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January 2021










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

Ed Hicks

Asking, are you OK?

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


lying for me is an escape. It’s not just getting airborne, but also the change of scenery it brings when visiting the airfield. Most importantly though, it’s the benefits of the friendships alongside the myriad influences and inputs that those relationships bring to the general well-being of life that I never underestimate. When the first lockdown came along, I had been gearing up to get back to flying after a period away. I’d never stopped being around my home airstrip though, so while not being able to fly was less of an issue, I, like I’m sure so many others did, really missed the sort of ‘catching up’ you can only do face to face. Having got flying again, there were a few months which led to opportunities to work on aircraft, aviate and catch up with people, which was great. But all too quickly autumn is upon us along with the heavy undertones that Covid-19 continues to bring. Just a couple of days before Lockdown 2 began, a small group of friends and I had been busy testing an import RV-6 which has been added to the UK fleet. With that done, the last day was spent with the same group making sure various aeroplanes were flown and fuelled, prior to closing the hangar doors for a month. Fun flying – and I’ve felt a bit at a loss ever since… I’ve been extremely lucky to operate for a long time from a farm strip where the group dynamic is a very special one. Two hangars with multiple aeroplanes to move, and always the chance to congregate with a cuppa and chocolate biscuits is a fantastic way to make sure everyone is OK. I’ve also got an aeroplane based at another strip where individual hangars and no communal kettle means it is surprising how you can fly and yet often not really catch up with people. Reading the Accident Analysis feature on page 50 left me with a greater regard for the potential risks that creep in, the more time we operate in isolation. As we head towards winter, and with so much talk of ‘social distancing’ going on, and with 2020 having been a disrupted year for flying, the opportunity to catch up with a fellow pilot and ask, “Are you OK?” is now more important than ever.

EDITOR Ed Hicks ed.hicks@seager.aero NEWS EDITOR Dave Calderwood  dave.calderwood@seager.aero PRODUCTION EDITOR Lizi Brown lizi.brown@seager.aero ART EDITOR Ollie Alderton ollie.alderton@seager.aero CONTRIBUTORS Mark Hales, Ed Bellamy, Rachel Ramsay Leonardo Correa Luna, Dave Hirschman 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 ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Zoe Yeo zoe.yeo@seager.aero EXHIBITION MANAGERS Darran Ward darran.ward@seager.aero Paul Yates paul.yates@seager.aero MARKETING COORDINATOR Joanna Woronowicz joanna.woronowicz@seager.aero FINANCIAL DIRECTOR Martine Teissier martine.teissier@seager.aero


CIRCULATION Worldwide, free to download digital edition from flyer.co.uk

Left Now, more than ever, it’s worth taking time to ask “Are you okay?”

© Seager Publishing 2020

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.

January 2021 | FLYER | 3

SKYBORNE UK CAA ATPL THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE DISTANCE LEARNING At Skyborne, we’re committed to delivering innovative and accessible pilot training, which is why we have launched our education division, SKYWORX. Our new ATPL Theoretical Knowledge Distance Learning programme is the first course delivered through SKYWORX, so you can complete your ATPL ground school remotely around existing work and family commitments. Over 12-24 months you’ll also benefit from three-weeks of onsite exam preparation training at our flagship Gloucestershire Airport HQ. Combining self-study and Padpilot technology with tutor-led sessions from our experienced Skyborne instructors gives your flight training the best possible start, building a solid foundation for future modular courses, from PPL through to CPL, IR and APS MCC. SKYWORX: designed to meet your academic needs. FROM £2,400 INC VAT. LEARN MORE AT SKYBORNE.COM

Contents January 2021

Features 20 I Get Paid for This… Alan Stack

Tree trimmer, Alan Stack, flies with a huge 10-bladed saw hanging below his helicopter

28 In flight Noorduyn Norseman An aircraft designed to carry heavy loads

into the most marginal of runways and lakes, means the odds of a long life are low. But for one Noorduyn Norseman, luck was with her

38  My First Solo Jane Gregory

Jane Gregory wasn’t keen to solo ASAP. In fact, she dreaded the first helicopter flight by herself…

40 Special feature Historic helicopters…

When it comes to getting a fleet of ex-military helicopters flying again it takes a massive team effort. Rachel Ramsay reports

48  Accident Analysis No need to go it alone…

Keeping a safe flying environment isn’t really possible when we operate in isolation, but a ‘metaphorical arm’ around a lone pilot might just help, says Steve Ayres…

54  Flying Adventure Get your kicks…

Noorduyn Norseman


Leonardo Correa Luna takes his Cessna 170 on a trip back in time – and finds his kicks flying Route 66…

66  Top Gear

Garmin’s new D2 Air watch put to the test

Regulars 3 Editorial 6 News 18 Pilot Careers 22 Dave Hirschman

25 27 50 68

Mark Hales Ian Seager Accident Reports By Association

SIX Free Landings!




74 FLYER Club Members Save £45 n Fishburn n Full Sutton n Middlezoy

n Shipdham n Wolverhampton n Yatesbury PLUS Win a print or digital Pooleys UK Flight Guide July 2016 | FLYER | 5


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

November lockdown hits flying, prompts medical ‘SpyGate’ row Main Lockdown affects all airfields, but Turweston Aerodrome has plenty of on-site businesses – including the LAA – to keep it busy Inset above CAA’s Sophie O’Sullivan, currently Head of UAS department, will run GA Unit as well for seven months Inset below Medical or not? Pilots have the right to decide

6 | FLYER | January 2021

The latest lockdown running from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December has disrupted light aviation with most flights and PPL flight training not allowed. However, flights to maintain engine health and, in some cases, to maintain currency, are allowed. Airfields are allowed to remain open but not airfield cafés. Professional flight training is allowed to continue, with many schools already instructing in groups known as ‘bubbles’ to minimise possible infection. The restrictions on general flying provoked a row in early November when the CAA’s Head of Medical Policy, Dr Stuart Mitchell, said that pilots applying for a Class 2 or LAPL medical examination during November’s lockdown may be breaching Government regulations. What’s more, Dr Mitchell admitted the CAA is monitoring the activity of AeroMedical Examiners (AMEs) on a weekly basis to identify such cases. “We would not want any AMEs being accused of colluding with anyone seeking to breach the regulations,” he said. However, a few days later, after

FLYER first aired the story, the CAA backed down a little, saying pilots could go for a medical after having discussed it with their AME. One AME told us that, “The CAA has accepted that its advice was at variance with the Cabinet Office guidance, which stated that individuals may leave home ‘for any medical reason, including to get a Covid-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.’ “They have therefore relaxed the previous restrictions that were imposed on Class 2 and LAPL medical examinations during the current lockdown. “You are now free to attend for your Class 2/LAPL medical if you wish and you do NOT need to email the CAA with your reasons for attending.” The CAA is also directing pilots to the Pilots Medical Declaration here, which has been extended to some pilots holding EASA licences.

Other official news

The CAA has started a consultation to identify opportunities for General Aviation once the UK leaves the EASA system in 2021. “The Secretary of State for Transport wishes to see that the UK benefits

from being the best place in the world for general aviation,” says the CAA launch document. The consultation is here The Department for Transport (DfT) has unveiled its Airfield Development Advisory Fund (ADAF) to provide support and advice to qualifying UK airfields and associated businesses. The fund will provide UK airfield businesses access to expert advice on a range of topics to support their future development. The scheme is open for applications from 29 October 2020 until 3 December 2020. Full details here The CAA General Aviation Unit has a new interim head, Sophie O’Sullivan. Ms O’Sullivan is currently Head of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems department and will run both departments for the next seven months. She said, “I am really looking forward to working with the dedicated and professional colleagues in the General Aviation Unit. I do believe there will be opportunities to understand how the UAS and GAU communities can work together on some of their common challenges – encouraging safety reporting from our communities, promulgating safety information and electronic conspicuity.”


Sonaca to build VoltAeros’ Cassio hybrid French company VoltAero has tied up with Belgium’s Sonaca Group to develop the airframe for its Cassio family of four-, six- and 10-seat hybrid-electric aircraft. Sonaca Group produces the two-seat Sonaca 200 training aircraft but also has extensive aerospace manufacturing expertise. The company will take Cassio from its current design status into a production-ready aircraft and will oversee the aircraft’s manufacture. “Our partnership with Sonaca Group takes us one very important step closer to production,” said Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and Chief Technical Officer. VoltAero’s design for Cassio is based on an aerodynamically optimised fuselage with a forward fixed canard and an aft-set wing with twin booms that support a high-set horizontal tail.

Propulsion is provided by a hybrid-electric power module in the aft fuselage ‘pusher’ position. This has a cluster of electric motors with an internal combustion engine that serves as the range extender. VoltAero plans to offer Cassio in three versions, each sharing a high degree of modularity and commonality. They are: ■ Cassio 330, a four-seat configuration with propulsion from a combined hybrid-electric power of 330 kilowatts ■ Cassio 480, configured with six seats and a hybrid-electric propulsion power of 480 kilowatts ■ Cassio 600, with a 10-seat capacity and hybrid-electric propulsion power of 600 kilowatts.

Hello, goodbye…

In an example of the scale of aircraft electrification, US company Bye Aerospace has just signed a deal with South Korean

firm Aerospace9 for 300 electric aircraft. It brings Bye’s order book to a total of 711 units comprising two-seat eFlyer 2 primary trainers, four-seat eFlyer 4s and a new twin-motor nine-seater called Envoy. Italian manufacturer Tecnam is partnering with Rolls-Royce to develop an all-electric version of its P2012 Traveller mini-airliner called the P-Volt. It will seat up to nine passengers, and can be configured for a number of other roles including cargo, medical evacuation and special mission. US startup H3X is claiming to have designed an electric motor with three times the power to weight of existing electric motors. If it’s true – tests will begin next year – it could speed up the move to electric aircraft. The first motor H3X plans to produce is the HPDM-250, said to deliver 250kW but weighing just 15kg.

Main VoltAero Cassio Inset top H3X motor Inset above Bye eFlyer

January 2021 | FLYER | 7

Take-off Garmin Pilot app adds Notam graphics Garmin has added a graphic display for airspace and obstacle Notam on its Pilot app to aid pre-flight planning and for inflight awareness. The Garmin Pilot app works on Apple mobile devices. Airspace Notam are overlaid on the map and can be depicted as a circle or other shape with the type and associated altitude. Notam scheduled to become active in the next 24 hours are displayed in yellow to help alert pilots in advance and aid with flight planning, with a brighter contrast for areas showing upcoming restricted airspace. Obstacle Notam use pink obstacle figures on the map to differentiate from permanent obstacles and are displayed anytime the Notam or obstacle layer is enabled. Obstacles that have been removed are displayed for reference as a pink ‘X’. The new quick access bar in the Flight Profile View allows pilots to display critical flight information such as weather, PIREPs, and traffic from compatible Garmin ADS-B traffic sources with a single touch. There’s also a new ‘pinch-to-zoom’ capability to review parts of the flight by focusing on a particular

Right Garmin’s Pilot flightplanning and inflight app now has airspace and obstacle Notam shown in a graphic display

segment, while still being able to reference the basic flight profile above. The newest release of Garmin Pilot, version 10.3 for Apple mobile devices, is available now from the Apple App Store.

Dynon SkyView HDX for Seneca Dynon Avionics’s SkyView HDX flightdeck has received FAA approval for most Piper Seneca twin-engine aircraft. Cost of the SkyView HDX system starts at $14,189. Twin engine monitoring with a dedicated display adds $7,377, and includes all engine probes such as CHTs, EGTs, fuel flow, and more. Seneca II/III/IV/V owners can also add Dynon’s full-featured Autopilot with configurations starting at $8580 for a complete approach-capable two-axis system. Dynon says its certified installation is typically 50lb to 80lb lighter than the instruments it replaces, and usually allows the removal of legacy equipment such as the vacuum pump. Michael Schofield, Dynon’s Director of Marketing, said‚ “With this approval, SkyView HDX is in a class by itself for affordable and capable twin-aircraft avionics upgrades. With SkyView HDX, Seneca owners can also add Dynon’s full-featured Autopilot for up to half the cost of other autopilots.” The SkyView HDX core system provides 8 | FLYER | January 2021

Above Wow! What a panel! Seneca with Dynon SkyView HDX

complete primary flight instrumentation, including synthetic vision, and Navigation and Mapping with Flight Planning. Dynon Certified details here


Aerobility opens order book on Grob 109B ‘Able’ Aerobility has released early details about the ex-military Grob 109B aircraft that the charity has acquired and is repurposing for sale, named the ‘Able’. Up to 52 of the upgraded and factory-certified G109s are available for sale and can be ordered now. They are suitable for a range of missions including flight training and touring, including as a motor glider. Aerobility acquired the aircraft earlier this year from the UK Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA). Previously, as the RAF Cadet Vigilant T1, they were used to teach young people to fly. Project Able is a not-for-profit venture and funds raised through sales of the surplus refurbished aircraft – i.e., ones not being operated by Aerobility itself – will support operations providing flight training for disabled people including wounded, injured or sick military personnel. The upgrades to the aircraft are extensive and include a 100hp FADEC-controlled Rotax 912iS engine that can operate on mogas or unleaded avgas, with a fully feathering constant-speed MTV-21 propeller and Garmin avionics options. The aircraft can be built to individual specification by Grob Aircraft SE in Germany or Southern Sailplanes in the UK, and are certified to EASA CS-22 and approved by the US FAA. Options include a tow hook for glider operations.


Glide ratio: 1:26.5 (verified) Take-off run: 249m/817ft (verified) Landing run: 205m/673ft (original data) Cruise speed up to: 205km/h (111kt) TAS @ 5,000ft (verified) Cruise speed up to: 201km/h (109kt) TAS @ 10,000ft (verified) Climb rate: 3.4 m/s (670ft/min) (verified) 10 | FLYER | January 2021

Main Aerobility’s grob 109B Able, now available to buy Inset Upgrades include 100hp Rotax 912iS Below Garmin avionics are an option Bottom Superb factory finish on upgraded Grob 109B

Range up to: 1,429km/771nm (max power at 10,000ft) Maximum Take Off Mass: 875kg Empty weight: 664kg Useful load: 211kg Baggage load: 20kg Endurance: 7h 10min @ 10,000ft cruise Project Able details click here

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BMW car tech helps stunt pilot develop electric power for wingsuit A professional wingsuit pilot called Peter Salzmann from Austria has successfully flown a wingsuit equipped with two batterypowered electric motors. The electric wingsuit was designed with car manufacturer BMW and the firm’s DesignWorks using elements of BMW’s i electric car technology. Salzmann explained how the idea for the project came about three years ago: “At the time, I was developing suits for skydiving and BASE jumping with a friend and BASE jumping mentor. In a relaxed atmosphere one evening after a day of testing, we threw out lots of ideas about how we could improve performance. “One of them was a supporting motor – and it’s an idea I just couldn’t shake. I found the idea of being able to jump from my local mountain wearing the wingsuit and land in my garden fascinating. “I quickly came up with the idea of an impeller, in other words a propeller enclosed by a ring or tube-shaped housing. However, a fuel-powered or conventional motor was out of the question,” said Salzmann. “Sustainability is very important to me, and something I try to live my everyday life by. I enjoy nature from the air and on the ground.” Contact was established with Designworks, the BMW Group’s design innovation studio. The studio provided Salzmann with experts to work on developing the wingsuit and the electric impeller. Salzmann and the team had to abandon a plan to use a larger version of the impeller, and the extra 40% of output it offered. 12 | FLYER | January 2021

Main Twin-fan pack attaches to wingsuiter’s chest Inset Test flights began with a jump from a helicopter

“The very first time I tried the fly suit on, it was clear to me that the whole thing would be too heavy and that I would only have limited movement. The thing is, comfort and feeling safe are the most important things when jumping, and I also need freedom of movement so that I can open the parachute later.” Pilot’s breastplate… The engineers focused on a smaller model – around 40in (1 metre) wide. The two propellers are each around 5in (13cm) in diameter. Electricity is supplied from a 50 volt lithium battery, weighing 26lb (12kg) attached to the pilot’s breastplate. The two carbon impellers in the lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium structure have a combined output of 15 kilowatts and run at a speed of around 25,000rpm. After a series of wind tunnel tests in Sweden, Salzmann felt the time was right for the first test jumps from a helicopter – more than 30 of them. “After evaluating the initial jumps, we came to the conclusion that the impellers were still not getting enough air flow. We therefore integrated additional air inlets into the wingsuit. “And we had to come up with an emergency cut-off solution for the fly unit, develop a steering facility and position an on/off switch in such a way that I could easily operate it at any time. This throttle is now on the left sleeve and can be controlled with the middle and ring fingers.” The result is the video here.

World helicopter champ Dennis Kenyon, RIP Former world helicopter display champion and FLYER columnist Dennis Kenyon has died in hospital at the age of 88. Dennis was well known throughout the helicopter and airshow world for his astonishing displays in a helicopter, and for teaching many pilots to fly. Dennis’s infectious enthusiasm for life, and flying in particular, won him hundreds of friends worldwide, and many tributes have been paid to him across social media. I knew Dennis personally as a friend, a contributor to magazines I’ve worked on, and a great laugh to be with. His energy and enthusiasm, his flying skills, 14 | FLYER | January 2021

generosity with his time and the respect shown to him by our aviation community wherever he went, made it a pleasure and an honour to be with him. Dennis trained as an RAF pilot and flew both Meteor and Canberra jets, before leaving the service in 1969 to join Spooner Aviation at Shoreham. At the time Dennis was solely a fixed-wing pilot and didn’t take up helicopter flying for another four years… but it came naturally. Dennis was based at Shoreham for many years selling helicopters, initially Enstrom with which he is always associated, but also Bell JetRanger and the Hughes 500 (now MD). Dennis’s stunt flying skills were called on by movie director Ridley

Scott for the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, about a US military raid in Mogadishu. Fellow pilot Jerry Grayson, a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot, paid this tribute to Dennis: “Oh I’m so sorry to hear that (Dennis’s death), and also mortified that I couldn’t get back for his retirement do. We flew together on Black Hawk Down, me in a Huey and Den in a 500. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in the space of a week as when listening to his stories. We both spent the week behaving on the ground together like naughty children. I will miss you old chap, but I reckon there will be a few angels who will be queueing up to improve their flying skills. RIP.”

Dave Spurdens

FLYER: News Extra

Main Dennis Kenyon with Union Jack tie, of course, dwarfing a Rotorway helicopter after a test flight

November 2020 | FLYER | 13


Enstrom Helicopter director Dennis Martin said, “To say we are saddened by this loss is an understatement. Dennis is a legend here at the factory, and will live on along with names such as Rudy Enstrom, Jack Christensen, and Lee Burdue. He was certainly instrumental in the success of Enstrom, and instrumental to the success of many of others as well. What a legacy! “We still talk to people who have seen his displays and ask us, ‘Can you really do that in a helicopter?’ (Answer: He can, you can’t.) He’ll be missed. A lot.” As well as flying helicopters, Dennis was a keen golfer and antique clock collector and restorer, and in latter years turned his hand to writing fiction, including Dangerous Appointment, a James Bond-style thriller with an Enstrom 480 helicopter centre stage (of course). In 2000, Dennis started a scholarship fund in memory of his son, also named Dennis, who was killed in a helicopter crash aged 18. The scholarship successfully

trained two young pilots, Zoe Spain and Hannah Nobbs. But most people will remember Dennis for his ability to make a helicopter perform. He won the 1992 Freestyle Display World

Helicopter title and competed in four world championships. He continued to fly well into his 80s, making his final display at the age of 85. Dave Calderwood

Top Dennis displays a Schweizer 300 Above Dennis with FLYER’s Dave Calderwood and photographer Dave Spurdens

January 2021 | FLYER | 15

Instant Expert

The Covid-19 extensions end The main rating extension exemption ended on 22 November, but there are still some alleviations available, as Ed Bellamy explains


or those who subscribe to the CAA’s Skywise email alerts, you may have seen a message on 12 November saying that the April exemptions that allowed the extension of licence ratings until 22 November will end as scheduled. At the time of writing in mid-November that appears to be the current position. So where does that leave us if you have a rating or medical due to expire shortly? Despite the ending of the main exemptions, there are some minor alleviations that continue. The CAA update reminds us that Department for Transport advice is that during the current lockdown period flights for engine health, maintenance check flights and for the maintenance of ‘currency’ are allowed (you can find a link to the latest Df T guidance at the end of this article), but the scope and duration should be kept to a minimum. It is worth noting that ‘currency’ does not have a legally distinct meaning in Aircrew regulations, although I think it does have a common sense meaning to pilots, which to my mind would include revalidating a rating. For ratings that normally require revalidation by proficiency check, extension beyond the 22 November is not possible – normal procedures now apply. For aeroplane ratings that can be revalidated by experience, there is still an active exemption (At the time of writing ORS4 1418 for ANO licences, 1416 for EASA) that allows some reductions in the normal experience requirements. This covers Single Engine Piston (SEP), Touring Motor Glider (TMG), Self-Launching Motor Glider (SLMG) and the suite of ratings that may be attached to an NPPL(A). Please note it does not cover the LAPL ‘rolling validity’. The exemption is currently in force until 30 April 2021, and for those who have managed some flying but not the magic 12 hours prior to rating expiry, this may provide an alternative to taking a proficiency check with an examiner. The CAA provide the following alternative revalidation by experience requirements that are permitted until 30 April 2021: Flight Time Relevant for Revalidation by Experience*

Minimum TakeOffs/Landings

Minimum Cumulative Total Refresher Training with an Instructor

11 or more – less than 12


1 hour

10 or more – less than 11


1 hour

9 or more – less than 10


1.5 hours

8 or more – less than 09


1.5 hours

Less than 8

Proficiency Check or Flight Test required

*This must include the normal required PIC time (6hrs for PPL, 8hrs for NPPL) 16 | FLYER | January 2021

“Despite the ending of the main exemptions, there are some minor alleviations that continue” Obviously if at any point the rating expires, you are into proficiency check territory. The CAA also remind us that when revalidating ratings that were previously extended under the Covid-19 extension procedure (which would have been until 22 November 2020), the rating should have been endorsed with a new expiry date of 30 November 2022. There has been some debate regarding getting Class 2 or LAPL medicals issued during the current lockdown period. Initially the CAA published some guidance suggesting AMEs should not be conducting Class 2 or LAPL medicals, although this may have subsequently been softened. If you are not able to get to an AME (or potentially GP in the case of a LAPL) there are still some options to allow you to fly beyond your normal medical expiry date.

Automatic extension

The general exemption extending medicals (currently ORS4 1408) has two time periods – for medicals that expired on or after 16 March 2020 but before 31 August 2020 an extension until 22 November was granted. For those expiring on or after 1 September 2020 but before November 22 you get a 45 day extension or until 31 December 2020, whichever is sooner. There is no procedure to complete for this, the extension is automatic, provided you do not experience a loss of medical fitness. Now for holders of the UK PPL and NPPL(A) issued under the Air Navigation Order (ANO), the self-declaration medical (PMD) process continues as normal, although it is worth remembering at this point that ANO licences cannot be used to fly EASA aircraft, even with an ICAO medical (although watch this space next year). For EASA PPL or LAPL holders an exemption is still in place that allows UK-registered EASA aircraft to be flown on a medical declaration until 31 March 2021, although remember on PMD an EASA PPL becomes non-ICAO compliant and cannot be used outside the UK. Looking at another option, a minor change in late 2019 was the ability of an EASA PPL with Class 2 to ‘downgrade’ to LAPL medical privileges without having to get a LAPL licence document. Depending on your age, there may be benefits in going down to LAPL privileges if you are unable to get a Class 2 at the moment – it should say on your medical certificate what the relevant expiries are. ■ More info on CAA ORS4 here. ■ Gov.uk: General Aviation Covid-19 guidance.

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

Meeting the needs of would-be student pilots: Pilot Careers Live Virtual One of the casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic was the series of Pilot Careers Live events that Seager Publishing, publisher of FLYER, produces. Six events were originally planned for 2020 but the combination of the aviation industry being hit hard and the restrictions on travel and live events meant all bar one – in Dublin, just before the first lockdown – were cancelled. However, despite the uncertainty over when and how quickly the aviation industry will recover, we’re still receiving lots of interest from would-be pilots needing career advice. After all, it takes at least two years to go from starting pilot training to graduating with that precious frozen ATPL. As we’ve seen, a lot can happen in two years. So, we looked around at what sort of online event could be created to provide the career advice and information that anyone considering training as a pilot would need. And so Pilot Careers Live Virtual was born. The very first Pilot Careers Live Virtual (PCLV) was held on 6-7 November, the dates we had originally set aside for the London Heathrow ‘real’ event. Rather than take an ‘off-theshelf’ show platform, we worked with our web and video teams to create a bespoke event, packed full of live, interactive video sessions and with a virtual exhibition hall full of leading Approved Training Organisations (ATOs). PCLV was a hit! Leading up to the event we had a total of 3,590 people registering, drawn by the scheduled list of 34 seminars, presentations and Q&A sessions, with 61 speakers 18 | FLYER | January 2021

Above Live and interactive video sessions over the two days of Pilot Careers Live Virtual made for a dynamic show. Speakers covered all subjects useful for anyone considering a pilot career. Videos are now available on the website

and 23 exhibitors. The two days flew by, with video sessions running from 10am to 5pm both days, plus live chat giving opportunity for viewers to comment and pose questions, many of which were tackled on air in the Q&A sessions. Those video sessions are all still available, on the website in the Video On Demand section. Exhibitors, too, were holding live chat sessions on their virtual stands, giving advice and talking about the career. Many had supplied videos, brochures, photo galleries showing their facilities – and, again, all this is still available on the PCLV website. There’s no cost and no need to register now. The feedback we’ve had from participants (both in messages and in a survey) is amazing. It feels good to say

that we met their expectations! Here are just some of the comments: Thank you for this opportunity, it helped me a lot. Very well done, very informative and lots of great advice. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you very much for the event over the last two days. Incredibly informative and helpful! Really, really well organised with fantastic speakers. Amazing job, well done. BRAVO! A huge thank you for providing the seminars on your website! It was our first virtual event and we are very happy with the results although we also learned many lessons and will be tweaking the concept for future events. We’ll also be asking exhibitors if there’s anything we can do better. And there will be future events – there’s no doubt the whole thing was highly useful

for anyone considering a pilot’s career and that’s what it’s all about: giving people the information they need to make good decisions that are right for them. See the show here.

PCLV In Numbers Registrations 3,590 Visitors during the event 3,033 Exhibitor Hall visitors 1,240 Peak live watchers 498 Average live watchers 320 Post-event survey results Overall satisfaction 4.6/5 Speakers 4.4/5 Seminars 4.3/5 How likely are you to attend our next event? 4.6/5

Ready to pursue your dream of becoming a pilot? Learn to fly with CAE and make your dream of becoming a pilot a reality. We train more pilots around the world than any other organisation. Are you ready to make your dream come true? Start your journey right, and right here. Contact us today at www.cae.com/becomeapilot Follow the global journeys of recent CAE graduates on Instagram @caepilot and follow #CAEpilot

Pilot Careers

I Get Paid for This…

Alan Stack

Trimming trees… Alan Stack flies with a huge 10-bladed saw hanging beneath his helicopter. Interview by Yayeri van Baarsen

How did you get into flying?

My uncle was a helicopter engineer for Bristow Helicopters in the UK and Nigeria. Afterwards, he formed Helicopter Support Ireland, close to our family farm. When I wasn’t helping out on the farm, I’d be in his hangar. He steered me in the right direction, letting me sit in the pilot’s seat and giving me Principles of Flight books. Tell us about your job?

I’m an aerial saw pilot, flying the MD500. Rotor Blade is based in South Carolina, but we work anywhere where there’s a need for Flying CV tree trimming or powerline constructing. Rotor Blades’ aerial saw pilot Most projects last months – I normally bring Alan Stack provides airborne my camper and fly back to the campground vegetation management services at night. I enjoy getting to meet new people. for overhead electric distribution and Side trimming is done with a 10-bladed, transmission lines. belt-driven aerial saw. Flying the 850lb saw Started current job May 2018 Now flying MD500 helicopter isn’t like flying any other external load. We Favourite aircraft MD500. “It gives you spend 100% of our flight time vertically sensational flight control response due to not referencing, which puts a demand on your having hydraulically assisted controls.” back and neck. The MD500 is the perfect Hours at job start 9,500 Hours now 11,300 platform for this precision work. It has a good lift-to-weight ratio and produces a relatively small amount of downwash which doesn’t disturb the tree line too much. Most of our work is low and slow. What’s been your favourite flight? Trimming speed is based on vegetation type: soft wood can be Working in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria destroyed the trimmed at 10mph, hard wood requires a slower trim. Knowing power grid in 2017. Together with thousands of linemen and what speed to cut is essential to avoid saw damage. multiple helicopters we rebuilt the power system. It was extremely My job is fascinating, it’s 100% hands-on flying, demanding satisfying to return power to the 3.4 million people who’d been your complete attention at all times. With tree trimming there’s the living in darkness for up to 11 months. The island was beautiful saw, and when constructing powerlines, I fly aerial linemen as despite the damage and the people were incredibly friendly. human external cargo. Holding someone 100ft below the helicopter, lowering them in between the powerline phases with And your favourite airfield? only inches of clearance to do their work, requires you to be alert, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. It’s the gateway to precise and situationally aware. It’s definitely a team effort. We the last frontier, where beautiful snow-capped mountains meet the work in what’s known as the height-velocity diagram or dead man’s Cook Inlet. I’ve spent multiple summers in the backcountry, curve – this means in case of an engine failure, you can’t safely moving goldmine drills and flying cadastral surveys. As well as auto-rotate to the ground. So, excellent aircraft maintenance is of incredible scenery, Alaska has the world’s best salmon and halibut utmost importance. fishing, panning for gold along the river and enjoying time away.

“Flying the 850lb saw isn’t like flying any other external load”

What training did you have?

I have an FAA CPL(H), Transport Canada CPL(H) and EASA CPL(H). Rotor Blade provides extensive in-house training. All new pilots, whether they only have 1,500 flying hours or already 15,000 hours of vertical reference time, first become groundsmen. They learn everything about saw maintenance before stepping into the helicopter. After riding along on short saw cycles, they practise picking up and setting down the saw, and eventually trim easier lines. On average it takes a year until you’re ready to fly the saw. 20 | FLYER | January 2021

Do you fly much outside of work?

Flying is my passion. I’m currently pursuing my fixed-wing and glider pilot rating. I’d love to fly a fixed-wing to Florida Keys for the weekend, or to the Appalachians to go camping with my fiancé and our dogs. Unfortunately, time outside work is limited. What is your most valuable career advice?

In the helicopter industry, networking is of utmost importance. Most employment opportunities arise from a recommendation, so make sure to stay in contact with your peers.

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06/12/2019 15:54


Unusual Attitude Dave Hirschman


Learning to fly changes you

earning the skills to safely transport yourself through the air from one place to another requires sustained effort as well as overcoming obstacles – but the transformation is much more than new knowledge. The process shows you the world from a different perspective. Most importantly, it gives you an entirely new set of tools for evaluating novel situations while it imposes new responsibilities. Fundamentally, pilots must learn to see things for what they are – and they must avoid wishful thinking in their decision making. Is your aeroplane airworthy? Are weather conditions suitable? Are cloud ceilings and visibility likely to rise or fall while you’re airborne? These kinds of questions demand clear-eyed answers based on verifiable, but not infallible information, not hope nor intuition. There are demonstrably right and wrong choices, and one person – you, the pilot in command – is ultimately responsible for all of them. Pilots leave themselves an ‘out’ If headwinds aloft are stronger than anticipated, if the visibility as the destination drops, if electrical systems fail, or an engine loses power in flight, pilots have got to have contingency plans. And when back-up plans go awry, they must have the ability to develop new ones quickly and under pressure. It’s a tough discipline to master – but leaving yourself an ‘out’ can be both habit-forming and helpful in many non-flying activities, too. Pilots commit themselves Spend as much time as you like preparing, evaluating, and double checking. But eventually there’s an inflection point when pilots must commit to a take-off or abort – continue to a destination or divert, land or go-around. Those moments demand that pilots both decide, and then perform. These are binary choices – not shades of grey. Pilots trust, and are trustworthy Pilots have a great deal of independence, but they must also trust. They trust their instruments to keep them oriented in the clouds and navigating to their destinations. They trust air traffic controllers for headings, altitudes, clearances, and to keep them clear of traffic and obstacles. They trust mechanics to be skilled, thorough, and diligent. And they trust each other to follow aviation regulations and communicate their positions clearly. In short, they must trust the entire aviation system – and the entire aviation system depends on them. It’s a package deal, and one can’t work without the other. Flying is a meritocracy Becoming a pilot is a big step, but it only puts you at the bottom of an elaborate pyramid. Flying rewards continued education and achievement. More experience and advanced ratings are, for some, milestones in a lifelong aviation practice. But no matter how many certificates a pilot gets, no one ever completely masters the art and science of flying, and all pilots are fallible and prone to mistakes and oversights.

Ten thousand safe landings don’t guarantee the next one will be a success. Aeroplanes care nothing about pilot history or qualifications. Pilots must perform on every flight. Pilots have a unique culture And part of that culture involves gallows humour. “Any landing you walk away from is a good one. Any landing in which the aeroplane is reusable is very good.” These fatalistic laugh lines hint at aviation’s dark side. Its history is full of accidents and mishaps. But pilot humour is self-effacing, and if you look closely, there’s an inherent self-confidence and optimism in it. The jokes imply that, whatever difficulties pilots face in the air, we’ll deal with them on our own terms. And then we’ll laugh about them. What could be more hopeful than that? A pilot’s perspective changes Flying is made up of hundreds of small skills. Many of them, like chandelles or lazy eights, can seem maddeningly difficult to learn. But once mastered, those skills become second nature, and you wonder why you ever struggled with them in the first place. Get used to that feeling because it

Mark Mitchell

“Ten thousand safe landings don’t guarantee the next one will be a success”

22 | FLYER | January 2021

repeats itself over and over throughout your aviation education. Pilots learn to appreciate different aeroplanes Long ago I recall watching a Piper Comanche taxi by and making the comment to one of my fellow aerobatic pilots that it was a shame to waste a perfectly good Lycoming IO-540 engine on such a boring aircraft. That same powerful engine, we thought, could be put to such better use on a Pitts S-2B or a Harmon Rocket. But later, as I started doing more cross-country, I no longer regarded the Piper Comanche as a missed opportunity for a Lycoming engine. In fact, I came to admire the Comanche’s range, payload, and stability in the clouds. Flying solo A pilot’s first solo flight is a milestone, no one who does it ever forgets. The dates and details of checkrides get hazy over time, but every aspect of soloing is memorable, and for good reason. Students are completely on their own in the air for the very first time, and the freedom is exhilarating. For some, the act of soloing – or earning a pilot’s certificate – creates confidence that spills over into other areas of their life. Even the most outlandish goals seem achievable. Nothing seems out of reach anymore. RV-4 pilot, ATP/CFII, specialising in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction dave.hirschman@flyer.co.uk January 2021 | FLYER | 23


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Full Throttle

Mark Hales

Mark Mitchell


Regulation world

one of us needs reminding that there hasn’t been much aviating of late. The ‘virus’ has affected a great deal more than our freedom to access the sky, and even if it hadn’t, the weather has been particularly sporting. The odd sparkling day which has separated the various depressions, never seems to coincide with a day off, and besides, I’m still working through the job list which resulted from Messenger’s last spate of activity. And I’ve deliberately stayed away from tilting at the regulatory bodies, mainly because it’s better to find something more uplifting about which to write, but also because it’s a bit close to home… The following tale then, is less about individuals and more about the system. A good mate, Geoffrey, owns a Sportcruiser. The sleek and curvaceous Czech-built, Rotax powered two-seater, made in traditional riveted aluminium. He bought it because he wanted something more modern, closer to his BMW instead of the venerable Jodel, which we shared for so many years. He isn’t a tinkerer – even though he’s well capable of tinkering – so he didn’t want the kit-built version, preferring to trust the factory’s oversight. I reminded him that such a choice would mean an ARC and occasion an annual visit to a Maintenance Organisation, with all that entails. “That’s fine by me,” he said, “I spend my working life in engineering but I don’t service my car. I’m very happy for someone else to do it…” His choice duly arrived and he flew it quite happily until the annual was due, when I suggested the obvious thing was to take it back to the people who did the last one. The aeroplane was out of the air for five months, during which time he was told he needed a new propeller. Not because there was anything wrong with the old one (it’s made of wood) but because someone had determined a calendar life. The maintenance people said the delay was mainly down to EASA and its paperwork, so Geoffrey eventually took matters into his own hands, and rang them. “I don’t know why you’re ringing me,” said the very helpful EASA man, “the UK CAA could have done this.” He did it anyway though, at the same time confirming that the rules had changed and there had been no need to replace the propeller… At long last, the aeroplane was ready, together with a bill for 10 grand… Which rather took the shine of Sportcruiser ownership, but at least Geoffrey had something to fly until the next annual. When that time came, I suggested he bring it Oop North. David the Engineer does the annuals for most of the North Coates certifieds (and the inspection on my Messenger), and he looks after a PS28 Sportcruiser. So it should be no problem. It would certainly be cheaper. “I can’t do this,” said David the Engineer, having leafed through an impressive pile of Sportcruising paperwork. “This is an EARLY Sportcruiser,” he said, “and it has an EASA Permit

to Fly, not a CAA or LAA one… or a National CofA, or an EASA ARC. The distinction is certainly arcane, not least because like the EASA man said, the UK CAA issues EASA Permits on behalf of EASA.” The bottom line though, is that David would need a special approval to issue an EASA Permit, even if he already has all the other licences. I couldn’t find anyone else who had the approval either, but they are available from the CAA at £441 each (every two years), and only if you have all the aforementioned others. After several weeks, the shiny new approval arrived and with it the news that David couldn’t actually issue the Permit… The newly purchased approval only allows him to sign the form that says the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule had been followed to the letter (including the designated oils and greases).

“The newly purchased approval only allows him to sign the form” The issue itself would be done by the CAA surveyor who would have to come up from Gatwick, and would be checking that the manufacturer’s schedule had been followed to the letter etc, etc. I couldn’t find anywhere how much they intend to charge for this service, but none of it will happen until we send in the Application, priced at £470, or nearly twice the cost of an EASA ARC. The only question anyone can ask, is why? Even in Regulation World, where is the justification, other than They Can, therefore They Do. There is a punchline to all this. During my research into how any of it might be accomplished, I received an email from a CAA man, saying that EASA Permits will be withdrawn in January 2021, and replaced by CAA Permits. They didn’t say whether it will require a special approval… This isn’t a Warbird which falls outside a regulatory framework because of its weight and power, or a Cirrus or Diamond. It’s a Rotax-powered VFR two-seater, exactly like all the others bearing its name. The Regulators could sort this kind of anomaly with a simple stroke of the keyboard, like they did when Covid-19 arrived. Geoffrey nearly gave up flying over this, and he can’t be the only one. Whatever happened to that new dawn which gave us self-certifying medicals and owner maintenance… Working vintage aircraft and cars make Mark particularly happy mark.hales@seager.aero January 2021 | FLYER  25


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Squawks Ian Seager


Independent? Make your mind up…

’ve had a quiet word with myself, and I can confirm that I don’t think Bill Gates is planning to vaccinate anyone with miniature microchips, that big Pharma is hiding a cure for cancer, or that the world is flat. I’ve even checked in the mirror to make sure that I’m not wearing a tin foil hat. I don’t even subscribe to the theory that the CAA and EASA are doing their best to stop all aviation (although I do revisit that one from time to time). Conspiracy theories ’r us is definitely not my thing. But I can’t help wondering what’s going on between the DfT and the CAA. Quietly, and without the majestic fanfare that you might expect given the subject, we’ll now have some more last minute pop up RA(T)s for royal rotary flights, a Royal Rash of Purple Rotary RA(T)s if you like. These unwanted and unwelcome purple intrusions will be presumably popping up where none had previously existed. All done without consultation, and all done at the last minute with a good chance of being missed if you planned your flight and checked your Notam before heading to the airfield, or even if you are embarking on a long flight. I understand that the CAA is calling airfields close to any Royal RA(T) and letting them know about it. This is General Aviation. We fly from pretty much everywhere to pretty much anywhere, that’s the whole point, so calling a small number of airfields is not exactly getting the word out to the pilot population. Of course if you inadvertently fly into a RA(T) that you don’t know is there through no fault of your own, it risks being treated, as per the CAA’s relatively recent policy, as an alleged infringement of Air Navigation legislation with all that entails. So what’s the point? What danger existed that will no longer exist? How many additional security issues might be created? What’s the safety benefit? Where was the consultation? Where’s the communication? Unsurprisingly, the CAA wanted to point out that all of the above had been done at the request of the Government, which is kind of funny because if you take a look at the CAA’s website it says, We are a public corporation, established by Parliament in 1972 as an independent specialist aviation regulator. Taken on its own this might not be a thing, and it still might not be a thing, but on the other hand there might just be the start of a pattern emerging. Last month’s cover story was all about Electronic Conspicuity, and about the money that had been found to enable the CAA to manage grants of up to £250 for pilots fitting some kind of EC. I thought, and still think, that this is a very good thing, but there was one aspect that confused

me. The CAA has a written policy on its preferred direction for EC in General Aviation, at the risk of repeating last month’s feature, that policy favours ADS-B via 1090MHz (if you missed it, you can read the feature here). So why didn’t the CAA use the opportunity to nudge everyone in their preferred direction by making the rebate available to anyone doing something that leads to ADS-B out? That wouldn’t have favoured any one company, and it would have meant that more of us can see and be seen by, well, more of us. So what had happened? Had the CAA changed its policy, had it decided that the technology of the future was going to be CRP-5-powered semaphore signals? The answer wasn’t clear, and when I asked the question, the answer I got suggested that I might want to ask the Df T, which of course I did, getting 60 words in reply that said more or less nothing. Maybe I made a mistake last time. Nope, the CAA website still says, We are a public corporation, established by Parliament in 1972 as an independent specialist aviation regulator.

Mark Mitchell

“Phoning a small number of airfields is not exactly getting the word out to the pilot population” I get the Df T is the CAA’s boss. I completely support the idea that an elected government should set high level policy and have oversight of those that regulate us, but here it’s almost as if we have government getting involved in the minute detail of aviation and airspace regulation. I don’t think that makes any sense, and in the couple of examples cited above, it clearly hasn’t led to logical, evidence-based, proportionate regulation. There’s plenty enough wrong with the CAA to keep the Df T busy on higher level reform for ages (see my November column here ) so maybe leave the detail to the CAA, encourage them to adhere to the Government’s Better Regulation principles, i.e. to be Proportionate, Accountable, Consistent, Targeted and Transparent. There’s been a few things of late where either the CAA or DfT has fallen short, and the blurring of the lines is making it hard to know in which direction to swing the metaphorical piece of two-by-four timber when something is wrong. Publisher, pre C-19 often found flying something new and interesting ics@seager.aero January 2021 | FLYER | 27

28 | FLYER | January 2021

IN FLIGHT | Noorduyn Norseman

Worthy Workhorse

An aeroplane that’s designed to carry heavy loads into the most marginal of runways and lakes, means the odds of a long life are low. But for one particular Noorduyn Norseman, lady luck was on her side…


WORDS Budd Davisson PHOTOGRAPHY Leonardo Correa Luna

t is seldom that the name of an aeroplane so truly characterises what an aircraft stands for. In a single word, Norseman, the image is set of both a people and a machine which are known for their collective abilities and determination to explore, survive and prosper in the arctic wilds. The aircraft lives up to its name and heritage in every possible way. That being the case, it is sad that although 904 of the aircraft were built, it has fallen out of history’s memory and is so seldom seen at fly-ins. Which is why Tony Phillippi’s Mk.VI Noorduyn Norseman, N164UC was something of a sensation at AirVenture 2019. The vast majority of those trudging the flight line had no idea what it was, and even a smaller number had ever actually seen one. Norseman historical expert and pilot, Rodney Kozar, says one reason the Norseman is so seldom seen is because only approximately 50 airframes still survive worldwide, eight flying in Canada, four in the US and one in Norway. A total of 37 projects and museum survivors are scattered around the world, most of them in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. That’s a survival rate of less than six per cent even though Robert Noorduyn’s bush-specific design first flew in 1935. Utility doesn’t recognise age as long as the job is

getting done. Utility does, however, clearly understand attrition – the job for which the Norseman was designed, carrying heavy loads into the most-marginal of runways and lakes, is fraught with daily risks. It’s a fact that continual exposure to high risk environments, whether it’s an aeroplane or a bulldozer, means the odds of long-term survival are not good. The odds chip away at the survivors until there are none. Aggravating the survival odds of the Norseman, the mellow rumble of a healthy Pratt and Whitney radial in the far north has been increasingly replaced by the near-scream of turbines. Enter Glen Crandall, Ponoka, Alberta, N164UC’s restorer and, later, Tony Phillippi of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, the current owner. Owning, operating and restoring big aeroplanes has long been Tony’s personal passion. He says, “I think my interest in bigger-than-normal civilian airplanes may come from the Northrop Delta that my dad owned and flew us around in in the 1950s. He was a construction contractor and eventually bought a DC-3, which he owned with his friend Max Conrad, the record-setting long distance pilot. “I continued in dad’s construction footsteps eventually founding a company that specialises in January 2021 | FLYER | 29

In flight

Above If you want to add some unique utility to your collection of big radial twins, then a Norseman is a good way to do that Left The giant cargo door is a modification, but will hit the flaps if opened when they’re down… hence the warning placard Below The single row, nine-cylinder Pratt & Whitney Wasp R-1340 gets its numeric designation for its 1340 cubic inches of displacement

30 | FLYER | January 2021

really big, heavy lift cranes. We’ve done jobs around the world including Antarctica. At a lot of the overseas jobs, we’d have an airplane or two of our own in-country to help with the logistics. For instance, in 1976 we were doing work in Iran and the Shah had a Lockheed Jetstar, which we wound up buying. It was the only U.S.-registered aircraft permitted to fly in the country. “We really loved the Jetstar,” he says. “It had lots of room and range and, of course, the reliability of four jet engines. Eventually, we were operating 11 of them and set up a support programme for JetStar owners around the world. “At one point, I saw a picture of a Howard 500 in Trade-a-Plane and I was totally hooked. At the time I knew very little about them, but what I saw, I liked. What’s not to like about a pair of R-2800 P&Ws? I wound up buying four and two have been restored. One was Grand Champion at Oshkosh.” Because Tony and his company need the utility that aircraft can give him on the job, his sensitivity to aeroplanes being used as tools couldn’t help but make him aware of the various bush aeroplanes that had served the North for generations. “I knew of the Norseman, and knew they were becoming rare,” he says. “Then, when we had a crane operation going in Alberta, Canada, I heard about Glen Crandall in Ponoka. He had been a Norseman owner and restorer since he rescued one from the Yukon in 1993. His fully restored aircraft was for sale and had some notable modifications to it, which made it even more attractive to me. Besides being totally restored, the fuselage fabric had been replaced with aluminium and a larger-than-normal cargo door had been installed. The original door is pretty good sized but you could almost put a Volkswagen through this one. A snowmobile isn’t even a tight fit. It had a total of about 13,000 hours on it, of which about 2,000 was military.”

“The original door is pretty good sized but you could almost put a Volkswagen through this one. A snowmobile isn’t even a tight fit” January 2021 | FLYER 31

In flight

Among the other big aircraft Tony owned was a Grumman Albatross, which was often flown by Brian Van Wagnen, a retired airline pilot who is a vintage aeroplane nut and restorer. Tony didn’t have to push Brian very hard to get him to fly up to do a pre-buy inspection on the Norseman and, if it passed, fly it back to Michigan. Brian says, “I had flown Norsemans back in the day but I had long since figured I’d never get the opportunity to fly another one. However, as soon as I caught sight of the airplane Tony was thinking of buying, it was pretty obvious that I was going to be flying it home. “Norseman are so big and so often have gone through a period of abandonment that they take much more than a coat of paint to make them right. It’s a very expensive process on an airplane for which there is a very limited market. Plus, they’re slow, they burn a lot of gas and to restore one is a massive project. However, even as I walked up to CF-UUD, it was obvious that Glen had done a nearly perfect job. In fact, it was a real joy to crawl all over this airplane inspecting it. I wasn’t so much looking for things that were wrong as I was appreciating the masterful work that had been done. It was with some pleasure that I gave Tony a thumbs-up evaluation on the aircraft. “The skis and floats were part of the package. In fact, the Norseman may be one of the only airplanes that, when it did its certification flying for the Canadian Government, it was all done on floats. It didn’t get wheels until later.

Honoured in Red Lake Although the Norseman is little known outside of Canada, in Red Lake, Ontario it is a celebrity. Self-described as an ‘end-of-the-road town’, Red Lake and the six small enclaves it encompasses date back to 1926, when bush planes began to connect such rural communities to the outside world. Post-war, the sound of a Norseman on floats transiting the town’s docking facilities was a signal that the outside world hadn’t forgotten Red Lake. Although the Norseman has been mostly replaced by Beavers, Otters, and others of the new generation of bush planes, Red Lake still declares itself to be the ‘Norseman Capital of the World’ and has a festival in honour of Robert Noorduyn’s gift to the North Country. Where most communities have a statue of a gallant soldier in the town square, Red Lake has a Norseman, CF-DRD, on a modernistic pedestal overlooking the lake on which it often landed. Unfortunately, a major hail storm pummelled the town in 2017 severely damaging the fabric on CF-DRD allowing the elements to do their thing to the interior and structure. They’ve mounted a fund-raising campaign to save their town icon, and they’re close to hitting their target. Click here if you’d like to know more and help them with a donation.

32 | FLYER | January 2021

“The skis with Glen’s airplane were the last of 50 sets of retractable skis that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had manufactured for their Norsemans. The skis were on the airplane, when Tony bought it, and I left them on as I flew it back to my strip in Jackson, Michigan. Tony has said that he doesn’t want to put it on floats.”

Lucky strikes…

It has to be pointed out that CF-UUD, now registered as N164UC (its USAAF designation, when it was built in 1943, was UC-64A, hence the ‘N’ number), was born under a lucky star. It has had far more brushes with near-death than most aircraft. For instance, in 1956, when it returned from long-term employment in Mexico, where the larger-than-normal door magically appeared, a careless welder set it on fire. In seconds the fabric flared up destroying the wooden wings but left the fuselage and cockpit structure largely untouched. The remains were purchased by an engineer, Charles Ursell, who metallized the fuselage and then designed and installed a set of all-metal wings with 170 gallons of fuel in them. He even managed to get an STC for them. Surviving the fire and being found by someone who was willing to revive it was lucky strike number one for this Norseman. Flash ahead 30 years to 1986 and the aircraft, now living in Canada, was sinking into the grass on the side of a nearly forgotten runway, a typical situation for working aeroplanes that are well past their prime. Glen Crandall, a farmer from Ponoka, Alberta, who had wanted a Norseman since a teenager, discovered CF-UUD which was in questionable condition. The good news, however, was that it was marginally airworthy, so it was ferried down to Wetaskiwin, BC where Solar Aviation took it down to the last nut and bolt and brought it up to near-new condition. Lucky strike number two. For a time, the restored CF-UUD lived in a big wooden hangar on an ex-RCAF base. The month after Glen decided to move it to another hangar, his former hangar burned down. Lucky strike number three. It stayed in the new hangar for a period of time before being moved to yet another, newer hangar. A month later, the hangar it had just vacated burned down. Lucky strike number four. When Brian got the Norseman back to Michigan his challenge was to sort out the paperwork required to get the aircraft ready to be registered in the US, which, in his experience as an IA could be daunting. “It’s quite common,” he says, “for older aircraft to

Above Workmanlike interior is the perfect match for the utility nature of the Norseman. Visibility from the cockpit is good thanks to deep windows, but that radial on the nose still means you’ll need a few turns when taxying… Right Throw-over yoke and centre-mounted throttle quadrant shared by left and right seaters Below Even with 600hp, the Norseman’s heft means it’s no rocketship… Left No flimsiness here, everything that gets handled is designed for robust use

January 2021 | FLYER | 33

Turbine Maule Grumman Widgeon M-7-420AC

Above Norseman flies like it looks… heavy, stable and with lots of character Left No litre bottles here… Make sure you’ve got gallon containers when it’s time to check the oil on the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Below left Hamilton Standard three-blade propeller is nine feet in diameter Bottom Introduced in 1935, the Norseman was in production for 25 years, with 904 examples built

have huge parts of their history not covered in the log books and mechanical modifications are missing important supporting paperwork. They may have a change made to the aircraft that requires an STC, but the owner doesn’t have that STC in their files. Or maybe it’s not in the log book. This was not the case with Tony’s new airplane. Everything that had been done to the airplane was there.” And Brian’s job of making the aircraft legal in the US was simplified. In 1967, the aircraft was exported to Canada and registered as CF-UUD, and in 1976, UUD’s metal wings (the only ones in existence) were transferred to another aircraft, and replaced by original all-wood/fabric covered wings. All of this was covered in the log books along with everything Glenn Crandall had done.

Stable machine

When Tony speaks of his aeroplane’s long history, he says, “You wish the airplane could talk. With 13,000 hours, almost all of it in bush operations, you can bet it had some interesting adventures.” One of the more interesting episodes in its life is that the metal wings were wet-sealed and could hold a hefty 170 gallons. So, later owners assumed that when the wing modification was made, the Norseman’s original 100-gallon belly tank had been removed and wasn’t re-installed when the metal wings were removed. This left only the two 50-gallon wing tanks to feed the 600hp P&W R-1340, which has a voracious appetite. So, later pilots had to carefully plan their flights. However, during a rebuild in the 1990s, it was found that the original belly tank was still installed and had 10 gallons of avgas in it! Brian says the Norseman flies very much the same as it looks – heavy, stable and easy on the runway with loads of character. He says, “First, you have to remember that at 4,650lb empty, even with 600hp, it’s not going to be a rocket ship. Plus, it has a steerable tailwheel, rather than one that locks, so, when taxying, you can easily make it go where you want. However, you always have to remember that it has a lot of inertia and the 34 | FLYER | May 2020

Electronic Conspicuity


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In flight


Norduyn Norseman

old drum brakes are adequate, but not great. “On take-off, you have pretty decent visibility for a taildragger, and, of course, the sound track is terrific! Nothing beats a round motor! The acceleration at the weights we fly it, with just a couple people and gas, could be likened to a light 172. I let the tail fly itself off the ground with only a little help, then hold a slightly tail down attitude and let the airplane make the take-off, which generally happens around 65-70mph. You have some right foot in it during most of the run and, as soon as it starts to leave the runway, you get a lot more boot into it for P-factor. It has a big rudder but also has lots of P-factor.”

Born and bred for utility…

Tested and certified from new on floats, the Norseman could also quickly be changed to skis or wheels

40gph, 110mph…

36 | FLYER | January 2021


Maximum speed: 155mph (249km/h, 135kn) landplane; 138mph (120kn; 222km/h) (skis); 134mph (116kn; 216km/h) (floats) Cruise speed: 130mph (210km/h, 110kn) KTAS @ 10,000ft (3,000m) Landing speed: 68mph (109km/h, 59kn) Range: 932 miles (1,500km, 810nm) @ 10,000ft (3,000m) Service ceiling: 17,000ft (5,200m) Rate of climb: 591ft/min (3.00m/s) at 100mph (87kn; 161km/h) Wing loading: 22.8lb/sq ft (111kg/ m2) Power/Weight: 12.3lb/hp (7.48kg/ kW) Maximum: Flaps extended (Vfe): 108 miles per hour (94kn; 174km/h)


Wingspan: 51ft 6in (15.70m) Wing area: 325 sq ft (30.2 m2) Length: 32ft 4in (9.86m)

Weights & loading

Crew: One Capacity: 10 Max take-off weight: 7,400lb (3,357kg); 7,540lb (3,420kg) with floats Empty weight: 4,240lb (1,923kg) Payload 2,760lb (1,252kg) Fuel capacity: 100 imp gal (120 US gal) in two wing roots + optional 37.4 imp gal (44.9 US gal) F ​ ront and 64 imp gal.(77 US gal) rear belly tanks


Airfoil: NACA 2412 Powerplant: One × Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN1, nine-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine Max power: 600hp (450kW) Propeller: Hamilton Standard, three-blade, constant speed. 9ft (2.8m) diameter

Height: 10ft 1in (3.07m)

First published in EAA Vintage magazine.

“You’re limited to 36 inches of manifold pressure and about 2,250rpm on take-off and climb, which gives about 700fpm at 80mph. The whole take-off process is extremely solid and throwing a couple of people in the back has little or no effect on the performance. For that reason, inasmuch as making a profit in a bush freight operation is a function of how much you can carry on each trip, you can bet the old girl was usually carrying a lot more than its official payload of 3,300lb. In those kinds of North Country operations, the rule is ‘If it fits, it flies’. “As you can imagine,” Brian says, “at cruise it’s as if you’re humming along in an 18-wheeler on the interstate. Nothing seems to bother it. This’ll be at 28 inches and 1,800-1,850rpm, which is sucking close to 40 gallons per hour. For all that effort and drama, you might be seeing 110mph as long as the skis aren’t mounted. It’s really cool to be rumbling along in that big old cockpit imagining that you’ll be landing on a miniscule gravel runway in the middle of nowhere, where men are men and they’re all flying manly airplanes like this one. “I fly the approach at 85mph or so and want 80 over the fence. I’ll start cranking flaps down on downwind, which is sort of unique because the flaps have a crank on the end of a cable that’s not unlike a tachometer or speedometer cable, so they are infinitely variable. “I carry a little power, maybe 1,500rpm, into the flair and set it up for either a three-point or a wheeler. It does them both really well. It has a very gentle stall, which happens around 55mph, so as soon as it touches, it starts decelerating. I seldom use more than half of my 2,500ft home runway. When asked, I often tell people it’s like flying a 7,000lb Taylorcraft.” What he doesn’t say is that a Pratt and Whitney R-1340 will never sound like a Continental A-65.

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My First Solo

Jane Gregory

Keen to solo as soon as possible? Not Jane Gregory: she dreaded her first helicopter flight by herself Interview by Yayeri van Baarsen

Solo stats The only female civilian pilot qualified on the AW109, when she’s finished her type rating Historic Helicopter’s Jane Gregory will also be the only female civilian Sea King pilot. When: 2 July 2011 Where: Henstridge Airfield Aircraft: Schweizer 269 – G-RHCB Hours at solo: 39 Hours now: 302

How did you get into aviation? I’d often join my partner Andrew in his Jet Ranger, so it seemed a good idea to have some training as well. Just in case something would happen to him while flying, I could radio for help and crashland the helicopter. I took some lessons in Spain and although I had to give up on the radio due to the heavy Spanish accent, I got hooked on flying. How did your flight training go? I found the controls quite difficult. Strangely, when I started wearing gloves, which I do when horse riding, something clicked and it went much better. I also remember trying to hover in front of a wooden post, with my instructor asking, “Why do you keep turning your head?” In show jumping, you always turn your head to look at the fence – learning to keep it straight while flying was very hard. Did you look forward to soloing? Not at all! Others wanted to solo as soon as possible, but I was happy to take as much time as needed. I was so worried about the change in performance. My instructor was quite a large gentleman and without him, they said, the helicopter would go from a Mini to a Porsche. Once, when I thought it was solo time, I became more and more anxious until my instructor said: “Jane, relax! I’m

not getting out. The winds are too strong.” Having made such a big thing of it in my head, I was surprised that when it finally happened, I felt quite confident. There was so much to think of during that one circuit, I had no time to be nervous. Does flying the Sea King bring any particular challenges? No, actually not. First time in the simulator I was already quite impressed with how easy she was to fly. Also, in the Jet Ranger, you’re the only pilot, so everything – flying, navigation, radio – is down to you. In the Sea King, we have two pilots and a crew member. The crewman in the back talks me through the landing process exactly, which makes it much easier. I’m honoured to be part of this team, the military approach means you can fly to a higher standard. The only challenge I can think of is that the Jet Ranger’s start list consists of about 20 things, whereas the Sea King’s has more like 200. What’s it like being part of the team at Historic Helicopters? Being around the engineers when they’re restoring helicopters is a phenomenal experience. They show me everything. Once, when the Sea King’s emergency lever needed testing, I actually got to pull it!

“There was so much to think of during that one circuit, I had no time to be nervous” 38 | FLYER | January 2021

I also feel very privileged to be able to inspire the younger generation. When a Beaver Scouts group came here for their aviation badges, Andrew gave them a hangar tour while I walked up to the helicopter. Realising that I was a pilot, one of the girls shyly asked: “Could I do this as well later?” That’s exactly what I want to achieve. Is there any other helicopter you’d like to fly? Not really. Having the opportunity to fly the Sea King is amazing. I’m still training, so at the moment I don’t aspire to fly anything else. I’d absolutely love to land the Sea King on a ship though – that’s certainly on my wish list! Horses are your other passion, how does riding compare to flying? A horse has a mind of its own, whereas a helicopter hopefully only does what you want. However, there’s a great similarity in hand-foot-eye coordination. With both activities you’re using your arms, legs and eyes simultaneously. Other than that, they just don’t mix. That said, last year we briefly paused a show jumping competition when the Wessex and Whirlwind came in to land, and afterwards riders and pilots all met up in the bar together. What do you love about flying most? I love going flying on a sunny day, with blue skies and no clouds to get lost in. Up there, away from the hustle and bustle, it’s just you and the helicopter, with the world floating by. Read more about Historic Helicopters starting on page 40

40 | FLYER | January 2021

RESTORATION | UK’s most historic helicopter collection

Historic Helicopters As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child - and the same applies for getting a fleet of ex-military helicopters flying again. It’s certainly been a joint effort for the team at the unique aviation charity Historic Helicopters. Rachel Ramsay reports…

A Graham Wasey

s I turn off a narrow country road in Somerset and make my way down the drive of Chard Equestrian, I can’t help wondering whether I’ve come to the right place. That’s until I see something big and bright yellow in the yard. The unmistakable tail of a Sea King in RAF Search and Rescue livery. It’s being washed down and that is no mean feat. Up close, Sea King 597 is colossal. Little wonder that they only manage to clean half of it in the time I’m there. I later spot the words ‘Rob’s best effort!’ scrawled into the dirt on the side they haven’t yet done. As I round the corner, I see that this mighty machine is sitting in front of an open hangar door, and I’m met with a sight that instantly tells me that Andrew has amassed a collection of helicopters most rotorheads can only dream of. The bright yellow Whirlwind and red and blue Navy Wessex are the most immediately striking, and on closer inspection I spot another Sea King (this time a ‘Junglie’ in dark green; that’s the nickname for an ex-Commando Force Helicopter), a Wasp and a Lynx, which is being worked on by a couple of engineers. The

Main The unmistakable livery of the RAF Search and Rescue Whirlwind turning heads at Oaksey Park

“I’m met with a sight that instantly tells me that Andrew has amassed a collection of helicopters most rotorheads can only dream of”

hangar is so jam-packed with rotary treasures that it’s some time before I notice that there’s also a Jet Ranger tucked in on the far side, dwarfed by the Wessex that it sits alongside. I’m keen to find out more about how this unique collection came into being, and I take up a pew to talk with Andrew in the back of their ‘Junglie’ Sea King, which is awaiting its flight test. It all began, Andrew tells me, when he acquired a Westland Whirlwind, the only one of its kind still flying and quite possibly the oldest airworthy helicopter in the world. Considering that this particular machine took its first flight all the way back in 1956, the Whirlwind is in remarkably good nick, its friendly ‘smile’ now as familiar a sight on the airshow circuit as it once was in service patrolling the beaches of Devon and Cornwall. I’d first encountered it a couple of years ago at Weston-super-Mare Airshow, and had bumped into it again just a few weeks before at a vintage helicopter fly-in at Oaksey Park organised by Andrew Austen, whose father Brian is another big name in the world of historic helicopters. The Whirlwind’s hangar mate, the Navy Wessex, had also been at the fly-in, so I’d already had the privilege of seeing these remarkable machines in flight. As a humble R44 pilot, I’m intrigued to know what it’s like to fly something as old as this – particularly given that Andrew’s more practical mode of transport is an Agusta 109. “Did you find it an easy transition to start learning to fly these old machines after you’d been used to flying Jet Rangers and 109s?” I ask him. “Well, the Whirlwind is a different type of flying, and that’s the point with it,” he replies. “You don’t throw that thing around like you do with a 109. You don’t do the kind of things you do with a 109. You tend to fly it very carefully, very considered, watching the temperatures and the pressures all the time – one eye out and one eye in. You’ve got to be really careful with January 2021 | FLYER | 41


Above The Whirlwind in flight, once a familiar sight patrolling the beaches of Devon and Cornwall Right Dave Wells (left) and Foz Foster (right), both ex-RAF, are full-time engineers at Historic Helicopters

42 | FLYER | January 2021

Graham Wasey

Above Andrew Whitehouse and Jane Gregory in the hangar of rotorhead dreams Left Spare Wessex engines, acquired in bulk from the MO Below Rachel chats to Andrew alongside the Whirlwind, thought to be the oldest airworthy helicopter in the world

it, because it is the only one – and the same with the Wessex. We’re over-cautious probably – a progressive, cautious approach to everything we do.” And, of course, it’s a manual throttle, something that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever been fortunate enough to fly that other iconic vintage helicopter, the Bell 47. “It’s a totally different approach to flying the Whirlwind,” Andrew continues. “Because I was the only Whirlwind pilot type rated in the world – there was nobody else – the CAA gave me dispensation to train Steve,” he says, referring to Chief Pilot Steve Daniels, whom he describes as ‘probably one of the best helicopter pilots in the world’. “So I’m now no longer the only Whirlwind pilot, which is sad in some ways, good in others!” I put to Andrew that it’s an exclusive group. “Yeah, it is. We’re quite fond of the Whirlwind and I’m not going to let just anyone fly it.” One person who certainly isn’t ‘just anyone’ is Andrew’s partner Jane Gregory, who’s currently converting to the Sea King. She tells me she’s the only woman flying an Agusta 109 on a PPL. “I’m probably the only girl who’s got the opportunity to fly the Sea King, if we’re honest,” she admits when I quiz her about how she’s finding the training. “Of all the helicopters in there, this is the one I like the best. The Whirlwind is single engine, there’s only one in the world, and Andrew flies it. She is so old, I’d be too scared to fly it. If something went wrong… The Wessex is twin engine but officially it’s single pilot – and there’s only one of those too. There are more of these (Sea Kings), which means you don’t have that same pressure on you. And it’s twin pilot, and I think doing the whole female crew thing is going to be amazing.” She’s referring to the fact that she and ex-Search and Rescue pilot Ayla Holdom are planning to fly the Sea King together with a female support crew member, forming an all-female flight demonstration team for next season’s airshows. Indeed, I get the impression that the Historic Helicopters team is incredibly supportive of female pilots, with a scholarship underway to fund one lucky pilot through her CPL training. It’s always good to see female pilots, I remark to Andrew. “Abso-bloody-lutely!” he replies. I get the chance to see Jane in action as she takes to the righthand seat of the Sea King to fire her up and perform a blade fold, as engineer Dave Wells reads out the items on an exhaustive checklist covering each of the bewildering array of buttons and switches in the cockpit. Intricate folding process The Sea King performs the intricate folding process automatically, with the rotors inching round to line up with the tail – drooping almost to the ground as they do – and the tail rotor folding back to make it easier to store on ships or in hangars. With Sea King 597 safely back in the hangar – a Tetris-style undertaking that involves rotor blades fitting in millimetres from fork lift trucks – I get chatting to Dave. He and fellow full-time engineer Foz Foster are both ex-RAF, and first worked together in the early 1990s. Dave tells me he met Andrew while working as Crew Chief at Chivenor, when Andrew had flown the Whirlwind into a 22 Squadron reunion. This chance meeting ultimately led to Dave working full time at Historic Helicopters, and he’s uniquely well-placed to be working on this collection, with some lively stories to share about his years working on Sea Kings. January 2021 | FLYER 43


Want to log some hours in an ex-military helicopter?

Above Fancy a Westland Scout type rating?

44 | FLYER | January 2021

Above The Sea King’s cockpit is a bewildering array of buttons and switches

He tells me about the time when he was down in the Falklands in 2003 and a Sea King had been brought over on an Antonov, nose to nose with a Tornado. During the unloading process the Tornado had become loose and put a hole in the nose of the Sea King. They worked through the night to get it ready to fly the next day, signing their names behind the makeshift panel they’d fitted, and then he ‘forgot all about it’. He brings the story vividly to life when he lifts open the avionics bay at the front of the Sea King we’re standing next to, shining his torch inside and beckoning me over to inspect what’s behind the front panel: those very signatures. I can only imagine the amazement he must have felt to be reunited with the aircraft he’d worked on under such different circumstances. With the collection flying a low number of hours each year, and in a set-up that Andrew acknowledges is something of a labour of love, there isn’t the time pressure the engineers knew when they were up against the constraints of life in the forces. “We get time to do everything exactly right, so when they’re done they’re as good as we can make them,” says Dave. “And this is a well-resourced operation, not just a guy on a shoestring.” The engineers dig out an interesting entry in 597’s log book to show me. ‘Pilot: Wales’ – none other than Prince William himself. But the days of being flown by the heir to the throne are long gone for 597, and it’s now earning its keep in a more sedate fashion. The airshow circuit forms a source of income for Historic Helicopters; nowhere near enough to break even, of course, but every little helps when you’re operating machines that can burn up to 1,200lb of Jet A1 an hour. Income stream And that’s not the only world that Andrew’s machines are becoming known in: film and television has provided another valuable income stream for the collection. An airworthy vintage helicopter is a handy asset for that touch of authentic detail in productions set a few decades ago, and although Sea King 597 only took the first flight of its new life earlier this year, it’s already been in demand from production companies. In fact, on the day of my visit the team had just returned from a few days of filming with it in Scotland, and I imagine the heads that it must have turned as it transited up the country. Before I leave, I discover that the hangar I’ve spent the last couple of hours looking around is only part of the collection. Andrew takes me over to a second barn

Graham Wasey

The Sea King, Whirlwind and Wessex might be off limits to all but a select few, but if you’re keen to log some time on a Westland, you could soon be in luck. Helicopter instructor and examiner Mark Cowley recently replaced his R44 with a Scout and plans to offer Scout and Wasp type rating courses, as well as mini courses for enthusiastic PPL(H) holders who want to see what it’s like to take the controls of these legendary machines. “I particularly like the Westland Scout and the Wasp, as they are such iconic British-made helicopters and hark back to a golden age of military flying in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s,” says Mark. “They are solid, heavy and built to withstand the rigours of the battlefield or a harsh marine environment.” So what’s it like to climb on board? “When you first get in the Scout, you immediately notice that it smells distinctively of leather and oil, like a classic vintage car,” Mark explains. “You look around at all the switches and circuit breakers and they are captioned ‘Rockets, Slow Falling Flares, Guns, Missiles’, etc – it really does capture your imagination. They are classic military aircraft, purpose-built for the job they were required to carry out in the armed forces.” Is the Scout difficult to fly? “Not particularly, but it does have quirks that will cause an inexperienced pilot a problem unless you have some reasonable helicopter experience,” says Mark. “As an instructor, I think it is sensible that you cannot generally learn to fly in one if you have not got a PPL(H). I don’t relish the thought of trying to teach someone to hover in one.” Even as an existing PPL(H) holder, it’ll take you more hours to achieve a type rating on a Scout than on most helicopters – it’s a 10-hour course, compared with five hours for most ratings. At the time of writing, Mark is awaiting approval from the CAA for his new Scout/Wasp type rating training manual, which he’s adapted from an original manual to be more suitable for civilian instructors. He’s had to ensure that the syllabus covers aspects civilian pilots won’t be familiar with, such as the dangers of misinterpreting old military instrumentation. When the training manual is approved, Mark’s courses promise to be a fascinating insight into military helicopter flying as well as an enjoyable flying challenge. Students will hear from senior ex-military pilots, who’ll come along and lecture on the history of the helicopters, their development in service and the role they played in the armed services around the world. The final details are still being worked out, but if you’re interested in being kept in the loop for the chance to log some time on a Scout, Mark will be operating through his company Dragonfly Aviation, and you can contact him for more information here.

Above Historic Helicopters Westland Wasp at the vintage helicopter fly-in at Oaksey Park in August Left How many historic helicopters can you fit in one hangar? Below When you’re packing the Sea King into the hangar, it helps to know where to stop…

January 2021 | FLYER | 45

Graham Wasey


Above The striking Navy Wessex lifting off at Oaksey Park

Westlands galore at Oaksey Park If you had gone down to Oaksey Park Airfield in late summer, you’d have been in for a big surprise. Seldom does one see a solitary Westland Wasp, let alone a whole line-up of Wasps and Scouts, joined by Andrew Whitehouse’s Navy Wessex and Whirlwind, with a Gazelle and Alouette thrown in for good measure. This unusual gathering was organised by airfield operator Andrew Austen, who told me that if it wasn’t for his father Brian – formerly a purveyor of historic helicopters – there would probably be very few of these machines still flying. “I had recently become reacquainted with both dad’s Whirlwind and one of his Scouts, so a vintage helicopter fly-in seemed like a great idea,” he explains. “What really pushed me on was the idea that by bringing the current generation of owners together, we could help keep these fantastic machines going for a little longer through a sharing of knowledge and passion for a part of aviation I rather think gets forgotten about.” Despite the need to limit visitor numbers due to Covid restrictions, the day was a resounding success, with flight crews enjoying a sumptuous barbecue and cake courtesy of the Austens, and a small bevy of photographers to capture the occasion. “I’m really pleased with how everything went,” says Andrew. “Maybe it’s just me, but the event does seem to have sparked a little flame in the heart of vintage helicopter flying that was little more than an ember in previous months. Hopefully we have reinvigorated this small but important corner of our sport for many years to come.”

Above Ancient and modern: the Wiltshire Air Ambulance also dropped in

46 | FLYER | January 2021

across the yard, where I’m astonished to see another Sea King and two more Wessexes. Not only that, but stacked up along the one side of the wall are crate upon crate of Wessex engines, acquired in bulk from the MOD. Andrew tells me that it takes the team a week of each year to unbox and turn them over to keep them in condition. Clambering on board the third Sea King, I’m met with a sight unchanged since it was in active service. The radar operator’s station is still in situ, as is the ‘wet fit’ flooring to prevent seawater (and blood) from spreading through the helicopter during a rescue. There’s even the boiling water tap for the crew to make a brew. It’s a reminder that all the machines in this remarkable collection were once true military workhorses – and, like every good workhorse deserves, they’re being well looked after in their retirement. Put out to pasture in the idyllic surroundings of this unique equestrian/helicopter paradise, they really couldn’t have asked for a better place to adjust to civvy life. To find out more about Historic Helicopters, click here, where you can sign up to become a member for exclusive monthly content, hangar tours and more.

Above The Whirlwind’s single Gnome turbine has been upgraded to a more powerful model, but de-rated


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Safety Accident Analysis

No need to go it alone…


e should not have needed to be told that a pandemic would touch every aspect of our lives, but few of us understood the extent to which it would do so. And although this particular accident occurred just before Covid-19 became widespread, it reminds us how much more we need to watch out for each other, as the pandemic continues. Keeping to our respective bubbles comes at a cost, both for our mental well-being and our ability to interact, which are key tenets of aviation safety. So when it comes to flying, ‘going it alone’ is not really an option, and that means all of us need to make an extra effort supporting one another.

Accident 1

The owner of G-BUDW kept his aircraft at a small farm airstrip. In the months leading up to the accident it was reported that G-BUDW had been experiencing a rough running engine and loss of engine power in flight. In April 2019, it had an engine failure and landed in a field. The pilot was able to fix the problem and took off again 40 minutes later. It was reported that he had aborted several flights in recent months and returned to the airfield due to engine problems. The owner had tried several solutions to resolve the engine problems including fitting an additional electric fuel pump. The day before the accident the owner had modified the fuel system to change the arrangement of the electrical and mechanical fuel pumps. On the day of the accident, it was reported that the

owner intended to undertake a short flight to test the modified fuel system. An old grain shed, at one end of the runway, was used to store G-BUDW and three other aircraft. When the owner of G-BUDW arrived at the airfield, another pilot was working on his aircraft. The other pilot was busy with his own aircraft so, other than exchanging some pleasantries, they did not speak. However, the other pilot was aware of G-BUDW’s owner preparing his aircraft. The other pilot later heard the aircraft start and reported that ‘the engine sounded fine’, a few minutes later he saw the aircraft taxi away. When he heard G-BUDW start its take-off, he walked out of the hangar to watch and recalled it was 1232. He reported that when he saw the aircraft come over the crest of the runway it was at about 5-10ft and the engine sounded ‘good’. He then heard the engine go much quieter ‘as if it had been altered to tick over’ and was aware the aircraft was no longer climbing normally. He heard the engine ‘get loud again then hesitate and get quiet again’ and described the engine as ‘fizzing and popping’. The aircraft passed directly over his head, clearing the shed roof by 20-30ft. As the aircraft went out of sight, he could no longer hear the engine and assumed the pilot would be attempting a forced landing in a field. He ran around the shed but could not see the aircraft. He returned to his car and started a search of the surrounding area but was unable to locate the aircraft. At 1252, he called the pilot of one of the other aircraft in the hangar and asked if he

“The engine was in poor condition with multiple defects” 48 | FLYER | January 2021

could come to the airfield and use his aircraft to search the area. At 1315, the other pilot arrived, prepared his aircraft for flight and started to taxi to the far end of the airfield for take-off. As he taxied over the crest of the runway, he saw the wreckage of G-BUDW in the field to the north of the runway. They alerted the emergency services at 1328 and went on to attempt to revive the pilot without success. The Colibri MB2 aircraft is a homebuilt single-seat light aircraft with fixed landing gear, constructed predominantly from spruce and plywood, and is operated under a Permit to Fly issued by the LAA. G-BUDW was built in 1992 and the current owner purchased the aircraft in 2007 and flew it regularly. He undertook the maintenance of the aircraft himself, but no evidence of a maintenance programme was found. The aircraft’s annual inspection was carried out by a local LAA inspector, as required to maintain the Permit to Fly. Since the engine had been rebuilt, 605 hours of running time had been logged. The owner of G-BUDW held a valid UK PPL with a valid Single Engine Piston (Land) rating. He had previously held an IMC rating, but this was no longer valid. The pilot’s logbook recorded that he had a total of 1,300 flying hours. Since April 2016, when his current logbook started, he had completed 221 hours in G-BUDW. He had completed a pilot medical declaration on the 15 December 2017, which was valid until he reached the age of 70. There was no evidence that the accident was caused by any medical condition. Toxicology found no evidence of any substance which may have contributed to the accident. The accident site was discovered approximately one hour after take-off. It is not known for certain when the accident occurred or where the aircraft flew after the initial sightings, but the fact that the aircraft was not recorded

Mark Mitchell

Maintaining a safe flying environment is difficult when we operate in isolation, doing ‘our own thing’ and only joining in with others when we really have to, suggests Steve Ayres. In this recent accident, we shall never know for sure if that was a factor, but all the ingredients are certainly there…

on radar suggests it did not gain significant altitude. There was no record of the pilot contacting any of the air traffic control frequencies. Therefore, the most likely scenario is that after take-off the pilot tried to fly a circuit to the north of the airfield in an attempt to land back on the runway when it struck the ground. The investigation identified that the engine was in poor condition with multiple defects which could have caused the loss of engine power and rough running. The most significant of these were a crack in the cylinder head, a split inlet manifold joint and deposits on the valve seats. The crack in the head of cylinder 2 would have resulted in a reduction in compression and engine power. The split in the manifold would allow air into the manifold, weakening the mixture and causing the engine to run hot. The deposits on the valves were most likely a mixture of carbon and oil and not untypical for an engine of this age. In cylinders 1 and 2 it was noted that some of the deposits had flaked off the head and there was evidence that these flakes had been caught and crushed in the valve seats. This would have prevented the valves from sealing, resulting in low compression and loss of engine power. From the sealing checks, only cylinder 4 sealed effectively. The original power output of the engine was not known but with the defects identified during the examination its power would have been severely reduced. The weather conditions on the day were also conducive to carburettor icing and following the long taxi over wet grass, this may have further reduced engine power. The long-term engine problems are likely to have been caused by the crack in the head of cylinder 2 and the split inlet manifold joint. However, it is believed that on the accident flight, a detached carbon flake caught under the exhaust valve of cylinder 1, further reducing the engine’s performance to a point where flight could not be sustained. Although the checks for the Permit to Fly had been signed off by the LAA inspector, no evidence of long-term maintenance planning was identified. The engine logbooks recorded the completion of regular annual tasks, which were predominantly oil changes and tappet adjustment. The LAA recommends monitoring of various engine parameters and taking appropriate action when deviation

“It is about being human and caring as we all struggle with today’s challenges” from the ‘norm’ is noted. During the investigation no evidence was found that engine parameters were being regularly recorded. This investigation demonstrated that a compression check by feel rather than using compression test equipment is not a reliable indication of the condition of the cylinders. Had the checks and servicing been carried out using the LAA guidance it is likely the crack in cylinder 2 and the inlet manifold leak would have been identified. While there was no defined overhaul period for G-BUDW’s engine its poor condition indicated that it required a top-end overhaul. The pilot had made several changes to the aircraft fuel system while

attempting to resolve an engine problem. There was no evidence that these changes had been inspected by a LAA inspector or that they had been discussed with, or approved by, LAA Engineering. While there is no evidence that these contributed to the accident, it is important that owners/ pilots should follow the correct inspection and approval process when making changes to the aircraft configuration. An engine problem in a single engine aircraft need not necessarily result in a fatal accident. During this flight it is likely the pilot experienced a partial engine power loss but felt he had enough height and power to return to the runway.

Ayres’ Analysis I remember reading military Boards of Inquiry in the past that would start with an in-depth analysis of whether the accident pilot ‘had eaten a sufficiently hearty breakfast’ for the day’s tasking. It would then go on to discuss the quality of their interpersonal relationships and other possible stress factors. Civilian accident reports rarely go into that level of detail and could probably never do so, but as most of us emerge from another lockdown I have been left wondering what toll our Covid-19 lifestyles is taking on our broader well-being and our ability to stay safe. This accident pre-dates the pandemic by several months, of course, but there are lessons for today. The pilot was operating off a small strip with presumably little opportunity to interact with fellow aviators on a day-to-day basis. He had worked for months trying to resolve a mechanical issue with apparently little interaction from colleagues, inspectors, or regulators. Sound familiar? Surely, if this was possible back then, then today it is infinitely easier. We can all retract into our ‘bubble’ and with the help of social distancing end up having almost no human contact at all. That’s worrying. Sure, aviators are generally a gregarious bunch, but not all. Some are very definitely not! So, without putting that metaphorical arm around a colleague how are we going to do our bit to help curb the excesses of some and the retreat of others into unsafe isolation? This accident report highlights a number of issues which are unfortunately not that uncommon, and it only takes a few of them to come together on the wrong day for the consequences to be serious. Although the findings were inconclusive, we shouldn’t underestimate the benefits that interaction with fellow pilots can have and who knows, on another day, any one of us putting a metaphorical arm around a lone pilot might just change the course of events. It’s not being nosey, nor is it intruding into their space. It is about being human and caring as we all struggle with today’s challenges. Looking after each other is the least we can do, and although we really don’t need to check on what they had for breakfast, knowing that our fellow aviators are OK in themselves and have no flying worries is a pretty decent place to start… January 2021 | FLYER | 49

Safety Accident Reports

Airborne surprise

Steve Ayres summarises and comments on accident reports from around the world and looks at ponders the material choices in clothing should you have to deal with a fire

Closed and locked?

Unsolved mystery

Mooney M20K

Cessna 172S



Membury Airfield, Berkshire

Nr Puffin Island, Anglesey

Injuries: None

Injuries: One fatal

The aircraft was in level flight and had been flying for approximately 15 minutes when the baggage door opened and detached. It struck the right tailplane and remained wrapped round its leading edge near its tip. This caused the pilot control difficulties and increased drag. The pilot declared a Mayday and made a successful emergency landing at Membury Airfield. The investigation found the safety clip for the internal emergency operating handle of the baggage door was not correctly installed, so instead of holding the handle closed it held it in a slightly open position. During the flight, it seems most likely that this handle moved sufficiently towards the open position to disengage the shoot bolts from the door frame allowing the door to open. It could not be determined when the safety clip was incorrectly installed or why it had not been noticed. Comment The internal safety locking mechanism had been incorrectly assembled and slightly damaged to the point where spotting the fault was difficult. However, the consequences could have been dire and on another aircraft type may have resulted in loss of the tailplane and ultimately loss of control. Worth getting up close and checking those latches!

The pilot had arrived at Caernarfon Airport at about 0915 on the day of the accident, having booked that morning to fly G-CBXJ with the flying club based at the airport. He planned to complete a local flight from Caernarfon out to Great Orme, a small peninsula about 24 miles along the coastline to the east, returning via Puffin Island off the north-east coast of Anglesey, which was a flight of about 30 minutes. The pilot checked the weather and booked out with the flying club before going out to the aeroplane at about 0925. The engine, however, would not start. An engineer examined the aircraft and identified the starter motor shear pin had failed. While the engineer worked on the aircraft, the pilot returned to the flying club where he talked to a number of people who described his demeanour as being ‘normal’. With the aircraft operating, the pilot took off. Several minutes into the flight the aircraft descended into the sea, killing the pilot. There was no evidence of a structural failure leading to the accident and a trial to replicate the final flight profile discounted a full or partial engine failure. The trial concluded that it was likely the aircraft required an input on the controls in order to enter and maintain the recorded final descent

“The door struck the right tailplane and remained wrapped round its leading edge” 50 | FLYER | January 2021

path. The post-mortem and toxicology tests did not reveal any indication that the pilot had become incapacitated, although it is still possible that this had occurred. The pilot had been unwell in the days before the flight and his complaint of feeling ‘uncomfortable’ when the car he had been travelling in had accelerated, was unusual. His family had however considered he was well again at the time he went flying and saw nothing unusual in his behaviour. Comment No definitive cause for the accident could be found and although there are theories as to what happened, all seem improbable and none will likely ever be proven.

Student surprise Cessna 152 VH-JIW Archerfield Airport, Queensland Injuries: One minor

During the flight, the instructor demonstrated a number of manoeuvres from the ‘effects of control’ flight training syllabus. With the aircraft in a nose-up trim, the student then practised re-trimming the aircraft for level flight, while maintaining attitude using nose-down pressure on the control wheel. At about 2,000ft above ground level, with the student flying, the instructor moved the pitch trim to about two-thirds travel nose down. The student maintained attitude with nose-up pressure on the control wheel. The instructor’s feet were lightly on the rudder pedals, left hand on their leg, and right hand resting on the glareshield (next to the control wheel). The student maintained straight and level flight for a short period. When it came time to return the elevator trim to neutral, the student became confused about the correct



Acknowledgments. Photo: Brian Nicholas Pilot/Owner: Mike Davies


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Safety Accident Reports procedure and let go of the control wheel. The aircraft rapidly pitched nose down, rolled left, and entered into a dive. During these events, the flight instructor’s headset dislodged from their head. The flight instructor took control of the aircraft and subsequently arrested the descent at about 400ft, about 25 seconds after the descent commenced. During the occurrence sequence, the instructor pulled the throttle back quite rapidly. At some stage the throttle was bent causing it to become stiff, although it still functioned normally. The instructor then terminated the lesson and the aircraft landed without further incident. The instructor sustained several minor injuries, including an injury to the left shin after it contacted the underside of the instrument panel, a head injury from impact with the cabin roof, and bruising to the right hip. The student pilot was uninjured. The aircraft sustained damage to the right horizontal stabiliser. Comment This will not be the first student to have become confused and nor will this be the first instructor to be caught out by their student’s actions, but rarely are the consequences so dramatic! A salutary reminder of the power of a trimmer and why it needs treating with respect.

“They were wearing shorts and flip-flops and received second degree burns” electric fuel pump continued to move fuel increasing the postimpact fire. The fire consumed most of the cockpit and fuselage. The nearest aviation weather station was 37nm away. About the time of the accident, the wind was recorded as 120° at eight knots, but later increased at the station to nine knots gusting 16kt. Comment While many might question the landing technique and the likelihood it contributed to the ground loop the pilot and passenger’s apparel clearly was not ‘cool’. I suspect few of us will always be tempted by shorts and flip-flops, but this is a reminder to dress for the risk of fire and ensure your under layers at least are ‘inherently flame retardant’ (See Safety Kit).

Best of intentions Monnet Sonerai N197X Dewitt, Michigan Injuries: One fatal

Too hot to handle

The commercial pilot was attempting

to land on an airstrip on his property, but on short final, the aeroplane struck power lines and then descended and impacted terrain. Before the accident flight, the pilot told a friend that he needed to return home before a certain time or there would be a problem with sun glare during landing. The pilot was approaching his airstrip on a westerly heading. The position of the sun was 14° above the horizon and about 20° left of the pilot’s vision. The position of the sun likely hampered the pilot’s ability to see the power lines, which resulted in his failure to avoid them. Comment We sometimes underestimate the significance of low sun angle, particularly at this time of year. When runway length is plentiful there’s usually a bit of extra wriggle room, but short strips, often with obstacles, can be a real problem. This was recognised by this very experienced pilot and still it claimed his life. Change runway direction, hold off or divert if it’s that bad. There is nothing to be ashamed of!

Van’s RV-6 N306FR Coldwater, Kansas Injuries: Two serious

The pilot flew a long straight-in final at between 90-93kt and partial flap because of perceived gusty wind. As he attempted a wheel landing in the tailwheel-equipped aeroplane, there was some turbulent air, then a gust of wind hit the aeroplane and it ballooned about 8 -12ft above the runway. The pilot said he initiated a go-around and added full power when the engine hesitated and ‘stuttered’. The aeroplane settled and the right wing struck the ground. The aircraft spun round. Flames began to enter the cockpit and the pilot and passenger egressed the aeroplane. They were wearing shorts and flip-flops and received burns during the egress. The pilot was unable to turn off the master switch, so the 52 | FLYER | January2020

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The RV-6 landing accident and subsequent fire described above had me checking on the state of my underwear! Like most, I have always been quite particular about only wearing natural fibres such as cotton and merino wool next to the skin when flying, but some synthetics such as those using Protal ‘modacrylic fibre’ are also ‘inherently fire retardant’.

Companies like Arco have a good range of the latter Protal products, but those offered by Tranemo are good too, and mostly use natural fibres to achieve their fire retardant properties. I realise a fire retardant t-shirt and long johns don’t really exude that cool ‘airline pilot’ look but then perhaps that look is best kept for inside airliners!

Weather School

54 | FLYER | January 2021


Route 66 Leonardo Correa Luna takes his Cessna 170 on a trip back in time – and finds his kicks on Route 66…


f you wanted to prove that ‘the good old days’ were better, then there is no better time for that than 2020! After being notified by my airline that I would get an ‘extended leave’, courtesy of Covid-19, I decided that I had had enough of 2020 and needed my time machine to travel back and find a better time… A quick online search, a ticket to San Francisco, an Uber ride to Livermore airport (KLVK), and there I was opening the hangar doors of my particular time machine – my 1952 Cessna 170B.

I had this urge to disconnect, fly without too much of a plan, just barnstorm some of the country following the winds and discovering new places. There was just one definite plan, to visit friends in Minnesota, and as a part of the trip I wanted to follow an incredible piece of Americana, and a link to the past, Route 66. Why are people from all over the world attracted to an old two-lane route with no fancy resorts, no big attractions, just an old road that goes through small towns, the countryside, and the desert from Chicago to L.A.? For most, it is the chance to travel back in time to a period of history when life was simpler, a time before America became a ‘franchise’. Following Route 66 is a way to return to the way America and the world used to be, and the Cessna would be a perfect way to admire it in it’s full splendour.

Dirt tracks…

In the early 1920s, the USA was connected by a collection of disorganised and roads of poor quality – usually, just a dirt path that was good enough for horses or wagons. With the increasing popularity of the car, the need to create a new road system became evident. Under the pressure of the public, as well as businessmen like Cyrus Avery (doubted the Father of Route 66), the first road legislation was created

in 1916, and in 1925 the Federal Highway System Act was passed by Congress. The numerical designation 66 was assigned to the Chicago to Los Angeles route in the summer of 1926. From the outset, the planners designed U.S. 66 connecting the main streets of rural and urban communities. Until that point, most small towns didn’t have prior access to the main national roads. In this way, travellers connected with the small-town people of America across eight states, three time zones, and three-quarters of the country. By 1930 almost the entire highway got paved just in time for the great depression. Over 200,000 people migrated, escaping the Dust Bowl and bank foreclosures to head for California – travelling 2,400 miles taking their families and all their belongings in old Ford Model Ts. For them, Route 66 was a road of hope, famously noted in the The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. In the novel, Steinbeck baptised Route 66 as ‘The Mother Road’. During WWII, the West was designated as an ideal training area, isolated and with dry weather during most of the year. Several training airfields were created along the 66, and some of them remain operational. After the war, many of the soldiers that trained in the West decided to abandon colder states and head to the California sun. These were good times, Americans were hitting the roads for pleasure and finally enjoying them. Route 66 was again helping with a new kind of migration, this time a happy one. One of them, Marine Captain, songwriter Bobby Troup, hit the road in the direction of Hollywood inspiring the lyrics of the famous song, (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66. One week later, after his arrival to LA, his song was a hit on the radio recorded by Nat King Cole. From the early beginning, store owners along the route recognised the need for fuel, food, and a place to sleep. Restaurants and motels started to pop up all along the road with bright neon signs trying to

Opposite Just like ‘The Good Old Days’… welcome to the 1950s!

January 2021 | FLYER | 55

Flying Adventure

Above There is little escape from the modern Interstate system Right Old FBO building at Holbrook airport Far right Holbrook’s more modern building notes its Route 66 heritage Below Grants Airport is home of the Western New Mexico Aviation Heritage Museum dedicated to the U.S. Postal Service pilots, spot some of the giant arrows and beacons used to guide mail aviators across the country Below right New Mexico’s beautiful Mesa Buttes, made famous in Disney’s Cars movie

56 | FLYER | January 2021

attract clients. One of the advantages of the 66 over modern highways lies in it being a two-lane route all at street level. See something that catches your eye as you drive, then just turn off the road, which is a stark contrast to the modern US freeway highway system where you are trapped inside until you hit the next exit, giving a certain irony to the ‘free’ part of the name… However, 1956 was the beginning of the end for U.S. 66. President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act to create a 40,000 mile-long interstate highway system making routes like the 66 obsolete. During 1977, the last sign of U.S. 66 was taken down, and on 26 June, 1979, the designation Route 66 was officially eliminated. Interstate I-40 took over 66 from Oklahoma City through Texas, New Mexico, northern Arizona to Barstow, California.

Ghosts towns

Like many petrol heads, I’m a fan of American cars from the 1940s-1960s, and often thought I would drive Route 66, but I never thought about flying it. That was until I saw some amazing photos from my friend Dustin Mosher of a fly-in he organised in Amboy, California, one of the old abandoned towns on Route 66. Dustin is a bit of an aviation ‘Indiana Jones’ character in the Mojave area. Officially an engineer at Virgin Galactic, he spends most of his free time flying around the Mojave Desert in his Cessna 120 or Boeing Stearman in search of abandoned runways and ghost towns. Amboy was once a thriving little town, in existence since the late 1800s, which by the late1940s, had three petrol stations, two cafés, a motel, a school, and a runway! It then became a ghost town as just one more casualty of the interstate system… until recently when a fellow called Albert

Okura bought the town and started to restore it to its former glory. Phase one, was to tackle Roy’s Café, and its huge, famous neon sign. Dustin and a friend had previously landed in Amboy and took the opportunity to taxi beyond the fence to get a photo with the colossal 50ft high neon sign. Surprised by the appearance of aircraft, the manager, Manny, came out for a chat and an idea struck. “What if we brought a whole bunch of aircraft here?” The Great Amboy Fly-In was born, with the first one held in January 2019, when more than 30 aircraft showed up for the two-day event. At that time, the Okura family was working hard, and the iconic sign was close to completion, so what better way to celebrate than with another fly-in! The Great Amboy Fly-In, Part II (still 2019) was born. Another success, with visiting aircraft coming in from across the country, and that night after decades of sitting in disrepair, the neon sign was switched back on! For that reason, The Roy’s Café neon sign became the beacon for my trip. California was on fire, and temperatures in the desert were over 100°. Between the smoke and the heat, I decided it would be a much better idea to hit the 66 on my return flight to California after spending a few weeks in Minnesota. My navigation wasn’t going to include the entirety of Route 66. First, I needed to visit some Colorado friends. KFLY, Springfield, Colorado, home of the Air Force Academy, became my departure point heading south to intercept U.S. 66. Your first challenge, whichever you choose to follow the 66, is to find it. Nearly all of the route still exists, but is not entirely on the maps. Your primary reference is the new highway system, starting with I-55 in Chicago, then I-44, I-40, I-15, and I-10 to Santa Monica. But the interstate system only connects main cities in the shortest possible

Above Welcome to Arizona! Winslow Airport, to the right the ‘Iron Road’ and bottom right corner, what was originally Route 66

January 2021 | FLYER | 57

Flying Adventure

Above Grand Cavern Canyons. Taxi in from the left to the end of the taxiway with one lone hangar Right Spitfire! Unfortunately, not the kind that flies Far right The gravel runway could use some TLC Below right Plenty of visitor info… Below Good morning U.S. 66!

58 | FLYER | January 2021

way, sometimes following the old Route 66 closely, sometimes not. One of the tricks to finding the 66 is to follow the old iron road along the interstate system and the airports built before 1956!

La Veta Pass

I departed early in the morning from KFLY, heading south to intercept I-40, and then headed off to find the 66. I then crossed the mountains through La Veta Pass (07V if you’re keeping notes) and soon left Colorado – and said ‘hello’ to New Mexico! A quick stop for fuel in Taos (KSKX), and I was minutes away from finally reaching Route 66. Leaving Albuquerque, soon I was following I-40. Sometimes it’s easy to figure what should be the 66, sometimes not. In certain areas, the historic 66 is on the maps. In others, you can only make your best guess. If it’s close to the railroad and connecting small towns, you have a high chance that it is the 66. As I overflew, I couldn’t help remembering the line in the song, ‘You’ll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona…’ Needing fuel, Holbrook Municipal was ahead and was a perfect choice as Route 66 had passed through town since 1926, and luckily the town wasn’t bypassed by I-40. Still a vibrant city with 5,000 inhabitants and home of one of the two remaining Wigwam Motels on the 66. With rooms shaped to resemble American Indian teepees, these motels were the inspiration for The Cozy Cone Motel from the Disney movie Cars, a great overnight stop if you are traveling with kids, I only wish my daughter Jade had been with me. There is not much at the airport, some hangars, a new fuel pump, and a pilots’ lounge. The old FBO wooden building remains, but it’s closed and looks abandoned. Tanks full, legs stretched, it was time to hit the road again. I wanted to reach Amboy before sunset, but mother nature had other plans. As usually happens in the desert, things started to warm up and get bumpy, and some annoying non-stop turbulence began. I passed another ‘song’ city, Flagstaff. The current airport was built in 1948 and is a modern airport, Class D airspace with airline operations, which was not what I was looking for, so I stayed outside the D while my seatbelt did its best to keep me in the seat. Eventually, I decided I’d had enough turbulence for a day. This was meant to be fun after all. Remembering a tip from Dustin to visit Grand Canyon Caverns, a few taps on my iPad and Foreflight pointed me in the right direction to L37. It was easy to spot the 5,100ft gravel runway as L37 is in the middle of nowhere. The windsock looked like it had been there since the 1960s and was no longer operational. A low pass to check for cattle and wind direction and I decided to try Runway 05. The runway was in good condition except for some high weeds, I rolled out and taxied

carefully to the end. Reaching the taxiway the sign welcoming pilots asks you to check-in at the motel front desk. Things were getting interesting! A lonely T hangar with no doors looks like potential shelter, but as I looked I decided it had seen better times. Wishing to have a good night of sleep without nightmares of the hangar collapsing on my 170, I tied down outside on a small apron area. Walking around looking for the motel front desk, I first found a petrol station that looked like it was another Cars movie set. A closer look found a treasure trove of classic cars with all kinds of car-related memorabilia, and some giant dinosaurs… yes, I was in Route 66 heaven! Finally, finding the front desk I asked about a room. The receptionist asked me about my car registration, replying that I flew in and parked out the back, made her look at me as if I was messing with her. Just as I began with, “No, I really did fly in…”, her colleague began to laugh and said, “You didn’t know that we have a runway?” Turned out it was her first day at the job! The motel was lovely, nothing fancy, but clean and well preserved. I later learned it used to be possible to taxi and park outside your room in the past and that it wasn’t unusual for Hollywood stars to hide out here with their lovers. It was easy to imagine how a polished Beech 18 might have rattled to a stop, the door opening to reveal a big name… Besides the motel, there’s a souvenir shop, restaurant and of course the Caverns! The restaurant is uphill, about a mile from the motel. I hitched a ride, and arriving at the restaurant, which is also where the Caverns tour starts, I was told that the kitchen would close soon and that the Caverns’ last tour was beginning. Tough choice, eat and drink a beer or visit the Caverns? I was starving, so the burger won! The Caverns were discovered by accident in 1927 by a young man called Walter Peck. Initially, thinking there might be gold in them he invested all his savings to buy the property. When it turned out there was no gold, he did the next best thing and created the Cavern tours, attracting the passing drivers in true Route 66 style! The current owners are also following the trend of bringing back Route 66 to better times, and they told me that pilots are more than welcome! My suggestion to get a radio to monitor the frequency, trim the weeds and a couple of courtesy cars were taken on board. Who knows, maybe next time I’ll be able to taxi to my room… I slept like a baby, waking up early to depart before the temperature began to climb. Having all day to reach Amboy, being just a couple of hours away, allowed me to do some extra exploring. It was easy to decide on the next destination – Kingman! Kingman Army Air Field (KAAF) was built next to Route 66 in 1942. An aerial gunnery training January 2021 | FLYER | 59

Flying Adventure

Right The most basic of hangars, but keeps the searing sun at bay… Below right Seat with a view, Airport Café, Kingman Below Just two lanes, the original Route 66 snakes across the land

base, primary gunners for the B-17, Flying Fortress. After training 35,000 gunners and with the war over, it was declared surplus on 15 November, 1945. But that started what is probably the most interesting period of its history. With its vast open fields, dry weather, and long runways, Kingman became Storage Depot No. 41 for some of the 150,000 surplus aircraft left from the war. Soon 150 machines per day were landing and being stored in Kingman, with an estimated 5,400 in total between 1945 and 1946. The Wunderlich Contracting Company reduced those 5,400 aircraft to aluminium ingots, including hundreds with just delivery hours on them. Fuel was drained and sold (usually for more than what was paid for the aircraft), engines and accessories removed, and what was left then sliced and melted. The contract was completed in July of 1948, when Kingman became a municipal airport.

No escape from reality

While I knew of Kingman’s WWII history, what I didn’t realise is that part of its history was repeating itself. When I was approaching the airport, I could see the shapes of hundreds of airliners parked around and in between the runways. For a moment, I was amazed by the number of airliners parked one next to the other, but at the same time, it was a reminder of the reality I was trying to escape from. While the photographer in me wanted to take some photos, my airline pilot side felt incredibly sad. I decided to land and get breakfast, I wasn’t ready for this. I parked by the airport café, which was connected to a small museum with memories from the war. The café itself is full of aviation memorabilia, and the food is tasty. After several cups of coffee, I was ready for a walk around the Boneyard. ‘Overwhelming’ was probably the word, hundreds of airliners parked one next to the other, most of the CRJ type, Bombardier and Embraer, with the occasional odd bird, a bare-bones Beech 18 here, a C-119 Flying Boxcar there. Most of the airliners had been placed in storage, but not all were that lucky, with some at the end of the line being scrapped. It was so quiet, it definitely felt like a graveyard. As the shadows grew long, I realised that time was getting away from me and it was time to get going. With just an hour flying to Amboy, I made a few orbits over Kingman documenting the Boneyard. In the end, it is part of the history we are living, even if it is rather sad. Departing Kingman you can follow the old 66 as it passes through the town and then merges with I-40 to later disappear from the map and resurface in another section. This happens on and off in different areas now that it’s partially back in the 60 | FLYER | January 2021

November 2020 | FLYER | 59

Flying Adventure

Above Kingman Airport, and all its stored airliners really evoked mixed emotions Left Memories from the past of the thousands of aircraft that made their final flight here… Far left Kingman’s WWII tower is restored to perfection Below The final destination for many…

January 2021 | FLYER | 61

Flying Adventure

Above Amboy, with its two runways, petrol station, motel, and post office on the opposite side of the road Right Taxi to the end and turn left to the café! Welcome to Amboy! Below Roy’s neon sign restored to its former glory

62 | FLYER | January 2021

maps as ‘Historic U.S. 66’ and makes it very interesting to compare the old route with the path followed by the new highway. En route, I made a quick detour for cheap fuel to A20 Sun Valley Airport. I’m always amazed at some of these small airports, they look totally dormant, but some local guy will usually show up even before you’ve shut down the engine. This particular guy was Tim, who helped me refuel plus a lift to the shop to get some drinks and good fried chicken for dinner! With just 40 minutes before I would be landing in Amboy, I felt relaxed. I was flying low, following the 66, which is mostly closed in this area. In 2009 severe seasonal flooding (yes, in the Mojave Desert) damaged more than 40 bridges, including many of the old bridges on the 66. You can see that repairs are almost complete, and that section of the road may reopen soon. For the moment is an excellent section to land if you develop carburettor ice… Amboy crept slowly into sight, and after a couple of 360s to capture some photos, a low pass down the runway to check its condition was followed by an uneventful landing on the dirt runway. Taxying to the end revealed a lonely hangar and windsock, both surprisingly in decent shape! I continued through the fence and turned left, passing by the petrol station and parked under the neon sign. As I hopped out I was struck by the moment and just stood there, contemplating the scene as the sun lowered gradually in the sky. It was a perfect 1950s postcard moment, precisely as I imagined it. For a few minutes, my time machine had worked – I wasn’t in 2020 anymore… After some exploring I found the café and souvenir shop, plus I got a look at the old motel rooms, still very much in original condition awaiting restoration, but surprisingly not a bad one. Besides that, there is not much to see. For many, Amboy is about ‘that’ sign. There is a constant non-stop flow of travellers stopping to take a photo with it, and for a while, my 170 seemed to add to this Route 66 attraction. With the runway out of sight behind the petrol station , plenty of people asked if I had landed on the road. I had some fun for a while, and with a smile, I added, ‘ just maybe…’ Once the last of the stream of visitors had headed off into the darkness, I decided it was time to call it a day. One last push of the 170 into a corner next to the petrol station, and then I popped my tent up under the wing. Finding the provisions, I opened a bottle of red wine and enjoyed a perfect fried chicken dinner under the Mojave Desert stars. The following morning’s sunrise woke me, and it was a case of packing my tent and making the day’s plans. A yellow Carbon Cub appeared overhead, and a few minutes later was taxying in beside the 170. My friend James, his wife Sarah

Flying Adventure

and their dog Gizmo had found me, so we shared a coffee, before getting airborne. Following Route 66 in this area makes you happy to have an aeroplane, as there’s just desert… followed by more desert down there. I cannot imagine how it was to cross these areas in a Ford T back in the 1930s, or before that, in a wagon pulled by horses.

Frozen in time

The final airport on my trail was KDAG, BarstowDagget, built in 1933 as an FAA beacon site to help pilots navigate, and it later became a base for A-20s Havocs, and P-38s during WWII. A whole village was built to provide living quarters for the 350 Douglas Aircraft workers and aircrews. Like so much of ‘old America’ out here, those houses still exist, just frozen in time and are just a quick five minute walk from the airport. Another peculiarity of this airport is the tall rustic redwood hangars. If I had to guess, I’d say at least 50ft tall. Knowing there were many new wildfires in Northern California, it’s not surprising the distant horizon of where I was heading was beginning to

Above Get your kicks on Route 66! Left Unusually tall redwood open hangars at Barstow-Daggett Below Top left you can spot the town that used to be the Douglas workers’ home during WWII

January 2021 | FLYER | 63

Flying Adventure

look a little smoky. It was time to fill the tanks and re-evaluate the situation. KAPV Apple Valley was just 30 miles ahead and with the promise of cheaper fuel than Barstow-Dagget, was an easy choice. With the tanks full and a new flight plan I was back in the air heading to El Tejon Pass, elevation 4,239ft, before turning to follow I-15 back to Livermore. Heading west, I decided to take one last look to one of the old airports by the 66. KVCV, home of Southern California Logistics and long-term parking area of most of Southwest 737 MAX fleet and many of the airliners grounded due to Covid-19, including the whole fleet of Qantas A380s. I could only hope that in the same way that Route 66 is getting a second chance, all these airliners will be back to the air soon. Bidding farewell to the 66, I focused on staying VFR through the smoky skies of Northern California. Luckily conditions improved and four long hours later, and 86 hours since I had started the trip, I was safely on the ground in Livermore and back to 2020. The journey was over, or was it? Route 66 didn’t disappoint. I got a small taste of huge neon signs, classic cars, motels, larger-thanlife roadside attractions, museums, diners, and colourful characters. Route 66 is still alive and kicking. One day I’ll head back for more…

Above So many airliners of the world in one photo Right Need a 737 Max? Available in multiple liveries and registrations…

Route Map




1 Springfield 2 Taos

64 | FLYER | January 2021

8 7

4 65

3 Holbrook 4 Grand Canyon

2 3

5 Kingman 6 Sun Valley

7 Amboy 8 Barstow-Daggett

9 Victorville 10 Livermore

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Top Gear

The latest aviation kit, impartially tested and evaluated

Garmin D2 Air HHHHH


£499 | Manufacturer www.garmin.com

reviously, Garmin’s pilot watches could be defined by three distinct features. The look was big, chunky and heavy, the menu system and buttons took a little bit of getting used to, and they had punchy prices with the top of the range D2 Delta PX Aviator costing nearly £1,200. They’re great watches, but Garmin has clearly figured out that there’s a market for pilots who want the latest technology in a slimmer, lighter form factor, and at a lower price. Enter the Garmin D2 Air Aviator Smartwatch which sells for £474. Before taking a closer look at the watch and how it works inflight and on the ground, it’s worth asking why you’d want a pilot watch in first place? Pretty much everyone flies with a telephone or tablet of some kind, and even the most basic of installed or portable GPS units will give you all of the functions you’re likely to want. Truth is, that most of us like watches, it’s a part fashion, part utility kind of thing. Having a bunch of functions and benefits right there and easily accessible on your wrist is why you’d choose a fully featured pilot watch over the simplest and cheapest digital timepiece you can find.

66 | FLYER | January 2021

What’s important and what’s good to have in a pilot watch? Under the ‘important’ list, I’m going for the ability to tell the time (err, obviously), and an easy way to see UTC (we’re lucky in the UK, but flying overseas and continually figuring out the offset between local and UTC is a bit of a pain if you’re not tuned in to the time zone), and some people absolutely insist that you need a watch with a stopwatch function too. I am not one of those people, but it can’t hurt. If you fly at altitude with or without oxygen, having a pulse oximeter on your wrist is both good and important, although more on that later. Under the ‘good to have’ banner, for me would be a GPS and navigation function. It’s not that I would ever plan to navigate solely by the electronic watch on my wrist, but come on, why wouldn’t you want that back-up if your existing four or five GPS units walked off the job? On a more serious note, it’s sometimes useful to be able to use your watch to check out a ‘what if’ plan B, while leaving your other kit to take care of plan A, and if you really do need something quick and easy after everything else goes AWOL, then DCT (Direct To) nearest is a result.

Speaking personally, I also want any pilot watch to automatically (based on something like ground speed or climb rate) log my flights so that I have the data in electronic form either for later synching to my electronic logbook, or copying to paper (I know, I’m a bit old school like that). Having an airfield database is good, as is the ability to check weather at a glance (the D2 Air needs to be paired to the a phone for that to work). The D2 Air does all this and a lot more, so what’s it actually like and how does it work in practice? I mentioned earlier that it’s both smaller and lighter that previous Garmin pilot watches. That said, the watch face itself is actually larger, the bright AMOLED touch screen has a 39mm diameter with Gorilla Glass to keep it tough. The watch itself is significantly slimmer and much much lighter, and is supplied with both a leather and silicone strap. Garmin claims the battery is good for five days of normal use, or 10 hours in the air if the GPS, heart rate and pulse oximeter sensors are on. Honestly, I have never worn it for five straight days without taking use of one or other of the sensors, and I imagine most owners will charge it every couple of days, if not every day.

Sensor tech

Talking of sensors, the D2 Air has a wrist-based pulse oximeter built-in, and perhaps better still it is possible to set an alarm that will warn you of low O2 levels. While nobody, including Garmin would suggest that you rely entirely on the D2 Air for that critical data, where hypoxia and its creeping disabling effects are concerned, having an extra sensor and an associated alarm has to be a win – and may I poke my head into your personal flying here, and suggest that if you get a low O2 alarm on your watch (or any other O2 sensor) that you follow a predetermined response; low oxygen and figuring out what to do in real-time is not a winning combination. Although there are two buttons, the functions are set and controlled through the touch screen. Obviously I avoided any instructions, partly because that’s what I (almost) always do, and partly because most of the

functions on a touchscreen smartwatch shouldn’t need any, and they don’t. But I am happy to put my hands up here and admit that I’m plain wrong. If you buy this watch, play around, change the settings, change the configurations, but then go and read the manual to find out about the features you didn’t even know about! If you have Garmin’s Connext connectivity in your aeroplane then you can send an active flight plan to your watch, but you can’t send it back the other way. Honestly, between my iPad, telephone and multiple GPS screens I don’t find myself looking at my watch for navigation cues (there’s no moving map but there’s a pseudo HSI screen), but I did simulate a ‘loss of everything but my watch’ situation, and it only takes one button push and a couple of screen prods to set you on your way to your nearest airport (or any other of your choosing). Finally, the D2 Air shares very close ancestry with the Garmin Venu sports watch, so there’s loads of extra functionality built-in should you be a runner, walker, cyclist etc. as well as the other functions that you’d expect from a smartwatch paired with your phone such as notifications, music, electronic payment etc. So what’s the verdict? If you’re in the market for a smartwatch that has aviation specific functions then the D2 Air provides them in a versatile package that’s significantly smaller, lighter and lower cost than previous Garmin watches, plus it’s loaded with all sorts of other sports and smartwatch functions for those times when you’re not flying. Ian Seager

Verdict Pros

Lighter weight, smaller form factor Pulse oximeter & alert function Extra functionality


Lack off graphical weather as available on other Garmin pilot watches D2 Air is function packed, and smaller, lighter, and lower cost package will appeal

Avionic Watches

From £300 | www.avionicwatches.com


ith many homebuilt aircraft, sometimes a call to the builder support line to seek guidance on some worry over a material tolerance will get a response that reminds you that you’re not building a Swiss watch. Well, they probably weren’t talking to the British founder of Avionic Watches, a publicity-shy chap who likes his watches as much as building aircraft, and has finished a couple of very finely crafted aeroplanes. Just 33 years old, he’s been flying for 10 years… heartening to those who say there’s not nearly enough enthusiastic young blood in light aviation. The watches we took a look at are from Avionic’s Aviator collection, and use high-quality battery quartz movements made in Switzerland, where the watches are also assembled by hand. In a slightly higher price bracket is the Premier collection. These watches are built using a selfwinding 25 jewel automatic movement. Made using surgical stainless steel, fine leathers and sapphire crystal or sapphire crystal-coated glass depending on the model, they aren’t too big to be considered flashy, and certainly in this homebuilder’s hands felt like something nicely put together. There’s also a style designed specifically for female aviators. With watches being a popular gift, Avionic offers a laser engraving service, should you want to personalise it for your favourite pilot. EH

Inside the Cyclone From £5.99 | www.amazon.co.uk


’ve met a few pilots with happy tales of owning and flying a Cyclone AX3 microlight, but Dan Roach is perhaps the most enthusiastic of the bunch, and it’s this joy of ownership, his first aircraft purchase of a machine he goes on to fly extensively, that positively exudes from this book. All the way through various ups and downs that many aeroplane owners will recognise, it remains a really enjoyable read. EH January 2021 | FLYER | 67

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

AOPA Leaving the Customs Union From 1 January 2021 the UK will have left the Customs Union and as an independent sovereign state the rules that apply in the EU will no longer apply to the UK including the fours freedoms: movement of goods, labour, capital and services. While we are still waiting for a trade deal to happen, the considered opinion of experts think that a deal will happen, but it will be a very thin agreement. There seems to be a collective belief in GA that everything will be alright… it will get resolved in the end. The difficulty for

business is planning for next year, and without a degree of certainty, investment suffers. The UK institutions are preparing us for a no deal exit – from 1 January 2021 the UK becomes its own customs and excise territory, which means there will be changes on how we fly in and out of the UK. AOPA is pushing for information to be made public at gov.uk, so that you will be able to read what you will be required to do by the UK Government. What we do not know is what the EU will require? European pilots flying into the UK will need to seek prior approval, so it is likely

that the EU will require the same from us. We will have to use customs designated airports where you wish to bring goods into the UK above a certain value or where you cannot use an aerodrome that has a certificate of agreement with the Border Force. Martin Robinson

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association www.aopa.co.uk

BMAA The road to 600kg At the BMAA we are actively engaged with the CAA preparing the way for the advent of the 600kg microlight. Along with agreeing certification codes for the heavier microlights, which we are hoping to align with the codes from other European states, there is work on looking into greater recognition of manufacturing practices as well. For many years the UK requirements for microlight manufacturers have been considered by some as being too onerous and with it too expensive. The BMAA has been pushing for a review for about the last 10 years, and it’s

good to see that at last the CAA is doing something about it. The UK manufacturing approval does carry with it a recognised level of quality, but at a cost which is not conducive to encouraging non-UK manufacturers to dive in. Hopefully the current work will see a more welcoming approval for the UK, so we might see a wider diversity of microlights. We can but hope. Recently the CAA launched a consultation along similar lines to the Red Tape Challenge of a few years ago. GA is invited to suggest regulation changes following our exit from EASA at the end of 2020. Our particular interest of

microlight flying has thankfully been excluded from direct EASA control, but the general regulation has affected us. For example, the new requirement to stay at least 1,000ft from cloud in Class D airspace can prevent access on otherwise safe days. Hopefully this will revert to the old clear of cloud and within sight of the surface. I’m sure that many others will have their own contribution to make. Geoff Weighell

British Microlight Aircraft Association www.bmaa.org

Light Aircraft Association Back in the saddle Hopefully, by the time you read this, we’ll be coming to the end of the recent Covid-19 lockdown in England. I also hope that elsewhere in the UK, relaxation of movement restrictions will allow pilots to resume flying – subject of course to the weather. When you can, there is one thing to bear in mind – currency. The current month-long lockdown is of course shorter than the first one, but we should still all ask ourselves, how might a lack of practice affect our flying? In July, at the end of the first lockdown the CAA identified the primary risk to pilots as

‘Skill Fade’, for everyone from private pilots to instructors and commercial. Most private pilots are naturally cautious, but we did see an increase in landing accidents and loss of control, perhaps stemming from pilots simply not recognising quickly enough that things were going wrong, and/or a lack of appropriate decision making. There was also a spike in airspace infringements. Investigations behind this indicate that pilots were more preoccupied with physically flying their aircraft, and that this impacted their situational awareness, leading to the airspace ‘busts’.

So, before we get going again, a tip. There is a great tool which we recommend every pilot takes a look at. The General Aviation Safety Council has created an excellent online Q&A that offers tips on preparing for that first post-Covid-19 flight. Check it out here. Steve Slater

Light Aircraft Association www.lightaircraftassociation.co.uk

Aviation associations Got something to say? You’re welcome to contribute to this page, email editor@seager.aero 68 | FLYER | January 2021

Ed the Ed’s been working on an RV-6 import project with some good friends… it took to the air in lockdown week in the hands of FLYER’s Safety Editor, Steve Ayres

Let’s look to the future! Feeling fed up? FLYER is the perfect pick-me-up to banish winter – and lockdown – blues. Don’t stop there - join us at aviation’s unique and money-saving FLYER Club...


t’s November, those of us in the UK are under various levels of lockdown, and in some parts the rain is doing its best to soften up many grass runways. You might think there’s good reason for our collective aviation souls to feel a bit glum, but there’s plenty of good news on the horizon, and even more of it if you are a member of The FLYER Club. News of vaccines brings hope of a return to something approaching normality, and if you’re going to miss out on a month of flying thanks to lockdown, November’s a decent candidate. Sadly our Free Landing Fees wouldn’t have got much of an outing in November, but we’ve been working hard to bring you some great destinations to try out in December and January, when we’ll hopefully all be flying through crisp blue skies (fingers crossed). Some airfields and clubs are looking forward to 2021 with positive energy, and places like Bodmin have a full schedule of

events. If your club or airfield has something planned, be sure to let us know so that we can spread the word. The editorial team is working hard to bring you the very best content in the magazine and online, and we’re continuing to upload a year’s worth of back issues every month – so even if it is a but dull, grey and wet out there, club members can bring some instant aviation brightness into their worlds. Finally, it currently costs just £2.50 per month to join The FLYER Club, and your membership enables us to bring you the magazine, the websites, video content and the weekly Livestream, plus everything else we have planned for next year.


January 2021 | FLYER | 69

The FLYER Club

Out & About As you can see in these photos, FLYER Club members and readers are out there enjoying aviation and having fun, with many using our FREE landing fee vouchers. These photos all come via the FLYER Facebook page, and if you’d like to get involved and share your flying experiences, you can either post your photos there or send them directly to flyer@seager.aero If your photos are too big for email (about 10mb is the maximum) use a free file transfer such as wetransfer.com When you send us your photos – and videos – include a few words about who is in the photos, where and when it was taken, who took the photo/video, and any other relevant notes. Simon Wilson Quick trip to Cotswold Airport Kemble

Adrian Willis Plenty of training going on at British Aerobatic Academy

Graham Milnthorpe I did three hours on the Tuesday/Wednesday before lockdown to sign off my biannual. Starting with one hour of night flying on Tuesday

Ed Stephenson Sleap back to Barton. Last airfield movement before lockdown

Cameron Sys Enjoying the sunset over Alcester one hour before the announcement of Lockdown 2

70 | FLYER | January 2021

Andy Archer Pre-lockdown flight over Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales. This is Howgills, south of Tebay

David and Karen Taylor Trip to Lee-on-Solent, to deliver our granddaughter’s presents for her third birthday

Steve Middleton Last flight in our group Eurostar before Lockdown 2 began

Kathryn Skipworth Solo on my 16th birthday at West London Aero Club, White Waltham Keir Williams Successful test flights of our US import RV-6!

Sean McRandle 01-35hrs in the logbook, day before lockdown, Thruxton to Kemble and back

James Wood Not flying it yet. But making use of the time to build my RV-8

Steven Bakhtiari Nice sunset flight back home to Manchester Barton after a fun day of aerobating

Fabien Irissou First flexwing lesson at Cotswold Airport, Kemble

Dan Johnson Great to get airborne to blow the cobwebs off the day before lockdown

Ian Pleasance Final approach for Earls Colne EGSR Runway 24

Chris Wilkinson A mate and me getting some fun flying in the PS28 January 2021 | FLYER | 71

Free Landings In association with

If you’re a member of The FLYER Club, click here for your personalised vouchers and save £45 by claiming one FREE landing at each of these airfields valid for January 2021, although not at an aircraft’s home field. No jets. Please contact the airfield before setting off If you’re not currently a member of the FLYER Club, but would like to receive six new free landing fees every four weeks plus other Club member benefits, then click here to join!



07877 118280 | www.fishburnairfield.co.uk Fishburn is a pretty, unlicensed airfield with an 800m grass runway, three miles north of Durham Tees Valley CTR/CTA. Convenient for Durham and the university. Visiting pilots should join the circuit from the north. There’s NO deadside. Visitors welcome at any time. Avgas 100LL self service, pay at pump. Aviator Café open every day, 0900-1700, but check due to restrictions. Hangarage subject to availability. Microlights welcome.

Nearby attractions The picturesque village of Sedgefield, Hardwick Hall Country Park and Durham city itself. Radio 118.280

Full Sutton

01759 372717 | EGNU | www.fullsuttonairfield.co.uk Full Sutton Airfield is within 15 minutes of York. All welcome. Tea and coffee available. Chat to any club members or instructors about trial lessons or experience flights. There is a friendly atmosphere at Full Sutton and we hope to make you feel at home on the ground and in the air! PPR is essential, as movements may depend on the condition of the runway as affected by the weather. Overflying of the nearby prison is forbidden. We don’t accept non radio.


Nearby attractions The city of York, the Yorkshire Air Museum and the National Rail Museum. PPR 01759 372717 Radio 120.105


Radio Accepts non-radio light aircraft, but PPR

PPR Prior permission is required

72 | FLYER | January 2021

Refreshments Including restaurants and cafes etc

Microlights are welcome



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

While you’re there When you visit these six airfields, why not show your support by enjoying a meal in the cafe or filling up with fuel? It’s good to support GA in the UK.

Free Landings are for FLYER Club member use only – click here to join!


07901 826351 | www.middlezoyaerodrome.simplesite.com Middlezoy Aerodrome is a new farm strip airfield under development on land in the SE corner of the site of the historic RAF Westonzoyland Airfield. Still very much a ‘work in progress’ but visitors are welcome. PPR is essential and full joining instructions are on the website under Pilot Information. Please adhere with the briefing. At present fuel is unavailable but this may change. Tea, coffee and lots of flying chat.

Nearby attractions Hestercombe Gardens in Taunton and the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Ilchester PPR 07901 826351 Radio 129.830 Zoyland Microbase


01362 820709  Shipdham Airfield opened in 1942 and part of the original north-south runway survives, designated 21/03 with a displaced threshold on 03, 770 x 20m. A short grass runway of 285m, 33/15, is available during suitable weather. Outside parking and hangarage available at competitive rates. Clubhouse open weekends for light refreshments 1000-1400. Radio not always manned, visiting pilots PPR for briefing. Open weekends and Bank Holidays only.

Nearby attractions Shipdham was home to the USAAF 44th Bomb Group, flying B-24 Liberators, during WWII. Bomb Group Museum on-site. PPR 07785 187827 Radio 132.255



01384 221378 | EGBO | www.wolverhamptonairport.co.uk Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport is ideally situated in unrestricted airspace, in the middle of England. It has two operational tarmac runways plus one grass, with AFIS operating seven days per week. NDB and DME on the field helps to make Halfpenny Green easy to find. The welcoming cafe is equipped with free wi-fi. Jet-A1, avgas and UL91 avgas are available from self-service pumps.

Nearby attractions Picturesque Bridgnorth, the Ironbridge Gorge (an UNESCO World Heritage Site), Halfpenny Green Vineyards and the RAF Museum Cosford. PPR 01384 221378 Radio 123.005


07836 554554 | www.wiltsmicrolights.com Yatesbury Airfield is home to the Wiltshire Microlight Centre, a BMAA-registered school run by qualified professional instructors who ensure flight training is safe, progressive and fun. Training takes place above the stunning North Wessex Downs and Vale of Pewsey. Visiting pilots should approach from the south, circuits at 600ft. Visit the website for pilot information. Blind calls on Safetycom 135.475 MHz. Please call PPR before setting off. Microlights only.


Nearby attractions The countryside around the strip is truly spectacular. PPR 07836 554554 / 01249 811000

Win! A print or digital Pooleys UK Flight Guide QUESTION: What is the distance between Fishburn and Shipdham in nautical miles? To enter, post your answer, name, address and email details to Pooleys December Competition, FLYER magazine, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or send an email to competitions@seager.aero The closing date is 30 December 2020.

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 Fishburn 2 Full Sutton 3 Middlezoy 4 Shipdham 5 Wolverhampton 6 Yatesbury 1 2 5



The winner for November 2020 is: Adrian Arnold, Cheadle, Cheshire.

January 2021 | FLYER | 73

Take off with the FLYER Club


Aviation businesses… You can be a part of The FLYER Club as well. And pilots… If you’re not a member, why not?

re you an aviation business operating in General Aviation? Most likely, you’ll already know and appreciate the advertising opportunities in FLYER and on our websites, www.flyer.co.uk and www.pilotcareernews.com But did you know that we also have the most comprehensive and far-reaching social media reach as well? We’re active on all the main platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, including a weekly Livestream (that’s at 7.30pm EVERY Thursday for 30 minutes on Facebook). If you miss it, then the video of the Livestream is on our YouTube channel shortly after. This all means that FLYER magazine has the most dialled-in, switched-on, er, active set of readers and viewers interacting with us every day. We take that responsibility very seriously and try to make sure everything we do is accurate, fair and decent – and we will never misuse anyone’s contact details. As a business owner you can be part of this activity by offering our club members

something special or unique. Take a look at the benefits already available to FLYER Club members and see what you could contribute.

We’re on a terrific, exciting and worthy flightpath – why not join us? Drop us an email at flyerclub@seager.aero with your proposal and we’ll get back to you.

How to join The FLYER Club If you’re not already a member of The FLYER Club and you’ve read all these pages you must be thinking, ‘How do I join? Right now. This instant. I can’t stand being left out any more…’ Well, good news, it’s easy. Just follow this link: https://subscriptions.flyer.co.uk, complete the simple form, decide how you want to pay and start enjoying the benefits instantly.

Current member benefits

■ Our back issue library is open, and we’ve just added all of our 2013 issues ■ Save 5% whenever you shop at Pooleys (excludes Bose headsets) ■ £10 off when you spend £40 at Transair (excludes Bose headsets) ■ Free copy of A View from the Hover

■ An initial conversation with Dr Frank Voeten, FAA & EASA AME ■ Get your club membership paid by Stein Pilot Insurance ■ Twice-weekly General Aviation weather briefings ■ FREE Landing vouchers, available through the FLYER website

Coming soon

■ Back issues – there’s another five years on the way with more to follow ■ Mini weather webinars – the first one was popular, did you miss it? There’s another one in the works and members will be notified when it’s due ■ Our first members’ Fly-in – once things have settled down. We’ll be announcing details , plus more events, in 2021!

What do Club Members love about The FLYER Club? “The formation of a national club of pilots, its regular Thursday meetings, weather briefings and webinars (one so far) and the potential to meet other pilots, have fly-ins. It’s the social aspect that is the USP.”

74 | FLYER | January 2021

“Informative, entertaining, accessible, wide ranging, brave to embrace free, and worthy of support to make this a success – I would not have subscribed otherwise.”

“I appreciate the involvement at a personal level of the editorial team, e.g. on the Thursday online ‘meetings’. I will be using the free landing vouchers in the future, that’s probably the main benefit.”

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22 December. January 2021 | FLYER | 75

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www.flyer.co.uk 76 | FLYER | January 2021


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January 2021 | FLYER | 77


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

Helicopter pilot turns green for fun run

Taildragger tops



hen this year’s Great Scottish Run was cancelled, regular runner and helicopter pilot Dave Young was faced with a tough decision: where should his fundraising alter ego, cartoon ogre Shrek, exercise his jolly green feet? The answer? A 10km run around the perimeter of Perth Airport where the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance is based. Dave, normally Chief Pilot with Police Scotland, is also a stand-in pilot for the SCAA. Dave, 52, from Greenock, said, “I’ve seen for myself just what a brilliant charity this is. I was scheduled to fly for SCAA on the day of the run so decided to take to my heels at Perth instead and see if I could put something in their charity coffers.” SCAA’s Helimed 76 crew was there to wave Dave off and 1 hour 29 minutes and 13 kilometres later they welcomed an exhausted Shrek back.

Above Love the ears, Dave, not so sure about the donkey...

“It was pretty challenging on the rough muddy ground but I just ploughed on,” Dave said afterwards. “SCAA’s crews have to go out on their missions in all weather conditions so I can’t complain. Funding an emergency helicopter air ambulance service on public donations alone is a huge

achievement by SCAA and I’m happy to do my bit to support them.” However, Dave reckons increasingly painful knees could call a halt to his fundraising runs. “A lifetime of boxing, rugby and running has taken its toll and my knees just won’t take many more miles at that pace,” he said. You can donate to Dave and his Shrek run here.

Total Aviation Person – that’s David Curtis who has won this year’s Vintage Aircraft Club Liz Inwood Taildragger Scholarship. Not only is 24-year-old David flying the club Cessna 150 at Eshott Airfield but he’s assisting in the airfield’s engineering hangar working on a rare MoraneSaulnier 315, Chipmunk and Auster AOP6 aircraft. AND he’s bought a nonflying Evans VP1 Volksplane without an engine from Old Warden to restore back to airworthiness. The man deserves the Taildragger Scholarship!

Legends move

The Flying Legends Airshow is moving to Sywell Aerodrome and will hold its first event at the Northamptonshire airfield on 10-11 July 2021. One of the world’s top airshows, Flying Legends is staged by The Fighter Collection which said in a statement that it was a mutual decision with the Imperial War Museum to end the airshow’s 25-year run at Duxford.

Heroes & Villains HERO Occasional FLYER ‘Forumite’ Ross Edmondson, who posts under the name ‘Katamarino’, is flying around the world in his 1981 Cessna 182, nicknamed ‘Planey McPlaneface’. Ross alternates flying legs with work as an engineer back in Iraq. His latest photo report is from New Zealand and you have to say, the blue skies in his excellent photos really make you want to go there (if only…). You can catch up here.

VILLAIN ‘A guy in a jetpack’ was reported by an American Airlines pilot on approach to Los Angeles International at about 3,000ft and about 10 miles from the airport. A second pilot flying for SkyWest confirmed the sighting which was reported to LAX controllers. The FAA, FBI and LA police are investigating. HERO Martyn Wiseman probably wouldn’t term himself ‘hero’ but what else are you if you rescue the world’s only intact Blackburn Beverley from the scrapyard? The huge ex-RAF air transporter aircraft

was being sold on ebay with the only interested parties being scrap metal merchants until Martyn and a partner agreed to go halves. Martyn is the man behind Condor Aviation and plans to move the Beverley to his airfield near Selby and convert it so it can be viewed by the disabled. A crowdfunding page has been set up here to help with the project.

Red appeal

The annual Aerobility Grand Auction opened on 13 November and will run to 28 November, the day of the charity’s annual Aviators Ball, held this year online. Among the items up for auction is the red flight suit worn by Red 1’s Martin Pert during a recent North America tour. Other prizes include flights in a Spitfire and former RAF fast jet trainer, the Folland Gnat. Full details here.

Send your QSY submissions to QSY, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or to qsy@seager.aero 78 | FLYER | January 2021

Profile for Flyer Digital Team

FLYER January 2021