope that this

proposed change will provide clarity to both passengers, and the pilot/operator and ensure no profit is made from the flight. • Maximum of six occupants (including pilot): No more than six occupants (including the pilot) are to be carried on a cost sharing flight. The ANO at Article 13 currently only provides for a maximum of four occupants (including the pilot). In order to align this with the Air Operations Regulation and the current General Exemption ORS4 1406 we are proposing an amendment to the ANO to allow for a maximum of six occupants (including the pilot). • Safety standards identified: It will be a requirement on the pilot/operator to identify unequivocally that the flight is a cost sharing rather than public transport flight. It is intended that this proposed change will ensure passengers have sufficient information to make an informed decision whether they will undertake the flight.

• Acceptance of standards and risks: In order for passengers to be fully informed, a record must be kept for each passenger undertaking a cost shared flight in which they must confirm that they understand the flight is not being operated as a CAT or PT flight. This record must be completed prior to flight, retained for six months from the date of the flight and is to be produced when requested by an Authorised Person. • Advertising: Removal of the restriction on advertising cost sharing flights from the ANO. This proposed change will align the ANO with the Air Operations Regulation. • Age limits: The removal of age limits from ANO Article 13. This proposed change will align the ANO with the Air Operations Regulation. The full Cost-Sharing Consultation document (CAP 2270) can be downloaded here. Wingly’s response to the CAA Consultation is here.


Take-off

Flight Design F2 receives EASA type certification

The next-generation of aircraft from German company Flight Design, the F2, has received EASA CS-23 type certification. The F2 is a brand new design from Flight Design, currently fitted out as a two-seater but it will eventually also be available as a four-seater. “We couldn’t be happier to see this important step for the F2 programme which ultimately will lead to the F4 four-seat version and the all-electric F2e,” said Matthias Betsch, head of the company’s Design Organisation. Flight Design calls the new generation ‘Vision Zero’ which incorporates all commercially available safety features appropriate for this type of aircraft. These features include: • Passive stall and spin resistant airframe design • Amsafe airbags and inertial reel harnesses • Garmin ESP (electronic stability and envelope protection) • Occupant-protective enclosure for the pilot and passengers

• Airframe emergency parachute system • Automatic fuel management • Simplified controls such as a combined throttle and

brake lever and a more modern, car-like atmosphere and operation. Spec of the F2 includes a Garmin G3X avionics suite, two-axis autopilot, Rotax 912iS fuel-injected 100hp engine with a Duc certified propeller, Beringer wheels and brakes, perforated leather seats, heat exchanger heating system and Whelen lighting. “The EASA CS-23 category is an internationally recognised certification standard which will allow the new F2-CS23 to be easily accepted in all markets worldwide,” said Dieter Koehler, head of design for F2 and F4 projects. “The international design team of the F2-CS23 brought a tremendous amount of talent into this programme and the EASA Type Certificate is well deserved.” The F2-CS23 follows the F2-LSA which began deliveries earlier this year. UK agent, Airmasters, has confirmed it will be importing the F2. Above left Cockpit of the F2 with Garmin G3X avionics Above centre Amsafe seatbelt airbags are among safety features. A four-seater is planned in the future Above right Two-seat F2 is powered by 100hp Rotax 912iS Left Now with EASA type certification, Flight Design’s F2

February 2022 | FLYER | 7


Take-off First three ‘Light Sport Microlights’ receive permits

The ultimate EuroFox? This one is the first with the 141hp Rotax 915iS

There’s a new term in General Aviation: ‘Light Sport Microlights’ – and the first three LSMs have had their permits issued. The term ‘Light Sport Microlight’ has been invented by the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) to cover the various max weights of aircraft covered by the new 600kg category. Rob Hughes, CEO of the BMAA, said, “The term ‘600kg microlight’ is misleading as many of the new types are being introduced at a lower MTOM. Instead, we refer to the new breed of ‘somewhere-between450kg-and-600kg’ aircraft as Light Sport Microlights, or LSM for short.” The BMAA has issued the first three permits to various EuroFox aircraft with a max weight of 560kg, just three months after the 600kg category was made legal by the CAA. “While the updated design code, BCAR Section S, is still to be agreed by the CAA, the BMAA Technical Office took a pragmatic approach, using existing

Above 560kg EuroFox is one of the first in the newly named category of Light Sport Microlights

design codes and then collaborating closely with suppliers to eliminate delay,” said Rob. “More types will follow very soon…” Roger Cornwell, Director of Ascent Industries which is the EuroFox agent, said, “We are very grateful for all the hard work and commitment of the BMAA, particularly Roger Patrick and Rob Mott, who are always so supportive and a great asset to our microlighting community.”

Nosewheel NXCub receives type certificate The nosewheel NXCub from CubCrafters is now a certified aircraft. The US company received the nosewheel amendment to the original tailwheel XCub FAA type certification on 2 December. Despite the break with tradition of locating the third wheel at the front, the NXCub is proving popular with prospective customers. Brad Damm of CubCrafters told FLYER, “The sales ratio between the nosewheel equipped NXCub and the tailwheel configured XCub is currently 40/60. “However, the trend is towards the NX Cub, and within a year I would expect NX Cub sales to outpace XCub sales, especially with the Type Certification now finished.” That’s in line with a survey CubCrafters did before announcing the NXCub project, which said that many pilots wanted all the backcountry capability of the XCub but with a nosewheel. l Turn to p26 for the CubCrafters NXCub review.

Left Cubcrafters NXCub with nosewheel 8 | FLYER | February 2022


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Take-off Maiden flight for Beechcraft Denali single-engine turboprop The new single-engine turboprop aircraft from Beechcraft, the Denali, has made its maiden flight. The Denali is powered by GE Aviation’s new engine, Catalyst, as well as having an all-new airframe. The aircraft took off from Beech’s campus at Eisenhower International Airport near Wichita, Kansas and was flown by senior test pilot Peter Gracey and chief test pilot Dustin Smisor. During the 2hr 50min flight, the team tested the aircraft’s performance, stability and control, as well as its propulsion, environmental, flight controls and avionics systems. The aircraft reached an altitude of 15,600ft and a speed of 180kt. “From the beginning of the flight to the end, the Denali was simply flawless,” Gracey said. “It’s just a great aircraft to fly. “The Catalyst engine was outstanding, and the aircraft performed to the levels we were anticipating. First flights really can’t go more smoothly than this. We are really off to an excellent start for the Denali flight test programme.” The Denali is the first aircraft powered with GE’s Catalyst engine, which is said to burn up to 20 per cent less fuel than older turboprops. The 1,300 shaft horsepower (SHP)-rated turboprop engine eases pilot workload with its FADEC-equipped single-lever power and propeller control. The aircraft has McCauley’s new 105-inch diameter composite, five-blade, constant speed propeller, which is

Britten-Norman extends presence at Solent Airport

10 | FLYER | February 2022

Above Beechcraft’s Denali on its maiden flight Inset Senior test pilot, Peter Gracey

full-feathering with reversible pitch and ice protection. The cockpit has Garmin G3000 avionics and an integrated Garmin autothrottle as standard which interfaces with the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) and Flight Management System (FMS) to provide speed control throughout all regimes of flight from take-off to touchdown.

Below Britten-Norman has signed a new lease at Solent Airport

British aircraft manufacturer BrittenNorman is growing its facilities at Solent Airport (Daedalus). The company has extended its lease for a third purpose-built hangar, which is part of Fareham Borough Council’s economic hub. “The signing of the new lease signals a period of growth, innovation and further success across its 34,000sq ft. stronghold at Solent Airport,” said Britten-Norman. Britten-Norman moved its airside operations to the airport in 2010, investing more than £20m and creating over 100 job opportunities. In addition, Britten-Norman retains its historical base at Bembridge Airport on the Isle of Wight. As well as being the aircraft final assembly plant for the group, the company also provides OEM aircraft refurbishment, EASA Part 145 MRO services, international field servicing, and specialist avionics and mission systems integration. As a Garmin-approved dealer, the company also provides services to the wider General Aviation community. Just recently, Britten-Norman purchased nine aircraft from the UK Ministry of Defence to repurpose and reinvent for the civilian market.


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Take-off Renault reveals flying car, the AIR4

Remember the Renault 4? Probably not if you’re younger than 80, but it was a huge success for the French manufacturer selling more than eight million cars around the world. What better way then to celebrate its 60th anniversary than produce an electric flying version? Yes, straight from the ‘We Couldn’t Make This Up If We Tried’ tales of the unexpected, Renault and Miami-based ‘motion design studio’, TheArsenale, have created AIR4, a flying version of the Renault 4. Minus the weird gear stick sticking out of the dash. “The original Renault 4 was a simple, efficient and versatile vehicle built between 1961 and 1992,” said Renault. The AIR4 is anything but simple, however. Yes, it bears a superficial resemblance to the R4, but it’s made entirely of carbon fibre and instead of wheels, there are

Above The Renault 4 immortalised as a flying car using upscaled drone tech

Ascendance VTOL biplane uses ‘fan-in-wing’

Above Suspend the laws of aerodynamics and you might get this, the ATEA 12 | FLYER | February 2022

four two-blade propellers, one at each corner of the vehicle. According to Renault’s spec sheet, the AIR4 is powered by 22,000mAh lithium-polymer batteries that generate a total power of around 90,000mAh, enough for a horizontal top speed of 26m/s (58mph), with a 45° inclination during flights, up to a maximum inclination of 70°. Renault’s statement includes a paragraph of complete nonsense, “After 25 years of forward-looking research, we believe that the icons of car culture are eternal, whether on Earth or in the air.” The AIR4 is on public display in the centre of Paris at the Atelier Renault on the Champs Elysées until the end of the year, alongside other historic versions of the Renault 4. In 2022, the AIR4 will travel to Miami and then New York, before a pit stop in Macau.

It’s weird, radical and doesn’t appear to follow the rules of aerodynamics, but French start-up Ascendance Flight Technologies is planning to have a flying version of its proposed vertical take-off and landing five-seat staggered wing biplane ready for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Ascendance calls the aircraft ‘ATEA’. The Toulousebased company says ATEA will have a range of 400km, with carbon emissions reduced by 80%. Production is scheduled for 2025 despite not even having a full-scale prototype yet. ATEA has a hybrid-electric propulsion system with eight rotors integrated into two fixed-wings, known as ‘fan-in-wing’, and two horizontal propellers for forward flight. “We set-up Ascendance Flight Technologies with a very clear vision of what we wanted to achieve: to accelerate transition towards green aviation thanks to hybrid technology,” said Jean-Christophe Lambert, co-founder and CEO. The hybrid system is an electric motor powered by a battery and a combustion engine generator. Over time, the company is planning to phase out the combustion energy source and replace it with new sources of cleaner energy such as hydrogen or Sustainable Aviation Fuel.


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Instant Expert

Equipped to ditch Ed Bellamy reflects on considerations for ditching

G

oing abroad in a GA aircraft may not be in the forefront of the minds of many people right now, but no doubt some are giving thought to 2022 plans. Since departing the UK invariably involves some passage over water, an obvious consideration is ditching and the appropriate survival equipment. The applicable regulations are a good starting point. The Part-NCO regulations cover Part-21 aircraft (formerly EASA). For non-Part-21, the Air Navigation Order is similar. NCO.IDE.A.175 requires that for single-engine aeroplanes, a life-jacket (or flotation device if younger than 24 months) is carried for each person onboard when: n flying beyond gliding range of land, or n taking off or landing at an aerodrome or operating site where, in the opinion of the pilot-in-command, the take-off or approach path is so disposed over water that there would be a likelihood of a ditching.

Be prepared

All aeroplanes must carry life-jackets when operated for more than 30 minutes flying time (at normal cruising speed) or 50nm from land, whichever distance is less. It is not a regulatory requirement to wear a life-jacket in the aircraft, but it must be readily accessible while seated. Practically speaking, it is sensible to wear the life-jacket, particularly in a single-engine aircraft. Since 2016, an emergency locator beacon (ELT) has been a requirement for all Part-21 (formerly EASA) aeroplanes, although with up to six passenger seats a portable locator beacon (PLB) can be carried in lieu of this. Personally, I would always take a waterproof PLB that can be activated prior to impact. In addition to life-jackets, when operating beyond the 30 minutes or 50nm from land, the pilot-in-command is required to assess the risks to survival in the event of a ditching and on that basis, determine the carriage of equipment for making distress signals, life rafts and lifesaving equipment. The associated acceptable means of compliance mentions that factors to consider include sea state, sea and air temperatures, the distance from land and the availability of search and rescue. Practically speaking you might wonder how to make that judgement. Common sense suggests that in colder temperatures or with a choppy sea state, your chances of survival are less. Also, before using any equipment, you must survive the ditching and escape the aircraft.

Water impact

There is not a huge amount of real-world data to take guidance from, but a brief review of accidents since 2010 involving powered GA aircraft in and around the UK suggests that 18 events involving water impact have occurred, with all but one involving 14 | FLYER | February 2022

aeroplanes. While a few commercial helicopters have crashed in the North Sea, other than one into a lake due to a misjudged approach, GA helicopters rarely feature – probably because they tend not to venture far from land. About a quarter involved factors such as loss of control and/or continued VFR into IMC. These were typically fatal on impact so carriage of survival equipment would probably not have changed the outcome. I would say 13 of the 18 were relatively controlled ditchings, most due to engine problems or fuel starvation. Two resulted in fatalities, so most are survivable. The majority occurred within a mile of land and with reasonable weather (probably reflecting typical flying habits), so do not tell us much about post-impact survivability. Curiously four happened in rivers and lakes. Controlled ditchings on the open seas are rare – only two since 2010 really fitted that description. Both aircraft were carrying life-jackets and rafts. In one case, both occupants managed to vacate the aircraft and enter the raft, in the other the passenger escaped but the pilot did not, despite surviving the impact. The passenger in the second case was unable to inflate the raft, although the raft pack floated and may have helped rescuers visually locate her. Either way, the water impact is always going to be violent – do you know what technique your POH recommends?

Multiple occupants

Thinking through how to exit the aircraft is also important, especially if you have multiple occupants using one door. We do know that sea temperatures around the UK are not favourable for survival in the water. The CAA’s Safety Sense Leaflet on ditching suggests that an hour might be typical, unless wearing a survival suit. The sea is typically warmest in September and coldest in March. Experience involving people in very cold water shows that loss of normal body movement can occur in minutes, even if you are a strong swimmer. There is no ready data on how long rescue will take, but it could be significant, especially if the weather is poor. When suffering from hypothermia, death can still occur after being rescued. The cold water survivability issue suggests most flights leaving the UK should carry a raft, since it will hopefully allow you to get out of the water. Ideally one with a canopy and sea drogue to prevent drifting. Thinking through the best way to deploy the raft will increase the chances of being able to use it – in real scenarios rafts may blow away or deploy upside down. Particularly in winter and spring, an immersion suit may be prudent, since a raft could be lost in the impact or unusable for some reason. Like many risks in aviation, a degree of worst case scenario thinking is required, even if it’s not a particularly pleasant thought when trying to plan lunch in L2K. Click here for more info.


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Pilot Careers www.pilotcareernews.com The definitive source for pilot training, career and industry news

In Brief

Getting started in flying as an air cadet

Gloucestershire Airportbased Skyborne Airline Academy is celebrating the graduation of its first UKCAA Integrated ATPL trainees. The four course intakes spent the last two years overcoming the challenges posed by Covid-19 to successfully earn their qualification. Pictured are: Top row L-R: Chirag Bhuva, David Fisher, Finlay Hanson, Christopher Coles, Daniel Treacy, James Kirk, Matt Langridge, Adam Prince, Owen Price-Lewis. Bottom row L-R: Christopher Ealey, Nicholas Smith, Graeme Macdonald, Alisha Jassar, Ewan Marshalsay, James Mosscrop. A reminder that the deadline for applying for FTEJerez has announced its first ATPL scholarship. The academy will sponsor the full price of an Airline First Officer Programme (FTE’s integrated ATPL course) for two successful candidates. Apply here

Saudi Arabian flight school OxfordSaudia Flight Academy has ordered two Level 5 Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTD) from Diamond Aircraft Austria. The two FSTDs will be configured as DA40 NG and DA42-VI aircraft and will be located in the flight academy’s centre at King Fahad International Airport. easyJet has joined Race to Zero, a global UN-backed campaign to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. It is committing to set an interim science-based target for 2035 as well as to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

16 | FLYER | February 2022

Above Lewis McCallum flew his first solo with the Air Cadets Inset Tayside Aviation’s Aquila training aircraft

Getting started on a flying career can be daunting, but there are opportunities out there. One route requiring commitment, but not necessarily cash, is the Royal Air Force Air Cadets. Lewis McCallum, 19, is a Cadet Warrant Officer and recently completed his Air Cadet Pilot Scheme at Tayside Aviation, achieving his Gold Aviation Wings. Lewis said, “I have recently returned after completing the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme at Tayside Aviation, Dundee. “ACPS is one of the flying scholarships available to air cadets who are motivated to pursue a career in aviation. I was part of Course 21 and was joined by three other cadets from across the UK. “I was there for two weeks and completed 12 hours of flying

in an Aquila 211. I initially learned basic controls, then ascending and descending, and eventually moved onto landing and taking off. “I was also taught about air law and spent time in the ground planning sorties and checking over the aircraft. “The course is designed to get cadets to solo standard and culminates in the cadet flying a solo circuit. After I had done this, I was awarded my Gold Wings. “ACPS is one of the best courses available at the Air Cadets and has made me even more certain that I want a career as a pilot. This course is the foundation of a pilot career. All the flying hours can be used towards a Private Pilot’s Licence, and I will now be applying for other scholarships to hopefully continue flying.” The RAF Air Cadets is keen

to point out that, “We’re not a recruiting organisation for the Services (but it’s great if you decide you want to join later on). We’re not interested in anything but you and your potential and will help you get the most from your experience as a cadet. “Equality is a central part of the Air Cadets’ ethic. The cadet experience is open to everyone, so whatever your nationality, background or ability, whether you’re male or female, if you’re between 13, or at age 12 when beginning school year 8 (England & Wales), S2 (Scotland) Yr 9 (Northern Ireland) and 17 years old you can join us. “The maximum age for entry is 17 years old. If you are above that age and still want to enjoy all of our activities and more, you could join as a volunteer.” RAF Air Cadets here


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Pilot Careers

I Get Paid for This…

Erika Armstrong Although she has lost her medical in a car accident, Erika Armstrong continues to work in aviation by teaching the next generation of pilots. Interview Yayeri van Baarsen

How did you get into flying?

I became a pilot by accident! Working two jobs while attending university, I still couldn’t pay my rent so I was looking for a third job. The front desk of an FBO at the Flying Cloud Airport had some weird hours that fitted into my schedule. I started learning about business aviation and finally took a flying lesson to see what it was all about. One lesson was all it took to get me hooked!

“One lesson was all it took to get me hooked!”

I’m the VP of Business Development and Director of Instructional Design at Advanced Aircrew Academy. Currently, I’m developing eLearning pilot training curriculums for Now flying A desk… “I got hit by a Flying CV Part 91 and 135 flight departments. drunk driver March 2019 and lost my After many years of flying as a medical. It’s a reminder to all the I also teach new studies coming into the Captain for airline and business jet up-and-coming pilots to always have a aviation industry, such as Aircraft Systems and operations, author of the book A Chick in back-up plan: your life can be turned Propulsion, Aviation Fundamentals, and the Cockpit, Erika Armstrong has turned to upside down in a split second.” Commercial Operations. The best part of my developing pilot training curriculums at Favourite aircraft Boeing 727-200. “I love it Advanced Aircrew Academy and teaching at because it’s a pilot’s airplane. The perfect job is years after teaching a student, they send MSU Denver’s Aerospace and Aviation balance between performance and passenger me a picture of their first day on a flying job! Department. mobility.” Many of my students are adults. I love Started current job November 2016 Hours Approx. 6,000 having a three-tour veteran next to an 18-year-old beginner in my classes, they have so much to teach each other. The industry is facing a shortage and inspiring the next generation is key. mountains like this. Thankfully I was the co-pilot and running the We used to be able to hang out at GA airports, until 9/11 locked radios. I was distracted by the beauty, my situational awareness was everyone out. I now use social media to share the spirit of aviation: zero! I eventually moved to Colorado because of that day. 500,000 aviation enthusiasts are following A Chick in the Cockpit. The students who’ll end up as commercial pilots don’t always get And your favourite airfield? straight ‘A’s. Being a pilot is about having a deeper connection with While flying corporate jets, I had access to 4,000 airports, your surroundings. Self-discipline, being able to work with any including some private airports no one else gets to see. Out of all personality, and humour are important. Flying is the easy part. of them, Telluride is my favourite. I used to fly there almost Learning 1,400 pages of the FAR/AIM is what makes most every weekend. pilots wash out. It’s not as glamorous as it seems, so you must deeply love it. You can’t separate being a pilot from the rest of How much do you miss flying? your life: you literally become a pilot. It’s a daily heartache, especially since my house is on the arrival into Denver Airport, with constant reminders flying overhead. I What training did you have? know I could probably lie my way through a flight physical because I went from PPL, Instrument rating, CPL, Commercial MultiI don’t appear to have any issues. However, I put respect for safety Engine to Airline Transport Pilot. I also received my Seaplane over everything else. In the crash, I lost most of my hearing in my rating, Aerobatic endorsement, and Flight Engineer. I got my first left ear. Also, that ear can’t adjust to pressure anymore and the 600 hours by volunteering for the Red Cross. Afterwards, I flew alignment responsible for equilibrium and determining our Part 135 charter, air ambulance and Part 91 corporate jobs for three-dimensional situation was thrown off track. Aviation is about 10 years. When I had 2,200 hours, I got hired as a Flight 360°… I can still function as a human, but not as a pilot. Engineer at Northwest Airlines/Champion Air. What’s been your favourite flight?

The first time I flew to Telluride, Colorado. Flying between mountain tops, and when I saw Telluride’s Box Canyon, I couldn’t pull my eyes away. I grew up in Minnesota and had never seen 18 | FLYER | February 2022

What is your most valuable career advice?

I​ t’s a tough, long path to the sky, so don’t be afraid to find a mentor and ask for help. Networking is very important. Register with LinkedIn and connect with local pilots who are willing to share their story.

Main: Chancey Bush for Evergreen Newspapers

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Column

Unusual Attitude Dave Hirschman

I

Fly like an autopilot…

n trying to figure out how to land this new-to-me aircraft, I turned to an knowledgeable but untalkative source: a flight simulator. Inside the realistic sim at FlightSafety International in Tampa, Florida, I loaded and activated a precision approach, then sat back and watched the automation do its magic. With the aeroplane’s landing gear and flaps down and the pre-landing checklist complete, the autopilot tracked the localiser and glideslope with uncanny precision. A close look at the robotically stable approach showed the aircraft in a level pitch attitude, on its approach speed, at 64% power, a descent rate of 700ft per minute, and the flightpath marker (the green dot on the Garmin G3000 primary flight display) bisecting the synthetic-vision-derived runway threshold. The only things left for the pilot to do before landing was to click the autopilot off, bring the power levers to idle, and flare – things that are second nature to pilots. Now, when I hand fly the actual aeroplane, I shamelessly copy what I saw in the sim – and it usually gets me close to preset aircraft performance targets. In the bad old days, aero engineers tried – and usually failed – to make autopilots fly like skilled pilots. On autopilot, headings wandered, turns came too early or too late, and pitch was a sine wave. If autopilots were judged by the same standards as pilots, they would have failed their checkrides. Now, however, the worm has turned. Modern, digital autopilots are so good that the best a hand-flying human can do is try to mimic them. It’s impossible to outdo them, since modern digital autopilots update five times a second or more. But we humans can learn from the automation, and it doesn’t require a fancy simulator, or even a simulator at all. Take slow flight, for example. That’s an exercise every student pilot learns by rote early in training. Yet an autopilot can show us how to cut to the chase. In a Cessna 172 Skyhawk at a safe altitude with the autopilot engaged in altitude hold, reduce the throttle to idle and wait for the aircraft to decelerate to your target speed, say 65kt. Then add enough engine power to keep it there. Stabilise for a minute or two and note the results. It’ll probably be something like a three degree nose-up attitude and 2,100rpm. Whenever you’re in a Skyhawk and want to fly slow, you’ll know the shortcut. The approx pitch and power required are known values, so you can go right to them. Getting it just right requires fine tuning based on aircraft weight, density altitude, and other factors, but these autopilot-aided numbers provide a baseline. Modern autopilots provide even more info to instrument pilots. Bruce Williams, an aviation writer and flight instructor, living in Seattle, Washington suggests using the cameras in our smartphones to create ‘panel selfies’ to set metrics.

“We’ve all snapped photos of the scenery and our happy faces as we fly,” Williams said. “Why not a panel selfie? It’s quicker than scribbling figures in flight and far easier to read the next day.” Williams suggests pilots record: panel/engine monitor when flying straight and level, in high-speed and economy cruise, in cruise climb, in cruise descent, being vectored for an approach, and on final while the autopilot tracks lateral and vertical guidance. In the 1989 Beechcraft A36 Bonanza that Williams flies, he typically tracks the ILS glideslope at about 110kt at a power setting of 17-to-18 inches of manifold pressure, approach flaps, and landing gear down. If he’s on autopilot and controllers ask him to speed up, he simply adds power and his aircraft accelerates while still following the glideslope. Similarly, internal logic built into the autopilot shows the optimum intercept angles, and how to make heading corrections. If the localiser is offset to the right, for example, the autopilot momentarily banks right, levels the wings, and collects the

Mark Mitchell

“Humans can learn from the automation, without a fancy sim” localiser needle. Then a modest heading change to the left holds the corrected heading. “I teach my instrument students to try to do what the autopilot does so well,” he said. “Make a slight turn, level the wings, then correct again before the localiser needle is completely centred – and stay coordinated throughout the process.” Sophisticated autopilots can automatically perform feats that no sane pilot would even attempt. How about a 90° intercept of an ILS at 220kt just outside the final approach fix? No human pilot can reliably pull off that trick, yet autopilots do it reliably – and they roll out of the turn exactly on course no matter the wind. Autopilots never get tired, or cranky, or impatient. Modern versions are designed by some of the brightest engineers in the aerospace industry, and those people have made a science out of replicating the best practices of human pilots over time. It’s long been a stinging insult to say that a pilot flies ‘mechanically’. But today, there’s certainly no shame in flying like any other modern, digital autopilot. In fact, it would mean we fly smoothly, predictably, and decisively, and that we seldom make mistakes and absolutely never fuss nor complain. Now there’s something to aspire to… RV-4 pilot, ATP/CFII, specialising in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction in the USA dave.hirschman@flyer.co.uk February 2022 | FLYER | 21


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Column

Full Throttle

Mark Hales

T

Hydrogen, not hot air

he news at the moment is a bit grim, so planning for the future – especially for non-essential stuff like General Aviation – tends either to be put on hold, or made with a conservative mindset. You’re unlikely to buy that new Rotax-powered speedster if future employment isn’t guaranteed. That said, it’s times like the present when large companies are in a position to focus on the future, and look good when it arrives. In a world judged by Twitter, jam tomorrow takes business balls, which is why we have the politics we do… Enough of that, let’s welcome aviation giant Rolls-Royce’s announcement of its PGS1, which is ‘a hybrid-electric aero power and propulsion system that has delivered more than a megawatt of power just weeks after going on test for the first time’. Great, and there’s the promise of 2.5 megawatts to come as testing progresses. “Our generator is about the size of a beer keg…” says the release, “…yet it has already produced enough electricity to continuously power around 1,000 homes – that is really taking technology to new levels. When future hybrid-electric aircraft opportunities emerge in the megawatt and above class we want to be as prepared as we can be to offer a ready-made solution.” Now, having mentioned the reluctance of companies to focus on the future when all around is gloom and doom, it might seem churlish to point out that the PGS1 is based on the engine used times four in the C130 transport. Each produces 4,300hp, which by my calculation is 3.5MW. So unless I have that completely wrong, for aviation use, it would be easier and just as green to refit the propeller. Equally churlish perhaps to point out that Rolls-Royce has been a tad late to the hybrid party, but has been very good at garnering government grants when they become available. You can’t blame R-R for that, it’s its job, or one of its department’s jobs, to grab as much cash as is available. Meanwhile, there are several Small or Medium Enterprises which have been trying to develop meaningful and green aviation powerplants for some time, all with good credentials, but in this country most have been hampered by a complete lack of governmental interest, or more to the point, governmental cash. One of their CEOs wearily explained the lobbying process: “… you wait your turn to present your pitch to a minister, knowing full well that the R-R guy will make sure he goes last, and with a simple message. ‘Yes, those people you’ve just seen probably have some good ideas, but they’re not proven. Do you want to take the risk, or do you want to go with Rolls-Royce…’” Rolls-Royce has also been in the news with a proposal to site

one of its Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – the kind made by R-R to generate steam for the Royal Navy’s underwater fleet – in a power station in Wales (at Trawsfynydd, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, in case you thought I was making this up) capable of generating 300MW of power. The first nuclearpowered submarine, USS Nautilus, put to sea in 1955, so the technology is mature and ground-based SMR technology is currently undergoing trials across the world, even in front of regulators in America right now. Also great, but we should not be using it to charge lithium batteries in a car. As I may have mentioned before, batteries using rare and toxic materials which have to be mined and then charged from the mains, are not the answer. Most people with even a casual interest can see that, but governments around the world are determined to plunge headlong into a blind alley, or more to the point, oblige manufacturers to do it for them. It’s a mystery to me why more effort has not been put into the use of hydrogen, which to my mind is the propulsive answer we need for cars, boats and aeroplanes.

Mark Mitchell

“It’s a mystery to me why more effort has not been put into the use of hydrogen” Hydrogen is the world’s most plentiful element and it can be used to produce electricity directly from a hydrogen fuel cell (technology invented by Englishman Sir William Grove in 1838), or it is possible to feed a conventional piston engine, a similar process to that required to adapt a car to LPG. That’s less straightforward and you still have to store the hydrogen on board, but that’s what Toyota, or VW or Ford are good at. They won’t, if government doesn’t make them… Having got back finally to aviation (it’s at the end of the paragraph above), step forward ZeroAvia… They’re American but have a base at Kemble, and in 2020 they flew a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Piper Malibu (G-HYZA, geddit…) to make the largest hydrogen-electric powered aircraft flight to date. That was followed by a £12.3m grant from the UK Government (hooray for that…) to develop propulsion for a 19-seat commuter aircraft. In December this year, ZeroAvia added $35 million courtesy of United Airlines and Alaska Air Group, to make a total of $115 million in the pot. It includes an outline agreement to purchase 100 engines, meanwhile, ZeroAvia is working on a Dornier 228 powered by two of its ZA-600 power units, slated for a London-Rotterdam route in 2024. Just quietly, some people are getting on with it… Working vintage aircraft and cars make Mark particularly happy mark.hales@seager.aero February 2022 | FLYER  23


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Column

Squawks Ian Seager

CAA cost-sharing debate? Try… C(r)AP 2270

B

ack in 2014 EASA changed the rules and made cost-sharing about as liberal as could be without it actually being commercial. Without quoting the actual legislation, it became possible to advertise a cost-share flight, and for the pilot to contribute an unequal sum, so as little as a penny if you like. The Golden Rule, apart from the one about not crashing, was that the pilot could not make a profit. After many years of complaining about regulators trying to regulate General Aviation out of existence, many pilots shook their heads and decided that this was a charter for the inexperienced to fleece the ill-informed. Internet platforms facilitating the new world of cost sharing were launched, and something akin to Stockholm syndrome kicked in, causing large portions of the existing pilot population to become a darker shade of crimson as they collectively conjured up and predicted serial disasters. Some schools have banned the use of their rental aircraft on cost-sharing flights organised through internet platforms, and a number of airfields have stopped them landing or departing from their facilities too. Through ignorance of the current regulations, many believe that illegal public transport flights are taking place when in fact they are legal cost-sharing flights. However, the CAA believes that in some cases there’s collusion between pilot and passengers in order to pass off such illegal flights as legal cost-share arrangements, and argues that this particular corner of General Aviation is perhaps not as well understood as it could be. A working group looking at illegal public transport spawned a sub-group that looked at cost-sharing, and the current consultation is the result. Unfortunately it doesn’t do a great job of defining the problem, does an even worse job of providing any data to illustrate the scale of the problem, and then goes on to suggest a number of solutions that would, as aviation regulation often does, penalise the law abiders while leaving the law breakers laughing on the sidelines. It’s not all bad and I even feel (a bit) sorry for the CAA. The nut that is illegal charter is an impossible one to crack, and the screams of ‘something must be done’ are probably getting much louder in the wake of the Sala/Henderson saga. So what does the CAA propose? First up is a suggestion that things are made clearer. Sounds fair enough, but frankly it’s something the CAA could have done at any time, although apart from the Skyway Code and the recent Safety Sense leaflets re-write – both of which are great – the CAA is incapable of making anything clearer. The second thing suggested is a requirement for cost-share to

involve something called ‘common purpose’. If I am going to be flying to Cranfield anyway, I can invite others to share in my misery while also sharing my costs. That might seem reasonable but people often fly without purpose. So if someone wants to visit Bolt Head on a fine day why not go there rather than burn aimless holes in the sky? The way I read the CAA’s suggestion, were I to drop off a friend at their maintenance base to pick up their aircraft after its annual, that would not be permitted without me having a need to go there anyway! To be fair, the CAA explained to me that the purpose was absolutely not to stop that kind of flight with fellow pilots, friends or family, but poorly drafted regulations come with unintended consequences, and they are to be avoided. The CAA went on to explain that offering to transport anyone anywhere at any time, something it refers to as ‘Holding Out’, is something it feels shouldn’t be covered by cost-sharing rules. The problem is, holding out is a complex term that can cover a lot of situations, some of which most of us would consider absolutely fine, while others would be reaching for the keyboard to construct Facebook posts that suggest a raising of eyebrows. There’s clearly a belief that paperwork is at least part of the

Mark Mitchell

“I feel (a bit) sorry for the CAA. The nut that is illegal charter is a hard one to crack” answer to any question because the CAA is also proposing some additional forms. There’s a Passenger Declaration and Consent Form, which consists of some general information followed by lots of tick boxes and a signature from each passenger and then a Pilot in Command Declaration, with both bits of paperwork having to be kept by the pilot for six months (isn’t there a data protection thing there?). There will always be people trying to make easy money. There will always be illegal charters. It seems to me that the best way to deal with that is intelligence-led inspections and investigations, perhaps with the help of the large amounts of data available to the CAA. The CAA did point out that this was a consultation and not a fait accompli, so jump online and have your say. I want to reduce or eliminate illegal charters as much as anyone else, but I definitely do not want to burden law abiding private pilots with all of this additional rubbish, while the real law breakers continue to make money flying unsuspecting passengers and those in the know who are too cheap to charter legally. Publisher, pre C-19 often found flying something new and interesting ics@seager.aero February 2022 | FLYER | 25


NXCub might not look right but far more pilots are comfortable with a nosewheel than a tailwheel

26 | FLYER | February 2022


FLIGHT TEST | CubCrafters NXCub

The Nose have it… Who would have guessed a nosewheel Cub would be more popular than a tailwheel version? CubCrafters did, with its latest NXCub…

A

WORDS Christof Brenner PHOTOGRAPHY CubCrafters

nosewheel on a Cub? Piper Cub specialists CubCrafters has dared to do something that some say breaks with tradition and is, well, ugly. I’ve always been a bit annoyed by that kind of talk. The comments come from ‘real’ pilots who would never fly an aircraft that has the third wheel on in the wrong place – the front. I never managed to become a real pilot. I have flown Cessna, Piper, Cirrus and even turboprops and jets – but this world of tailwheel aircraft has remained off-limits to me, for whatever reason. Apparently I’m not the only one. “For every seven pilots who prefer an aircraft with a tricycle landing gear, there’s just one tailwheel pilot,” says Brad Damm, head of sales and marketing at CubCrafters. Nevertheless, the company from Yakima in Washington State, USA, has so far concentrated exclusively on the ‘real’, i.e. tailwheel, pilots as customers. CubCrafters’ Carbon Cub is one of the most perfected variants of the Piper Cub concept, built for the kind of extreme bush flying that European pilots, who are accustomed to airfield constraints, often only know from YouTube movies. Launched in 2009 as the Super Sport Cub, it was renamed in 2010 as

the Carbon Cub. More than 500 have been delivered, factory built to Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) standard, or available as an experimental factoryassisted, self-build kitplane. The XCub presented in 2016 went one better. Not only did the XCub have significantly more power, but it was also fully type certified to FAA Part 23 standards. During that process it gained 150kg more weight and was only available as a tailwheel. Fair enough, that was what CubCrafters’ customers had seemed to want. Fast forward to 2020 and CubCrafters revealed that surveys had shown a substantial number of potential buyers of the XCub wanted all that the XCub had to offer but without the issues of flying a tailwheel aircraft – and that included higher insurance premiums for low-time tailwheel pilots. But – and a big ‘but’ – they also wanted the full monty when it came to backcountry capability. In short, an aircraft that could handle rough dirt strips and not be compromised by the nosewheel. Mounting a nosewheel on a tailwheel aircraft has been done before. Piper did it in 1951 with the Tri-Pacer and that aircraft went on to out-sell the tailwheel Pacer by six to one. And, in fact, the CubCrafters XCub can be equipped with all kinds of landing gear: nose and tail wheel, floats and skis. However, the nosewheel version, known as the February 2022 | FLYER | 27


CubCrafters NXCub

Above Nosewheel or tailwheel XCub... your choice Left Somehow, 6ft 4in Christof got into the back seat of the NXCub Below Rigging the NXCub at the factory Right top Engine is a 215hp special created for CubCrafters by Lycoming Right bottom Buyers want 100% of XCub capability but with nosewheel ease of operation

28 | FLYER | February 2022

NXCub, took more work than simply relocating the third wheel. The nose gear is a substantial item. It consists of a solid cast aluminium swing arm, attached to a huge vertical suspension strut, which in turn is attached to its own frame of tubes bolted to the aircraft’s airframe, not the firewall. The swing arm is a trailing link because it helps absorb bumps when taxying and landing, coupled with a substantial front wheel and tyre. Brad Damm confirms that the NXCub was designed from the get-go to be a serious backcountry aircraft. On the ground the nosewheel can be unlocked so it becomes free-castering. That means the NXCub can be easily manoeuvred – a shortcoming of some aircraft with a coupled nosewheel. However, the nosewheel is also responsible for around 20kg of additional weight in the nose of the aircraft but in view of the generous payload of almost 500kg, this is an extra that can be absorbed. The list of additional equipment is long – so long that the CubCrafters provides its own website aircraft configurator (click here). Those who cannot, or do not, want to decide between nose and tailwheel have the option of converting their NXCub to the tailwheel XCub at any time. To do this, the aluminium leaf spring struts of the main landing gear are moved forward by 43cm. Covers on the mounting points that are not required ensure a flawless appearance. At the rear the spur is exchanged for wheel and linkage. Two people should be able to do the whole job in about four hours. Good to know, but let it go… I’m not a real pilot.


CubCrafters NXCub

“On the ground the nosewheel can be unlocked so it is free-castering, allowing for easy manoeuvring”

February 2022 | FLYER 29


CubCrafters NXCub

“A back-up battery ensures that the engine will continue to run for up to 45 minutes in the event of an on-board power failure” Anyone who thinks the cockpit of a bushplane has to be spartan, then think again. The seat covers are made of leather, there are bottle holders, USB ports and even a storage compartment for a mobile phone. The standard avionics equipment includes a portable Garmin GPS aera 796 as the central navigation aid in the panel. Practically no customer orders it – all opt for the Garmin G3X glass cockpit even with a surcharge of nearly $24,000. And if you want, you can even get the NXCub with autopilot. The 215hp IO-390 that powers the nosewheel Cub is officially called CC-393i (CC for CubCrafters) and is manufactured by Lycoming exclusively for the Washington-based aircraft

Jim Richmond RIP The founder of CubCrafters, Jim Richmond, passed away in November 2021 at his home in Yakima, Washington at the age of 67. Although Jim had retired from day-to-day management of CubCrafters he continued to be active in managing the strategic and creative direction of the company until his death – including the introduction of the nosewheel Cub. In a statement from CubCrafters, Pat Horgan, current company President and CEO, said, “CubCrafters is truly a family. Our employees, customers, and affiliates all feel Jim’s loss. “In everything we do moving forward, Jim will be with us. It was his stated intention that CubCrafters would continue as the market leader in the design and manufacture of the best backcountry aircraft in the world. Both Jim’s family and the CubCrafters leadership team are fully committed to continue growing the aviation legacy that Jim started.” Jim started the company in 1980 with the vision of modernising the Piper Super Cub for better performance and safety. Since then, CubCrafters has delivered around 1,500 new aircraft, and rebuilt or restored many others. CubCrafters developed seven different models over the years, both certified and experimental, along with dozens of STCs and other advancements.

30 | FLYER | February 2022

manufacturer. Among other things, it has an accessory case, induction system and sump made of lightweight magnesium that ensures that the engine is only 5kg heavier than its standard 180hp O-360 brother. Both of the original magnetos are replaced by Sure-Fly electronic ignition modules. A back-up battery ensures that the engine will continue to run for up to 45 minutes in the event of an on-board power failure.

Flying the NXCub

There really can’t be anything like Hickory Oaks Campground... It has a 70-odd parking spaces for RVs, a few spartan cabins for overnight stays – and a 670 metre long grass runway. CubCrafters sets up camp here every year during the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh and meets with customers and potential buyers. “We’re there every night. Why don’t you come by and fly the NXCub?” was Brad Damm’s casual invitation to me. And so I’m standing in front of the bright red N2NX and I’m wondering how to get my 6ft 4in into the rear seat of the NXCub. After contortions worthy of Houdini, eventually I’m in. “That wasn’t really elegant,” I mumble meekly. Brad’s approvingly polite silence confirms my self-criticism, and he’s probably wondering why I didn’t admit that I have never crawled into a tandem seat aircraft before. By the way, with a few tips from Brad on how to do it, getting in was much better next time. Starting the CC-393i is straightforward. The only difference in the checklist, compared to engines with magneto ignition, is the switch for the standby battery of the electronic ignition and its indicator light. For taxying the NXCub needs a bit of throttle until the mighty 26in mainwheel tyres start to turn in the deep grass. While the rudder still has little effect, the brakes are used to steer – after all, the nosewheel can pivot freely. One benefit of the nosewheel over tailwheel immediately becomes apparent too – the view forwards over the nose is so much better when manoeuvring on the ground. For take-off, Brad recommended the technique for dummies… Just pull the stick back to your belly and push the throttle all the way forward. No sooner said


Above This is a Cub? The NXCub has all mod cons including a Garmin G3X flightdeck Left However, fuel gauge is still a simple fluid level check Right Simply massive and strong trailing link nosewheel strut and frame Below Big 26in tyres on the mains but normal size on the front thanks to the amplifying effect of the trailing link suspension. This bird can ride rough terrain

February 2022 | FLYER | 31


CubCrafters NXCub

Above Clever windshield design gives a good view forwards and uop Left Two seats in tandem means NXCub retains a slim profile. Two-blade Hartzell Trailblazer prop is standard, but a three-blade unit is an option Below NXCub is a heady mix between classic design and modern improvements

than done. The NXCub gallops off like a startled wild horse, takes off with the nose pointing skywards, and for a while the tail drags through the grass (remember not to attach a GoPro camera to the now spare mount). The take-off distance seemed shorter than 50 metres to me, then we were in the air. A little slackening of the stick and the aircraft picks up speed. Even before I get to read off the climb rate, we are at circuit height – in retrospect, I would describe the climb rate as ‘more than sufficient’ thanks to the simply huge power to weight of the NXCub.

Drag reduction mods

The fat tyres on the main gear and the third leg of the chassis do take their toll when at cruise speed but let’s not forget that the XCub was designed with a host of drag reduction mods over the original Super Cub. The wing section is the same, to give the Super Cub’s renowned low speed handling, but the ailerons are more aerodynamic and the exterior control cables of the Super Cub have disappeared and morphed into rods contained inside the wings. The rudder on the NXCub retains cables. The main landing gear is completely different being an aluminium spring that alone adds 8-10kt because of reduced drag, as well as reputedly being better at smoothing out a landing bounce. So, like the XCub, the NXCub is not slow. If you give it full throttle, it will reach 126kt – but at a cost of more than 50 litres of fuel per hour. A 65% power setting gives just under 105kt and a more moderate consumption of around 34 litres/hour makes sense. If you want a faster cruise speed on a regular basis, you need a different aircraft. Stalls are just as simple as the greenhorn starting procedure. Throttle closed, stick back into your belly, and at an absurd 30kt of indicated airspeed, the aircraft starts to mush with absolutely no 32 | FLYER | February 2022


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CubCrafters NXCub

TECH SPECS

CubCrafters NXCub Two-seat bushplane

85% of pilots fly a nosewheel aircraft

Above NXCub, a nosewheel aircraft that can handle backcountry

tendencies to drop a wing. These predictable and safe low speed characteristics are absolutely what a backcountry aircraft is all about. It’s the ability to take-off and land on short strips which may also be rough terrain. That’s why some pilots love the Super Cub – and they’ll adore the NXCub.

Low speeds…

My brain can’t cope with these low speeds, however, and it shows when making the landing. On final approach I’m at 50kt, which seems dangerously low to me, and yet I’m much too fast. An approach speed of something like 37kt would be more appropriate for the NXCub on final. Over the runway I pull the throttle to idle and let the aircraft touchdown. The big wheels first absorb the shock, then they lock up, the nose gear touches down and we slide across the grass runway. It’s not elegant but it’s a perfectly normal procedure for ultra-short backcountry strips, Brad explains. And yes, the combination of the aluminium spring main gear and trailing link nose gear works astonishingly well to smooth out bumps. Although I was going way too fast, I would still rate my landing as acceptably short. This aircraft makes you brave after only a few minutes of flight! Helgoland-Dune (a German airport with short runways) with the NXCub? A piece of cake! I would also like to land at Frankfurt – across the runway! In fact, because you can brake harder and earlier in the NXCub, it’s probably a better short-field performer than the tailwheel XCub. A Cub with a nosewheel… that takes some getting used to. But CubCrafters’ nosewheel model is not only forgiving in hard use off the beaten track, but it might also prevent a slip-up that might make a taildragger stand on its head. That’s important. After all, I’m not a ‘real’ pilot. 34 | FLYER | February 2022

Performance

Spec

Weights & Loading

Manufacturer

Max speed 140kt Cruise speed 130kt @ 75% power Stall speed (flaps) 34kt, (clean) 43kt Take-off distance 170ft Landing distance 170ft Rate of climb 1,500ft/min Range 695nm

Seats Two Max take-off 2,300lb Empty 1,216lb Payload 1,084lb Fuel capacity 49usg

Dimensions

Wingspan 34ft 4in Wing area 174.8sqft Length 23ft 10in Height 8ft 4in Cabin width 30in

Airframe Steel tube, fabric covering with carbon fibre areas Engine Lycoming CC393i, producing 215hp Prop Hartzell Trailblazer constant speed, 2 or three blade Avionics Options include Garmin G3X EFIS

CubCrafters 1918 South 16th Avenue Yakima, WA 98903 W: http://cubcrafters.com

Contact

CubCrafters Europe W: https://cubcrafterseurope.com E: info@cubcrafterseurope.com

Price

From $372,040 ex-factory + taxes

Above NXCub expected to outsell the tailwheel version


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My First Solo

Susie Whitcombe Aviator and figurative painter Susie Whitcombe soloed on the same day as her husband. Interview Yayeri van Baarsen Solo stats Apart from being a fabulous artist, Susie Whitcombe is also an adventurous aviator. When 18 September 1986 Where Goodwood Aerodrome Aircraft Piper PA-38 Tomahawk Hours at solo Nine Hours now Approx. 2,000+

How did you get into aviation? Growing up on a farm in Hampshire, I was completely mad about ponies, while my brother was crazy about aeroplanes. We’d always go horse riding together and when my brother learned to fly at university, I felt like I was missing out. He’d ride my horse but I wasn’t able to fly his aeroplane: something had to be done about that! How did your flight training go? My husband was easily persuaded to learn to fly too, so we went off to Goodwood. Taking flying lessons together was great as it meant we could swap notes. I was surprised at how out of my element I was in the aeroplane. My husband made it seem like a breeze, so I thought ‘How hard can it be?’ Well, rather difficult. I’d been riding ponies since before I could walk and believed that flying couldn’t be too different. But although there are plenty of similarities, horses do have a certain sense of self-preservation whereas aeroplanes don’t. Once you’ve left the ground, it’s all down to you… Tell us about your first solo? My husband and I soloed on the same day, which was a first for Goodwood. His lessons were scheduled first so he went first – I was invited up to the tower

to watch him solo and remember thinking ‘He beat me to it’. Going solo was such a big deal for me, it was absolutely mind-blowing. I have to admit I was very nervous, luckily my landing was OK and I didn’t have to go-around. Only weeks after my solo, I admitted to being pregnant, which back in those days led to my medical being whisked away. As I couldn’t fly alone anymore, I stopped training and only started again when my first son was born. Resuming my flight training almost felt like a second solo. What does flying mean to you? Adventure! I just fly for fun as I only hold a PPL, but aviation has opened the doors to many wonderful opportunities. I’m a member of the Royal Air Squadron and have been on some great trips with them. In 2013, I flew the Cub down to Ukraine, alongside four Tiger Moths. There, we celebrated the Charge of the Light Brigade by dropping poppies from the aeroplane when flying over the Valley of Death. The journey was such an adventure, it took a week to get there and a week to fly back. Do you manage to mix flying and painting? Yes, I often take my paintbox when flying, and frequently I fly somewhere

“…horses do have a certain sense of self-preservation whereas aeroplanes don’t” 36 | FLYER | February 2022

with the intention of painting, so they mix well. Perhaps my flying experience has a parallel with painting. Flying is a very three-dimensional activity and with the type of painting I do, I’m turning something three-dimensional into a two-dimensional image. Although I mainly paint people, animals and landscapes, I’ve painted quite a few aeroplanes as well. At the RAF’s centenary at the Battle of Britain airshow in 2018, I flew as a safety pilot in our Tiger Moth. We formed up with 16 Tiger Moths to look like the number 100 in the sky over Duxford and afterwards I painted these aircraft gathered on the ground in the gloom. What aircraft would you have in your fantasy hangar? At the risk of sounding like everybody else: a Spitfire. It’s just a wonderful beast, such an iconic aircraft. I’d need a longer strip though. I currently own a Super Cub and a Van’s RV-9, and the Tiger Moth is still on the premises. We used to have a single-seater Yak 50, which I sold after my husband died. It was the most fantastic aeroplane, such a joy to fly: even I could do aerobatics in it! What do you love about flying most? The freedom and exhilaration that flying brings. In an aeroplane you really have to keep your wits about you – that’s the reason I love fast cars as well. When flying, you have to concentrate and be on the ball, and that’s what makes it fun.


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Electric reality?

Technical

Thinking about adding an Aerobatics Rating to your PPL? Leia Fee did just that with Ultimate High…

Good times roll… Shades on! Leia and Ultimate High boss Mark ‘Greeners’ Greenfield at Goodwood

I

t was, according to my instructor, more of a ‘toilet roll’ than a barrel. Day five of my aerobatics rating and I’d swapped from not rolling promptly enough on aileron rolls to rolling too soon and fast on barrel rolls. I laughed. I’d have laughed at anything by now. My brain had never been so tired. During the day, at the airfield and in the sky was one thing – interest and adrenaline and frantically clutched concentration just about doing their job – but in the evenings I was a dazed wreck, casting about for easy calories and as much sleep as I could get. But right now we were rolling about the sky, above scattered summer clouds, green coast and blue sea – and I was having a blast. There’d been a fair amount of laughing throughout. In fact I’d say an ability to laugh at your mistakes is pretty much an essential element for the course. “That was quite a tidy loop.” I smiled happily then hesitated, hearing the amusement behind the words. “I was meant to fly a half Cuban. Not another loop.” Three times we did that one. Three. The idea was a loop, then a half Cuban, then an aileron roll as a little mini sequence. Would my brain remember it? It would not. That we’d got here at all almost came as a surprise. At the end of the second day, and four flights into the course, I was feeling really, properly rough and having any number of intestinal doubts about whether or not this had been a good idea. My hand was actually on ‘The Bag’ by the time we returned that day and it was hard to entirely believe the reassurances that my tolerance would improve. To be upside down a few days later with capacity to remark on the fact I’d forgotten to roll the right way up early enough and what I was Left There’s ground school as well as flying

38 | FLYER | February 2022


Aerobatics Rating

Which way’s up? Ah, the sky’s over there...

“The consistency of instruction was amazingly good, and the course pace well thought out” now doing instead, would have seemed inconceivable. The course, as delivered by Ultimate High at Goodwood in their T67M Slingsby Firefly, is a five-day course encompassing five hours of aerobatics, equating to about eight hours of total flying time. Coupled with this is a similar amount of groundschool which covers a solid recap of the principles of flight we all did back in the PPL syllabus, as well as briefings for the manoeuvres themselves, safety aspects and human performance material. It’s fair to say that it’s a lot! Typical pattern of days was briefings in the morning, then fly, debrief, rest/eat/hydrate, brief for

the afternoon, fly again, debrief and discuss the student notes. Flying being flying this was occasionally rearranged at short notice by the unholy GA trinity of weather/ serviceability/availability – we lost the very first flying morning to a waterlogged runway and there was some instructor availability rejigging later in the week. In all cases the handover between instructors was so seamless that none of that mattered in practice. The consistency of instruction was amazingly good and the course pace was well thought out from before we even started. A pre-course pilot profile was requested, including a number of things which really made you think. February 2022 | FLYER | 39


Aerobatics Rating

Main Flying was in Ultimate High’s Slinsgby T67M260 Inset T67 has side-by-side seating ideal for training

“What do you want to get out of the course?” was the gist of one. “What are your flying strengths and weaknesses?” another. When do we ever normally ask ourselves that or do anything about it? With the runway dried we got airborne for the first flight. This felt a bit like a really robust revalidation flight. Lots of revision and improvement of basics, steep

Slingsby T67 is an aerobatic trainer once used by the RAF

40 | FLYER | February 2022

turns and stalling. Also a chance to find out exactly how disciplined one’s HASELL checks and lookout really are. (Answer: almost certainly ‘not enough’. Mine needed continual development throughout the week.) New material included the wingover as a lookout tool as well as a way of positioning and managing energy. They’re also nice to fly, as far as I was concerned. There’s something just simply enjoyable about sweeping up and over with the whole world spread out down below the wing. I was less enthused about the max rate turns – a steep turn, pulling all the way to the onset of the pre-stall buffet. It took me any number of goes to get the hang of them. The idea is that once you know the attitude for them that you can go straight into them in case of needing a rapid change of direction – collision avoidance, for example. But the rapid onset of the G and the repeated direction changes were starting to really threaten my nice boiled egg breakfast by the time we finished! Trips two and three built on this initial work and added unusual attitude and upset recoveries which left


Aerobatics Rating

“T here’s something just simply enjoyable about sweeping up and over with the whole world spread out down below the wing” Top left There’s a lot of views like this during aerobatic training Top right Rare moment of straight and level flying Left Training area is on the south coast with Hayling Island below Below left ... and recover! ‘Push-roll-power-stabilise’ Below right Importance of thorough HASELL checks emphasised

February 2022 | FLYER | 41


Aerobatics Rating

Above T67 at Goodwood Below Building up tolerance for aerobatic g forces Right Getting better by the end of the week

42 | FLYER | February 2022


Aerobatics Rating

me rather wishing they’d been taught this way in the PPL syllabus to begin with. Pretty much every variant you can get yourself into was ruthlessly simplified to ‘push-rollpower’ and then ‘stabilise’. Push – because no matter what’s going on you can’t do much about anything if your angle of attack is too high and you stall it. Roll to level – neither can you do anything about anything if you yoink the wings off with asymmetrical load when it comes time to level off. Power – think about what you need to do with it based on the speed you now find yourself at. Stabilise – sort yourself out from a position of at least not making things worse. These were quite satisfying and oddly reassuring which I’m sure was the point. Even the one we did next, the hair-raisingly named ‘ballistic recovery’. This is for when you lose it in the vertical and just have to hang on with hands and feet, tight enough to stop the control surfaces slapping about while you wait to fall back into a position where you can do something about it… We also did incipient spins which had an enormously high startle factor, enough to make me literally lose my grip on the controls and fail to react at all on my first go. After another demonstration, a second attempt was better but my stomach was doing somersaults somewhere in our wake by now. We ended up leaving actual full spins until a little later in the course than planned to give me a fighting chance to build up some tolerance. In the end I found it slightly less rabbit-in-headlights freeze-inducing than the incipient spin. I would not want to do it by accident but the aircraft recovered well and predictably as long as you could hang onto concentration to go through the recovery actions, even if you were doing so through gritted teeth! In the meantime, to resettle my internal gyros, we had a nice cruise up and down the coastline for 10 minutes. One of the best bits of pre-course advice I got from numerous people was to be honest rather brave about such things! In any case, the queasiness passed enough on this occasion to start on aileron rolls and loops, which by this time felt like a calmer prospect altogether. We’d spent quite a bit of time in the briefings focusing on specifically where to look during each stage and the importance of picking outside references to use, but it still took time before I had the mental space to actively look for them. That came in slowly as the week went on.

The pace and order of the exercises was well thought out to facilitate this. Aileron rolls (mostly roll inputs), loops (mostly pitch inputs) came before things like barrel rolls, which required both, and definitely before slow rolls, which required input in all three axes. Likewise it was only as I started to be able to complete manoeuvres with some measure of spare brainpower remaining did the instructors add the requirement to include a scan of the altitude and airspeed as we exited. The idea being to make sure at each stage whether or not we were in a position to launch straight into another manoeuvre. For the more complex figures, the progression often included a sharing of the controls with the instructor managing the stick, for example, while you managed the rudder, then swapping, then bringing the different elements together. We did stall turns that way and we initially started slow rolls from halfway round, at the inverted point. For these I found myself armchair flying at lunchtime. Sitting on the picnic table, eyes half shut and fixed upon the little wooden model in one hand, imaginary stick in the other, hands and feet and head all wagging as I tried to implant the sequence of control inputs and visual references into my brain. I sat in the aeroplane waggling the stick at random then trying to get it straight back to the centralised position. Scrambling around for whatever muscle memory I could acquire in these spare moments on the ground. Because even with all the well-planned, graduated steps, it was a relentless progression. I never felt the least bit pushed in terms of my physical tolerance – everyone was very accommodating if pauses were needed on that front, but the steady increase in new material marched briskly on nonetheless. I wasn’t only physically tired at the end of each day, but mentally completely done for. I could be asked, ‘what do you want for dinner?’ and be unable to muster enough decision-making capacity for more than… ‘food’. The pace was made sustainable only by the fact that the instructors were very clear on aims – geometrically perfect figures were not what was called for. Recognisable was adequate, and safe was what really mattered. The mantra, which wasn’t written on the February 2022 | FLYER | 43


Aerobatics Rating

whiteboard but was repeated aloud enough that it might as well have been, was: ‘Fly it to the limits, through the limits, recover with confidence’. Being able to spot and recover when you’d messed up was as important as completing the manoeuvres successfully. Needless to say there were plenty of ‘naturally occurring’ upsets to recover from! The cause of most of these when I was flying was generally too little control input rather than too much – too slow to pull up into the loop resulting in low speed at the top and a wobbly mush through the top or simply stalling it there, too slow to get full aileron in on the aileron roll. Being a weed, I needed both hands for this one, with the result that the nose had dropped too low by the time we came out. It made me realise what a narrow range of control inputs and stick forces we generally fly around with, merrily in the middle of the aircraft’s envelope. Quite how much push was needed to maintain level inverted flight, or quite how soft and mushy the controls were as we gently buffeted our way through the top of the loop, was attention-getting and very alien at first. The temptation to slacken off during high stick forces, or ‘stir’ the stick around during low ones was initially hard to resist. Especially if you were concentrating on something else – in early loops even turning my head to find my next visual reference was enough to make me unconsciously stop pulling! That final day and a little three-figure sequence was immensely good fun, even though it took me multiple attempts to join it all together. The first time spotting an aircraft out of the corner of my eye at the top of a loop made me knock it off, the second I belted out of the loop too low and close to our base height. But there was something gleeful about the fact of joining it all up, flowing around the sky really truly in all three dimensions. It was not at all diminished by the fact I was only a single breath ahead of the aeroplane in furious concentration! I’d recommend it to everyone. Even if you don’t do the whole lot – even if you just do the upsets and a few loops and rolls it’ll add something delightful to your flying and improve all sorts of other things. Lookout, decision making, accuracy, confidence. My aim for the course as typed into the precourse survey was to simply regain currency and confidence in a more entertaining way than just bimbling round the patch. In the end it was so delightfully, exhaustingly, wildly more than that!

Other PPL skills Night Rating One of the first extensions to the basic PPL that many pilots go for. The Night Rating course is five hours of night flying, including five solo take-offs and landings. Instrument Rating Two Instrument Ratings are available to UK pilots, the full IR and the IR(R). The latter is a restricted rating devised to help pilots get out of trouble, should they face IMC. The full IR for private pilots has seven subjects of Theoretical Knowledge, plus a minimum of 40 hours of IFR flying time. Seaplane Rating Flying a float or seaplane is huge fun and training can be in the UK (On Track Aviation goes to Scotland for flight training). There’s at least eight hours of flight training with an instructor, plus groundschool on seaplane operations leading to a Theoretical Knowledge written exam. Tailwheel Not a rating but ‘Differences’ training is required. Typically there’s a couple of hours groundschool covering tailwheel operations, plus five hours of flight training. There’s no exam but your instructor has to be satisfied before signing your logbook. Strip flying Again, not a rating but a specialist instructor, such as an LAA Coach, will help you assess and fly safely in and out of short and ‘unimproved’ – i.e., grass, dirt, whatever – strips. There’s a very handy LAA Strip Flying Diploma – details here Formation Again, no formal rating or test but you’d be mad not to take some instruction from an appropriate instructor – and, again, it’s great fun and one of those skills which improves your overall flying. Typically, there’s some groundschool covering the essentials before flying. Multi Engine Rating The Multi Engine Piston (MEP) Rating is required to act as Pilot in Command of a twin engine aircraft, and it’s a substantial training package of groundschool and flight training, plus a written exam and Skill Test. Instructor All of these courses require instructors! A Flight Instructor (Aeroplane), for instance, can give ab initio instruction while a Class Rating Instructor (CRI) can only instruct those who already have a licence, for the purposes of issuing, revalidating or renewing of a rating.

Above Author and aircraft in one piece! Greeners is happy

44 | FLYER | February 2022


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Safety Accident Analysis

Pilots behaving badly

O

btaining a PPL is usually lots of hard work, as well as great dollops of fun, and with an enduring sense of achievement. And that usually applies in equal measure to the instructor and to their student. But what if the student thinks he ‘knows best’? From an instructor’s perspective, the fun tends to go out of the experience, as time is spent grappling with how to address the issue – and sleepless nights can follow. For the novice pilot it can be downright dangerous, as this recent accident illustrates.

Accident details

The pilot, a 44-year-old owner of a Cessna C150 Aerobat registration G-CIIR, and his passenger flew to Netherthorpe without the Prior Permission Required (PPR), to meet a locally based owner of a Maule M7, prior to both aircraft setting off for Troutbeck Airfield. The M7 landed at Troutbeck on the 450m long Runway 36 with a 10kt headwind, well before G-CIIR arrived. As the runway was ‘sludgy’, the M7 pilot tried to call the pilot of G-CIIR on his mobile phone to advise him of the runway state. However, he could not ‘positively remember’ if he spoke to the pilot. He subsequently met the airfield’s owner outside the airfield’s hangar. About 10 to 15 minutes later, when G-CIIR came into view, the airfield owner realised it was a C150, an aircraft

that he was not content to operate into Troutbeck. He ran into the hangar to get his hand-held transceiver and made repeated calls on ‘SafetyCom’ frequency, 135.480 MHz, to try and ascertain what the pilot’s intentions were, but there was no response. G-CIIR then made an uneventful descent, approach and landing, and taxied in and parked about 80m from the hangar. Neither pilot had obtained PPR directly from the airfield owner to land at Troutbeck. However, the M7 pilot believed he had PPR by proxy from another pilot, who had phoned the airfield owner that morning asking for PPR, saying that an M7 pilot was planning on visiting too. The airfield owner was ‘very cross’ with the M7 pilot, as he had made no mention that a C150 was also visiting, adding that it was ‘not appropriate for one to land here in the conditions’. The M7 pilot then advised G-CIIR’s pilot that the airfield owner was dissatisfied that PPR had not been requested, and that the runway’s condition was not suitable for operating a C150. The M7 pilot then said that he (the M7 pilot) should probably take the passenger back to Gamston in his M7, if not all of them. The pilot replied ‘no, no we’ll get out easily’. At the hangar the pilot and his passenger met the airfield owner who was annoyed with them and repeated that a C150 should not have landed there in the conditions. The pilot was

“The airfield owner was annoyed with them and repeated that a C150 should not have landed there in the conditions” 46 | FLYER | February 2022

apologetic, saying he thought someone had phoned on his behalf to ask for PPR. Given the airfield owner’s concerns, he instructed G-CIIR’s pilot to depart solo, with his passenger departing in the M7. He added that the pilot was to use the full length of Runway 36 to ensure that all the Takeoff Distance Available (TODA) was used. This would entail a backtrack of Runway 36 from the intersection of Runway 04 before starting the take-off roll. The pilot agreed. The airfield owner then had to leave, but before doing so he told the M7 pilot to ensure that he took the passenger back to Gamston and that G-CIIR used the full length of the runway. Both pilots walked the runway to discuss the airfield owner’s instructions, but they did not go to the threshold of Runway 36. Due to the surface condition and the positive gradient from the threshold to the intersection with Runway 04, G-CIIR’s pilot said he would go down about halfway from the intersection to the threshold before starting the take-off roll, and the M7 pilot accepted this. For the return to Gamston, G-CIIR’s pilot started his aircraft first. Due to the condition of the ground where he had parked he had difficulty taxying out, and was then seen to taxi along Runway 22. As he got to the intersection with Runway 36, the pilot turned right onto Runway 36 without backtracking. The engine was heard to accelerate to full power and the aircraft commenced the take-off roll. The M7 pilot said that the engine sounded normal and G-CIIR quickly became airborne. Given the short time it took G-CIIR to taxi out and commence the take-off roll, he believed the pilot did not have time to perform his engine power checks and pre-take-off checks. Once airborne, it appeared the pilot then started a left turn during which the left wing dropped and the aircraft entered a

Mark Mitchell

Some people have difficulty accepting advice, even when it comes from very experienced and respected individuals. As Steve Ayres suggests, when that advice is about flying, novice pilots ignore it at their peril…


near vertical dive from about 50ft agl, before striking the ground in an adjacent field causing fatal injuries. The accident pilot had completed his PPL(A) Licence Skills Test (LST) some 10 weeks before the accident and, prior to the issue of his licence, had flown G-CIIR from Gamston into the M7 pilot’s private grass airstrip. The airstrip has about 330m of TORA, with trees and residential houses in the undershoot and overshoot. When the accident pilot asked his supervising instructor, via a text message, if he could fly there, the instructor assumed he was going there as a passenger with the M7 pilot and responded, ‘Go for it’. However, the pilot planned to fly himself there in G-CIIR. Prior to departing Gamston, another instructor heard on the radio that this flight was preparing to take-off and, knowing the airstrip was not suitable for a C150, was surprised to hear this. He tried to phone the pilot to stop him from going but got no reply. He therefore took it upon himself to drive to the airstrip, a distance of about 28nm (approximately 45 minutes). The instructor arrived just before G-CIIR landed. After the pilot had landed, the instructor chastised him and made it quite clear that he had driven over because he was completely dismayed that the pilot had opted to operate a C150 into this airstrip. The instructor told him that the airstrip was not suitable for a C150, whatever the pilot’s experience, and suggested that a more experienced pilot fly the aircraft out of the airstrip. He also made his feelings known to the M7 pilot. However, the accident pilot subsequently flew G-CIIR out, contrary to the instructor’s advice. A few days later the instructor spoke to the pilot and reiterated his concerns to him. He discussed the performance issues and hazards of operating his aircraft into such an airstrip. He also spoke at length about the type of flying he should be doing to gain experience with his new licence, and it did not include any grass or performance limiting airfields. The owner of Troutbeck Airfield stated the accident pilot had previously visited several months earlier in G-CIIR with the M7 pilot who flew in a Super Cub. He was on that occasion ‘astounded’ to discover in conversation that the pilot was on a student solo cross-country flight and that he would ‘most certainly not have allowed him to land’ had he known at the time.

“During some of the flights with him, the instructor noticed the student had a habit of not wearing shoulder straps” One of the accident pilot’s instructors, who flew and supervised most of his training flights after he had purchased G-CIIR, stated that during some of the first flights he flew with him he had a habit of not wearing his shoulder straps. From the outset the instructor asked him to put them on, which he did, albeit reluctantly. When debriefed on this, the instructor told him firmly that he would not fly with him unless he wore them. The same instructor described the accident pilot as a ‘good solid average pilot’, although he could be ‘a bit hit and miss at times’. He was also ‘not the most consistent student’.

He described him as one of the ‘more aggressive, pushy students’ at times. He added that during some of the first few lessons they flew together these attributes gave him cause to ‘reel him in’ and he had to explain to him what was acceptable and what was not. He added he’d to be quite firm with him at times. He authorised the earlier crosscountry flight to Troutbeck as he felt his ability was up to it, his attitude had ‘turned a new leaf’ and he was progressing well through the course. Additionally, he felt the conditions were suitable on the day to go into a ‘500m strip’.

Ayres’ Analysis Most of us have been there at some point in the past. Minding our own business when a particular type of aircraft arrival has us dashing to the hangar entrance, hearing comments by visiting crews over a coffee that cause us to prick up our ears, or perhaps someone simply dragging their aircraft out of the hangar as low stratus scuds across the tops of surrounding trees. And what did we do about it? The options, of course, are multiple and depend upon our mood, the time available, our experience and probably most significantly our character. None of us wants to be an interfering busy-body, do we? Flying is meant to be fun, exhilarating and free from some of the constraints we face in everyday life. But we do need to stay safe, and although there is no right nor wrong in many instances, saying something, almost anything, might just be all that is needed to tip the balance in favour of a safer outcome. Reading this report, however, it is hard not to think there was a certain inevitability about where things were headed. In most commercial training schemes, exhibiting the sort of behavioural traits observed here get the antennae twitching and if they can’t be corrected the student is invited to choose a different career. The military is, arguably, even more severe in its rejection of certain personality types. But in the GA world it’s not so easy. As instructors we try desperately to nurture our students, to nudge in the right direction and encourage the very best of behaviours. We may even have to sanction to make a point on occasions but, ultimately, those who can afford financially to stay the course, will mostly graduate with a PPL and then be released into an unsuspecting world. But as this accident shows, there is, unfortunately, a steady trickle of pilots who fail to listen to hard earned and wise advice. We have almost certainly come across them at some point in our lives and we will have struggled with finding common ground. Getting any form of ‘message’ across can be really tough and is often rebutted… but is that reason enough to say nothing? Where third parties are involved, either as a passenger or aircraft owner there is a simple recourse available – say ‘no’. Indeed, it was the airfield owner’s insistence that saved the passenger’s life. But, there will doubtless be others ‘in the chain’ who are today asking themselves if they should have done more. Ultimately, we can only do our best… which hopefully means not turning our back and walking in the opposite direction, perhaps even being a bit of a busy-body… sometimes. February 2022 | FLYER | 47


Safety Accident Reports Getting the right balance Steve Ayres summarises and comments on accident reports from around the world and looks at SPOT Gen4 as a means for tracking Santa’s progress…

Misplaced contents Mooney M20C N78870 Wildwood, New Jersey Injuries: One serious

The pilot reported that before the flight the aeroplane contained 21 gallons of fuel in the left fuel tank and three gallons of fuel in the right fuel tank. The pilot performed the engine start, taxi, run-up, and take-off with the fuel selector on the right fuel tank. During the initial climb, at an altitude between 100-200 ft agl, the engine sputtered, then lost all power. With about 1,700ft of runway to go, the pilot entered a right turn, and the aeroplane impacted the ground left of the runway, resulting in substantial damage to the right wing, the left horizontal stabiliser, and left elevator. Post-accident examination of the aeroplane found that the right fuel tank contained no fuel, and the left fuel tank contained about 20 gallons. The fuel selector was found in the left tank position. It is likely that, during the accident sequence, the pilot moved the fuel selector to the left tank position, but the aeroplane’s low altitude at the time of the loss of power provided insufficient time to restore fuel flow before impact. The circumstances of the accident are consistent with a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot’s mismanagement of the available fuel. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to initiate a 180° turn following the loss of power despite the runway remaining. Comment Aside from the rather ‘run o’ the mill’ fuel management error, the

pilot’s acceptance of an 18 gallon fuel imbalance with almost nothing on one side at take-off, meant they were effectively only giving themselves a ‘single’ tank option for the duration of the flight. Risky enough in its own right, but it ultimately meant there was no room for error when it came to managing the remaining fuel. The attempted turnback only made the outcome worse when a straight ahead option apparently existed.

Don’t assume, check! Cessna T210 Centurion N300JS Bridgeport, California Injuries: None

The pilot reported that, during landing, he elected to go-around because of an overshoot of final and an unstable approach. The pilot applied full power, raised the landing gear, and initiated a climb out. At the same time, the pilot-rated passenger inadvertently raised the flaps prematurely, which caused the aeroplane to settle onto the runway with the landing gear retracted. Once the propeller contacted the runway surface, the aeroplane veered off to the right of the runway and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. Comment The pilot was an extremely experienced ATPL and instructor and in his narrative he says he ‘asked for full flaps’ on the approach. It may just be that they were in ‘crew’ mode and when it came to the go-around the co-pilot felt it was his job to raise the flaps. Having nearly been caught out in a similar way, I know it does happen but in this case a density altitude of some

“The pilot reported that he was attempting to land, at night, on an unlit grass airstrip” 48 | FLYER | February 2022

6,000ft left no margin for recovery. As the pilot candidly comments, ‘a better pre-landing brief is recommended’.

Dark ending Piper PA28 N43020 Huntley, Illinois Injuries: None

The pilot reported that he was attempting to land, at night, on an unlit grass airstrip. The pilot landed to the right of the runway by about 10ft. During the rollout the right wing hit a small tree and separated partially from the fuselage at the wing root, resulting in substantial damage. Comment A not entirely surprising outcome. There is, after all, a time and place for everything and this was probably neither the time nor the place for trying this. I suppose it’s a reminder that seeing in the dark is difficult.

Wingtip furrowing Cessna 120 N2376N Johnson City, Kansas Injuries: None

The pilot reported he had just departed from the airport and saw a family member working in an adjacent field and decided to perform a fly-by. While performing a low-level left turn over the field, he felt the left wing dropping toward the ground. The pilot immediately applied full right aileron, at which point, the left wing began dragging on the ground. The aeroplane’s propeller subsequently impacted the ground, followed by the right wing, and the aeroplane slid to a stop. The aeroplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. Comment Remarkably, the occupants were uninjured in this impromptu ‘fly-by’. Legalities aside, most impromptu acts in aviation end badly. Astute analysis by the pilot, though, in which he stated that ‘if he had been higher, the accident would not have happened’.



Safety Accident Reports Caught short Corby CJ-1 Starlet G-CBHP Bluebutts Farm, Slaidburn, Lancashire Injuries: One serious

The Corby CJ-1 is a homebuilt single-seat, fixed-wing aircraft with a 340kg maximum take-off weight. The pilot was operating from his home strip at Bluebutts Farm. The pilot estimated the strip length at 278m. The strip was surrounded by higher ground and was sloped, so Runway 02 was only used for take-off and Runway 20 was only used for landing. The wind was from 200° at six to nine knots. The pilot had been flying for an hour which had included a practice stall and some ‘touch-and-go’ landings. He was flying an approach for a final landing on Runway 20 when he reported encountering sinking air very late on finals. He applied full power and he believed that he would clear the boundary wall. However, the aircraft struck the boundary wall, knocking over a section of it, and causing significant damage to the airframe. The pilot was seriously injured. A witness and the pilot’s wife assisted the pilot and drove him to hospital. Comment While the strip clearly presented its challenges the pilot had more than 300 hours on type and was presumably familiar with the site. Even so, the decisions taken on that final approach left him with nowhere to go but down when sink was encountered. It is always tempting to make that last approach ‘bang on the numbers’ but sometimes those numbers need increasing a bit to keep a margin of safety. Although, not a decision ever taken lightly when the strip is short.

Wrong pitch Grob G109 G-CLIA Husbands Bosworth, Leicester Injuries: None

The pilot seated in the left seat was nominated as pilot in command, and the co-owner, a qualified pilot, instructor and examiner, was seated in the right seat and nominated as a passenger for the flight. Having pushed the aircraft into position for starting, both occupants boarded the aircraft and the pilot commenced the pre-start procedures using the aircraft checklist. After the engine was started, the aircraft was 50 | FLYER | February 2022

“Decisions made on final approach left nowhere to go but down…” taxied for take-off, backtracking the runway. Once the pilot was happy with the position, both pilots noted that there was a glider on finals so the take-off began without delay. The pilot had missed the final power check, which required the engine to be run at full power and a check of the maximum rpm to be performed to confirm that the propeller was in fine pitch. The pilot described the aircraft as sluggish on the take-off roll and, as the aircraft approached the half-way point of the runway, he checked that the airbrakes were stowed, and the rpm was within normal limits as he was expecting to be airborne by this point. Seeing the yellow winch caravan at the end of the runway approaching, the pilot called out his intentions to abort the take-off and stop. The passenger in the right seat called out that he had control and the pilot let go of the controls. Shortly afterwards the aircraft became airborne, although it was immediately clear that it was not climbing away as expected. The aircraft reached approximately 100ft agl before beginning to descend. The pilot called to the passenger, who was

now flying the aircraft, that there was a suitable field to their left. The aircraft banked left but struck a tree with the right wing as it descended. It turned through 180° before pitching down and striking the ground nose first. The canopy flew open and forward, and both occupants were able to vacate the aircraft without injury. The aircraft was extensively damaged. The take-off had been attempted with the propeller in coarse pitch leading to a significant loss of performance. Comment This is one of a number of recent accidents which remind us that a proper engine power check serves to confirm more than just mags, carb heat and prop functionality. It also helps confirm fuel flow/selection, mixture setting and prop pitch, and tends to leave most of the ‘levers’ in the right place for take-off. All of which should get a final check prior to take-off, of course, but in this instance a rushed departure may have compromised those checks. As an aside, despite best intentions, the (un-briefed) takeover of control removed the handling pilot’s option to abort which might well have been achieved safely.

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I was thinking of bringing a ‘SPOT’ of levity to this month’s Safety Kit. It is Christmas after all! Despite the SPOT range of devices being used the world over for emergency messaging when operating beyond GPRS contact, it also has a tracking function. Yes, that means Santa can be tracked leaving the North Pole if he had one of these devices mounted on his sleigh! More than that, though, if you have a bit of a ‘following’,

which may be no more than your own family, why not velcro one of these to your coaming so you can be tracked on your adventures around the Highlands and Islands. And, should anything go wrong, you are pretty much guaranteed to get assistance, wherever you are. There is a 12-monthly contract for around €12/ month but also one month only plans for €15. So why not give Santa a gift this Christmas!


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52 | FLYER | February 2022


FLYING ADVENTURE

Operation Stirling Your mission, Chris Bullock and Lee Wilson, should you choose to accept it: Overfly UK motor racing circuits in honour of Sir Stirling Moss. You have from Dawn to Dusk. Chris takes up the story…

W

e are Team Sibson, Chris Bullock and Lee Wilson, both private pilots who learned to fly at, and fly from, Peterborough Sibson Airfield. We’re relatively low hours pilots (me 156 and Lee 305 at competition entry, both with night ratings and Lee with an IR(R)), but we are always looking for a new challenge. So we got our heads together mid-April (well, over a Skype chat due to Covid lockdown) and decided to plan an entry to the annual Dawn to Dusk competition, after seeing an advert for it in a recent marketing email from Pooleys. We thought that doing something in honour of the late, great Sir Stirling Moss would be fitting, given the sporting challenge aspect of the Dawn to Dusk event. A serious challenge seemed a great way to honour him – and at the same time raise money for NHS Charities Together. We decided we would overfly famous racetracks in England and Wales, taking aerial shots of the racetracks as we go! The original planned route took in 844nm and 8.5hr of airborne time (not taking into account possible holding time, diversions etc), over 15 famous racetracks with three stops in between. I say ‘original planned route’ as there were changes as time passed and planning developed, but more about that later… Our chosen steed was the faithful Peterborough Flying School aircraft G-BAXY. A Cessna Skyhawk F172M with excellent performance, and superb onboard equipment, including Garmin GNS 430 GPS with

slaved HSI, Bendix King KX165A comm/nav radios, Bendix King KN64 DME, Bendix King KR87 ADF, and Garmin GTX 328 Transponder Mode S. Between us we had amassed 61 hours of experience with G-BAXY since it arrived with Peterborough Flying School in October 2019 and it was the preferred self-hire aircraft for us both, which made it an obvious choice.

The planning stage

So, the game was afoot, the next step was starting the detailed planning. This was a welcome distraction, what with lockdown being in full swing and taking a toll worldwide. Planning was going to be different with the inability to get together, but made much easier with the use of tech, including Skype and SkyDemon. The route was one aspect to consider, but not the only one. For a start neither of us had a northern half-million chart, just one of the many things we needed to prepare. A check of actual dawn and dusk timings showed sunrise at 0503, sunset 2110, giving us 16 hours and seven minutes in the air. We also had some pre-challenge flights to practise Crew Resource Management (CRM) and right seat flying to ensure we were comfortable with taking control should it be required in an urgent or distress situation, or due to PIC fatigue. That included a plan for Lee to take control should flight in IMC become unexpectedly necessary due his IR(R) qualification. Finally, we were ready to depart! We met up on Sunday 19 July to have a last brief, check and fuel the aircraft, agreed a planned departure time of 0700L and February 2022 | FLYER | 53


Flying Adventure

we also filed the Leg 1 flight plan later that evening to leave the morning as clear as possible. Leg 1: Peterborough Sibson to Thruxton 251nm, 2hr 50min: 0742L-1032L Finally, the day of the challenge had arrived. We were up nice and early, everything packed and a light breakfast to start the day. The F215 was checked and couldn’t look any better! I arrived at the airfield at 0615L, and Lee was a bit delayed at about 0700L. Lee had the hangar keys so as soon as he got there we opened up, wheeled BAXY out, completed checks, and made sure we had everything we needed (first challenge of the day: find the aircraft’s fuel tank dipstick!). We were airborne at about 0742L! On the climb out from Sibson the high voltage light came on in the cockpit and the voltmeter was showing excessive charge on the battery – not a good start! After reaching a safe altitude and levelling off we decided to reset the alternator as an initial step (as per the POH) and this did resolve the issue, so we decided to continue and monitor, again, as per the POH, which indicates that if it resolves the issue the flight can continue. We changed frequency to London Information and Lee contacted them to activate our flight plan. We climbed to 4,000ft to stay clear of the Lakenheath/Mildenhall MATZ (we did call Lakenheath, but with no reply we stayed with London Info), and danger area D208 before descending to 3,000ft as we approached Snetterton for the first racetrack, on what was a really beautiful morning. On departing Snetterton we informed London Info of our position, new heading and next reporting point, heading south for Brands Hatch and climbing to approx. 3,700ft to remain above the Wattisham MATZ, as well as the Rattlesden and Wormingford glider launching sites. After passing Wormingford we descended to 2,000ft to be below the 2,500ft London TMA Class A airspace ahead of time. Not long after this we requested a frequency change to Southend Radar to obtain our first LARS of the day and mark the start of what was an extremely busy 50 minutes flying and radio work as we prepared to approach our second and third racetracks at Brands Hatch and Brooklands. In that period we spoke to Southend, Farnborough East, Heathrow, back to

Previous page Silverstone, obviously! Above Snetterton in Norfolk, with the A47 running past Below Brooklands, Surrey in the London CTR, gulp!

“Approaching Goodwood we descended to 2,500ft to grab a good picture of the track” 54 | FLYER | February 2022

Farnborough East then on to Farnborough West, all very nicely handled by Lee on the radios and a great service from all the ATC involved. We passed Brands Hatch and got some great pictures before heading north-west to avoid the Biggin Hill ATZ, and then track towards Epsom and the Ockham VOR/DME where we planned to hold in case of a delay in obtaining clearance to enter the London CTR. Brooklands was the racetrack we were most concerned about being in the London CTR, but our prep, pre-calls with Heathrow and Swanwick, and filing the flight plan all paid off as we heard the magical words ‘cleared to enter airspace to Brooklands not above 1,500ft, advise when routing south to exit the zone’. After departing Brooklands we headed south out of the CTR, advising Heathrow Radar as we did and requested a frequency change back to Farnborough before climbing back to 2,000ft and then 3,000ft en route to Goodwood. The airspace was starting to get busy at this point and as we headed towards the South Downs we gave ourselves a small congratulations and at the same time breathed a sigh of relief having successfully completed the first serious challenge of the day – and being able to snap Brooklands. Approaching Goodwood we descended to 2,500ft to allow us to grab a good picture of the track, while remaining clear of the ATZ, and then headed north-west, climbing back up to 3,000ft and skirting around the edge of the Solent CTA before speaking to Boscombe Zone as we made our way towards Thruxton for the first stop. After being cleared across the MATZ and danger area D126 we changed frequency to Thruxton and made our approach not above 1,200ft to join downwind at the 800ft circuit height. On speaking to the air ground station at Thruxton we opted to take our racetrack photo on the departure, so we landed and headed to check in and organise a refuel (we filled to full tanks at each stop), Leg 1 complete!


Leg 2: Thruxton to Caernarfon, 238nm 2hr 45min: 1128L-1413L After leaving the Boscombe MATZ we climbed out to 4,000ft and with the thermals building up it was quite bumpy at lower altitude. At 4,000ft we were back into nice smooth air, talking to Boscombe Zone and Brize for a LARS on the way as we headed towards our next circuit at Castle Combe. Approaching Castle Combe we descended to 2,500ft to get a good picture of the circuit and changed frequency to Bristol Radar to obtain CTA transit clearance as we’d decided to make the most of the location and good weather to fly over the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Above Brands Hatch, Kent Below Goodwood, Sussex Below right Thruxton, Wilts

Bristol, as all ATC along the route, provided us with a great service, allowing us into the CTA ‘as required’ to overfly the bridge before we headed north-west towards Brecon and on our way to Pembrey circuit. We changed frequency to Cardiff en route to obtain a LARS for this next part of the journey. We decided to take the opportunity to take in more scenery and tracked towards Brecon VOR/DME at 4,000ft. We encountered some light turbulence as we headed to Brecon, but nothing out of limits, and we enjoyed some cracking views before turning overhead the beacon and tracking outbound towards Pembrey, keeping ATC informed of our intentions.

February 2022 | FLYER | 55


Flying Adventure

Pembrey was our next track of concern along the route, in terms of being able to photograph it. Not only is it part of an active airfield but also in the active Danger Area D118 that extends from the surface to 12,000ft. After requesting a frequency change, we contacted Pembrey Range which answered after our second call and cleared us to cross D118 for the photo opportunity – we were set for our second major (planned) challenge of the day! After clearing Pembrey we changed frequency back to Cardiff for a LARS and then continued with London Information as we headed up the west Wales coast towards Aberystwyth. For this part of the leg we decided to make the most of the Class G, weather and views, and climbed up to 7,000ft, above the cloud base, but maintaining VFR. We took in some amazing sights, too many to mention, but including the entry / exit for the ‘Mach Loop’! The views and scenery on this leg were amazing, the weather we had en route accentuated the colours even more, making the Welsh coast look like a Caribbean postcard, which was breathtaking. From here we crossed Barmouth and Tremadog bays, and the Lleyn Peninsula towards Anglesey circuit which lies inside the Valley/ Mona MATZ and close to the Valley ATZ. As we approached our next stop, Caernarfon, from the south (we were going to overfly Anglesey circuit before returning to land) we descended to 3,000ft and changed frequency to RAF Valley. We had spoken to Valley in the

56 | FLYER | February 2022

Above Spectacular Castle Combe, near Chippenham, Wilts Below left Pembrey in south Wales Below right Then north for Anglesey

run up to the trip so it wasn’t surprised to hear us. However, we knew that there was potentially another photo challenge here with Anglesey circuit being so close to its ATZ and given the nature of the operations the RAF runs from there. We didn’t want to be mixing it with the Hawks, despite secretly wishing we could recreate the inverted dive scene from Top Gun – well maybe not in a C172… The Hawks were active, but Valley was very good and managed our MATZ penetration with the departing Hawk traffic very smoothly (we certainly heard the roar of their jet engines despite not being visual) allowing us to capture the picture we needed before heading back to Caernarfon for a well-deserved rest and refuel – human and aircraft. After thanking Valley for its invaluable help we changed frequency to Caernarfon, obtained airfield info and carried out a standard overhead join to R25. The wind had picked up and there was a strong crosswind from the right on 25 which was a challenge for me, but I got the aircraft down safely and after speaking with air ground headed straight for refuelling. After refuelling we encountered another technical issue however, as BAXY didn’t start straight away! We both recognised the noise as a failure of the Bendix starter to engage properly and after a third attempt, she started successfully, phew…


Flying Adventure

After parking came the next issue – no refreshment nor toilet facilities open at Caernarfon. We had been speaking with Caernarfon in the run up to the trip and at no point had understood that this was going to be the case. Thankfully we had packed sandwiches and were able to grab a bite to eat and a brief rest – in the company of RAF Puma pilots we might add… Leg 3: Caernarfon to Teesside International, 183nm 1hr 55min: 1500L-1655L Given that time was now getting on (approaching 1500), and as we had two significant legs and some en route challenges left, we decided to contact Teesside International before we left Caernarfon. Teesside was our next scheduled stop so we updated it of our progress and expected ETA, as well as to confirm that there would be no known issues with our arrival. It confirmed everything was OK, so we set off. Time for a change of roles! I took over the role of pilot navigating, monitoring and radios and Lee took the Captain’s helm. After a check of the aircraft, updating the tech logs and a successful first-time engine start, we were off on the third leg of our adventure. We’d planned two possible routes for the first part of this leg from Caernarfon to Oulton Park – overflying Snowdon or routing around the north Wales coast. Given

Above Caernarfon, north Wales Below left Oulton Park, Cheshire Below right Aintree, near Liverpool

the weather that had descended and the risk of CFIT, we opted to take the north Wales coast, routing towards Colwyn Bay and across towards Borras Quarry VRP, near Wrexham. The scenery didn’t disappoint and the choice to not overfly Snowdon was confirmed as a good one as we watched the mountain flit in and out of cloud. We tried to contact Shawbury for a LARS after leaving Valley’s service but were unable to contact Shawbury or Warton, so talked to Hawarden where we managed to receive a service. Approaching Borras Quarry VRP we descended to 2,000ft to remain below the Class A Niton CTA and the soon to be encountered Manchester CTA at 2,500ft. We also prepared for the next possible issue – crossing the Liverpool CTR to fly over Aintree, before turning to cross the Pennines towards Croft and Teesside International. We requested a frequency change to Liverpool Approach from Hawarden, but we were initially denied due to traffic management being carried out by Hawarden. Eventually they handed us over to Liverpool as we transited overhead Oulton Park – and only three to four minutes before we were due to enter controlled airspace. We requested clearance and were asked to standby while ATC dealt with other traffic. Lee slowed the aircraft down to give us more time and we prepared to divert to the south if clearance wasn’t provided in time. ATC came back to us and cleared us to transit just in time from the Tarvin

February 2022 | FLYER | 57


Flying Adventure

Roundabout VRP, direct to Aintree and directly overhead Liverpool Airport! After passing overhead Aintree and leaving controlled airspace we thanked Liverpool for its service and we were handed over to Manchester Radar, before we commenced a climb to 3,000ft staying clear of the Manchester CTR and Class A TMA. We were unable to obtain a traffic service from Manchester. However, it provided a basic service which we stayed with before changing to London Information and eventually to Teesside Radar for a basic, followed by traffic service when in range.

58 | FLYER | February 2022

Above Croft, near Teesside Below left Cadwell Park, hard to spot in Lincolnshire’s Wolds Below right Mallory Park, Leics

We stayed at 3,500ft for this part of the leg passing some fantastic scenery across the Pennines before descending to 3,150ft as we crossed the north-westerly stub of the Leeming Matz overhead Catterick and prepared for a descent into Teesside International. Due to the Croft Circuit being active, we’d already opted to photograph Croft on the departure from Teesside, so we asked for a radar vectored ILS approach into Teesside, allowing Lee to utilise his IR(R) qualification and skills. We were guided in for a downwind join to R23, and while on the downwind leg flew through a shower / cloud,


Flying Adventure

entering into IMC for the first time on the trip so far. This only lasted seconds and we were soon completing downwind checks and turning base, then final to intercept the LLZ, and configuring for landing before intercepting the GP and flying a (very nice ILS if we do say so ourselves!) parallel approach with a HEMS on the way in too! We’d made it into Teesside in time. We were three legs and 10 circuits down, with one leg and five circuits to go! Leg 4: Teesside International to Peterborough Sibson 248nm 2hr 30min: 1756L-2026L After treating ourselves to a slightly longer break at Teesside, as well as refuelling, we were escorted via crew bus to the terminal building where we were able to relax in the very comfortable crew lounge with complimentary drinks and snacks. After this welcome break we were escorted back to the aircraft where we completed checks ahead of the final leg and prepared to depart. We needed to photograph Croft on the climbout, which was the first challenge for this leg, as we weren’t allowed to fly overhead. Challenge number two was going to be photographing Donington Park which lies at the end of East Midlands R27. So we called ahead to East Midlands tower (whom we’d spoken to in the run up to the flight) to confirm our intentions, ETA and to check if a transit overhead at the end of R27 would be possible. EMA said there would be active traffic but that it should be able to accommodate us not above 3,000ft – result! On climbing out from Teesside we got a snap of Croft and then turned south, tracking to the Ottringham VOR, initially with Teesside and then changing frequency to Humberside Radar for a LARS service for all of 15 minutes before closing, after which we reverted to London Information. We climbed to 7,000ft for the en route part of this leg in what was a lovely clear sky. Approaching Ottringham we commenced a descent to

Above Donington Park, Leics Below We added a last motorsport venue on the spur of the moment at the end, Santa Pod drag raceway, Beds

3,000ft where we remained until passing Cadwell Park where we turned south-west towards VRP Trowell in East Midlands CTA 1 which was the transit point we’d agreed with East Midlands. After passing Cadwell we remained with London Information and climbed to 4,000ft to remain clear of the Waddington MATZ. After overflying Waddington we requested a frequency change to East Midlands and we also advised our revised ETA, which was later than previously advised at Trowell VRP. No problem, EMA could still accommodate us, thankfully… From here we proceeded to Trowell, descended to 2,800ft and were cleared into controlled airspace. After passing Trowell we headed south-west, directly towards East Midlands Airport, which we overflew, and were able to overfly Donington race circuit and capture our last ‘challenging photo’. We were almost there! It was now 1930 and while there was 1h 40min to go until dusk at 2110, we were conscious of approximately 50 minutes flight time left and not much room for error from a timing perspective. After passing Donington we remained in controlled airspace at the same altitude until clear of East Midlands CTA4, and remained with East Midlands on a basic service. We overflew Mallory Park in Leicestershire and remained on track south-east for Silverstone, our final circuit, climbing up to 3,500ft en route. We’d made it! It was almost 2000 local and we were at Silverstone. We descended to 3,000ft to get a better picture with the light fading and completed a lap of honour before heading north-east towards Sibson in time to land at shutdown before the dusk deadline. Then Lee had an idea. “Why don’t we go for one more race circuit and overfly Santa Pod?” This made perfect sense. After all, Santa Pod was a world famous drag strip and was on our route back to Sibson… After overflying Santa Pod and approaching Thrapston we requested a frequency change to Sibson Radio and said goodbye and thanks to our last ATC of the day. The sun was setting fast as we made our approach to Sibson, broadcasting on frequency for any traffic in the area to be aware, and in the hope that there might be someone on frequency to greet us back at base! Alas not, but that didn’t matter as we’d made it and before long Lee was performing checks and setting BAXY up for a straight in approach to R33. A lovely greaser landing onto R33 by Lee brought our flying for the day to an end. We landed at approximately 2026L, taxied to the hard behind the hangar at Sibson and shut the aircraft down. It felt strange and almost sad to not be flying on for another leg after the day’s adventures, but we were both shattered and looking forward to a beer and a good sleep… February 2022 | FLYER | 59


Top Gear

The latest aviation kit, impartially tested and evaluated

Sensorcon AV8 Inspector and AV8 Inspector Pro HHHH✩ $139 and $169 | www.sensorcon.com

C

arbon Monoxide (CO) is bad news, but then again, you know that as you learned about it in your Human Performance groundschool studies. So given we know it’s so bad for us, and that aircraft engine exhausts and cabin heaters are notorious for trying to kill us so covertly, why then do so many pilots continue to put their trust in those stick-on plastic chemical dot detector cards? I know they’re cheap, but life is precious, right? You can’t see CO, it has no taste nor smell, and it competes with oxygen by binding to the haemoglobin in your red blood cells. Your haemoglobin even works against you, as its affinity for CO is 210 times greater than that for oxygen, plus its effects are cumulative. The effects of CO, measured in parts per million (ppm), depend on concentration and length of exposure, as well as the health condition of each individual. The maximum continuous exposure for an adult in any eight-hour period is considered to be 35ppm. Most people won’t experience any symptoms from prolonged exposure to CO levels of approximately 1-70ppm, but some heart patients

60 | FLYER | February 2022

might experience an increase in chest pain. As CO levels increase and remain above 70ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations of 200ppm, dizziness will occur, 400ppm is life threatening after three hours, while at 800ppm, you’ll be unconscious within two hours, and likely dead within three. Collectively, this means that it’s worth investing in an active CO detector, such as the two that I’ve tested. The AV8 Inspector and the AV8 Inspector Pro are small stand-alone devices that you can take along in the cockpit easily. Both have an LCD display which displays a live readout of CO gas concentration from 0-1,999ppm, as well as an audible alarm buzzer. Both units also have a MAX mode, which will show the highest peak reading measured while the MAX mode is active. The display will only show another value once a new higher reading is encountered. A neat mounting bracket is included with both units, or you can use the clip on the back of the unit, although it really only works for attaching the device to something

such as a fabric pocket, given that it’s a fairly tight closing device with sharp triangular teeth. Just place with caution if you do use it! The Pro is slightly more expensive and includes a vibrating alarm, offers adjustable high and low alarm setting thresholds and a time-weighted average option. This means it can display the maximum eight-hour average CO reading in the last 24 hours. The factory defaults for both units are a low setting of 35ppm, and 200ppm for high alarm. On the Pro, you can change them – simply hold the power and Max buttons when the unit is switched on for five seconds and a menu screen will appear, then you just scroll through to find the appropriate setting page. I took the units flying in the RV-3 and in the Vagabond. The RV-3 surprised me by providing a very CO-free cockpit environment, even with the cabin heater pulled on. It was 0ppm throughout the entire flight. Previously, when I tested active CO detectors in our Summer 2019 issue, the FLYER 182 cabin had shown an ambient CO level during cruise of around 2ppm, while pulling on the cabin heat saw an increase to 8-10ppm. So it was surprising to have such a clean cockpit environment. The Vagabond was a different story though. With both units clipped to the

Above Both models of the AV8 Inspector include a mounting bracket that the unit can be clipped in and out of easily Bottom left An active CO detector is a sensible addition to a GA cockpit. Having two identical units on trial certainly highlighted how CO readings can vary around the cockpit


Top Gear

right-hand side door pocket, as I taxied out with the door shut and the cabin heat off, the readings on both were around 10ppm. Once airborne, both units peaked around 65ppm on climb-out, before settling to 50ppm during cruise. This triggered the LO alarms on both units. Four lights flash on the unit, and they are clear to see. The audible buzzer (80-85dB) was not that obvious in flight, although I was able to hear it clearly with the power pulled back to 1,200rpm when flying base leg. If you were wearing the Pro unit on a shirt pocket, the vibrating alarm might likely be a bonus alert if cabin noise overwhelms the alarm. Turning the cabin heat on seemed to make little difference, which I’ll confess was a surprise, as I was expecting something. What did catch my attention was while the cabin heat was pulled on, about five seconds after deselecting a good blast of carb heat, the units peaked at 83 and 105ppm for about 15 seconds. Interestingly, a repeat of the carb heat / cabin heat combo, with one unit on the left side of the cockpit and one still on the door pocket, showed that the high readings seemed to be focused around the right side of the cabin. The same happened if I held a unit down towards my feet, near the cabin heat outlet, which made me think that a combination of gaps around the right

door, and a right side exhaust outlet might be the biggest CO issue in the Vagabond cockpit. Regardless, we’ll certainly be giving the Vagabond exhaust system a good check over as part of her winter maintenance, and take a look at better sealing around the door. One thing is sure though, the old school CO card detector we’ve carried in the past never gave us a clue to any of this. Based on my testing, if you have an aircraft where the cockpit has an ambient level of around 50ppm of CO, then paying extra for the Inspector Pro is worth it for being able to set your own alarm threshold levels, otherwise the preset low alarm setting could see it being triggered frequently. That said though, I’m sure we all aspire to make

Above Both models have an audio alert and warning lights, but only the Pro has a vibrate function

our cockpit environments as CO-free as possible. Something to be aware of, the manufacturer recommends that you calibrate the AV8 Inspector every six months to ensure the best accuracy possible, and an End of Life (EOL) symbol will display in the unit after two years (end of the warranty period). However, the instructions advise that a successful calibration with with a test gas will remove the EOL notification for an additional 180 days. Future successful calibrations can continue as long as the electromechanical sensing element remains in good condition. Sensorcon told me there may come a time when after repeated calibrations when the unit says ERR, which means it’s time to change the sensor. Return it to them, and they will service the unit and fit a new sensor for $69, resetting the clock for another two years. There’s no question that carrying an active CO monitor in the cockpit is a useful and potential life-saving measure, plus if you’re in and out of various cockpits, an easily portable one like the AV8 Inspector is a useful tool to measure how these environments vary in the level of CO hazard we can be exposed to. The CAA is currently behind a trial of active CO detectors which runs until August 2022. You can join in by registering here. Ed Hicks

Typhoon

£20 | www.penguin.co.uk/books

T

yphoon – The Inside Story Of An RAF Squadron At War by Wing Commander Mike ‘Sooty’ Sutton, is a fabulous insight into the mind of an accomplished fighter pilot and leader as he takes on the biggest challenge of his career – leading 1 (Fighter) Squadron and their Typhoons into operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. With a brilliant level of detail in scene-setting, this book will appeal to all. From Sutton’s first thoughts of becoming a pilot as a child – and what it took to realise his dream – to the drama and challenges of leading a squadron and operating a multi-role Typhoon over hostile territory with all of the diplomatic and technical issues that arise, he describes it all in a way that is easy to understand and makes it very difficult to put the book down. We hear stories of Sutton’s time

on a University Air Squadron, flying training both in the UK and Canada, his first frontline posting to the Jaguar and his transition to the Typhoon. The crescendo comes with the short-notice call to deploy his squadron as the spearhead of RAF operations as part of Operation Shader in the Middle East. Sutton’s honesty is clear throughout the book – struggles through flying training and his personal life, losing friends to suicide, times of self-doubt, the mental toll that operational flying can take and his utter pride in his squadron as the man at the helm. I would highly recommend this book to all, even those who aren’t necessarily fans of aviation. There’s something to appeal for everyone and the dramatic descriptions and personal insight will keep you turning the pages. Mike Ling

Above Mike Sutton and his book about leading a Typhoon squadron to war against ISIS in the Middle East February 2022 | FLYER | 61


By Association Looking after General Aviation The UK’s flying associations at work

BMAA Less is more In economics, the Laffer curve describes the relationship between tax rates and tax revenue. There is an optimum point whereby a government receives the most cash – and it’s not necessarily when the tax rates are at their highest. This principle can be carried over to flight safety regulations. We could reduce flying-related accidents substantially if we all stopped flying, but actually we are looking for the optimum point of regulations, where risk is at an acceptable level and we all get to enjoy our flying.

A major benefit of microlighting is its relatively reduced regulatory framework. This leads to lower costs and, as a consequence, more flying hours in our fleet. Regular flying is a safety benefit as lack of currency is often cited as a causal factor in accidents. So our regulations really should be promoting flying, and as much of it as possible, as that is how pilots retain their skills. We can also demonstrate that our systems work since the level of safety in our fleet is comparable to that of other types of flying. The CAA is keen to standardise regulations and often cite other sectors of

flying before telling us that we need to conform to that way of working – and we have a specific example of this at the moment. In this particular instance, we believe that our system is more robust than the CAA’s proposal and, if there is to be standardisation, then others would do well to follow our example. We’re at the optimum point – increasing regulation would, in our view, be detrimental to safety. Rob Hughes British Microlight Aircraft Association www.bmaa.org

LAA New initiatives for 2022 First and foremost, here’s to a very happy and healthy New Year! From an LAA perspective, we are looking ahead to a year of changes and new initiatives for the LAA. We are aiming to build on our 75 years of tradition, but offering some new approaches to supporting affordable flying and, above all, flying for fun. Our Light Aviation magazine is part of that evolution. January 2022 marks the first edition with our new editor Ed Hicks, who has replaced Brian Hope after a legendary 20 years in the left-hand seat. FLYER readers will already know Ed as the former editor of this

magazine, a post he occupied since 2014. Now he’ll combine his work as Editor-At-Large with Seager Publishing with ensuring Light Aviation builds on its legacy of success. Ed is no stranger to the LAA either. He’s been a member since the 1980s, as well as being a photographic contributor since his teens. In 2000, Ed along with his father Peter, and Nigel Hitchman began work on building a Vans RV-6. It is still owned by Nigel today. Ed and Steve Ayres subsequently built a Vans RV-8 which made its maiden flight in 2019 and Ed also flies a vintage Piper Vagabond and has recently also acquired one of the rare original, single-seat, Vans RV-3s.

And that’s in addition to all the aircraft he has flown with FLYER magazine! Looking ahead to the New Year, the number of members and active aircraft in permit have recovered from the Covid driven early 2021 slump and we’ll end the year with more than 2,800 aircraft with active permits to fly and around 7,800 members. So, Covid or not, I’m still pretty confident that I can cheerfully wish you a Happy New Year and plenty of fun flying in 2022! Steve Slater Light Aircraft Association www.lightaircraftassociation.co.uk

Vintage Piper Aircraft Club Supporting body The Vintage Piper Aircraft Club is the supporting body for all owners, pilots and enthusiasts of vintage and classic Piper aircraft. Even Piper Cherokees and some of their variants qualify today as ‘vintage’. The majority of our nearly 300 members are UK-based, some are in Europe, with a handful further afield. The Club’s ethos is very much on flying, friendship and fun. Each summer we organise a number of meetings, the venues chosen regionally to enable the greatest number of members to attend, as well as for having fuel and a good café on site.

Benefits of membership include free or subsidised landings at official events, plus access to technical advice via our email Forum. We count professionals such as Licensed Aircraft Engineers, LAA Inspectors and CAA-approved specialists among our ranks, so there is usually someone to help with your query. We publish an annual magazine, and can supply a wide range of inexpensive Club-logoed clothing that can be customised with personal details, registration etc. From being originally a club for Piper enthusiasts, over the years we have attracted other classic and vintage types and today have a significant number of Aeroncas, Cessnas,

Luscombes and Stinsons on our books as well as Jodels, Pups and even a few DH Moths. We cooperate with other type-specific Clubs, and are affiliated to the LAA’s Clubs and Struts. Details of our 2022 flying programme are available on our website. Charlie Monsell

Vintage Piper Aircraft Club www.vintagepiper.co.uk

Aviation associations Got something to say? You’re welcome to contribute to this page, email editor@seager.aero 62 | FLYER | February 2022


A view from one of our guests, Alex Smee, who joined us on a Thursday night Livestream

Like, comment, subscribe! At FLYER HQ our digital output has been astronomical and is set to expand as we welcome in 2022… all the more reason to join us!

T

here is no doubt that 2021 has been a busy year for FLYER, as we’ve pushed out more and more digital content across our YouTube channel as well as all the usual written content in the magazine. From SkyDemon ‘top tips’ (worth a watch – I guarantee you’ll learn something new) – to our weekly livestream, we’ve ramped up the content and have seen more than a fantastic 1,500 new subscribers join us throughout the year. If you are one of our nearly 4,000 subscribers, then, thanks from all of us to all of you! There’ll be a lot more video content coming in 2022. If you aren’t yet subscribed to our channel, we’d love it if you did! Just click here to go to the page. We’ve clocked nearly 200,000 views across the channel throughout 2021, with a huge amount of that being from our weekly livestreams, our FLYER Live week in April 2021, as well as our

broadcasts from the LAA Rally. Those 200,000 views have been spread across 30,000+ hours of watch time. I wish my logbook boasted that figure! If you do tune in, don’t forget to like our videos and leave comments – your feedback or ideas are welcome! More than 450 of you also have notifications turned on, (isn’t data great?), which means you’ll find out as soon as a new FLYER video is released. Back to that SkyDemon tips video; why not let us know what you think SkyDemon could do? Just drop some ideas into the comments. If you’re following us on social media then you’ll no doubt get a grasp of the GA industry’s news each week. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and choose many ‘Out and About’ photos from them. Just tag FLYER or send us a DM. jonny.salmon@seager.aero February 2022 | FLYER | 63


The FLYER Club

Out & About The weather continues to be a bit mixed, and the days are short, but it looks like you’ve been having fun all around the country – and beyond! Thanks… keep the photos coming!

Andy Amor over the Black Mountains in his Beagle Pup

Steph Smith Rearwin at Bicester

Oleg Gorelov taking a quick selfie

Stephen McDermott Can you guess the city…?

Craig Thomas flying off the West Coast of Scotland from Glasgow Flying Club 64 | FLYER | February 2022

Mark Bellamy with a missing GoPro!


Gert Post over the Golden Gate Bridge

Riccardo De Nardis flying in Italy

Mick Ward heading to the Humber on a wintry day

Ben Wyatt witnesses an early winter sunset at Brown Shutters Farm

Ross Houston over the Forth bridges

Finn Catling ready to fly his Chipmunk

Carl Wakefield flying with his son in Malta February 2022 | FLYER | 65


Free Landings In association with

If you’re a member of The FLYER Club, click here for your personalised vouchers and save over £35 by claiming one FREE landing at each of these airfields valid for February 2022, 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 new free landing fees every four weeks plus other Club member benefits, then click here to join!

Blackpool

01253 472527 | EGNH | www.blackpoolairport.com Blackpool Airport is on the Fylde Coast and offers a warm welcome. ATC services, approach NAVAIDS and fire services are all available, along with avgas and Jet A1. There are two hard runways (10/28 and 13/31) and a dedicated GA apron. GA pilots can use lounge area with tea and coffee facilities. PPR via ATC on 01253 472527. Voucher is valid for non-based aircraft.

Nearby attractions include the Blackpool Tower, Pleasure Beach, Golden Mile Promenade and zoo. PPR 01253 472 527 Radio 119.955

Eshott

01670 787881 | www.eshottairfield.com Eshott Airfield, Northumberland’s regional airport, is situated 18 miles north of Newcastle. It is Northumberland’s main sport aviation centre with two tarmac and one grass runways, and accepts microlights to twins and helicopters. Visitors receive a warm welcome, tea and coffee is always available and at weekends the clubhouse is bustling with members and visitors.

Nearby attractions include Burgham Park Golf and Leisure Club, Alnwick Castle and Gardens and Newcastle itself. Good B&Bs nearby. PPR 01670 787881 Radio 122.855

M

Radio Accepts non-radio light aircraft, but PPR

PPR Prior permission is required

66 | FLYER | February 2022

Refreshments Including restaurants and cafes etc

Microlights are welcome

A

UL

Fuel Aviation fuel available A avgas, UL UL91, M mogas

While you’re there When you visit these 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!

Holmbeck Farm

01296 681816 | https://tinyurl.com/y4kcr87 Holmbeck Airfield opened in 1985 and is a 500m grass farm strip in Buckinghamshire, just over 2nm west of Leighton Buzzard. Owners Bob and Rita Perkins live onsite so there is always a warm welcome. Tie-down spaces available and microlights are 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 135.480

Middlezoy 07901 826351 |

https://middlezoyaerodrome.wixsite.com/my-site/ Middlezoy Aerodrome is a reasonably new farm strip airfield under development on land in the south-east corner of the historic site of RAF Westonzoyland. Visitors are welcome and PPR is essential, with full joining instructions on the website. Adhere to the briefing due to close proximity to Westonzoyland airfield. Tea, coffee and lots of flying chat awaits!

Nearby attractions include Hestercombe Gardens in Taunton, and the Fleet Air Arm Museum. PPR 07901 826351 Radio 129.830

DELAYED DUE TO COVID

DELAYED DUE TO COVID

Win! A print and digital Pooleys UK Flight Guide QUESTION: What is the distance between Middlezoy and Eshott 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 competitions@seager.aero The closing date is 11 February 2022.

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.

1 Blackpool 2 Eshott 3 Holmbeck Farm 4 Middlezoy 2 1

3 4

The winner for December 2021 is: C Broadbridge, Warsash, Hants.

February 2022 | FLYER | 67


Want to make the best use of our FREE landing vouchers? Time to join our Club…

Making hay while the sun doesn’t shine…

D

We’re proud of our Club members, readers and followers. You’re all flying a lot – keep it up!

espite poor weather conditions and storms, Club members, readers and online followers have managed to get ‘Out & About’ a surprising number of times this winter (see previous spread). For various reasons many people are stuck to local flights at this time of year, but we try our best to organise as many hard runway FREE landing vouchers as we can, to give FLYER Club members the best possible chance of getting airborne. The FREE landing vouchers, which are kindly donated by airfields around the country, are a superb member benefit and are as much about encouraging pilots to visit new places and expand their horizons as they are about saving money. We want to thank all the airfields that have contributed throughout 2021, which has been a difficult year for the industry. Some airfields have been lucky enough to remain open throughout – especially those that serve local air ambulance, coastguard and police assets. Many others, however, have been reduced to a bare minimum of staff and are still working hard to reopen fully. That said, if your local airfield might be interested in offering a FREE landing voucher, please DO ask them, and tell them to drop us an email at jonny.salmon@ seager.aero. We’ll be only too happy to talk – and there’s plenty we can offer in return. We’re also looking out for suitable places to hold the next Club fly-ins during the summer, as well as locations to take the Thursday evening Livestream ‘on the road’. Send us your suggestions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – or email jonny.salmon@seager.aero. We’ve already agreed on a late-summer fly-in at

68 | FLYER | February 2022

Sleap with Bruce Buglass and his team. Saturday 17 September is the date, a couple of weeks after the LAA Rally. We’ll iron out the details in due course, but expect to see at least one more fly-in before that. Not a member? Here’s how you can join…

How to join the FLYER Club If you’re not already a member, we’d love to have you join! The previous pages have hopefully given you some insight into what we do, so how do you join? It’s pretty easy. Just follow this link and complete the form, decide your payment method and you can start enjoying the benefits right away.

Current member benefits

■ Twice weekly weather briefings from Dr Simon Keeling ■ Save 5% when you shop at Pooleys (excludes Bose headsets) ■ Save £10 when you spent £40 at Transair (excludes Bose headsets) ■ Save 10% on a Spitfire Simulator experience with Spitfires.com ■ Save 15% on a Jane Pearson ‘Plane Portrait’ ■ Download a free copy of A View From The Hover ■ 20% discount on the Learning To Fly documentary series ■ Webinars with experts on topics like IFR and flying abroad ■ An initial medical conversation with AME Dr Frank Voeten ■ Get your Club membership paid for by Stein Pilot Insurance ■ Free landing vouchers (hundreds of pounds a year!) ■ Back issues – there are several years already uploaded and many more to come ■ Fly-ins. We tried our first in 2021 and really enjoyed it, so more will follow!


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NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE

Available from 18 January. February 2022 | FLYER | 71


QSY

For the funny, the weird, the wonderful and the just plane strange…

The life of Brian Would a film about legendary microlight pilot Brian Milton and his phenomenal flight around the world in 1998 be a documentary, a thriller, a tragedy or a comedy… Anyone who has read Brian’s book of the flight, Global Flyer, would probably say it’s all of those genres. And yes, a film based on the flight, titled A Wing and a Prayer is being mooted by experienced Hollywood producer, Niels Juul (Martin’s Scorsese’s The Irishman among others). The Guardian reports that the film is ready to go, complete with a big name star and director, but their identities won’t be revealed until the Berlin film festival in February. Shooting is expected to begin by April in Malta and London, with a transatlantic premiere planned for September. The film will tell Brian’s story and how he retraced Phileas Fogg’s round-the-

Main Brian Milton biopic on the way?

11,000th Van’s RV flies

world trip in a microlight after taking up a bet at the Reform Club, where Jules Verne’s fictional character was also a member. Brian flew a Pegasus Quantum for 24,000 miles in 120 days, setting a Guinness World Record for the fastest microlight circumnavigation.

Adventurer Chris Bonington described Milton’s flight around the world as ‘an amazing achievement, of dogged bloody-minded tenacity and the taking of some huge risks’. So, who do you reckon for the lead role…?

It’s nearly 50 years since Van’s Aircraft was founded and during the years since then the company has become the most successful kitplane manufacturer by far – and the 11,000th RV has made its first flight. The aircraft is a Van’s RV-7A belonging to Lennard Nichols and Jay Conlin from Alberta Canada. Completed RVs (as of 30 November 2021): RV-3: 303, RV-4: 1,443, RV-6/6A: 2,700, RV-7/7A: 1,885, RV-8/8A: 1,602, RV-9/9A: 1,163, RV-10: 995, RV-12/12iS:737 and RV-14/14A: 172.

Heroes & Villains HERO Phil Dunnington, a balloon pilot who cofounded the famous Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and flew a Beech 18 to take him, his wife Allie and the balloon around the world, has died aged 74. “His last balloon flight was with our great friend Captain Khalid over beautiful Wadi Rum where both Phil and I did 10min hands on,” said Allie. LUCKY A 72-year-old pilot who made an emergency landing on a German autobahn bridge,

hitting a truck. The pilot had minor injuries while the truck driver was unhurt. The pilot was flying from France to the Netherlands, over the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, when his engine began to fail. SKILLED Jon Humberd was the overall winner of the Central Florida Classic STOL event in early December with a combined take-off and landing distance of 159ft. Jon was flying a Zenith Super 701, a

popular aircraft for STOL competitions. Watch a video here. SAD TG Aviation has ceased operations at Lydd Airport and is considering its options for the future. The flight school was established by former RAF and Red Arrow pilot Ted Girdler at Manston Airport, but moved a few miles across Kent when Manston closed.

Taking the Phractyl

Who thinks the world’s mainstream media has been tricked into thinking the Phractyl Macrobat is a serious attempt at a Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft? VTOLs of all types may be flavour of the Venture Capital market at the moment but a bird-shaped aircraft with tracked feet? The clue may be in the selfdeprecating humour of the African Phractyl team: “If you would like to help all of those suffering from running-lateinitis, support us on Patreon or Paypal, or simply write to us.” More here.

Send your QSY submissions to QSY, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or to qsy@seager.aero 72 | FLYER | February 2022


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