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July 2021

THE UK’S MOST READ GA MAGAZINE

Fab Fourteen FLYING WITH THE DRONES GA PILOTS HELP INTEGRATE

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VAN’S AIRCRAFT RV-14 – ONE OF THE BEST ALL ROUND AIRCRAFT YOU CAN BUILD? WE THINK SO!

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Editorial

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Ed Hicks

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

I

Flying motivation…

’ve got to say, it’s great to be back with some regular flying, and to be doing some flight testing again. With all the Covid interruptions, we hadn’t run a proper FLYER flight test for nearly 15 months, so getting together with Ian Seager and Safety Editor Steve Ayres to test Bill Sweetnam’s RV-14, the first example approved to fly in the UK, was a real treat. It’s been a project I’ve been lucky enough to offer advice on here and there, after Bill paid a visit to our RV-8 workshop back in late 2017. When you’ve got a project of your own, it’s always fun to host visits from people who are thinking of building. Not everyone goes on to start their own project, but it’s great when people such as Bill do so, especially when they finish such a beautiful example. I was fairly sure he would, as his enthusiasm and motivation was obvious from the start. I knew he’d make good progress too, but I do recall when he asked me about the process of the RV-14 getting Light Aircraft Association approval. I told him that I was sure one of the builders who had already started would finish before him, so it would be done by the time he was ready. Bill worked fast though, and when he realised it was going to be him driving the approval, he just took it on as just another project step. That the aeroplane itself then became motivation for Bill after he became seriously ill, just as it was being assembled, was tremendous. There was no way Bill wasn’t going to come out on top and fly his machine as he’d planned – and he’s been piling on the hours since it came out of the paintshop in early spring. You can read more about the story on page 26. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who tuned in for the five days of livestreaming that the FLYER team ran for FLYER Live. With an audience of nearly 6,000 viewers for the week, we were amazed and delighted to have those who watched to be involved. If you haven’t seen it, you can catch up with days one to four here, and if you’d like to see the Friday night FLYER Club members only special, you can join the club today. We’ve got some great plans this year, so we hope you’ll join us!

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 Hamish Mitchell, Yayeri van Baarsen Fiona and Hamish Macaskill, Dave Hirschman FLIGHT SAFETY EDITOR Steve Ayres steve.ayres@seager.aero PUBLISHER & MANAGING DIRECTOR Ian Seager ics@seager.aero PRODUCTION MANAGER Nick Powell nick.powell@seager.aero SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Kirstie May kirstie.may@seager.aero FLYER CLUB CHAMPION Jonny Salmon jonny.salmon@seager.aero ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Zoe Yeo zoe.yeo@seager.aero EXHIBITION MANAGERS Darran Ward darran.ward@seager.aero Paul Yates paul.yates@seager.aero 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

ed.hicks@seager.aero

© Seager Publishing 2021

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.

July 2021 | FLYER | 3


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Contents July 2021

Features 18  I Get Paid for This… Cornelius Mitchley

Transporting patients and medical staff over Australia’s South West region in a PC-12

26  Flight Test Van’s RV-14 Van’s Aircraft claims its RV-14 is the ‘easiest

to build yet’. But just what is it like in the air? Ian Seager finds out for himself…

36  My First Solo Shinji Maeda

With vision in only one eye and a busy circuit, Shinji Maeda felt calm during his first solo…

38 Technical Flying with Drones

After recent proposals in airspace changes Hamish Mitchell goes in search of the drone operators to see if some co-operation might be in order…

46 Accident Analysis That sinking feeling…

Steve Ayres looks into accidents where everything on board is normal up to the point where the cows begin to get bigger…

52  Flying Adventure From Dawn to Dusk

Fiona and Angus Macaskill attempt to set a Guinness World Record to land at as many airfields in a 12-hour day. Did they do it...?

Van’s RV-14

26

62  Top Gear ForeFlight Sentry Ian Seager puts the Sentry portable to the test

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

23 25 48 62 72

Mark Hales Ian Seager Accident Reports By Association QSY

SIX Free Landings!

18

36

52

60 FLYER Club Members Save £48 n Breighton n Beverley n Eggesford

n Kenyon Hall n Perth n Skegness PLUS Win a print or digital Pooleys UK Flight Guide July 2016 | FLYER | 5


Take-off

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

‘National need to protect airfields’ – Aviation Minister Right The General Aviation Roadmap launched by the Department for Transport Inset Aviation Minister Roberts Courts agrees, airfields need protection!

“There is a national need to protect and enhance our strategic network of GA airfields,” said Aviation Minister, Robert Courts MP in a written statement in April introducing the new General Aviation (GA) Roadmap to Parliament. “We will work with airfields to strengthen their economic and strategic value both locally, regionally and nationally by supporting their development, and promoting mixed-use where there are benefits from offering their unique infrastructure to the wider community including for business, education, cultural and recreational activities. “General Aviation is often referred to as the ‘grassroots’ of 6 | FLYER | July 2021

aviation and is the bedrock to our successful and world-leading aviation sector,” continued Mr Courts. “It’s worth nearly £4 billion to the UK economy, supporting nearly 40,000 jobs. The hundreds of aerodromes up and down the country form an important part of the nation’s transport infrastructure. “Our ambitions remain high and we have set out our priorities and how we can achieve these in the government’s General Aviation Roadmap, which I am pleased to announce.” Mr Courts’ full statement is on the FLYER website. The GA Roadmap identifies key areas including: airfields, airspace, a focus on innovation

and decarbonisation and an aviation skills programme. “This Roadmap provides an update on our GA Programme activities including our work with the CAA’s GA Unit, and our achievements over the last 12 months,” said the Department for Transport. “It sets out our priorities for our ambitious future programme of work, both in the short/medium term to support the recovery of the sector and seize the opportunities following the EU transition period.” Download the GA Roadmap here ■ Instant Expert (p14) looks at the CAA’s response to the consultation on how to make GA better in the UK post-Brexit.


Take-off

Drone company to fly routine BVLOS ‘The starting gun’ has been fired for the drone industry as the CAA authorises the first company to carry out routine Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. The company is command and control solution developer sees.ai, which plans to fly BVLOS at three nominated sites without needing to pre-authorise each flight. “By removing this limitation, this permission fires the starting gun for the next phase of growth of the drone industry, during which the potential of BVLOS to significantly increase operational effectiveness and efficiency will be considered,” said a CAA statement. John McKenna, CEO at sees.ai said, “We are accelerating towards a future where drones fly

autonomously at scale – high up alongside manned aviation and low down inside our industrial sites, suburbs and cities.”

New Scottish TDA

A huge area of airspace 25nm south of Prestwick, Scotland will be blocked off if a new Temporary Danger Area (TDA) for drone operations goes ahead. The TDA is 160 square miles, from the surface to 3,700ft around Newton Stewart, Dumfries. It is surrounded by the D402, D403 and D405 existing Danger Areas and often used by transiting VFR traffic. The period of operation is SeptemberOctober this year. An unnamed mineral exploration company has rights

to areas north and east of Newton Stewart and wants to make a magnetic geophysical survey of the area. Hamish Mitchell, who operates Scotia Seaplanes in and out of lochs in the area, said, “The whole TDA thing has now got out of control and I don’t think it is acceptable now to just constantly let it slide. “We should be refusing TDAs and substituting with some kind of temporary TMZs as the next best option. Whilst it still excludes non-EC equipped aircraft, it is better than a TDA which excludes everyone.” ■ Read Flying with the Drones by Hamish on p38. Newton Stewart TDA Consultation

Main First of many? Drone company authorised to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sights ops without needing extra permissions Above Purple box shows proposed TDA surrounded by Danger Areas (image: SkyDemon)

Link

GAAC outlines plan to protect airfields The General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC) believes that current protection of GA aerodromes is ‘clearly inadequate’ and has come up with a plan to help save threatened UK airfields. GAAC is suggesting a fourth category of land should be added to three proposed in the Government’s Planning White Paper, published last August. The White Paper focuses on streamlining the planning process and speeding up the provision of new housing. At the heart of this Paper was a proposal to create three Zones: ■ Growth: areas suitable for substantial development ■ Renewal: areas suitable for development

■ Protected: restricted development. However, GAAC believes there should be a fourth: Infrastructure. “Without an Infrastructure category,” suggests GAAC, “airfields would be deemed Protected, rendering them unable to evolve and become commercially viable, and leaving them even more vulnerable to housing developers.” John Gilder, GAAC vicechairman and chairman of the APPG-GA’s Airfields Working Group, added, “Aerodromes constitute a huge resource – contributing to connectivity and transport needs, facilitating business aviation, flying training, STEM-related training and jobs, supporting emergency services

and charities, offering recreational, leisure and sporting facilities. “A combination of the demand for housing and the perception that airfields are underused, cheap land ripe for development due to a lack of planning protection has meant a large number of aerodrome sites have already been lost. Many others (50-plus) are under threat.”. GAAC

Below Fairoaks Airport in Surrey has been under threat from developers

July 2021 | FLYER | 7


Take-off Row over Little Mongeham farm strip A plan to establish a new farm strip for local pilots in Kent has become mired in a planning row. The proposed farm strip is at Little Mongeham near Deal, on land owned by local farmer Richard Ledger. The airfield plan is being brought together by local pilots, including Nic Orchard and Steve Hoskins, who were among those displaced when Maypole Airfield closed last year. The idea is to create an idyllic grass strip airfield with facilities for recharging electric aircraft and house up to 20 light aircraft. However, it went sour before the planning application has even been published. In April, the team behind the plan was told by Dover District Council that more information was required to validate the application. Stop Press: the application has just gone live on Dover’s planning portal. Search for 21/00626. This came after a vigorous campaign by a local group calling themselves, Chocks Go Away, led by a couple who run an outdoors wedding service in local woods. The campaigners managed to stir up enough ‘anti’ feeling to get Dover Council, initially warm to the idea, to delay. Local MP Natalie Elphicke also got involved calling the proposal ‘completely inappropriate… Commercial flying should be carried out at commercial airports’, despite it

Right Proposed farm strip north of Little Mongeham village, Deal, Kent Below left Image from Chocks Go Away video

being government policy to encourage airfield development (see p6) and never having seen the airfield plan. Chocks Go Away also issued a YouTube video likening the pilots involved to the Nazi leadership. They later removed the video saying it was a ‘joke’. So what is the farm strip plan? ■ 750 metre grass runway, with hangarage for up to 20 light aircraft ■ Charging for electric aeroplanes and cars ■ Glamping pods and ebikes to rent ■ Greenest possible credentials ■ Helipad for emergency services ■ Bikes to borrow, free, for visiting pilots Nic Orchard said, “The aim is to encourage people into the area, which is rich with history, flora and fauna, walking and cycling trails, [and] engage fully with the community with regard to youth organisations [and] charity support.”

It’s go, go, go! for September LAA Rally The LAA Rally – highlight of the year for many aviators – is a go! for this September. The Rally is set for 3-5 September at Sywell and the LAA is already planning, based on guidance, to make it Covid-safe. It’s also the LAA’s 75th Anniversary, which will be celebrated at the Rally. Eryl Smith, who chairs the LAA Rally Committee, said, “The success of the NHS coronavirus vaccination programme, and the consequent Government Roadmap, means we can feel positive about the LAA 75th Anniversary Sywell Rally being run as close to ‘normal’ as possible. “We will offer all visitors a Covid-safe environment including more open public spaces and the avoidance of fully enclosed 8 | FLYER | July 2021

exhibition marquees.” For all visitors, the Rally offers opportunities for bargains and special deals from exhibitors with close-up airside access to Britain’s biggest aircraft gathering. Other successful elements will continue, including the popular Speakers Corner lecture area (with appropriate distancing) and the Homebuilders Centre providing insight into what is involved in building your own aircraft. Part-built projects, representing wood, metal and composite construction, will be on display with their builders, plus demonstrations by experts in particular build disciplines. LAA


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Take-off Ampaire to test hybrid-electric aircraft in Orkney and Exeter Hybrid-electric aircraft developer Ampaire is to demonstrate its test bed aircraft in the UK in two locations: the Orkney Islands and Exeter in the South West. The demo flights are to show airlines how Ampaire’s hybrid-electric propulsion system could work on smaller, regional aircraft. The first stop is the Orkney Islands in Scotland for participation this summer in what’s known as SATE – Sustainable Aviation Test Environment – a programme supported by the UK government’s Future Flight Challenge. Ampaire’s demo aircraft is a Cessna 337, which has power units in the nose and the tail. It has been prepared for the Scottish flights, over water between Wick and Kirkwall, with specially painted wingtips to represent the tartan pattern of Highlands and Island Airports Limited (HIAL), which oversees SATE. Loganair is understood to be interested in the demo and Ampaire has revealed it is working on a hybrid Twin Otter, which Loganair already operates on some routes in the Scottish islands. The second part of the UK trip is to the South West, where the Ampaire hybrid aircraft will fly between Exeter and Cornwall, currently an unserved route that would ‘become more feasible with lower cost hybrid-electric propulsion’. Ampaire is part of a consortium called 2ZERO (Towards Zero Emissions in Regional Aircraft Operations), which also includes Rolls-Royce Electrical, University of Nottingham, Loganair, Exeter and Devon Airports, Cornwall Airport, Heart of the Southwest Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP), and UK Power Network Services. The team has received a share of £30 million from the Future Flight Challenge for its 2ZERO proposal to demonstrate hybrid-electric aircraft on regional routes in the South West. “These flights engage the whole air transport ecosystem – airports, airlines, power companies, ATC, government regulators,” said Ampaire. “It’s a way to move electric aviation forward faster.”

In other e-news

Bye Aerospace, developer of the electric two-seat eFlyer, has announced an eight-seat all-electric twin turboprop class aircraft, the eFlyer 800, powered by Safran units. Bye says the design is in response to growing demands for regional all-electric mini-airliners. Clearly, it’s also aimed at the utility market currently served by Beechcraft’s King Air series. Performance estimates for the eFlyer 800 include up to 320kt cruise speed, 35,000ft ceiling and 500nm 10 | FLYER | July 2021

Top Ampaire’s ‘Electric Eel’ is based on a Cessna 337 airframe Inset Sneak peak of Ampaire’s ‘Eco Otter’ Below Electric King Air rival from Bye Aerospace

range with 45-minute IFR reserves at normal cruise speed of 280kt. H55, the spin-off project from the Swiss Solar Impulse electric round-the-world flight, is to supply battery packs for Harbour Air’s electric de Havilland Beaver seaplane. Harbour Air is already working with magniX for the propulsion system and the three companies are aiming to certify the aircraft with Transport Canada as the world’s first electric commercial passenger aircraft by 2022. ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cell powered Piper Malibus test aircraft made a forced landing just outside Cranfield Airport’s perimeter during a routine test flight on 29 April. The Cranfield-based company said, “The aircraft landed normally on its wheels in a flat grass field and almost came to a stop, but was damaged as it caught the left main gear and wing in the uneven terrain at the end of the field at low speed. “Everybody involved is safe, and without injury. The incident was immediately reported to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).”


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Take-off Zenair’s Chris Heintz, RIP Aircraft designer and engineer Chris Heintz has died, aged 82. Chris was best known for the series of kitplanes from his company Zenair. Chris’s family released this note: “It is with great regret that we announce the passing of Chris Heintz on 30 April, 2021. “Best known in aviation circles as a prolific and talented aircraft designer, aeronautical engineer, innovator, builder, entrepreneur, lecturer and author, Chris has touched the lives of thousands throughout his exceedingly productive professional life. “Chris died peacefully at his home in Southern France where he is survived by Annemarie, his loving wife of 60 years, his five children and a dozen grandchildren.” Founded in 1974, Zenair is still developing, supporting and manufacturing Heintz’ popular kitplane designs. They include the CH750, CH650, CH640, CH801 airframe kits and parts as well as float kits and accessories. Chris Heintz was a graduate of the ETH Institute in Switzerland. After serving in the air force, Heintz worked for Aerospatiale on the supersonic Concorde airliner and later became chief

Above Chris demonstrating short take-off technique Inset Chris Heintz

engineer at Avions Robin (France) where he designed several fully certified two- and four-seat all-metal production aircraft. In his spare time, Heintz began to design and build his own aircraft, which he named the Zenith, an anagram of Heintz. Being an engineer and not a craftsman, his all-metal homebuilt aircraft incorporated simple construction methods throughout. Under the name of Zenair, Chris started to manufacture Zenith kits himself from his two-car garage. Heintz has introduced more than 12 successful kit aircraft designs over the years. More than 800 of his aircraft are presently flying around the world in 48 different countries.

Piper debuts Pilot 100i, HALO polished April was a good month for Piper. The Florida company showed off its new trainer aircraft, the Piper Pilot 100i, for the first time at Sun ‘n’ Fun, and EASA certified its HALO emergency landing system as fitted to the top of the range M600SLS. Piper calls the 100i ‘the value priced addition to

Left Piper’s new Pilot 100i 3-seat trainer Right M600 SLS HALO featuring Garmin Autoland now has EASA certification 12 | FLYER | July 2021

its trainer-class line-up’ with a price tag under $300,000. However, the 100i is far from being a bare bones aircraft with Garmin G3X glass cockpit, 180hp Lycoming engine and vinyl seats. Now Piper has European approval for HALO, the company is to launch a European demo tour for its M600 SLS, visiting all Piper dealer partners as well as key markets later this summer. “European certification is a key milestone for the M600 SLS aircraft, which has garnered substantial interest with the Garmin Autoland system,” said Piper’s Ron Gunnarson. To date, the M600 SLS has flown more than 100 autoland demos, and Piper has delivered 67 autoland-equipped aircraft in the US already. The first European delivery is due in the next two months.


Instant Expert

Next steps for GA regulation This year, 2021, sees a reboot for the CAA’s GA programme. Ed Bellamy looks at some of the highlights

O

ne publication that stood out recently from the usual stream of Skywise notifications was CAP2146, the CAA’s response document to the consultation on opportunities after leaving EASA (CAP1985). The original consultation was run in December last year and asked wide ranging questions on what the CAA’s focus areas should be in the post-EU environment. Over 950 responses from individuals and groups were received, including several extensive papers from GA associations. In response the CAA promises a number of initiatives, ranging from three ‘strategic projects’ to 12 ‘changes of ways of working’, as well as other smaller projects and ‘quick win’ activities. Particularly given the pressures of Covid and the work around exiting the EASA system, this is an ambitious programme of work. So what are some of the highlights from the 46-page document? The plans are broken down into three groups – group one largely focuses on regulatory issues and how to improve them while groups two and three are more about communication and engagement. Pilot licensing is an area in which there was apparently a strong appetite for simplification and the CAA identifies this as a strategic project to progress. My own view is that 20 years since JAR-FCL first arrived, followed by EASA and now the ‘retained’ EASA regulation in UK law (not to mention the NPPL arriving along the way too), we have ended up with a collection of several licenses that do similar things. Open a pre-JAR copy of what the CAA used to call the PPL licensing and rating guide (the long defunct CAP53) and the menu of options is considerably smaller. Now removing items from a menu can obviously mean less choice, but the key is to establish what levels of privileges we want to distinguish in the system and scale them accordingly. Alongside licensing sits a project to look at PPL medical requirements – I suspect some recent confusion around the pilot medical declaration (PMD) criteria needs sweeping up. In my view the basic PMD approach is sound and remains one of the most positive things the CAA has done for GA in the recent past. Also within ‘group one’ are promises to look at the UK requirements for Instrument Ratings and expanding the scope of national licence holders flying Part-21 (formerly EASA) aircraft. An interesting change in ‘ways of working’ includes a CAA GA Unit ‘Just Culture’ champion being appointed who would be involved in the airspace infringement processes and be a GA point of contact for mandatory occurrence reports (MORs) and alleged breaches of Air Navigation law. Within the airworthiness domain are promises to review and potentially simplify regulations and introduce a ‘Skyway Code’ type publication for airworthiness. A promising

14 | FLYER | July 2021

suggestion is looking more at other national aviation authorities (including outside Europe) at their airworthiness requirements. I would sound a note of caution though on overhauling GA maintenance regulations again – a lot of work went into the EASA Part-ML package and sometimes the need to spend more time on bedding in a regulation and helping people understand the requirements is confused with the need to keep revising it. Moving onto the engagement and collaboration sphere of groups two and three, the main proposal is a ‘diverse and inclusive’ GA ‘Change Panel’ that would presumably be made up of GA experts to collaborate with and scrutinise CAA guidance and policy output. Detail on how this would be constituted and how it might interact with existing engagement mechanisms is likely still under development. If done well such a panel could be an effective part of the policy development process. A focus running throughout is improving communication and engagement. The word ‘collaboration’ appears around 20 times in the document. It is good that the CAA aspires to do better in this area, although collaboration with external stakeholders is something many organisations struggle with, and improving the quality of such is hard to measure reliably. There is a risk of the same issues and interests simply being recycled through different forums. Getting balances of skill sets and expertise right is usually more important than the detail of process or organisational design, so I would be wary of setting up lots of new channels of engagement without considering how they improve the quality of input received. Good collaboration should produce better outcomes, but with more involvement of external stakeholders this will likely take up more time. More ‘listening’ is great, but there needs to be time in the day for doing as well. Getting simple, and often boring, things consistently right is just as important when improving outcomes for stakeholders. Everyone can sign up to the idea of reviewing things, but it is often in the detail that progress stalls, disagreements emerge, or awkward compromises must be made. Sometimes things that sounded great on paper, even within a group of experts, get mixed results in practice. Change fatigue is always a risk. None of the above are real reasons to avoid trying to improve things but starting down such paths requires the right organisational bandwidth and stamina to deliver them at the end. Overall, CAP2146 is a very positive document. It should represent a good step on the journey towards better regulation of GA, even if at the moment it is mostly a list of areas for further investigation rather than policy proposals. My only note of caution is how the ambitions will be achieved in practice. Timelines may still be vague, but there is plenty to measure delivery against. More info: CAP2146


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

In Brief

China’s back, rest of the world’s airline flying still recovering Left Snapshot of European flight activity in April. Looks busy... Inset Chart showing airline recovery around the world. Both images: FlightAware

French company Alsim Simulators has announced two new clients at opposite ends of the world. Canada Training Solutions in Calgary is buying its first ever Alsim simulator, an AL250, while Charter Group Aero in Malaysia has acquired an AL42 Flight Simulator. It will be used to provide advanced Multi-Engine and Instrument flight training. American Airlines is looking to recruit 900 pilots over this year and next, as demand for flights starts to return. The airline is also planning to operate some of its long haul wide body jets on short haul routes. New research by low-cost carrier easyJet suggests 61% of Brits believe that under the traffic light travel system, the green tier should mean restriction free travel this summer. Currently countries on the green list will require Brits to take a PCR Covid test before they fly there, at additional expense. London City Airport has become the first major international airport in the world to be fully controlled by a remote digital air traffic control tower. This follows intensive testing and live trials. Watch a video here L3 Harris Commercial Aviation is offering an Examiner Refresher Course to support examiners from a commercial air transport environment to revalidate their examiner certificate as per EASA Part-FCL.1025. American Flyers is the launch customer for Piper’s new Pilot 100i with a delivery of eight aircraft. Piper calls the 100i ‘the value priced addition to Piper’s trainer-class line-up’ with a price tag under $300,000. The 100i has a Garmin G3X glass cockpit, 180hp engine and vinyl seats.

16 | FLYER | July 2021

The recovery of aviation following the Covid-19 pandemic is mixed around the world, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. FlightAware’s detailed report looks at the impact of the global pandemic on the aviation industry, how it began, and where we are today. Commercial passenger airlines have levelled off at a modest 50% recovery of traffic levels in late 2020 and early 2021 relative to 2019. However, that recovery profile is very diverse geographically. Other operations outside of commercial airlines, including both business aviation and cargo, have seen a more substantial recovery. Flights under four hours have recovered a bit more strongly, whereas flights over four hours, and long haul flights, have had a weaker recovery due to immigration and border restrictions. There have been multiple changes to the mix of aircraft size impacting airport planning for how many widebody gates and narrowbody gates they have available.

Recovery by region

Above right, the graphs are split into six different regions

where FlightAware has tracked commercial passenger flight activity (2019 in blue, 2020 in gold and 2021 in orange). North America most closely resembles the global average graph, with the drop, the somewhat U-shaped recovery, and then flight volume flatlining ever since late summer in the northern hemisphere. South America has been a very different story. It was up year-over-year at the start of 2020, but then had a much larger drop than North America, and the recovery has been much slower. Europe is unique in that it’s the only region where we’ve seen a double-dip. It had a U-shaped recovery similar to North America, but European flight schedules are typically much heavier in the summer than they are in the winter, and that weakness in the winter months showed again at the end of 2020 and into 2021, where it’s well below its summer peak. The Middle East is very dependent on connecting traffic, similar to South America. It recovered slowly but steadily throughout 2020, but has flatlined since the end of last year.

Asia as a whole has two different stories, hence the two charts. There’s an early drop due to the initial advent of the pandemic in China, and then the extended dip as the rest of Asia started closing borders. The recovery got up to around 50% to 60% of flight volume in Asia as a whole throughout the year 2020, and then in early 2021, we see another dip, before traffic starts to pick back up. In China, you can see the dip came much sooner and it was generally deeper, however, the recovery has also been much stronger. From about October onward, China was back to 85% of 2019 flight volume, while the rest of Asia remained substantially depressed due to the large number of border closures and immigration restrictions. In the last month (April), China has now fully recovered to 2019 levels.


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Pilot Careers

I Get Paid for This…

Cornelius Mitchley Cornelius Mitchley transports patients and medical staff all over Australia’s south-west region in a PC-12. Interview by Yayeri van Baarsen

How did you get into flying?

As a child, my grandfather took me to aviation museums, airshows and showed me the old Tiger Moth he’d restored with his mate. These visits were inspirational. Aged 17, I was awarded two hours flight training in a C172. I was hooked straight away. I got a job at the local flying school, saving enough money for a lesson every few weeks. Tell us about your job?

I’m the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s senior base pilot at Jandakot. We cover Australia’s south-west region, providing 24/7 Flying CV emergency retrievals and patient transfers. Senior base pilot Cornelius There are no scheduled flights. After a call Mitchley delivers emergency out, we check weather, Notams and depart services as well as inter-hospital to the patient within an hour. A typical day transfers for Australia’s Royal Flying consists of many short flights, transferring Doctor Service (RFDS). eight to nine patients with in total between Started current job December 2015 Now flying Pilatus PC-12 two and eight hours of stick time. Favourite aircraft Fairchild Metroliner. “It’s The PC-12 is essentially a flying intensive traditional flying. I love flying it single pilot, care unit. It’s like having a hospital ward in being alone in this high-performance aircraft.” the back of the aircraft. We always mind the Hours at job start Approx. 3,100 Hours now Approx. 6,000 patient’s condition. If they have a collapsed lung, for example, we fly at lower altitude because of cabin pressure and when flying patients with spinal damage we take extra care to avoid turbulence. from flying the PC-12, you also learn about communication Most flights are non-life-threatening transfers between hospitals. with crew and patients. However, we also have full-blown emergencies. In those cases, it’s important not to get too involved in what’s happening in the What’s been your favourite flight? back, but instead stay focused on piloting the aircraft. A training flight when I started with the RFDS called ‘limited flare What I love most about my job is definitely the unknown aspect, path’. This sortie, which is done at night, is a blackhole approach, never knowing where or when your next task is. I also really enjoy with only six runway lights on the 1,000m strip. It’s to simulate the variety of airstrips. We fly into 3,000m sealed military bases landing on a road, when a patient needs immediate medical and international airports, but also into 900m gravel strips. attention and there’s no other option to reach them in time. As an RFDS pilot, you’re operating in a single pilot environment. Therefore you have to be able to adapt to the And your favourite airfield? ever-changing requirements, such as inflight emergencies. Anything short and gravel. As long as the runway is maintained, I Thinking outside the box is needed in order to get to the patient love bush airstrips. The western Australian landscape is diverse, in the most time-efficient manner. It’s more than just flying – I with rainforests to the south and red dirt to the north, all within also unload stretchers and liaise with the medical staff. We’re a less than an hour’s flight. A lot of the 1,700 strips in our database small team, so good communication skills are required. RFDS are in remote communities – at times we’ve to call the airstrip makes a huge difference, which makes my work very rewarding. operator or police before landing to clear the runway of animals! It’s actually hard to call it a job – it’s more of a passion.

“You have to be able to adapt to the ever-changing requirements”

What training did you have?

In 2008 I applied for an ATPL cadetship with Sharp Airlines and ended up working for them as a First Officer on the Metroliner for a year. After moving to western Australia in 2010, I transferred miners and transported freight on a single pilot Metroliner. In 2015, I joined the RFDS with a CPL. All company conversion training is conducted in aircraft and apart 18 | FLYER | July 2021

Do you get to fly much outside of work?

No, I don’t. The work roster is busy, so on days off I ride my Harley Davidson or spend time at home with my fiancé and our dogs. What is your most valuable career advice?

Savour the moments in the air. As pilots, we get caught up in ‘work’ pressures. It’s vital to take a breath when up there; look out the window and remember you have the best office in the world!


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SI R E

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SKYWAY CODE “As an aerobatic display pilot I really value the accessibility and helpful reminders of the SkyWay Code; it is a one-stop shop for everything you need to consider before you brief and head out to your aircraft to go flying. I encourage all pilots to take the time to read through this free online document.” Kirsty Murphy Blades Aerobatic Display Pilot and former Red Arrow pilot

The SkyWay Code provides practical guidance for GA pilots, students and flight instructors on operational, safety and regulatory issues relevant to their flying.

Download your copy at: www.caa.co.uk/skywaycode


Column

Unusual Attitude Dave Hirschman

T

Staying curious

here’s a cosy quote, widely and, as it turns out, wrongly attributed to Mark Twain, which perfectly encapsulates my most common, regrettable, and easily avoidable errors in both flying and writing. “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” I think the saying, versions of which appeared long before the dawn of powered flight, applies especially broadly in aviation. During a recent IFR flight to Caldwell, New Jersey, for example, the recorded voice on the automated terminal information service (ATIS) said the RNAV approach to Runway 22 was in use. I dutifully loaded that approach into the aeroplane’s GPS, checked in on the radio, and was told to proceed to a fix for an approach to Runway 28. I searched in vain for the fix, and it wasn’t until a fellow pilot (who had happened to come along on this trip as a passenger) pointed out my error that the confusing situation was resolved. I had expected one approach, got cleared for another, yet the actual clearance didn’t register because I’d already written down and loaded the other one. I was hearing without listening. The error, fortunately, was resolved without permanent harm. But there are plenty of examples of aircraft running out of fuel, landing with the gear in the wrong position, and suffering other serious consequences as a result of things pilots knew, or assumptions they made, that turned out to be false. Pilots have long sought to project an image of omniscience – and that makes knowing what ‘ain’t so’ all the more likely. Our default position should be one of not knowing. When questions come up in flight, as they always do, we ought to be inquisitive. If you think you know the runway length, the latest wind, the airport elevation, congratulations. Double-checking will provide reassuring confirmation. The best pilots I know are curious. They’re interested in new information, in learning, and challenging their own assumptions – and, most of all, they accept and are even amused by their human fallibility. New information that differs from what they thought they knew, or even proves them wrong, isn’t rejected, explained away, or cause for angst. They welcome it as timely and accurate information that will enable them to make smart choices. You know an avionics shortcut? Show it to me so I can learn it. Flown to an strip before and know some tips? Tell me about it. I was overflying an area of bad weather at night and the aeroplane’s radar reported the cloud tops were 6,000ft below my

current altitude. That seemed like a safe margin at the time. But redirecting the radar to a close-in, level scan showed towering spires of stormy weather reached to our aircraft’s altitude and beyond. The reported cloud tops turned out to be a fiction that bore little resemblance to actual flight conditions. A more sceptical reading of the weather picture, and a timely diversion away from the bad weather rather than over it, would have been a wise choice. Instead, I blundered through an area of violent weather that peeled the paint off the aeroplane’s radome. I went to school to learn a ‘new-to-me’ aeroplane last year, and my biggest obstacle in training was my desire to impress my instructors with how thoroughly I had prepared and how much I already knew as a result. I had studied a great deal in advance, and I wanted to show that I took the coursework seriously and had done my homework. But relentlessly seeking to demonstrate my newfound knowledge was at odds with learning. A more secure pilot with an open mind would have asked questions, listened

Mark Mitchell

“Our default position should be one of not knowing. When questions come up in flight, we ought to be inquisitive” better, and absorbed the flood of new information quicker. By trying to show how much I already knew, I missed opportunities to learn from real subject matter experts with many years of realworld experience – and that could have provided real learning. It’s a mistake I don’t intend to repeat. Doing the homework well in advance was fine. Obnoxiously blurting out answers to anticipated questions before the instructors even asked them was not. The more experience pilots gain, the more we should question our own assumptions, double check all the information we can, and acknowledge the things we don’t know. I was so sure that the quote at the top of this column was said by Mark Twain that it didn’t occur to me to check it. Neither, apparently, did the makers of the movie The Big Short who used it, and attributed it to Twain, at the start of the movie. I only stumbled upon the mistake when searching for something unrelated – and I’m glad I found the mistake before repeating it. Only by admitting what we don’t know that pilots can avoid things that just ain’t so. RV-4 pilot, ATP/CFII, specialising in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction dave.hirschman@flyer.co.uk July 2021 | FLYER | 21


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Column

Full Throttle

Mark Hales

I

Classified urges…

n the days when I had access to a larger hangar – and more income – trawling the classifieds was a pleasurable pastime, there to identify something interesting, rare or different. I’d get on the phone, then get in the car and go and look, and if the subject lay over the water, I’d enlist my then hangar partner Geoffrey and his certified Robin, and head off to France or Belgium, or Germany or wherever. If Geoffrey was busy, I’d book a cheap flight and a hire car. It all seemed so easy then, and it was fun. The chase was a large part of the enjoyment, not to mention the challenge of flying something unfamiliar back to base. I remember standing in front of a pleasant German chap and a half-tidy orange liveried Bolkow 207 hangared at Bad Marienberg, a grass strip about 50 miles east of Cologne. The 207 is a big wooden taildragger with two huge gullwing doors that access a pair of bench seats, like an old Cortina, and boasting a big stick connected to rods and bellcranks rather than cables. And it had a Lycoming 0-360 swinging a constant-speed Hartzell, all of which helped to make it a very capable, thoroughly nice aeroplane. And for some reason, they didn’t seem to be valued in the country of their manufacture, something which had made it easier to own a couple already. “OK, it’s fine thanks,” I said. “I’ll take it… Let’s do the paperwork and then I can get on my way. I’d like to get across the Channel before dark if possible.” The vendor looked nonplussed. “But… you can’t… take it… now...” “It’s OK,” I reassured him, “I’ve brought the cash…” That was a detail which only seemed to increase the chap’s consternation and there were several increasingly animated calls via his mobile, after which he sounded almost disappointed. “Well… I suppose it is OK for you to take it…” I left Bad Marienberg, and headed for Dahlemer-Binz on the edge of the Eifel Forest near the Nürburgring (and another good place to see some rare types), fuelled my new acquisition and its pilot, filed a flight plan and headed into Belgium, past Spa circuit and round Brussels, then into France to clear customs and refuel at Calais. I was back at Sturgate for 1845 after four hours and 35 minutes airborne. This was in the days before EASA but I already knew the German authorities were perfectly happy for me to operate the aircraft on the D-register in the UK (as were the CAA), provided I found someone with a German licence to sign off the annual. Happy days, which I note from my log book were 20 years ago… I haven’t done much of that kind of thing for some time, rather the sensible option which is to concentrate on existing projects, but since the wait for paperwork required by officialdom is now being measured in years rather than weeks, I’d quite like

something to fly. But… in a six-week trawl, the UK classifieds revealed nothing to suit my needs. A couple of the smaller Jodels (right kind of aeroplane and right price but I know I wouldn’t be happy with 65hp), plenty of VLAs priced anywhere between 30 and 120K, and several RVs which have always been outside my price range. Strangely, that also applied to the two Austers which I went to see. Not sure I really want an Auster, but like many other types they seemed to have rocketed in price – which is only right as I’ve always thought they were undervalued – but why did they have to do it now after all those years… Where were the 10-grand fliers that I used to fix up and fly for a while, then roll on into the next one? An RF4 with the uprated engine, was a bit more than I intended to spend, but looked good value. The only reason it’s still for sale though, is that it’s in Sweden. And, there was a Murphy Moose, a sort of mini-Beaver, offered for a bargainsome £17K. Equipped with a now familiar 360hp Russian Radial and paddle-blade propeller, it was built in 2010 and had obviously sat

Mark Mitchell

“I note Kazakhstan is currently on the Government’s amber list…” outside for a while, but it looked tidy enough and is very definitely a lot of aeroplane for seemingly little money. Just two obstacles facing my ownership then. First, it’s in Almaty which is on Kazakhstan’s border with Kyrgyzstan next to China and a mere 4,344 miles away by road. SkyDemon revealed a more promising 2,976 nautical and a transit through Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Germany. Not sure about the politics of that, or the ability to get fuel. I note Kazakhstan is currently on the Government’s amber list though, and I’m willing to bet that if the right currency changed hands, the Moose could be made to appear in kit form on the back of a truck just over the Polish border. There was a time when I’d have done exactly that… Second problem then, is I’d need to get it past the authorities. Of the two, and on recent form, the former seems like the easy bit. Luckily, I’ve had an email saying the fuel tank for my Messenger is ready, so maybe the problem has been averted. There is, though, still that D-registered Emeraude which wants a bit of tidying, but has an 8.33 radio and a new ARC. It’s based near Bremen and the map says 330 miles with a stop in Holland, which is always a pleasure. I could fly it for the rest of the year before I start wrangling with officialdom over the winter. Thought I’d kicked a habit, but I might just see what they say on 17 May… Working vintage aircraft and cars make Mark particularly happy mark.hales@seager.aero July 2021 | FLYER  23


Column

Squawks Ian Seager

I

Just Culture justice…?

’m not sure how many people in the UK have heard of Martha Lunken. She’s a brilliant columnist who writes regularly in FLYING magazine, she flies out of an airport that shares her name thanks to a previous marriage (KLUK – Lunken in Cincinnati), she worked for the FAA as a safety manager, she has been an instructor and designated pilot examiner (DPE) and has given countless check rides over the years to people who wanted to be type rated to fly DC-3s, among other types. Martha Lunken is a bit of a legend, and at 78 continues to fly her beloved Cessna 180 from ‘her’ airport. Her relationship with the FAA has seen some change. I’m sure she was respected for her good safety work, but from her writing I’d guess that she wasn’t always great at tolerating what she saw as ‘mediocre middle managers’, and I’d be willing to bet that office politics were not at all her thing. Since leaving the FAA there have been some incidents, one of which saw her designated pilot examiner (DPE) privileges removed. But recently Martha screwed up, and when the FAA came calling it was with an emergency revocation of all of her pilot certificates. Like many of us Martha had some life boxes to tick. Apparently when out flying her Cessna 180 she was overcome with the irresistible urge to fly under a bridge, which she did. She’s since said, “I knew it was illegal and I did it anyway. I’m 78 and I’m still not very mature and I hope I never am.” It turns out that an automatic camera snapped her passage under the bridge and the FAA investigated. Typically, flying under a bridge would end up with a temporary suspension, but there was an additional problem. After having flown under the bridge Martha contacted Cincinnati approach which said there was no transponder/ADS-B signal being received, she recycled her transponder and everything returned to normal. The FAA surmised that she’d deliberately turned off the transponder, and the result of both offences was the emergency revocation of her pilot certificates along with a letter in which the FAA said she could not be trusted to comply with aviation regulation. There’s been quite a debate about the suitability of the FAA’s actions, with sides lining up to condemn and defend in more or less equal measure. Clearly flying under a bridge was a dumb thing to do, and the bridge in question – the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge – is over a stretch of river often used for fishing and hiking so there has been some concern expressed about third party risk. But full revocation rather than temporary suspension is considered harsh by many. There is, however, a bigger issue, and one that’s being paralleled in the UK. Martha was busted because she flew under a bridge, but also because her transponder was working intermittently. The FAA thinks that was caused by Martha’s

hands rather than a technical issue. Martha thinks the transponder rattled loose during a couple of grass airstrip landings just before flying under the bridge. In the US there is mandatory carriage and use of an ADS-B transponder in most places, and while we don’t have the same ADS-B mandate here, we do have rules that make it illegal to fly with your transponder turned off, although there are some specific exceptions like formation when flying in close formation or when requested by ATC. The result is that the humble transponder is an incredibly important link in the aviation safety chain both for ATC and for pilots with some form of Electronic Conspicuity monitoring, while also being a piece of monitoring equipment that may well provide the evidence against you should you transgress, accidentally or otherwise. As I have said before, I know of people in the UK who fly without turning on a working transponder, and since the Martha incident broke cover (the flight actually took place in 2020, it just took the FAA a while…), I’ve read of similar

Mark Mitchell

“The humble transponder is an incredibly important link in the aviation safety chain” intentions from pilots in the US. The answer is of course the full and correct application of a Just Culture in General Aviation. The CAA helpfully defines a Just Culture in its Skyway Code as: ‘A culture in which front line operators or other persons are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them that are commensurate with their experience and training, but in which gross negligence, wilful violations and destructive acts are not tolerated’. It doesn’t mean, as some people think, that everyone gets away with everything. Martha had the experience, knowledge and training to know what she was doing was wrong, and she was rightly held accountable for that (although the punishment could be debated). The challenge then is to make sure that regulators don’t just pay lip service to a Just Culture, and that we don’t treat it as the blanket ‘get out of jail card’ that it most definitely isn’t. We all have to work hard to apply it widely and consistently (CAA, you might want to revise the new and shiny CAP 1404 in this respect), and to make it an integral part of aviation culture. Publisher, pre C-19 often found flying something new and interesting ics@seager.aero July 2021 | FLYER | 25


26 | FLYER | July 2021


FLIGHT TEST | Van’s Aircraft RV-14

Fabulous Fourteen Since its launch in 2012, British homebuilders have been patiently waiting for the first Van’s Aircraft RV-14 fly in the UK. We’ve flown it, and can say, it’s been worth the wait… WORDS Ian Seager PHOTOGRAPHY Ed Hicks

N

o aeroplane is perfect, but having just flown the first RV-14 to be completed in the UK, I’d say that Van’s is getting pretty close, at least in the big two-seat taildragger furrow that the RV-14 is busy ploughing. Its high speed cruise and spacious cockpit deliver great touring potential, while its outstanding low speed capability will get you in and out of all but the most extreme short grass strips. It does all of this with Van’s great handling, but if that’s not enough, it’s capable (when approved by the LAA) of flying some fun level basic aeros, too. The RV-14 first made an appearance at Oshkosh in 2012, when, unannounced, it pulled into the central static display area. That particular aeroplane was an RV-14A, (the ‘A’ denoting a nosewheel variant), and it soon drew a large crowd of people seemingly eager to explore each and every rivet. A couple of years later, Ed Hicks and I visited the factory in Oregon, and flew the aeroplane for a feature in our August 2014 issue, so when Bill Sweetnam asked if we’d like the opportunity to fly his beautiful – and recently completed – RV-14 taildragger, let us bite your arm off, was only appropriate answer. At a very basic level the RV-14 can be thought of as a bigger version of the RV-7, but it is of course

much more than that, drawing as it does on the experience and knowledge of the world’s biggest and most successful kit aircraft manufacturer to deliver a kit that not only performs, but is said to be its easiest to build yet. In fact, Bill said several times that he feels a bit of a fraud, given that all he had to do was to follow the very detailed and clear instructions. G-ORWS has just 27 hours on her and was gleaming in the sunshine outside Bill’s hangar. The deck angle and long main gear legs of the taildragger accentuate the size of the aeroplane and make it feel bigger than the RV-14A. Although it’s a bit of a cliché, the aeroplane really does look fast even when it’s parked. It might be a kit aircraft but the build quality and finish is every bit as good as any certified aeroplane and better than quite a few.

Typical Van’s construction

In terms of construction, the -14 is typical Van’s. In common with most aluminium aeroplanes it is essentially a semi-monocoque aluminium structure held together with solid rivets. The wings, which use the same proprietary aerofoil as the RV-10, are constant chord, constant thickness making for a simple build. Unlike most Van’s aircraft you don’t have to choose between a hinged or sliding canopy. July 2021 | FLYER | 27


Van’s Aircraft RV-14

Above Lightweight and low drag means the RV-14 is well placed to make efficient use of its 210hp Left Heated pitot in anticipation of gaining future night and IFR signoff from the LAA Below Those long raked legs really do make the RV look fast when standing still. Spats a little vulnerable to rough ground

Van’s has made that choice for you, and you’re getting a forward-hinged tip-up canopy which provides unhindered visibility, thanks to the big Perspex bubble (there’s a chunky rollover bar behind the seats for occupant protection). Inside there’s a large baggage area behind the seats that will take a maximum of 100lb/45kg, a 46ft/117cm wide cockpit and a Garmin panel. With a MAUW of 2,050lb/932kg and an empty weight of 1,229lb/558kg there’s enough useful load (and CofG range) to fill the 50usg tanks, put a couple of 14st/90kg people in and the max of 100lb/45kg of baggage.

Big step…

I said ‘nearly perfect’ earlier, and there are a couple of small niggles that become apparent as I climb in. The first is that the long main gear means that the first step onto the wing is quite a big one. A small step on the ground (offered by Bill, declined by me) or the addition of optional fuselage steps would fix that. Then once you are on the wing, it feels like the tilting hinged canopy could do with a little bit more tilt, as stepping in can feel a bit awkward as you have to sort of lean your body a bit backwards. I’m sure the wiggle becomes second nature over time. But these are minor niggles, and once in you’ll find yourself in an outstanding cockpit that’s dominated by two Garmin G3X screens either side of a Garmin stack that has a GTN650, a second radio, an audio panel and the Garmin autopilot. There’s also a standby G5 and before long Bill’s planning an Air Avionics traffic display to add to the ADS-B in that he sees on the G3X screens. I asked Bill about his choice of Garmin over Dynon: “I went for Garmin because although they weren’t perfect, I found information about the product more readily available than Dynon. Garmin were represented better and took the trouble to set 28 | FLYER | July 2021


“The -14 has enough useful load to fill the two 50usg tanks, load two 90kg people and 45kg baggage”

July 2021 | FLYER 29


Van’s Aircraft RV-14

up at the LAA rally and had people to talk to.” The engine controls are nicely placed at the bottom of the stack, and running from the front bulkhead back between the seats is a floor-level tunnel that carries the control runs and is home to an Andair fuel selector, a compass and the CBs. Engine data is shown on the G3X and we watch the fuel flow on the right-hand screen when the fuel pump is turned on to prime before starting. The IO-390 requires the usual fuel-injected three-handed Lycoming shuffle, but after a couple of blades the engine fires and settles into a pleasing rumble. For a

Bill’s journey After getting his PPL in the late 1980s, Bill progressed through instrument rating, instructor rating and ATPLs. His day jobs as solicitor and director of a small private bank were not ticking the boxes, and Bill told me he came to loathe the law, walking away from it and eventually getting a job as a First Officer for Brymon in the late 1990s. After working his way up to a command on an Embraer 145, he left to fly a Legacy business jet before retiring in 2014. Being a hands-on practical type, building his own aeroplane was a long-time desire, and an RV-7 was on the cards. After a chat with FLYER’s Ed Hicks (who was at the time building an RV-8), Bill decided to build the -14 instead, even though he’d previously not heard of it! He chose the taildragger version for the challenge of mastering the tailwheel. Starting with a quickbuild kit, Bill’s project took a total 1,500 hours and was nearly complete after 18 months, but late in 2019, as the parts were being moved from home workshop to hangar for assembly, Bill was diagnosed with cancer. A seven-hour operation on Christmas Eve for stage 3 bowel cancer was followed by months of chemo which Bill found almost unbearable. It was August/September 2020 before he felt able to function again – still with substantial side effects from chemo – which took until January of this year to disappear. The project was kept moving, with Steve Ayres making the first flight in July 2020. Bill told me that he had incredible support from Ed and build partner Steve Mather, telling me, “They helped me through my darkest days by talking about our great project and how I was going to fly the wings off it when I got better. These guys are saints…” Talking of flying the wings off it, Bill plans to get the aeroplane cleared for night and IFR (the -14s LAA Night/IFR flight test has already been completed and stability and control aspects found suitable) so that it can be used to visit many of the European destinations he took others to during his time flying the Legacy.

30 | FLYER | July 2021

taildragger, forward visibility is great with no problem seeing exactly where you are going. Control on the ground is easy and before long we’re lined up on Wadswick’s grass runway which begins with a bit of an uphill slope. The flap switch on top of the stick took me a little while to get used to. Essentially it’s a small sprung toggle switch on the top of the column, you can use this to infinitely vary the flap setting, or to automatically motor them to either of the two flap settings. Electric trim is also set from the top of the stick and monitored by position indicators on the G3X’s screen.

A bit of a discovery

First take-off in a new type is always a bit of a discovery, and sitting next to the chap who just completed the build adds a little extra pressure to keep things tidy and safe. I advanced the throttle, left the tailwheel on the ground to make sure that we were tracking straight and then eased the stick forward to get the tailwheel off the ground. Happily I needed only a few rudder inputs to minimise the slight weave and keep us on the southern (slightly smoother) side of the runway. A couple of seconds later the aeroplane flew off the ground between 55 and 60kt, albeit with the stall warner activated which caught my attention. Handling felt solid and responsive right from start, and the aeroplane accelerated as we left the circuit. Climb rate is impressive with (according to the extensive flight tests done in ’WS for the LAA by an independent test pilot) 1,100fpm available at max gross weight. I gave max climb a miss as I wanted a better view out of the front and more cooling air going over those new cylinders. We flew around Pewsey Vale, playing with different power settings, an excellent way of reminding yourself just how much ground gets covered in an RV. In busy complex airspace you’d want to make sure your brain got to the various boundaries before your aeroplane did. With a bit of a tailwind and some altitude I’m sure ground speeds of three miles a minute or more will be commonplace. Some variable speed cruise and a bit of slow flight highlights how versatile and efficient the aeroplane is, although being kind to an engine that’s not fully run in yet, there’s a limit to how much experimentation would be healthy. Bill reports cruise speeds of 165kt (TAS) for a fuel burn of 36lph which is pretty impressive, so impressive in fact that I asked him to go back and check the numbers. The G3X Touch generates huge amounts of data, which can be downloaded for post-flight analysis (you just need an SD card), and


Above Simple clean cockpit integrates all of the information you could want, thanks mainly to twin Garmin G3X Touch displays Right Although ardent Van’s fans won’t agree, the RV-14 really is a bigger, more comfortable RV-7. Handling may not be quite so nimble but that’s all Below right Tip-up canopy could do with hinging forwards a little more, but visibility is fantastic Below left 46in wide cockpit, comfortable seats and five-point harnesses. Yes please Left Baggage bay is big enough for a couple of folding bikes, overnight bags and flying stuff

July 2021 | FLYER | 31


Turbine Maule Grumman Widgeon M-7-420AC

Above In the calm conditions of the day, the RV-14 proved to be a straightforward taildragger to land Left Comprehensive kit of parts even includes baffles that are cut to size, with precut rubber seals. Builders of older kits would love this sort of stuff! As Bill says, just follow the step by step instructions and you get great results Below left If you choose the 215hp IO-390-EXP119, along with its extra 5hp you also get a cowl flap where the exhaust tunnel is on 210hp IO-390 engines Below Integrated wingtip lighting plus leading edges that already have cutouts - all make for a simpler build. Wing section is from RV-10, and provides a stable ride in cruise

32 | FLYER | July 2021

Bill came back to me with the following. “Here’s the data from a 1.5 hour dash down to Cornwall and back. The data shows 162kt TAS at 3,200ft with a fuel burn between 10.3 and 8.6 usg depending on leaning, so between 39 and 32lph. I have yet to master the lean assist function, so was erring on the side of caution…” I remember the stalls in the factory RV-14A as being very benign. Reading through WS’s test reports the same is true of Bill’s aeroplane which stalls at 50kt with full flap, 60kt with take-off flap and 61kt clean. The report also mentions the stall warner activating a bit early, which explains the slightly unexpected activation when we took off. It was soon time to make my first landing on type, something I find more nerve-racking than my first take-off, so I’d made sure that we were close to a nice long strip that I know well to make things a bit easier. If you’re going to be cruising at high speeds and maybe with a bit of altitude, you’re going to need to think in advance about both slowing down and getting down, something that can be helped with some basic mental maths. Or, if you want to be precise, by using the VNAV function in the Garmin GTN to calculate your top of descent (you can even set the autopilot to fly it all for you). That’s not to say the RV is tricky but you need to think ahead. At circuit speeds everything remains solid, and I settled into a slightly longer final than usual to give myself some time. We’d chatted about speeds and I was maybe 2kt over our agreed 65kt as we crossed the threshold, and sure enough there was more float than ideal. We landed eventually in a nice threepoint attitude, and still only used about half of the runway. I suspect that a speed somewhere between 60 and 65kt would produce a shorter, more consistent result, and maybe even a little slower for any extra short strips. After chatting to some friends on the ground it


Van’s Aircraft RV-14

Build or buy - what cost? TECH SPECS

Van’s Aircraft RV-14 Almost perfect all-rounder… The answer with any aeroplane is usually ‘it depends’ but that’s even more the case when it comes to kit aircraft. The RV-14 QuickBuild kit comes in at just under $50,000. To that you’ll need to add crating, shipping, an engine (there’s a choice of Lycomings, the 200hp IO-360, the 210hp IO-390 or the 215hp IO-390XP), a prop, avionics, paint, tools etc. Van’s estimates that by making some very wise choices (and by being in the USA) you should be able to build a -14 for $90,000. Bill estimates that once tools and some third party help with things like avionics and paint have been included he has approached £180,000 invested in the aeroplane. I’d say it would be tough for anyone in the UK to get close to the Van’s estimate of $90,000, but that by making some different choices, you could spend significantly less than Bill. If building is not your thing, you can of course buy a used RV-14, although there aren’t many to choose from, and importing a pre-built example brings extra tasks and risks when getting it transferred onto an LAA Permit (golden rule – talk to the LAA first and get advice from people who know). The few I’ve seen advertised have been £200,000 upwards.

Computer-modelling helps builders towards a repeatable, high-quality result

Performance

Max speed (Vne) 200kt Cruise speed 171kt Stall speed (full flap) 51kt Take-off distance 156m Landing distance 164m Rate of climb (gross weight) 1,500fpm Range 714nm 75% @ 8,000ft

Weights & loading was time for what would turn out to be the hardest part of the day, starting a hot injected engine. I failed miserably, but Bill’s obviously a bit of a Lycoming whisperer and got things fired up easily. The second take-off, cruise and landing back at Wadswick passed too quickly and without incident, and we pushed the RV-14 back into the hangar prior to a bit of post-flight cleaning. I had to work hard to suppress a grin because this really is an exceptional aeroplane. It does lots of things very well – another Van’s model to underline their ‘Total Performance’ mission. I imagine anyone living with it for just three or four hours will be totally smitten by its charms. Of course there are a some small imperfections. The climb onto the wing and into the cockpit could be easier and the thin factory canopy latch could be nicer (an after-market item is available but will need an LAA mod), but that’s about it. The only other issue is that it comes as a kit rather than factory-built, a fact that is essential for some and a red line for others. That aside, well done to the entire Van’s team for designing such a fantastic aircraft, and turning it into such a remarkable kit, and of course well done to Bill who did such a good job of building it! 34 | FLYER | July 2021

Seats Two Max take-off 2,050lb (930kg) Empty 1225lb (555kg) Payload 825b (374kg) Baggage 100lb (45kg) Fuel capacity 50usg (189litres)

Dimensions

Wingspan 27ft (8.2m) Wing area 126 sq ft (11.7sqm) Length 21ft 1in (6.42m) Height 6ft (1.8m) Cabin width 46in (1.16m)

Spec

Airframe Aluminium Engine Lycoming IO-390 Max power 210hp Propeller Two-blade Hartzell blended aerofoil, aluminium, constant-speed Avionics Builders choice - as tested Garmin G3X Touch, GTN650, Garmin GTR225 radio, Mode-S transponder Undercarriage Fixed, tailwheel

Manufacturer Van’s Aircraft Inc 14401 Keil Road NE Aurora, OR 97002

www.vansaircraft.com

Kit price

Complete standard kit $36,215 Complete quickbuild kit $49,390 Add builders choice of engine, propeller, avionics, paint and trim

Above If you haven’t flown an RV yet, then find a way to do so. They are simple and light, perform well and handle brilliantly


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My First Solo

Shinji Maeda

An instructor who overslept, a very busy circuit and having vision in only one eye… Despite all that, Shinji Maeda still felt calm during his first solo. Interview by Yayeri van Baarsen

Solo stats: One-eyed pilot, founder of the Aero Zypangu project and CFI Shinji Maeda will fly his Beechcraft Bonanza around the world to inspire people to pursue their dreams. When: 16 July 2004 Where: Prescott Airport, Arizona (USA) Aircraft: Cessna 172S Hours at solo: 27.5 Hours now: Approx 1,500

How did you get into aviation? As a little boy, I got to fly in an airliner with my grandparents. Seeing the fields below me from the aeroplane’s window was just amazing. Also, every day I’d see Bonanzas from the local flying school flying over my father’s field. Those two experiences made me want to become a pilot and I enrolled in an aviation high school. However, in 1998 I was in a car accident and lost the sight in my right eye. In Japan, this disability disqualified me from becoming a pilot. After moving to the USA, however, reactions were different. People there said: ‘OK, you only have one eye, so what?’ and even: ‘Having one eye isn’t a good enough excuse to not become a pilot’. They were right. How did your flight training go? I started my lessons when I was 23 and studying at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. My instructor, Brian, was also a friend of mine and we always had a great time in the cockpit. I still remember my first landing like it was yesterday because it was perfect. It was so good, that Brian actually turned at me and asked if I could really only see from one eye! We thought I’d be having difficulties with depth perception, but that wasn’t the case.

Yoshi Fujii x 3

Solo stats

Did you expect your first solo? Yes, I was told the date beforehand. As Brian was on holiday that day, I was assigned another CFI, who didn’t show up. The clock was ticking, the circuit was getting busier and busier, and I was becoming a bit panicked. Eventually the instructor, who had overslept, turned up. Alone in the aircraft, I felt calm again. I sang a Japanese aviation-related song and did my three take-off and landings, enjoying the moment of going solo for the first time. Afterwards, ATC congratulated me on doing a good job despite the busy traffic. Does having sight in only one eye influence your flying? No, it doesn’t. I feel very comfortable in the air. The sky is wide open so there are no walls to hit. The only difficult thing is parking the aircraft, especially side-byside to other aircraft. I don’t want to hit anything, so I always ask my passenger or student to pay attention to the wingtip. On my earthrounder mission I’ll be flying solo, so I’ll have to ask the people at the airport. What’s the motivation behind your earthrounder mission? My father, who passed away three years ago, left me the will to make it happen. He said I had a responsibility to meet

“Aviation gave me a second chance in life. After the car accident, I was ‘dead’ ” 36 | FLYER | July 2021

people and tell them about my experiences. Aviation gave me a second chance in life. After the car accident, I was ‘dead’ – no hopes, no dreams, nothing. The accident destroyed everything for me in Japan, not just my eyesight. In the USA, however, people make their dreams happen. Aviation gave me so much and I want to pay that forward through the Aero Zypangu project. Along the way I’ll be giving motivational speeches, spreading the message that if you move step by step, even in these tough pandemic times, eventually you’ll get to where you want to be. What part of your journey are you most looking forward to? Flying over Japan. Because that’s where people told me I couldn’t do it. Well guess what, 23 years later I’m back – as a pilot. Apart from flying around the world, I’m working for Boeing, teaching and coaching. I’d like to encourage people, especially the Japanese, who may have issues, disabilities or other things holding them back, that there is a way to reach their goals. Unfortunately, flying to Japan means I can’t visit the UK, because of the Covid-19 quarantine rules. However, I’ll definitely visit some time in the future and meet up with the guys at Aerobility who do great things. What does flying mean to you? Being up there in the sky feels natural. It’s so much fun, yet it feels as normal as having a conversation, or breathing. Therefore, to me, flying means life. Follow Shinji’s trip at Aero Zypangu.


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Electric reality?

Flying with the drones Technical

As pilots that pushed back against recent Airspace Change Proposals for drone Temporary Danger areas in Scotland, Hamish Mitchell and fellow Prestwick Centre ATCO Derek Pake went in search of the drone operators to see if some co-operation might be in order…

L

et me state quite clearly from the start, I am not against the operations of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, or drones as they seem to be commonly referred to), and like most of us, I can see there is the potential for great benefits, if integrated properly and respectfully with existing airspace users. What I am against is a process that short-circuited the normal consultation, that failed to properly engage or consider GA, and had minimal critical oversight from the CAA. In my view these weaknesses in the ACP process have created a climate of suspicion and deep mistrust within the GA community, of both the drone operators and efficacy of CAA oversight. This serves no one well and all parties, including the CAA, should redouble efforts to build a more co-operative and trusting environment.

38 | FLYER | July 2021

Above Close encounters of the ADS-B kind…

Throughout 2020, with Covid-dominating the headlines, few flyers realised the magnitude of drone research and Airspace Change Proposals (ACPs) about to be unleashed across the UK. Given that GA was grounded for most of 2020, the flying community was very much ‘out-of-theloop’ regarding currency and procedures. That changed on 11 January 2021 when, a random email from an LAA member, highlighted proposed Temporary Danger Areas (TDA) which would close vast areas of Class G airspace around Mull and Oban in Spring 2021, severely impacting all GA flying on the Scottish west coast. Further research and publicity followed, greatly supported by FLYER and other GA representatives, when it became apparent (much to everyone’s surprise) that there had already been previous trials and TDAs around Oban during the first 2020 lockdown, with more,


Above Skyports mobile WhiteVan control centre Left Inside WhiteVan, the Drone Operator position with multiple tracking and control consoles

particularly Lochgilphead (ACP-2020-055) awaiting approval in the CAAs ACP Portal. While the absence of GA activity due to Covid presented a clear opportunity to trial TDAs and provide useful research, particularly in support of the NHS, it also created an unrealistic environment where drone operators were not exposed to the normal usage and users of these airspaces. This was compounded by truncated ‘consultation’ periods and hastiness to approve, as evidenced by differential response levels to ACPs before and after January 2021. Reaction to the Mull ACP-2020-099 was forthright – more than 90 responses, in contrast to the dozen or so in 2020, resulting in a pause on that ACP. Attempts to include extra stakeholders in the delayed Lochgilphead trial (ACP-2020-055) disappointingly fell on deaf ears, particularly when the trial was further extended into April. This reinforced a widespread suspicion of hidden agendas and collusion. But, we are where we are. Mistakes in oversight have clearly been made, and an acknowledgement from the CAA to this effect would have been welcome.

Building bridges

In the spirit of co-operation, an offer was made to work with Skyports on informally testing ADS-B functionality and detection, which revealed that drone ADS-B Out units had a software fault, making them invisible to FR24 and SkyEcho2. This was rectified in April and, as the Lochgilphead ACP was ending, my flying partner Derek Pake and I arranged a suitable day to conduct a comprehensive test, coupled with a visit to Skyports drone operations van, nicknamed WhiteVan located at Oban hospital. The WhiteVan setup had space for up to three Drone Operatives (DO), using the cloud-based Kongsberg Geospatial IRIS UxS tool for Situational Awareness (SA). This is an Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) platform, which can be deployed anywhere in the world, giving live drone locations, battery life, ADS-B traffic, speed, height, diversion and checklist information. The drone operated from the hospital helipad, but could be tactically landed at smaller destinations using a QR code landing pad coupled with an onboard camera sensor. The majority of

July 2021 | FLYER | 39


Fly your own Technical

Above Hamish suspiciously investigates the SwoopAero Kookaburra Mk3 on the launchpad at Oban Hospital Right The drone operators’s view of an encounter between drone KA333 and our RV-8 G-WEEV. The drone has commenced an avoidance orbit to the right Below right The RV-8’s view of the airspace shown on screen above – spot the drone at lower altitude and the RV-8 shadow…

40 | FLYER |  July 2021


the 12-week Lochgilphead trial (ACP-2020-055) was funded by European Space Agency (ESA) and Skyports, with no cost to the NHS. Command and control was provided via the Vodafone 4G Mobile network, with satellite back-up (Iridium Constellation) in case of signal loss. GPS was via Galileo and GLONASS, with two redundant GPS receivers onboard.

RV-8 vs Kookaburra trial

The drones used by Skyports were SwoopAero Kookaburra Mk3s, manufactured by 3D printing in Melbourne, Australia. Each drone is fitted with a uAvionix Ping1090i ADS-B transceiver (same manufacturer as the GA SkyEcho2). Four rotors are used for vertical flight (take-off, land and emergency) and two for forward flight, powered by independent battery systems. The Kookaburras weigh 17kg and have a maximum speed of 60kt. ADS-B reception is poor in the trial area so Skyports had installed several temporary ADS-B In sensors at either end of the TDA698 complex, although these did not feed into Flight Radar 24. Trial drones would fly northsouth routes at up to 360ft agl at 50kt within the TDA698 complex. The aircraft we used was G-WEEV, an RV-8, fitted with an ADS-B Out Trig TT21 Mode S transponder – with access to PowerFlarm, PilotAware, SkyEcho2, and an Android phone for back-up ‘WhatsApp’ communication with WhiteVan. This neatly (ironically) illustrates the confusing plethora of available protocols. We only needed ADS-B, so simplified the setup – SkyEcho2 coupled to SkyDemon on an iPad carried by the Weapons Systems Officer (‘Wizzo’) otherwise known as the onboard ATCO in the backseat.

Trial expectations

Skyports wanted to test how the drone and its ground-based SA platform performed under different approaches between the RV-8 and drone. Incidentally, we found out afterwards it was also being watched on IRIS from Melbourne (at 0200hrs) by bleary-eyed SwoopAero staff, and it would be interesting to get their feedback. We flew perpendicular, head-on, and overtake approaches (from a range of greater than 5km) to test whether: n The RV-8 pilot could detect the drone both visually and using ADS-B In feed. n The DO could initiate a correct deconfliction manoeuvre based on information from the ground control station and SA platform. n The drone’s Detect And Avoid (DAA) solution could act as a safety net and automatically deconflict with the RV-8 based on the drones ADS-B In, when the system predicts a breach of the well-clear (WC) safety zone surrounding the drone.

Trial results

n When the first drone’s (Registration KA348) ADS-B failed, the RV-8 pilot received a screenshot of its location from the DO. At a range of 1,500m the RV-8 crew visually acquired the drone.

n Both the drone and ground SA system detected the RV-8 up to 25nm away (best case line-of-sight), displaying the position in WhiteVan and alerted the DO when the RV-8 was 7nm away. n If the RV-8 was anticipated to breach the drone’s 3D safety bubble, the drone correctly initiated a deconfliction orbit (200m radius at 50kt), and the SA platform also detected and alerted the DO. n The drone’s telemetry feed accurately located the RV-8 giving time for the DO to issue a loiter command (right-hand orbit) if required. n The RV-8 located the second drone, KA333, through its ADS-B Out signal, receiving the signal for 360° around KA333 from various ranges, depending on terrain, starting at 5km. n On each occasion, the system alerted the DO with estimated time for the RV-8 to reach the drone’s safety bubble, giving him time to trigger a manual avoidance manoeuvre.

Pilot’s view

Weather on the day was excellent, a light northerly wind, clear blue sky, few clouds at 3,000ft overland, QNH 1018, a chilly +5C, with a smattering of snow on the peaks. We departed Prestwick, flew directly to the trial area and immediately commenced the first set of runs. Bearing in mind we were looking down on the drone against a calm dark blue sea, the weather on the day really helped – sunshine highlighted the white drone, with no whitecaps on the water, which would have made it very difficult to spot. Flat light on a cloudy day, or over snow, would have made it very difficult over land, especially if the drone was at the same level or above, against a grey sky. Without the ‘trigger’ of an ADS-B detector it would be near impossible to spot a conflict by visual means (as by definition a collision situation would be on a constant bearing – not moving across the windscreen). The SkyEcho2 /iPad combination worked well, detecting the drone when in line-of-sight, although, flying at 350ft agl, it was often shielded behind terrain to the south (at Crinan) and to the north (at Seil) – at these times we were loitering at 1,200ft attempting to regain visual contact. Too much tech can lead to heads-down attitudes in the cockpit, and you must avoid getting drawn into screen-gazing. A small, remote ‘alert display’ would help. Bluetooth (BT) warnings are advantageous, but most audio panels only pair with one source, suggesting a BT headset might be a better option. It was challenging, with a high workload, particularly to maintain altitude above the TDA in tight turns and visual with the drone on what felt like Combat Air Patrol! G-WEEV naturally wants to fly fast, so slower 90kt profiles were trickier. Clear unambiguous communication between crew, and a good pre-brief with WhiteVan meant the WhatsApp back-up was rarely needed. After completion, we triggered the drones anti-collision, did a welldeserved victory roll – and returned to Oban for celebratory sandwiches.

July 2021 | FLYER | 41


Fly your own Technical

Top Pre-flight briefing sheet displays the drone flight path and planned RV-8 encounter profiles Above left SkyDemon depiction of a head-to-head pass with the drone 500ft below Above right A catch-up confliction with the drone flying at 55kt and the RV-8 flying at 140kt, but 500ft above Right A 90­degree intercept pass with the RV-8 accelerating to 160kt and descending to cross the drone, 600ft below. The drone software has anticipated the conflict and instructed the drone to commence a right hand orbit, which is seen starting in this view

42 | FLYER |  July 2021


The backseater’s view

Derek chips in and takes up the story. “When liaising with Skyports, several factors put us in a good position to conduct the mission. Firstly, the aircraft, Van’s RV-8 G-WEEV (fondly known as WeeVans), is very manoeuvrable, with a wide speed range from 90kt to 160kt. This allowed us to conduct various ‘intruder’ profiles against the drone in quick succession, as we could reposition quickly in relation to the drone’s track. “Secondly, being a two-seat aircraft with large bubble canopy provided excellent visibility during close visual manoeuvres, for both pilot and Wizzo. A second ‘pilot’/observer was a positive safety measure to monitor aircraft height, speed, and position relative to TDA698 airspace, and assisted in establishing and maintaining visual contact with drone traffic. “Using the SkyDemon EC display, the observer was able to locate the drones ADS-B Out and pass the location and vectoring solutions to the pilot, aiding visual acquisition and setup of the flight profile required for each trial. “Prior to the flights, Skyports shared with us its desired location as well as the profiles it would like performed. We also discussed important safety information, such as WeeVans remaining above the TDA to ensure vertical separation at all times, and communication modes with the drone operations team. “Once en route and approaching the trial area, we were notified that drone KA348 was airborne from Oban towards Lochgilphead. Unfortunately, there was no ADS-B received from KA348 so we asked the operator to send us the location. Skyports uplinked their ADS-B picture via WhatsApp and this showed us it was flying down the western shore of a small Loch we could identify from the air. Turning onto a likely intercept track based on this information, we eventually obtained a visual sighting at about 1,500m distance, not easy when you consider it has a small 2.4m wingspan and flying at very low level among the varying colour contrasts of the Scottish landscape. We were able to keep it in sight for the majority of its journey southbound and carried out successful conflict profiles against it. “Shortly afterwards the operator advised that they would also be launching drone KA333 on the same route and we repositioned overhead Oban Hospital, soon picking up its ADS-B Out on the helicopter landing pad. Once airborne, we followed it southbound, ‘WEEVing’ around and carrying out overtaking passes, head on passes, and 90° beam passes, at a variety of closing speeds and vertical separation distances. “On several occasions we were able to trigger the drone’s collision avoidance algorithm and watch it orbit right, attempting to increase the predicted separation against us. Quite a high intensity of concentration in both the front and back seats of the aircraft, but also good fun and satisfying to get right against a very hard to see target.

Above The first mission profile flown against drones KA348 and KA333. ‘WEEV’ by name, weave by nature!

“After a short comfort break at Oban Airport, we launched again to catch KA333 on its return journey and again conducted successful profiles before returning to Oban to meet the drone operations team and discuss the flight.”

Looking ahead

It is accepted by the CAA, GA and the drone operators that TDAs are a very blunt instrument and not a viable long-term solution. They create a confusing patchwork of inflexible restrictions that do not satisfy the guiding principle of ‘integration not segregation’. Equally, temporary TMZs as a possible alternative to TDAs, while less restrictive, would still exclude non-EC equipped flyers. Research into drone Detect and Avoid systems (DAA) continues apace, with acoustic, radar-based and visual solutions all in the mix for evaluation.

July 2021 | FLYER | 43


Paul Kiddell

Fly your own Technical

Above Hamish, Derek and G-WEEV, in normal ops

As the ‘disruptor technology’ that seeks to benefit financially, the onus should now be on drone companies to accelerate and focus their research on perfecting DAA systems which do not require expenditure and compliance by everyone else. The confusion of standards (Flarm, P3 – not certified by CAA), Mode-S (poor low-level coverage), ADS-B (bandwidth and monopoly supplier issues), is not helping anyone to make informed judgements, and is costing much, possibly wasted, money in the process. Whatever EC solution is used, it is crucial that drones MUST prove and confirm functional ADS-B Out before any flight is permitted. Let’s hope the development towards onboard DAA systems on drones and the use of unsegregated airspace continues apace and allows us all to share the finite airspace within the UK.

The bigger picture

This has been a useful first step as a bridgebuilding exercise to co-operate and rebuild some trust and mutual respect with Skyports. Hopefully it is viewed as such, and not merely as a simple box-ticking PR exercise. We extend our gratitude to the team, Harry, Alastair, Nik and Jef for facilitating this and look forward to future co-operation. There are plenty of drone-related ACPs and more official ‘sandbox’ trials scheduled for the summer (see CAA ACP Portal), but this was a useful ‘road test’ of our EC equipment in a real-time environment, and also gave a better understanding of Skyports operations. We may think that we are stakeholders as current airspace users, but when you actually read the Drone White Papers and future analysis (follow the links below), it seems quite clear that the real stakeholders 44 | FLYER |  July 2021

are government officials, regulators, drone companies, corporate adopters and investors. GA does not get mentioned. We should therefore expect, and demand, that our regulator ensures fair play and equal consideration. Bear in mind that there is a huge amount of government grant money, and political imperative, to support drone operations as ‘the next big thing’, coupled with massive private investment capital – so ‘follow the money’ would be a useful watchword, and I would encourage everyone to read a little more and a little wider. With the grass-roots/voluntary nature of GA representation, it is a mountainous task for our representatives to keep abreast, and I propose that substantial increased government support and funding for more GA involvement would be a reasonable request. It is almost impossible to keep up with how many new drone companies, consortia and ventures are being created or proposed, all with associated TDA requests – to name but a few – Trax International Ltd, Nexus Nine Ltd, Electric Aviation Ltd, Skyfarer Ltd, UAVE Ltd, Windracers Ltd, Flylogix, Cranfield, Bristow SAR, Skylift UAV Ltd – everywhere from Orkney to Rugby, from Mull to the Isle of Wight. Taking Skyports as one small example – in addition to government and ESA funding, there is £8m backing from Irelandia Aviation (backers of Ryanair among others), Levitate, Deutsche Bahn Digital (German Railways) and Groupe ADP (LFPG and LFPO owners). Further reading n A summary, and comparison of Skyports with other drone funding, Drone Analysis White Paper, by Levitate Capital.


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Safety Accident Analysis

That sinking feeling…

H

aving enough power to get airborne safely should be a given. After all, we do everything possible to ensure the engine is in tip-top condition, ensuring that the fuel is not contaminated and is able to flow freely. We only load essential items onto the aircraft, noting their weights and we check the weather to make sure we are using a runway that’s long enough and pointing in the right direction for the wind. That should be enough shouldn’t it? A recent UK accident, and a look at what has been happening elsewhere, remind us that there is more to getting airborne safely than these factors alone, and as margins become eroded, a safe climb out may not be possible, even if you have full power available.

Accident 1

The pilot, a qualified flying instructor, left his home base at Sleap Airfield in Shropshire on the morning of the accident to pick up a passenger from Perranporth Airfield in Cornwall. He took a member of the flying club with him who was learning to fly, but who did not operate the aircraft. On arrival at Perranporth he landed on Runway 27 without incident. After a short time on the ground the pilot prepared for the return flight to Sleap Airfield. For the departure, the passenger boarded the flight at Perranporth and occupied the front right seat of the aircraft with the other passenger now sitting in the rear of the aircraft. Newquay Airport, 5nm to the north, was reporting a wind of 14kt from 300°, which the pilot considered

favoured a take-off from Runway 27. After start, he taxied for Runway 27 and made a power check, which did not reveal any problems. He then entered Runway 27, carrying out a rolling take-off with 10° of flap set. The pilot reported that the aircraft appeared to accelerate normally and became airborne at about 60kt, before it was halfway down the runway, but that it failed to climb. The stall warner then ‘squeaked’ and the aircraft settled back onto the runway briefly before becoming airborne again. He reported the aircraft then stalled, hitting the runway hard. There was then insufficient runway remaining in which to stop the aircraft, and it overran the end, causing extensive damage. Once the aircraft came to rest the three occupants, who were uninjured, were able to get out unaided using the cabin door. Perranporth Airfield is an unlicensed aerodrome located on the north Cornish coast at an elevation of 330ft amsl. It has two operational asphalt runways: Runway 05/23 (799m) and Runway 09/27 (741m). At the time of the flight, both runways were available for use. Due to the proximity of sea cliffs at the end of Runway 27 two popular VFR flight guides carried a warning that ‘aircraft using this runway should expect windshear and severe turbulence in strong winds’. Since the accident, one of these guides has been updated to advise that Runway 09/27 is not now generally available due to these wind effects. The guide also now provides more detailed information in the related warning

“The stall warner then ‘squeaked’ and the aircraft settled back onto the runway” 46 | FLYER | July 2021

advising of ‘rotor/curl-over’ affecting approximately the last quarter of Runway 27 during onshore winds over 10kt. It warns that this results in changes to head and tailwind components in excess of 10kt and more than 1,000 ft/min sink rates with severe turbulence, stall and loss of control. Both the airfield and the flying club based there had their own websites, although neither of these provided information on the wind effects possible on Runway 27. The airfield website stated that Runway 27 was only available by approval, either over the radio or when booking prior to flight, but suggested that this was due to other users of the runway rather than because of the possible wind effects. The flying club website provided users with links to two other published information providers: one included the warning about Runway 27, but the other provided only basic information, with no warnings included. Pilots phoning to book into the airfield were asked to provide some basic information about the aircraft, departure point and any fuel required on landing. Operational info regarding the airfield, including the warnings associated with Runway 27 was not routinely passed on as it was considered the person normally taking the call was not suitably qualified to do so. For the flight on the day of the accident the pilot used a flight planning app to carry out his preflight planning. The software provided basic aerodrome information but did not include any aerodrome warnings. The pilot reported he did not refer to a flight guide or other sources of information to get additional information prior to the flight. He was not aware of the warning related to Runway 27 and had not been advised of it when contacting the airfield to book his flight or when at the airfield itself. The pilot had planned to take sufficient fuel for the return flight with

Mark Mitchell

This month Steve Ayres looks into accidents where everything on board is normal up to the point where the altimeter stops showing a climb and the cows begin to get bigger…


an additional 45 minute reserve. He estimated each of the two flights would take 90 minutes and, as the aircraft used nine USG per hour, this gave a total fuel requirement of 33.75 USG. He stated he had refuelled the aircraft prior to departure from Sleap, dipping the tanks to check he had the correct quantity on board. He had then calculated his fuel onboard when at Perranporth for his departure as weighing 158lb, but had not re-dipped the tanks. The pilot reported he had asked the passengers their weights, which he used to calculate a take-off weight of 2,635lb, 15lb under the maximum take-off weight of 2,650lb. Other evidence suggests some of these weights may’ve been underestimated. The same weights were also used to calculate the aircraft’s Centre of Gravity (C of G), although the pilot used different lever arms to those quoted in the aircraft’s C of G schedule. Despite this the aircraft was, using the weights provided, within the permitted C of G range.

Accident 2

A Grumman AA-5A Cheetah aeroplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing after departing Cheyenne Regional Airport, Wyoming. The flight instructor stated that the take-off was normal. However, at the departure end of the runway, between 300-400ft above the ground, ‘the wind started blowing from all directions’, and he had difficulty maintaining control of the aircraft. The flight instructor had difficulty keeping altitude and elected to land on the road next to a school. The right wing hit a construction sign and was substantially damaged. A weather study was conducted by a meteorologist with the National Transportation Safety Board. The aerodrome forecast valid at the time of the accident forecast winds from 300° at 12kt gusting to 20kt. Cheyenne Regional Airport, two miles south south-east of the accident location reported wind 090° at nine knots, and clear skies. Weather service radar depicted a dry line boundary at the accident site, at the time of the accident. Wind speed and direction changed with altitude associated with this dry line boundary and would have had a corresponding increase in low-level turbulence and low-level wind shear.

“The pilot felt as if something was pushing the aeroplane downward” Accident 3

A flight instructor and a private pilot receiving instruction on a Piper PA28R-200 were departing for an instructional flight from Runway 17L at Centennial Airport, Colorado. The pilot receiving instruction reported that after lift-off, the engine rpm was high but that the aeroplane was not gaining altitude. The instructor reported that shortly after take-off, he felt as if something was pushing the aeroplane downward. He stated that the engine had full rpm and that the throttle and mixture controls were full forward. He recalled seeing that the

airspeed was about 65kt and hearing the stall warning horn. The pilot receiving instruction reported that the airspeed was at 55kt before he braced for impact. The aeroplane contacted the ground about one mile from the end of the runway. About two minutes before the aeroplane departed, a small jet aircraft had taken off from the same runway. In addition, the winds at the time of the accident were from 170° at 15kt, gusting to 23kt. After the accident, the private pilot reported that he was concerned about wake turbulence from the small jet, and the flight instructor reported that he thought that the aeroplane was affected by wind shear.

Ayres’ Analysis Having spent much of my flying career in aircraft with plenty of ‘Specific Excess Power’ (SEP), at take-off at least, I have given little thought to those occasions when that ‘excess’ might trend towards zero. I say ‘trend’ because we all know that being specific in these circumstances is really difficult as there are so many variables. Most of us have a reasonable stab at calculating the headwind and crosswind components but the effect on take-off roll due to runway surface (grass/hard, wet/ dry, ice/snow etc) and slope, particularly upslope, begin to stress the brain cells. That said we can at least see much of this as we go through sortie prep – read the documents, call the tower and look out of the window. Ultimately, we have our instincts to consider as we line up. Is it time to think twice and taxi back? But turbulence, rotor streaming and wind shear are pretty much invisible and are insidious. Its effect can be scary and escaping its clutches is often impossible. At home airfields, we have local knowledge to fall back on and know where the squirrly wind areas are and when and how to avoid them on the day, but what to do when landing away, at an unfamiliar location? Not so straightforward. Although we would hope that someone or something would point out the potential folly of our ways. The first accident noted warnings existed that winds could be hazardous when blowing from a certain direction. However, those warnings were not consistent across all information sources and not reinforced in air traffic communications. This was not helpful. But to pick up on my earlier comment about having plenty of SEP. Being honest about take-off mass is one sure way of maintaining that safety margin. Don’t cheat the weight limits and perhaps even consider carrying less fuel with a hop to refuel somewhere less risky on the way back. Have a sense, also, of how far down the runway you are prepared to travel before unstick (or abort). This may be slightly further than normal anyway as most of us will add a few knots to the ‘rotate’ speed to ensure a clean breakaway and hence avoid ending up on the wrong side of the drag curve should there be a shear layer close to the surface. Perhaps time to reflect, too, on those visitors to our ‘home plate’. If we know there can be some squirrly areas on approach or on take-off when the wind comes from a particular direction, it may be time to check that info is flagged to visitors in a clear, consistent manner along with the quality of the overruns, especially where they are unsympathetic! July 2021 | FLYER | 47


Safety Accident Reports Getting crossed up Steve Ayres summarises and comments on accident reports from around the world and looks at a dry suit for those over-water adventures…

Left-hand from right…?

Belt failure

Ikarus C42 FB100 Bravo

Aviad Zigolo MG12

G-OSPH

G-CIUF

Chilbolton Airfield, Stockbridge,

Near West Heath Common Quarry,

Hampshire

West Sussex

Injuries: None

Injuries: None

The pilot normally flew this aircraft from the left seat. However, as he was flying with an experienced passenger, who had also been his instructor, he ‘elected to fly’ as the aircraft commander from the right seat. This meant his hands were transposed on the control column and throttle lever from their usual position. During the landing, at approximately 5ft to 10ft agl, the pilot felt the aircraft descending more rapidly than he had intended. To correct the rate of descent, he instinctively pushed the control column forward rather than the throttle, which resulted in a hard landing during which the landing gear collapsed. The Ikarus C42 primary flight control consists of a control column mounted on a centre console between the pilot seats. There are two throttle levers pivoted on the cockpit floor directly in front of the seats between the pilot’s legs. Comment Having spent much of my flying switching seats and swapping hands on controls I was initially surprised by the severity of the outcome from a relatively benign situation. That is, until I saw a photo of the C42 cockpit layout! It shows a central control stick and control column for a throttle between the legs of each crew member. Surely something to confuse the best of us in the heat of the moment…

The pilot took off from a farm airstrip near Rogate, West Sussex, for a local flight and reported that the initial climb performance and engine rpm were normal. On reaching 900ft agl the engine speed fluctuated, and the pilot heard a flapping sound as the propeller drive belt started to fail. The pilot reduced the throttle setting and the drive belt snapped. He then closed the throttle and the engine stopped abruptly. The pilot set up an approach to a grass field but as he descended the glide deteriorated and the aircraft undershot into a very narrow field, coming to rest against a willow bush. The pilot stated that drive belts of improved quality were now available from the aircraft kit importer. Comment The life of the original drive belt was only 100 hours, which suggests there wasn’t much of a safety margin built in. Let’s hope the new design of the belt is more robust and lasts more than the 44 hours of the failed one. Small satisfaction for the pilot though as he also ended up with a seized engine, probably resulting from an overspeed as the belt snapped.

Ultimate turn Vans RV-8A N800KE Langley, Washington Injuries: One fatal, one serious

The pilot and passenger departed Snohomish County Airport, Paine

Field, Everett, Washington, on a flight to Langley, Washington. A witness reported that the aeroplane was turning from the base to final leg of the airport traffic pattern when its nose dropped and it rolled to the left. The aeroplane subsequently entered a steep dive and spun into the trees. The passenger reported that, during the turn from base to final, the aeroplane’s left wing was down, and it ‘fluttered’ like it stalled. It then descended like a ‘lawn dart’. The aeroplane was equipped with a Garmin VIRB onboard camera, which was mounted just aft of the front seat behind the pilot’s right shoulder and captured the accident flight. Review of the footage revealed that the pilot initiated a left turn from the downwind to base leg of the airport traffic pattern at an altitude of 540ft msl and a ground speed about 77kt. About six seconds later, the sound of the engine’s power sharply decreased, and the pilot’s hand movement was consistent with a power reduction. The aeroplane’s elevator control surfaces were consistent with the pilot commanding positive pitch to the aeroplane. Comment We shall never know exactly what turned this aeroplane into a ‘lawn dart’. The front seat pilot in command had more than 1,000 hours flight time and the back seater, some 200 hours, and yet the actions of the pilot seem irrational. The wind was calm and visibility greater than 10km. The downwind to base leg turn was, however, flown at 270ft above airfield datum; not a good place to be if you get distracted or mishandle the aircraft.

Hand strike Air Creation Tanarg

“His aeroplane had started to move, and he chased after it…” 48 | FLYER | July 2021

N837TB Buckeye, Arizona Injuries: One serious

The accident pilot had been performing touch-and-go landings with several trike pilots when he decided to land and talk to another trike pilot on the ground. After landing and setting the parking


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Safety Accident Reports brake, he exited his Rotax-powered trike with the engine still running, to go and talk to the other pilot. When he returned to his trike, it had started to move, and he ran after it. As he neared the trike, he attempted to reach around to the right rear strut with his left hand, to stop it. However, the pilot did not see the rear mounted propeller, and his left-hand fingers were struck by the propeller and he was seriously injured. Comment Sadly, accidents such as this are not without precedent and are no respecter of age or experience. If your aircraft can move it probably will. And if it does, stay out of the way and warn others. It is going to end badly, so why add yourself to the list of casualties. From the outset, stop it and chock it!!

Sacré bleu! Cessna 177-RG F-HTTC Roanne Airport, France Injuries: None

The pilot took off from paved Runway 20 at Roanne aerodrome for a local training flight. After completing two touch-and-go circuits, he set up for a glide circuit with idle power. Downwind, he performed the checks from memory and declared his intention to carry out a touch-and-go. On final he performed his pretouchdown checks which included ‘gear locked down with greens’. Subsequently, the aircraft touched down with the gear retracted and skidded to a rest on the runway. At the time of the accident the pilot had logged approximately 175 hours of flight time, including about 50 on the accident aircraft. The two preceding flights were on the accident aircraft although the pilot says he originally booked a fixed-gear aircraft before changing his reservation just before the accident flight after seeing F-HTTC was available. He explained that during the approach his attention was focused on the trajectory, speed and aim point. He also said that he was not familiar with glide circuits on runway 20 and that the right-hand approach to Runway 20 does not provide a natural visual on the left wing on which the pitot probe is fitted with a mirror reflecting the nose wheel. He considers that these factors, together with an ‘insidious’ fatigue linked to his personal situation, may have caused him to forget to extend the landing gear. Comment Having presumably operated the undercarriage normally 50 | FLYER | July 2021

“The drone clipped a post then descended into the audience, hitting several people” for the two preceding circuits it only took the added pressure of focusing on making good his glide ‘landing’ to distract him from the only other thing he had to remember in order to stay safe. We all know ‘task fixation’ is an almost unavoidable human condition and occurs when aspects of the task are unfamiliar and demand concentration. Going through the ‘what ifs’ in the peace of your home before setting off would have helped – avoiding the impromptu, last minute ‘good ideas’. Swapping a fixed undercarriage aircraft for one with retracting gear would, for me, fall into that category!

Drone strike DJI Inspire 2 N/A Barcarès, France Injuries: Three minor

In order to take aerial shots of a music festival organised at Barcarès over several days, the event organiser called on a drone video production company, Fly Art Prod. The shooting was carried

out by two people – a video cameraman and a remote pilot operating the drone. The objective was to take pictures of the audience (a few thousand people) in front of the stage. The drone performed movements between the left side and above the stage. On the fourth round trip and as it returned to the remote pilot, the drone quickly lost altitude and collided with a post to the left of the stage. It then gradually descended towards the front of the audience. It ended up hitting several people and creating a crowd movement. A festival-goer threw the drone to the ground, thus managing to immobilise it. Comment Although there is plenty of regulation in place to ensure this sort of accident does not happen it relies on observance of that regulation. As it was, the drone operators altered their plans without approval, ignored no-fly and high risk areas and ultimately wiped any digital data from their devices making proper fault analysis impossible. Causing panic and injury was the outcome. Not a great advert for professionalism in the industry.

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FLYING ADVENTURE

From Dawn to Dusk…

Fiona Macaskill and her husband Angus challenged themselves to set a Guinness World Record to land at as many airfields as they could in a 12-hour day, on a Pooleys Dawn to Dusk challenge…

A

s a child, my favourite Christmas present was always a copy of the latest Guinness World Records annual. I spent hours poring over endless pages, reading about people who had done extraordinary things and who had got themselves into the record books. I dreamed that one day I would be in that magical book. So, who would have ever thought that a tea towel would inspire our Guinness World Record attempt? While taking our grandchildren out for a morning snack at a WWII-themed café called Poppylands on the east coast of Norfolk a couple of years ago, Angus, my husband, and I spotted a tea towel showing all the airfields that British and American air forces had built during the 1940s. As we both enjoy flying light aircraft we started to investigate how many of these airfields are still operational. As it turned out, many of them are still being used and still more had been established by local aviators. We thought that attempting a Guinness World Record, landing at as many airfields as possible in 12 hours, would be a fun thing to do. It also provided the perfect opportunity to enter the Pooleys Dawn to Dusk competition. We also felt that the challenge was interesting enough to turn it into a fundraiser for the Air Ambulance, so we set up a JustGiving page. Now, we had a triple focus … and our work was about to begin.

were marked on an air map). Our Bolkow Monsun can’t land on an airfield shorter than 400m so the length constraint was not a limitation to us. East Anglia was used by the RAF and the American airforce in WWII and many of its bases are now shortened but are still being used for aviation. In addition, a large number of farm strips have now been established. The terrain was mostly flat and sometimes airfields were only two or three nautical miles apart. SkyDemon became my key tool to work out the most efficient route around a mass of airfields, many of which I never knew existed. I then started to phone around to ask them if I could include ‘their’ airfield in my world record attempt. The pill was sweetened by saying that the attempt was also raising money for the Air Ambulance Service. I telephoned more than 100 airfields, emphasising the fund raising aspect of the attempt. When contacting the airfields to explain what we were trying to do and request permission to land, every single one that was open for use agreed to waive the landing fees to support the fund raiser. The normal landing fees would have come to around £500 so we set our fundraising target to that amount. Any more than that, and it would be a bonus. As it turned out people gave very generously, and we eventually quadrupled our original target and raised more than £2,000 plus gift aid for the Air Ambulance. I re-adjusted and re-drew the route more than 18 times and wrote several thousand emails to airfields, media outlets, LAA clubs and a growing band of volunteers.

The route

Planning the timing and landings

I started by looking at air maps to find where there was a high density of airfields. (Guinness only allows airfields longer than 300m and ones that

Opposite Angus and Fiona with previous World Records proudly framed on the wall

In June 2020, as the Covid-19 lockdown eased, we decided to fly a three-hour trial run. We started at Oaksey Park, which was just west of the planned July 2021 | FLYER | 53


Flying Adventure

Above Adding PilotAware audio to the headsets Right Start witness David Conolly ready with the horn Below One of many satellite prep views. Runway HD Below right Fiona tightening the spats the day before

54 | FLYER | July 2021


route and covered 17 airfields. We were not sure of the actual time needed per airfield or what our speed between airfields would be. We had estimated that 4½ minutes per airfield would be sufficient time, but after the trial we changed this to five minutes per airfield where this included a backtrack after a full-stop landing, and this wherever the runway length was less than 900m. On analysing the track log, we confirmed we could fly at around 100kt between airfields but we also found a two second full-stop did not always show up on SkyDemon, and that the two flights were treated as one. From this we decided that a five second stop was necessary. Accordingly, we adjusted all our timings and re-worked all the figures again, reducing our re-fuelling time down to 12 minutes in the hope of an absolute maximum of 87 airfields in 12 hours with 50 airfields as the minimum to gain the world record.

Planning the recording equipment

Angus spent many hours testing cameras and tracking systems. We recruited 28 people to ‘witness’ our flight from the comfort of their own homes by watching our live flight path using Livetrack24 on their PCs. We needed at least two people watching throughout the day as well as a couple of witnesses at the start and finish. We had asked our initial ground witnesses to watch our practice on LiveTrack 24 and by doing so many of the things that could have gone wrong for the witnesses did. We set up a WhatsApp group and this was used during the record day to coordinate changeovers as seamlessly as possible and help those who had any issues. As a result, our witnesses were well prepared on the day of the attempt itself. After several more test flights, which involved re-positioning and testing all the equipment, our recording equipment included: 1 SkyDemon on an iPad (Fiona’s preferred software) 2 Runway HD on an iPhone 7+ (Angus’ preferred software) 3 Go Pro camera 4 Dragon 4K video camera in the cockpit 5 iPhone 7 used for video of the ‘fullstop’ at each airfield 6 Livetrack24 which was ‘fed’ by the FlySkyHigh App on an iPhone 6 7 A backup LiveTrack 24 ‘fed’ from an Huawei Android tablet 8 PilotAware internal tracking log 9 PilotAware ground station logging, fed from a 2nd PilotAware 10 Fiona’s iPhone 6 (taking photos at every airfield).

Planning the date

We decided to make the attempt as close to the longest day as possible. The route was to start and

finish at Sywell, and The Aviator hotel was taking guests from Saturday, 4 July. So, having decided that a mid-week attempt would be best (gliders and airfields would be busy at weekends but often shut on a Mondays), we provisionally booked to stay on the 6-8 July with the 13-16 set as a back-up date. Most of June had a high pressure system over the UK resulting in great flying weather so we may have been lulled into a slight sense of feeling that most days would be very flyable. At the start of July the pressure dropped, but it soon started to rise again and the forecast looked good, so we confirmed our booking at Sywell and gave all 87 airfields an ETA, requesting them, if they were able, to photograph our landing and return the witness statement I had sent them as future evidence for Guinness. We checked the forecast before flying to Sywell on 6 July, the day before the attempt, and although a trough was developing over Scotland, things were looking good. The decision was to ‘go for it’, let the airfields and our 28 ground witnesses know and set ourselves up at Sywell with David Conolly, our ‘on the ground’ official observer, for our attempt the next day.

Above Preparing the five flight information packs

The flight – all 71 of them…

We woke at 0530 on 7 July and checked the weather forecast one more time. It showed that an occluded front had developed overnight and was moving towards the north-east later in the evening but, on balance, we decided we were ‘good to go’. David joined us on the airfield at 0645 to sound a loud horn to announce the start (a rather bizarre requirement by Guinness), as well as to time and to photograph our start. We also asked the security July 2021 | FLYER | 55


Flying Adventure

Above Departing Sywell Right and far right Approach to New Farm, proving that it’s worth confirming which bit of green is the airstrip. We made a second attempt, shown on the other camera Below Late-to-thestart bowser Below right It was a bit wet in Fenland

56 | FLYER | July 2021


guard, Alexandra Bobosco, to join us as Guinness required two people to witness the start (and finish) of the attempt. I had prepared coffee in flasks, sandwiches, water, and snacks to keep us going all day. A video camera was fixed on the wing and another inside the aircraft. All the GPS systems were set on ‘go’. The sky was blue, there was a light south-westerly – and we were ready. “Sywell Traffic, lining up 23”, and we were off at 0715 precisely. Angus navigated and radioed each airfield as we approached, while I flew the aircraft. The first couple of hours were spent landing at the airfields we had visited in June. On that day it was an easterly so the ‘view’ was totally different to the one on 7 July – more confusing than we had imagined. We didn’t find New Farm on the first approach. The strip is tucked behind tall trees and difficult to see when approaching from the east. It required a go-around to check we were landing in the correct place, so this added a few precious minutes to our route. Quite a number of the airfields were nicely into wind and we succeeded in several full-stop landings and immediate take-offs without having to backtrack on most of the airfields longer than 800m, rather than just ones over 900m as planned. (We had confirmed that we could stop in under 300m on level runways.) Duxford was airfield number 22 and we landed for fuel at 0947, 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled time, which made us very happy as we wanted to keep ahead of our planned timing so as to allow for some unforeseen hiccups – this airfield turned out to be the first of several delays around the route. We had allowed for a 12-minute stop for each re-fuelling, but Duxford took 28 minutes… We had requested, in advance, that the fuel bowser would be on stand-by at the parking area so we could re-fuel and get away quickly. As it turned out, the bowser’s engine would not start so we ‘lost’ 16 minutes of precious time. Added to that, the toilet that I was in need of, was a six minute walk away from the parking area! Angus now took the role of P1 as we had decided to alternate this after every fuel stop. As we continued on our route, we tried to have a sandwich, and coffee from a flask, but the time between taking off and final approach to the next airfield was usually so short, sometimes just two minutes, that a drink and bite to eat proved almost impossible. We were totally focused on the task, every landing and take-off had to be spot on of course, so we had very little time to eat or drink, but we did manage occasional sips of water and a few biscuits which kept us hydrated and alert. Our second fuel stop was at Old Buckenham in Norfolk. We were eight minutes behind our planned

arrival, landing at 1333, it had started to drizzle and we had problems with the payment card reader due to the rain. The stop eventually lasted 19 minutes so we were now 15 minutes late. Cloud base was dropping, and although horizontal visibility remained good, there were occasional showers. I took over from Angus as P1 and we flew west. After landing at Cambridge, we received a call from Norwich saying that the visibility was deteriorating, cloudbase had dropped to 800ft and they did not advise us to land there. We therefore decided, in the air, to cut out seven of the east coast airfields where the weather was worse and fly directly north from Shipdham to Great Massingham. Fenland was our third and final fuel stop. We arrived in the pouring rain at 1649. Outside in the wet, two wonderful volunteers were waiting for us, and we quickly refuelled. We took a couple of minutes to reconsider our route. Angus then took on the role of P1. We had already landed at 64 airfields which, being more than 50, meant that our world record was ‘in the bag’(!) We decided to miss out the last 10 airfields and head back to Northampton, landing at a few airfields on the way but not attempting to fly north into more rain. The weather did improve slightly as we headed west again but we could see more poor weather coming from the north. On the way back we landed at our penultimate airfield before Sywell. That would have made 72 in total… but touched down rather late, so we did a go-around and in view of the cloudbase being pretty low decided not to re-try and proceeded directly to Sywell. We arrived at Sywell to improved visibility, stopping at 1815, airfield number 71. We had

Below Sticking to the plan meant plenty of concentration…

July 2021 | FLYER | 57


Flying Adventure

beaten our target of 50 airfields and had decided, by then, to call it a day as VFR f light to the north would have been very difficult and not within our safety boundaries.

Submitting the evidence to Guinness

On returning home, Angus and I spent the next week collecting witness statements and photos, thanking more than 100 ground and airfield witnesses for their support and help. We assembled all the photos, video footage, GPS track logs and witness statements. We uploaded more than 500 files onto the Guinness record attempt application pages and sent it off. Two months after the attempt the record was ratified and we became World Record holders!

On reflection Above An approach in rain Left Reading the Guiness World Record End Declaration to the video camera… Below Adventure complete, back at our own hangar

58 | FLYER | July 2021

This was a very well worthwhile project: n The Air Ambulance has benefitted from people’s generosity and gained more than £2,400. n It has been great fun getting a World Record. We are as Guinness stress: OFFICIALLY AMAZING. n We have thoroughly enjoyed planning the route, talking to so many airfield owners and visiting so many wonderful airfields. n Preparing to land and take-off from each airfield required a great deal of preparation. We printed and studied the Pooleys plate and approach using Google Earth for each airfield. We noted airfield height, runway direction and length, frequency and ‘special notes’ for each of these. n Finding some of the airfields proved far more challenging than we have anticipated. Many of the strips in the Fens ran in the same direction as the very narrow fields and we had to abort one approach 50ft above the surface when we lined up on a very narrow crop field parallel to the runway! Quite a few of the airfields did not have a hangar or even a windsock. n As we f lew low level most of the time, finding some strips which were tucked behind trees proved challenging and we had to orbit several airfields before we could find them. n Using SkyDemon to line up for each runway one to two miles out proved to be the most effective way of making the correct approach. I adjusted the route after every take-off to create a clear line down which to f ly. As the day progressed I got more adept at this. n Arranging all the airfield witnesses was very challenging: Guinness wanted two witnesses to take a photo of us doing a full stop landing at every airfield (quite an ask when we could not give them a precise ETA and some were before 0800 and some after 1700!). During the preparation and


Flying Adventure

after some emails with Guinness, they did relax on this requirement, but we tried to meet their expectations as much as we could. Around 80% of the airfields took a photo of our landing and filled in the witness statement for which we were very grateful. n Recruiting and co-ordinating ‘on the ground’ witnesses to monitor our f lights throughout the day was fun but very time consuming. We set this up a couple of weeks before the challenge and organising it was a big task to undertake just before the actual attempt. Setting up a WhatsApp group proved really useful as people communicated to each other throughout the day – more than 500 messages were sent. n Although landing at airfields only three miles apart was most efficient, we appreciated the occasional 10 miles gap when we were able to have a sip of f luid and a biscuit. n Planning the most time-efficient route, remaining in Class G airspace (except for a few airfields with Class D where we planned to land) was incredibly complicated.

Above Our reliable Bolkow, JD next morning Right The day ‘after we did it’…

Route Map

1

1 Sywell

July 2021 | FLYER | 59


Top Gear

The latest aviation kit, impartially tested and evaluated

ForeFlight Sentry HHHHH

Manufacturer Flywithsentry.com/flyer

Buy it for €578 from skyfox.com in Germany or $499 from Sporty’s USA

01

T

he merging world of Electronic Conspicuity is fast evolving its own laws, one of which states that all new pieces of equipment should offer something valuable without allowing the user to meet every single need. In this respect the Sentry from ForeFlight delivers. Sentry is a dual band ADS-B receiver that also packs a WAAS GPS, a carbon monoxide detector, a back-up attitude source (AHRS) and a 12-hour battery in a small box that you can easily fit to your windscreen with the supplied mount. What it doesn’t do is work with anything either than ForeFlight, pick up and decode FLARM or PilotAware, and most importantly for some, it isn’t a CAP1391 device for emitting ADS-B signals. If you are not thinking that it is pointless because of that, you’d be wrong (more on why later), but to find out just how it performs we took it flying from Wiltshire to Blackpool. The first thing that strikes you about

60 | FLYER | July 2021

02

the Sentry is just how much it looks like a SkyEcho 2. To be clear it isn’t a SkyEcho 2 but it is made for ForeFlight

by uAvionix, the people behind the SkyEcho, which is why the packaging and form factor are very similar. Like


03

05

SkyEcho, Sentry charges its internal battery visa a USB-C lead, and like SkyEcho, Sentry attaches to your windscreen (other windows are available) via the enclosed RAM mount. Sentry communicates with your iPad or iPhone (it only works with ForeFlight, and ForeFlight only works with Apple) via Wi-Fi (up to five devices at a time). So when you launch ForeFlight you’re automatically presented with a ‘SETUP SENTRY’ screen that guides you through the simple process, inviting you to tell it where you have to position the unit, and then allowing you to zero the pitch and bank angle for the AHRS calibration (this can be done repeatedly and in flight too). Once that’s done Sentry just goes about its business in the background, displaying ADS-B traffic, providing a WAAS GPS position source, monitoring for carbon monoxide, and waiting in the background should you need to use it as a back-up AI (which is done in either split or full screen within ForeFlight (which,

04

06

depending on your subscription level, will also provide synthetic vision). The Department for Transport Electronic Conspicuity rebate scheme is currently running, helping buyers of qualifying kit to save up to £250 off the cost of a qualifying unit, but it us unclear at the time of writing if Sentry its included in the list of acceptable units. We’ve asked the CAA but not heard back, so if you’re considering buying one it would be worth contacting them. The implementation of Sentry and the way it has been integrated with ForeFlight is very slick. If you are a ForeFlight user looking for an ADS-B In source along with its added features then you should buy one, but in the UK you should only so that if you are already emitting ADS-B by whichever means. Essentially I’m saying, sort your ADS-B out in whatever way works best for you, and then if you are a ForeFlight user, sorting your ADS-B In needs with Sentry is a great option. Ian Seager

07

08 01 Just like some other EC devices, Sentry is installed using a RAM suction mount, in a clear spot in the cockpit 02 Users are invited to set up Sentry when ForeFlight detects the unit 03 The process involves telling ForeFlight where you will be putting the unit and calibrating the AHRS 04 There are a few screen configuration options, although landscape splitscreen works well on a standard sized iPad 05 There is also a portrait format split screen 06 AHRS combines with synthetic vision 07 Full screen synthetic vision also possible, although perhaps not ideal for VFR as airspace awareness and traffic information are lacking 08 Inflight calibration is also possible July 2021 | FLYER | 61


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

AOPA Devil is in the detail… The DfT recently published its GA Road Map which sets out the Govt’s plans for the development of General Aviation in the UK. I think we can support the vision statement as it is straightforward and there are a number of things that we can all agree on. However, a lot of the focus will be towards the long-term, such as reducing emissions. The GA unit has a work programme that is focusing on what opportunities exist for GA on leaving the EU and EASA. I think as before, the CAA will be looking for some quick wins –

probably be at the recreational end of flying. The focus on policy and regulation is a good starting point and its risk-based proportional regulations should ensure that the different activities in GA are not over regulated, however this may lead to more complexity. The CAA will need to have good safety data on which to base future rules and therefore it may need to improve the MOR process. The Road Map commits to improving the network of aerodromes as well as enhancements in airspace design and efficiency. Innovation and skills are also

highlighted alongside decarbonisation. This will eventually lead to a change in GA over time, which will lead to some difficult decisions being made. Some will welcome ‘some’ of the changes – others will not. It is also important that the internal CAA processes reflect the Government’s stated aims if it is to deliver. The devil is always in the detail. Martin Robinson

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

BMAA PMD confusions It’s great to see our microlight pilot members are back in the air after the easing of Covid restrictions, and to date very few seem to have fallen foul of the ‘skill fade’ related incidents. We would like to think that the efforts that we put in to alert pilots to the dangerous potential was received and understood, which has in some way helped keep them safe. However not all is well. The CAA has introduced a new database system for handling pilots’ medical records. Since its introduction at the start of April it has proved virtually impossible for our

members to obtain or renew a Pilot Medical Declaration (PMD) and so even after the lockdown was lifted in March some of our members remain grounded. There seems to be two main problems. To use the new system one has to register and this is taking up to 10 working days to achieve. Although told that the CAA sent an advance notice to pilots three months in advance, it turns out it didn’t include any pilot holding a PMD, so instead of preparing in advance it helped cause the logjam that at least one of our members was told was his fault for not registering ahead of time, despite the obvious issue of not being told.

The second problem is the recording of the document which gives an end date as the start date or previous expiry date, so it has a validity of at best ONE day. We are told the CAA is ‘working hard’ to solve the IT problems. Shame it didn’t thoroughly test the system first, alert all that would be affected, and find an interim measure to allow our members to get back in the air… Geoff Weighell British Microlight Aircraft Association www.bmaa.org

Light Aircraft Association Looking back, moving forward Next month, in addition to their regular reading, LAA members will receive a free copy of a special LAA yearbook to kick off 75th Anniversary celebrations. Since 1946, when the Ultra Light Aircraft Association was inaugurated, it’s amazing how the same challenges have come up time after time – airspace enclosures, well-meaning but sometimes over-zealous legislators, airfield closures and economic upheavals. Even the Covid lockdown, or at least its effect on recreational flying, had its precedent. Twenty years ago this year we had to abandon plans for the Popular Flying

Association’s annual Rally, that time due to restrictions on flying posed by an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. Last year, the LAA Rally was a casualty of the pandemic. This year our plans for the 2021 Rally at Sywell, from 3-5 September, include a redesign of the exhibitor area to allow social distancing to be maintained, with more open-sided marquees to ensure appropriate ventilation, while other attractions such as our ‘Speakers Corner’ and evening entertainment are also being developed to offer Covid-safe environments. The Rally will also celebrate the 75th Anniversary with special exhibits and some rarely seen aircraft, of all generations.

From the beginning our aims were ‘affordable aviation’ and most importantly, ‘flying for fun’. Today our priorities remain the same, enhanced by new technologies. The new generation of factory-built, 450-600kg light sport aircraft will offer sport flyers even more choice, and the LAA is also the perfect environment for innovators to drive forward with alternative technologies that will see a new generation of sport flyers taking to the air. Exciting times indeed! 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 62 | FLYER | July 2021


A G-ORRGeous photo from Rachel Ramsey!

Let’s all get – Out & About... There’s no better way to discover new parts of our own country this summer than by light aircraft…

S

pring has been quite a drawn-out affair this year, what with lockdown stages easing and a never-ending chill wind that has barely left us. General Aviation is now almost back into full swing, there are still a few airfields that are yet to fully open and cafés that are waiting for the next lockdown date to pass. The skies are looking and sounding busier and more importantly, you’re all getting the time you need to get current and confident again. I’ve booked tickets to my first airshow this year (at Shuttleworth), so it feels like the world is once again getting back to normal… My summer flying list is littered with strips, airfields and nearby places that I want to visit. Fancy a day out in the Cotswolds? Why not fly to Charlton Park (above) rather than fight for a parking space in Bourton-on-the-Water! I’m going to visit my grandparents for the first time in 18 months and, after a bit of Google

Earthing, have found a farm strip a few miles away. I’d rather that than the M6… If you are out and about, don’t forget to make the most of our FREE landing vouchers – we’ve got some great airfields included this month, including Perth for the second month in a row! We want the FLYER Club to help you improve your flying, while having fun in the process. So Club members are now getting more access to experts and their knowledge, be it how to avoid icing or how to set up to record cockpit audio. We’ve got lots more in the pipeline, too!

jonny.salmon@seager.aero

July 2021 | FLYER | 63


The FLYER Club

Out & About So we’re back to flying! You’ve all been quick to send us photos of the fun you’ve been having with some of the recent good weather! Thank you… and keep them coming!

Alex Lee A busy time flying from Stapleford Flight Centre

Lou O’Malley Fettling time in the hangar…

Ben Davis Pioneer 300 Hawk G-OWBA 64 | FLYER | July 2021

Andy Archer The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank


Nick Emmerson flying along the Seven Sisters, on the South Coast in a Sting Carbon S4

Rachel Ramsey flying over the Isle of Wight Needles

David Edes Freedom Aviation at Easter Airfield

Welsh coastline from Paul Thomas on the way to Caernarfon

Daisy Bing Taking a trip in the Cotswold Aero Club Robin Alpha

Andrew Lewis Over the Solent July 2021 | FLYER | 65


Free Landings In association with

If you’re a member of The FLYER Club, click here for your personalised vouchers and save over £48 by claiming one FREE landing at each of these airfields valid for July 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!

Beverley

01964 544994  | EGNY | www.hullaeroclub.co.uk Beverley Airfield hosts Hull Aero Club which is a thriving mix of enthusiasts who fly light aircraft, helicopters, microlights, paramotors and model aircraft. The airfield is situated in quiet Yorkshire countryside, where you can relax, meet friends and enjoy the fun of flying. Qualified pilots, aviation enthusiasts and those who just pass by are all welcome. Avgas 100LL and mogas available during operating hours. Overnight parking available.

Nearby attractions Beverley town, minster and racecourse, Hornsea, Scarborough, Bridlington, Withernsea and the Humber Bridge. PPR 01964 544994 Radio 123.050

Breighton

1757 289065 | ww.realaero.com Breighton Airfield, formerly RAF Breighton, has a rich history and officially opened in 1942. Today it welcomes visitors by air – classic or vintage aircraft in particular. The aerodrome is 5.5nm north-east of Selby and has a single, 805m grass runway, 11/29. Avgas and Jet A1 are available self-service at any time. The cafe has been refurbished and serves hot and cold food. Noise Abatement: please avoid villages of Bubwith, Wressle and Breighton.

Nearby attractions include the village of Breighton, a number of golf clubs and the city of York. PPR 01757 289065 Radio 129.800

M

Radio Accepts non-radio light aircraft, but PPR

66 | FLYER | July 2021

PPR Prior permission is required

Refreshments Including restaurants and cafes etc

Microlights are welcome

A

UL

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

While you’re there When you visit these 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!

Eggesford

0116 259 2360 | EGBG | www.eggesfordairfield.co.uk Eggesford is located in Devon and owed and operated by Mr Nigel Skinner. The strip is 630m and operates sunrise to sunset, with circuits being flown to the left on Runway 29 and to the right on Runway 11. Fuel can be pre-arranged when calling for PPR. The owners have cottages available to rent, visit the website or call to find out more information.

Nearby Attractions The airfield offers good access to the Devon countryside, being equidistant between Dartmoor and Exmoor. Fly fishing between March and September is available on the River Taw, 1 mile away. PPR: 01363 83746/07703397210 Radio: 123.5

Kenyon Hall Airfield

0751 46363154 | www.lancsaeroclub.co.uk Kenyon Hall Airfield Previously Kenyon Hall Farm, the airfield is an unlicensed single grass runway, 23/05, near Wigan. It is manned most weekends, with a warm welcome extended at all times to visitors from any airfield. Lancashire Aero Club members are able to access the Club Cabin using the key entry code. PPR is essential on 01925 560522. Landing is free but a donation to the North West Air Ambulance is appreciated.

Nearby attractions include an excellent cafe and farm shop a half-mile walk away, offering good friendly company when manned. PPR 01925 560522 Radio 120.255

Perth

01738 551631 | EGPT | www.perthairport.co.uk Perth Airport, with its 853m tarmac runway, is centrally located in the heart of Scotland. It’s home to the Scottish Aero Club, which is Scotland’s original and largest, and the clubhouse facilities are open to all visitors. There’s a friendly and informal atmosphere and it’s recommended that you visit the Touchdown Café where you’ll love the food and drinks. Visit the ACS Aviation shop for a full range of discounted pilot supplies.

Nearby attractions include the Gleneagles Hotel, Scone Palace, Perth Racecourse and the King James VI Golf Club. PPR 01738 551631 Radio 121.080

Skegness

07957 595835 | www.skegnessairfield.co.uk Skegness Airfield is situated two miles north of Skegness and just a 10 minute walk from the beach and Butlins. With two grass runways, 11/29 and 03/21, this friendly airfield welcomes singles, twins, microlights, gyrocopters and helicopters. The Clubhouse is open at weekends April to October. At all other times, the radio may not be manned, so if you are flying in, please look at the windsock, make your traffic calls and land on the appropriate runway.

Nearby attractions Nearby attractions include water park, fishing lakes and beach. PPR: 07909 843314 or 07714 899600 Radio: 132.430

Win! A print or digital Pooleys UK Flight Guide QUESTION: What is the distance between Eggesford and Perth in nautical miles? To enter, post your answer, name, address and email details to Pooleys July Competition, FLYER magazine, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or send an email to competitions@seager.aero The closing date is 7 July 2021.

The winner’s name and address will be passed to Pooleys, then deleted from Seager’s database. Pooleys will send the winner their prize and, in order to do so, also offer to supply them with further information about the company’s products and services.

1 Beverley 2 Breighton 3 Eggesford 4 Kenyon Hall 5 Perth 6 Skegness

5

4

2 1 6

3

The winner for April 2021 is: Ian Brierley, Sawbridge, Herts.

July 2021 | FLYER | 67


What’s new with YOUR Club… Join the Club today and access all our great benefits – helping you to improve your flying… If you watched the Thursday livestream on 6 May you will have noticed us announce the first FLYER Club Fly-in, which we will hold at Sleap (not Sleep!) in the coming weeks. We’re working on the details and will aim to give you plenty of notice. Needless to say, we’re excited at the prospect of getting out and about and meeting fellow pilots again! Plus, if you didn’t catch the FLYER Club exclusive broadcast during FLYER Live on 16 April, then login to the Club and check it out. It includes an interview with former Red Arrow and now ‘Blade 3’ Mike Ling (pictured below).

Want to join us? If you’re not a member of The FLYER Club and you’re thinking, ‘How do I join? Right now. This instant…!’ Well, good news, it’s easy. Just follow this link, complete the simple form, decide how you want to pay and start enjoying the benefits instantly.

Current member benefits Catch up on the FLYER Club exclusive Day 5 by logging into your account. We also found out how to get into warbird flying with Sam Worthington-Leese and showed a never-before seen video about the The Spitfire Club at Enstone.

Who is the FLYER Club for? Whether you are an aviation enthusiast, a pilot or thinking about becoming one, joining the Club will bring you many benefits – plus you become a part of UK’s biggest GA community! 68 | FLYER | July 2021

■ Extensive FLYER back issue library ■ 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 ■ Video briefings for your free landing vouchers. Get all the key information before you go. ■ Mini weather webinar. Catch-up if you missed it. ■ Exclusive written content from our archives – first pieces now published. ■ Interviews with experts on a number of key topics. ■ Our first members’ Fly-in will be at Sleap. We’ll be announcing details, plus more events, in 2021!

Coming soon

■ Back issues – there’s another FIVE years on the way with more to follow


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July 2021 | FLYER | 69


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July 2021 | FLYER | 71


QSY

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

Who knows the story of ‘barn find’ Bede BD-5? An astonishing ‘barn find’ has surfaced on ebay: a Bede BD-5 kitplane, the propellerpowered version of the Bede mini-jet as flown in the James Bond film, Octopussy. The aircraft is up for auction in ‘as found’ condition after being found in the garage of an elderly gentleman in Beckenham, Kent, according to the seller. A quick search on G-INFO reveals Malcolm Donald McQueen registered a Bede BD-5G, the piston-powered version of the BD-5, in 1981 as G-BJPI. It doesn’t appear to have been completed or flown. The eBay ad says there are spare parts with the aircraft and complete build instructions. “It will need some work to get back to pristine condition but what a project!” says the ad. “The whole plane will fit into a Luton van.

Above Good project? The Bede BD-5 ‘barn find’ Inset Jet powered BD-5 in Octopussy

Collection only from Beckenham, South London.” Looking at the parts, the engine looks to be a 793cc Hirth Model 230R ‘Honker’ air cooled two-stroke, producing 70hp and normally used in snowmobiles of the

period. In the Bede, the Hirth was known to suffer some cooling issues. Does anyone know more about Malcolm McQueen and his Bede BD-5G kitplane project? eBay link

Heroes & Villains HEROINE OR VILLAIN? Opinion is divided over whether 78-yearold Martha Lunken, a US pilot and columnist for a US aviation magazine, should be stripped of her licence after flying her Cessna 180 under the 239ft high Jeremiah Morrow Bridge in Ohio. The FAA revoked all her licences (she was an instructor and ATPL holder) not because of the stunt but because her aircraft’s ADS-B transponder mysteriously turned itself

off during the flight. She told Avweb, “I knew it was illegal and I did it anyway. I’m 78 and I’m still not very mature and I hope I never am.” HEROES A pregnant woman who went into premature labour on a flight to Hawaii was lucky not only to have a doctor on board but also three neonatal intensive care nurses. Lavinia Mounga was 29 weeks pregnant but gave birth to a healthy son, Raymond, thanks to the four who set up an emergency maternity room.

VILLAIN Whoever stole fuel from a Manchester Barton-based Fairchild Argus II and damaged the fuel sender. Unfortunately, airfield CCTV did not catch the offender. HERO How hard is it to fly a helicopter on Mars when nothing is in real time? Håvard Grip is the man who knows and here he is signing his pilot’s logbook with the first flight of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter in April.

SkyDemon’s award

SkyDemon has won a second Queen’s Award for Enterprise – this time for International Trade. SkyDemon has increased its exports by 58% over the past three years. The Somerset based company has been constantly developing SkyDemon since it was launched in 2009 by Tim Dawson, who had just obtained his PPL. It is now the market leader in its industry in Europe. “It’s been a real privilege to use my software development skills to create a service that enhances safety for tens of thousands of European pilots every day,” said Tim. “I’m part of a small and dedicated team who are delighted to have won another Queen’s Award. We love proving that even the smallest businesses can have the biggest impact.”

POD’s helmet

Rolls-Royce and flying charity fly2help held a competition during April to design the helmet that test pilot Phill O’Dell will wear when he makes an attempt on the world speed record for an electric aircraft. Rolls-Royce is developing an all-electric aircraft that will be aiming for the record books with a target speed of 300+mph. The competition was open to young people with two categories: one for ages 5 to 11 and one for ages 12 to 18. The winners will have their design jointly inspire the final design applied to the helmet.

Send your QSY submissions to QSY, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or to qsy@seager.aero 72 | FLYER | July 2021


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