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t took a while for my diary and the weather to match up, but I finally got the Permit test flight done on the RV-3, after the engine mount repair. I’m always prone to be a little cautious, especially as due to lockdown and the aforementioned engine mount repair, I hadn’t flown it since early December. Worksheets, bagging and tagging of parts and methodical work should get everything back with no bits left over, but after reading one report in this month’s Accident Reports (page 52) where an AirCam wing failed because the wing strut bolts, in this case, were in place, but weren’t actually through the strut fork ends, was a salutary tale of how the ‘obvious stuff’ can go overlooked. The test flight itself went fine, I didn’t get too behind the aeroplane, and both pilot and aircraft got back and could give each other a clean bill of health… While I’d heard that LAA Engineering were being quick with Permit turnaround times, it was impressive to receive an email from Adèle with the new Permit attached – and wishing me enjoyable flying for the bank holiday weekend – by Friday mid-afternoon… having only put my request in the post a mere 22 hours earlier. Since getting the RV-3 back in the air I’ve been sorting out some previously outstanding cockpit ergonomics. Nothing major, I was short of a firm fixture for my iPhone/SkyDemon combo, and more critically a good spot to mount the uAvionix SkyEcho, for which I’d struggled to find a location in the small -3 cockpit. I eventually found a good location behind and to one side of my head, and a bit of bracket fabrication that used a couple of existing airframe screws soon had it firmly mounted. It even passed the ‘can I reach it if I forget to turn it on after I’ve strapped in?’ test… Checking the transmission patterns using the excellent PilotAware Vector webtool showed that it is indeed a pretty good spot – if you haven’t used Vector, I’d strongly recommend you give it a try. Before I sign off, I’d like to give Compton Abbas Airfield a mention. A good friend of mine was taken ill after landing there recently, and I’m told the airfield staff were utterly brilliant at a difficult time - Great work.
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Summer 2021 | FLYER | 3
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Contents Summer 2021
Features 18 I Get Paid for This… Ben Shipps
Flying on floats: CFI and DPE Ben Shipps teaches seaplane ratings in Florida…
26 Special Feature Buy and Fly in 2021 We take a look at some of the new single-
engine piston-engined aircraft you can buy and fly in the UK, starting from just £28k!
42 My First Solo Travis Ludlow
Travis had his first glider solo on his 14th birthday and soloed in a powered aircraft aged 16. Now, at 18, is on a RTW trip…
44 Entertainment Aviation YouTubers
There’s plenty of GA content to watch on the internet… the FLYER Livesstream team pick 20 of their favourites
50 Accident Analysis Right time to pull?
Steve Ayres looks at the use of Ballistic Recovery Systems and the decision making involved in making the pull…
56 Flying Adventure Saved by the Bell…
Cancer survivor and conqueror of Everest, Jules Mountain, sets off on a transatlantic challenge in a Bell 505 helicopter…
Buy and fly new! 26
62 Top Gear Aviation Dry Sparkle Pooleys aircraft cleaner and super art work
Regulars 3 Editorial 6 News 14 Instant Expert 16 Pilot Careers 21 Matt Dearden
23 25 52 64 76
Mark Hales Ian Seager Accident Reports By Association QSY
SIX Free Landings!
70 FLYER Club Members Save £58 n Causeway n Fife n Fishburn
n Newtownards n Stoke Golding n Strathaven PLUS Win a print or digital Pooleys UK Flight Guide July 2016 | FLYER | 5
Aviation news from around the world – for the latest visit www.flyer.co.uk
Row erupts over CAA’s proposed changes to airworthiness regs
Main Airworthiness of Permit aircraft is managed by the LAA Inset While the BMAA does the same thing for Permit microlights
6 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Proposed changes to British Civil Airworthiness Requirements (BCAR) affecting Permit aircraft should be shelved, according to the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) and British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA). A public row broke out between the CAA, LAA and BMAA when the CAA launched a consultation on the proposed changes in April. The consultation ended on 27 May but can still be found on the CAA website. The LAA and BMAA manage the airworthiness of Permit aircraft in the UK. Both organisations accused the CAA of failing to consult them before launching the proposed changes. “In the past all major changes to regulations have been achieved through a collaborative process
that has almost always produced a result that is supported and respected by those who have to implement those regulations,” said the LAA’s CEO Steve Slater. The BMAA said, “We should make it clear here that there has been no pre-consultation discussion between us and the CAA on this matter and no safety case has been made for such a change.” The row centres on the way the CAA delegates airworthiness oversight privileges to approved organisations such as the LAA and BMAA, under what’s known as BCAR A8-26. The LAA says it received its BCAR A8-26 approval in 2016 and has safely and successfully re-validated Permits to Fly more than 13,000 times since that date. “We do not believe that the CAA has produced a valid safety
case to justify their proposed changes,” said the LAA. The BMAA believes the proposed changes would be ‘devastating’ to microlight flying in the UK. “It is difficult for us to see how our current system of largely volunteer inspectors could continue if these requirements are enforced,” continued the BMAA. “If this is to be imposed upon the BMAA many of our inspectors would not qualify for appointment and such a loss would be devastating for our membership.” After the LAA and BMAA went public with their concerns, the CAA issued a statement rejecting the claims and, date by date, listed meetings over the past two years where discussions took place. More on this ongoing story here
Travis Ludlow clears Russia on roundthe-world record bid When FLYER went to press, British pilot Travis Ludlow had reached the far side of Russia in his bid to set a new record as the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world. Teenager Travis, 18, who is fresh from completing his A-levels, set off from Wycombe Air Park (Booker) at 0930 on 27 May. His first waypoint was flying over his school where pupils and teachers were having a ‘post A-level exams’ breakfast. On the first leg, he flew to The Netherlands to land at Teuge Airport, home of Hangar-One Technics & Avionics to say thank you for preparing and updating his aircraft, a 2001 Cessna 172R, and get a quick technical update to the avionics. After that it was a more-or-less straight flight east to Russia, where he was helped in his crossing by MAKS Aviation which prepared clearances, fuel stops and more. In
other parts of the world flight, Travis will be aided by GASE, the Egypt-based General Aviation routing company. Travis has been flying since he was 12. He became the UK’s youngest glider pilot at 14 and the youngest certified PPL pilot
at 17. On the morning of his 17th birthday he picked up his licence from the CAA, and flew to the US the next day to do his (IR) Instrument Rating. To beat the current world record, Travis has to return home by 25 July 2021. You can read about his first solo on page 42, and track the flight via his website here.
Main Thumbs up Travis! Teenage pilot is on course to set a new world record Inset Not quite across Russia but most of the way, just as FLYER went to press
Biggin Hill’s Oriens Aviation is new British agent for Tecnam There’s a new distributor for Tecnam aircraft for the whole of the British Isles: Oriens Aviation based at London Biggin Hill Airport. Oriens Aviation will be responsible for the whole Tecnam range of aircraft, offering a range of services including aircraft sales, scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, warranty work, aircraft management, AOC advisory, pilot training, operations and handling for its customers. Oriens Aviation holds the EASA Part 145 approval, alongside its national UK CAA 145 and FAA Service Station approvals. Tecnam’s range goes from the latest generation of the Tecnam P92 600kg microlight to the best-selling P2002 and the P2006T Twin.
The four-seater single-engine P2010 is available with a choice of three power units including a Continental diesel. All are equipped with Garmin avionics. A first P2012 Traveller in an airline configuration, a singleengine four-seater P2010 TDI, and a two-seater P2008JC will be heading to London in the coming weeks as demonstrator aircraft for the British territories. “Oriens Aviation is delighted to be appointed the exclusive Tecnam distributor for the British Isles‚” said Edwin Brenninkmeyer, the CEO. “We are at the dawn of a new era of aviation with the need to seek alternative, greener and more sustainable forms of flight, where evolution will be driven
from the light end of the market.” Oriens Aviation is known already as the UK distributor for Pilatus Aircraft and as a provider of business and personal aviation services. More here.
Below Tecnam’s P2008JC is a popular aircraft with flying clubs and schools
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 7
A year-long trial of a VHF Low-Level Common frequency has been launched by the RAF with the support of the CAA. ‘VHF LL Common’ started 1 June 2021 on VHF frequency 130.490. The aim is to reduce the risk of mid-air collision between aircraft operating at or below 2,000ft agl. It is available for use by all aircrew, military and civilian, operating in the UK Low Flying System. “With an increasing trend of Airprox between military and civilian users in the Low Flying System, the CAA is supporting a military-led trial of a VHF Low-Level (LL) Common frequency to be used across the UK so members of the GA community can be better integrated with other users of low level airspace and to help build situational awareness for all users,” said a CAA statement. “In 2015, a similar trial was carried out in Scotland, which proved to be very successful.” CAA advice is that pilots should use VHF LL Common when not in receipt of a Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS) or other Air Traffic Service. Pilots should make Blind Calls on the Low Level Common Frequency. To prevent clutter on the air the frequency must not be used as a chat frequency and transmissions should be accurate, clear and concise.
RAF launches Low-Level Common frequency trial to reduce collision risk
Some example transmissions: “G-ABCD, Cessna 152, 8 miles North East of Inverness, 1200 feet, heading south towards Aviemore” “G-HELO, R22 Helicopter, 5 miles SE Kendal, 1000 feet, heading East, towards Ripon” The CAA is asking for feedback on the trial on this email address: More details
Above Blimey! That would give you a fright if it flew underneath you at low level
CAA calls time on UK-resident FAA PPL holders
8 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Right UK residents with an FAA PPL need to change by December. Read Ian Seager’s response on page 25
Nick Trentham on Unsplash
Time is up for holders of FAA Private Pilot Licences (PPLs) living permanently in the UK. The CAA has confirmed that any UK resident with a US PPL has until 21 December this year to convert to a UK Part-FCL licence. The move has been on the cards for a while but looked as though it had been kicked into the long grass following the UK’s decision to leave EASA. However, an exemption to allow FAA licences was due to expire on 20 June but this has now been extended for six months – not parked indefinitely. The CAA reminds pilots making use of the extended exemption must make a declaration using form SRG2140. At the same time, they must also submit an application for verification of their FAA Airman Certificate using form SRG2142. The Authority also says that pilots flying in the UK with an FAA certificate are reminded that
flights must be within the UK and in day Visual Flight Rules (VFR), with no remuneration, instruction or examination allowed. More here
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Take-off Builder flies first completed Bearhawk Companion kit The first owner-built Bearhawk Companion, a side-by-side two-seat aircraft, has made its first flight. The Companion from Bearhawk Aircraft of Texas, USA, is a marriage of the wings from the tandem-seat Bearhawk Patrol and fuselage from the four-seat Bearhawk Model 5. Its design cruise speed is 126kt, reported as being met, and it has a payload target of 1,070lb. The first flight was performed by the aircraft’s builder, Dave Lenart of Bethel, Vermont, who completed the build from a manufactured kit. An experienced builder and mechanic, Dave has built two other Bearhawk aircraft including four-seat and LSA models. Working closely with Bob Barrows, creator of the Bearhawk line-up, Dave chose a 180hp Lycoming O-360 engine built by Bob as the power unit, with a Catto two-blade composite propeller. The build was completed in 10 months and an estimated 1,000 hours. Dave’s Companion came in at 1,130lb empty weight and 2,200lb gross. According to Dave, “The shorter nose of the Companion makes taxi visibility very good. With full
Above Bearhawk Companion with two seats side-by-side
fuel of 50 gallons, the aircraft has proven very stable.” He noted that a clean stall is at 42kt indicated, and 38kt with full flaps. The aircraft was engineered by Bob with STOL characteristics in mind. Bearhawk Aircraft
Flight Design unveils turbocharged CTLS GT rocketship German manufacturer Flight Design has boosted the performance of its popular CTLS with an option for the turbocharged Rotax 914T engine. A top speed of 140kt and climb rate of more than 2,000fpm are claimed for the 914T equipped CTLS GT Turbo. Daniel Guenther, managing director of Flight Design, said, “We are very excited to finish development of this new variant of the CTLS GT. “The design team did a beautiful job integrating the Rotax 914 with the turbocharger and intercooler into the new longer cowling of the CTLS GT 2020. From the large NACA inlet and the custom welded aluminium piping, the engine compartment is just a thing of beauty.” The CTLS GT Turbo includes new features developed for last year’s GT 2020 model including the longer cowling with improved cooling and cabin heating, new spinner and the new low drag wheel pants. 10 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Main Flight Design’s latest CTLS, the GT Turbo Inset Rotax 914T makes for a packed engine bay
The GT Turbo, like the GT 2020, has Garmin avionics including dual G3X screens. Test pilot Nico Stambula added, “I am very impressed with the performance of the CTLS GT with the Rotax 914 Turbo. “The CTLS GT Turbo climbs like a rocket and very easily reaches 140kt at altitude. The engine cools well and it is a very smooth flying package.” Flight Design
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Take-off uAvionix round EFIS leads product trio The uAvionix AV-30-C has received an STC from the CAA meaning ‘several hundred’ UK aircraft can now be equipped, including the majority of GA models from Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft, American Champion, Maule, Mooney, Daher, Textron, and others. The full model list is here The AV-30-C fits within a standard 3 ¹/₈in round hole and, when installed as a primary instrument, can be configured as either an Attitude Indicator (AI) or a Directional Gyro (DG) indicator. When installed as a non-required instrument (i.e., not replacing the existing approved AI or DG), the functional mode of the AV-30-C can be toggled between AI and DG, serving as a back-up instrument. Multiple display presentations, including compass rose, GPS HSI, and GPS Arc views can be selected by the pilot. The AV-30-C also includes a probeless Angle of Attack system. There is an app for smartphones called SafeSky, which displays traffic and broadcasts your own aircraft’s position using in-flight mobile internet. SafeSky has been in operation in Belgium and France since the end of March and has now been rolled out for the rest of Europe. “SafeSky is simple in use and user-friendly: it relies on the in-flight mobile internet network,” said the company. “Intensive testing on all types of aircraft has shown a very high coverage efficiency (average above 90%) in all kinds of environments, lowlands and mountains, as well as an extremely low data consumption.” The app has the backing of EASA. Dominique Roland, Head of Policy and GA Champion at EASA, said, “EASA is promoting the use of iConspicuity
Above uAvionix AV-30-C as the primary AI Above right SafeSky uses mobile phone tech to spot traffic Right Land-DAR measures and reads out height above the ground
devices, and welcomes the proposal of SafeSky. We hope that this kind of initiative will contribute to raise the awareness of General Aviation airspace users concerning the risk of mid-air collision.” SafeSky can be downloaded for free from the App Store or on Google Play. Change your landings from being an art, based on visual cues, into more of a science using Land-DAR. It provides an accurate read-out of height above the runway using a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor. It can make callouts from up to 500ft down to 5ft above the ground. Total system weight is 14 ounces and there is minimum wiring between the sensor, interface module and audio panel. Installation is completed using a free Bluetooth app with either Apple or Android phones.
Air League launches 100-plus aviation scholarships for 2021 More than 100 different scholarships and bursaries are now available from The Air League for young people across the UK. Applications must be submitted by 14 June 2021... so get a move on. The scholarships include: ■ A 12-hour Flying Scholarship provides powered flight training towards the award of a Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). Applicants must be aged between 18 -35. ■ Flying Bursaries provide 3-5 hours of advanced flight training in single-engine piston aeroplanes to assist licensed pilots to gain additional flying qualifications or renew a rating. There are no age limits. ■ Gliding Scholarships are open to pre- and post-solo pilots aged 16-35, and are intended to help younger pilots either achieve their first solo or widen 12 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Below Applications for The Air League’s scholarships must be in by 14 June, so don’t hang around
their gliding experience. This year, awards are available covering basic solo courses, aerobatic, cross-country and SLMG conversion training. ■ Engineering Scholarships provide industry placements for one or two weeks for young people considering careers across the full spectrum of available options within engineering. Engineering scholarships are open to members aged 18-26. Details here
Threat and Error Management As a relatively recent addition to the PPL world, Ed Bellamy provides some insight
ust as regulations come and sometimes go, we also see an evolution in the technical language used in aviation to describe ways of doing or thinking about things. Something heard more in the GA context than previously is ‘threat and error management’ (TEM). Although TEM entered the PPL syllabus some years ago, it may not be familiar to those who learned to fly prior to its introduction. As we start flying more often, I think TEM is worth some thought. Forgive me in advance, in the space available I will stick largely to the theory and leave it somewhat to the readers’ imagination about how it should be practically applied, although I might try and pick this up next month. The phrase ‘TEM’ first emerged in the 1990s as part of the increasing emphasis on human factors in airline safety. Essentially the idea is that on every flight there will likely be threats to its safe completion, such as weather or airspace hazards, and there is also the possibility that we will make errors that could impact safety. TEM is about thinking of those potential threats and errors and considering how to mitigate them. Some ideas from the airline world translate better than others, but I think TEM is applicable to GA because it recognises that we cannot rely purely on a skill and rulesbased system for safe outcomes. Now, you may be wondering whether it is necessary to have such a term when most pilots probably already know that judgement, experience and what we often call ‘airmanship’ also come into it. But how do pilots get to the point of consistently exercising good judgement and airmanship?
Experience is obviously important, but it was recognised long ago that better human factors training is essential for improving safety and in particular the reduction in accidents caused by poor judgement or assessment of risk. To impart that training more effectively it is useful to have concepts, TEM being one of them. I would not characterise TEM as a ‘new’ way of thinking about safety in our flying, but a more precise way of describing it, which in theory should make it easier to teach. I have heard TEM likened to ‘defensive driving’. Most pilots when they go flying comply with the rules-based requirements, such as whether their rating is valid and then think about relevant issues such as weather or airspace hazards. Probably a sort of threat assessment is already being done. By specifically thinking of factors, such as a complex aerodrome join or time pressure to depart before the aerodrome closes, as threats, encourages us to think more specifically about how they impact our flight and how to best mitigate or avoid them. 14 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Going through the flight from start to finish is helpful and as you develop a mental model of it you will likely think of more issues to consider. Managing threats is mostly about anticipation and planning. There are so many potential threats and errors in GA flying that it is not practical to teach the correct response to every conceivable one, which is why it is more about encouraging pilots to think about relevant threats and errors when they go flying, rather than trying to tell them what they should or should not do. The ‘error’ part of TEM is about recognising that errors will occur and that if we have strategies for mitigating them, that will eliminate a lot of the associated risk. The full breakdown of different types of error within TEM theory is quite extensive and beyond the space available, but a few thoughts stand out for me: Humans often make errors because our application of knowledge and procedure is not robotic – it is simply how we are built and now and again errors such as forgetting to set the QNH or raising the landing gear on the runway when we meant to raise the flaps will happen.
With training and practice we can become more consistent, but we need aids such as checklists and systematic approaches to executing tasks. This goes a long way to reducing errors and I would encourage pilots to think of how they could better deploy those aids to reduce basic procedural errors. Accidents or incidents often occur when unanticipated threats germinate on a flight and increase operational complexity such that the pilot makes errors. Doing the wrong action or forgetting something can be random, but typically they are brought on by external factors that might force us out of an intended sequence of doing things or distract us from something we would otherwise have reliably done. Such things might be an unexpected ATC instruction or the weather conditions suddenly diverging from the forecast. Often several threats become factors at once. Our propensity to make errors in circumstances of unanticipated pressure and complexity increases. Knowledge and proficiency will increase our resilience, but everyone has a limit after which we become saturated or fixated and errors start. For example, we might stop monitoring the flight path or information inputs such as warnings of high ground or airspace might no longer register in the brain. But such situations could often be avoided if the threats (and resultant errors) had been anticipated before the flight and we had decided how to manage or avoid them. It is hardly revolutionary thinking, but I quite like how TEM can bring the two together.
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In Brief A pilot shortage is forecast by one of the most respected management consultants, Geoff Murray of the US firm Oliver Wyman. Murray said, “The most important question is not whether a pilot shortage will re-emerge, but when it will occur and how large the gap will be between supply and demand. Based on a modest recovery scenario, we believe a global pilot shortage will emerge in certain regions no later than 2023 and most probably before.” Full report here
Leading Edge Aviation (LEAL) at London Oxford Airport has added another DA42 flight simulator, manufactured and installed by Diamond, for use in multi-engine training. Dave Alexander, CEO of LEAL, said, “The simulator compliments our growing fleet of Diamond aircraft, ensuring continuity of training for our students as they begin training on the single-engine DA40 before moving to the multi-engine DA42 aircraft and simulator.” Diamond’s flight simulators are exact replicas of the aircraft, built with authentic aircraft parts and real avionics. L3Harris has started to offer training for the Private Pilot’s Licence. The course includes a Night Rating and costs £13,000. Training is either at Cranfield, UK or Ponte de Sor, Portugal. More here Skyborne Airline Academy has signed the Armed Forces Covenant – a promise from the nation that those who serve, or have served, in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. It was signed by Carrie Sheehan, Skyborne’s sales manager, a Royal Air Force veteran. Skyborne is an Approved Learning Provider for serving military personnel and service leavers. More here
16 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Leonardo to host virtual AeroWomen21 event on 23 June
Aerospace giant Leonardo is hosting a virtual event called AeroWomen21 to ‘celebrate, educate and unite Women in Aerospace, whether they are working in industry or aspiring to join those who already are’. AeroWomen21 will take place online on 23 June 2021 with female attendees from aerospace companies and organisations, universities, female-centred charities and local female students aged 16 and 17 (Yr12). “AeroWomen21 will provide a networking opportunity between those women who have established careers in Aerospace, as well as create a platform for the future generation to meet potential employers,” said Leonardo. The event aims to: ■ Showcase and celebrate the history of Women in Aerospace ■ Invite women in industry to share their career paths, highlighting the plethora of different ways that a woman can be successful in this sector ■ Deliver a set of pragmatic and engaging workshops to promote the skills needed to have a purposeful and successful career in aerospace
■ Educate all attendees ■ Increase diversity in the candidates who apply for apprenticeships, graduate schemes and STEM courses for stakeholders ■ Create an association of Women in Aerospace that exists beyond the event, in the form of an invitation-only LinkedIn group that will offer solidarity and networking for all involved The agenda for the day will consist of: ■ Special guest speakers from women in aerospace who will share their experiences within the industry
■ Workshops for all guests, to encourage the development of skills required for a successful career in aerospace Companies and organisations involved in AeroWomen21 will have the opportunity to contribute recruitment material to be shared with the students at the end of the day’s event. After the event, each attendee will be invited to join a group on LinkedIn that is exclusively for the event attendees and will allow for any networking opportunities to continue afterwards. Register FREE here
Meet the AeroWomen21 team
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I Get Paid for This…
Flying on floats: CFI and DPE Ben Shipps teaches seaplane ratings in Florida. Interview by Yayeri van Baarsen
How did you get into flying?
I grew up hearing stories of how my grandparents met at an airport and shared an enthusiasm for aviation, which sparked my interest. My dad was a private pilot. When I was 18, I did an intro flight which I loved. I never knew it’d be possible to fly for a career though. Because of my physical challenges, getting my PPL took a year – most of that time was spent getting my medical certificate. Tell us about your job?
I’m the president of Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven, Florida (USA). We Flying CV have five Piper J3 Cubs, a Super Cub and a Born with limb deformities in his arms, Maule, and specialise in secondary training, Jack Brown’s president, Ben Shipps, offering a two day, single-engine, sea rating has trained nearly 1,000 students. course. Typically, we train between 400 and Started current job Joined 2011, became DPE 500 new seaplane pilots each year. As my at Jack Brown’s in 2019 responsibilities in the company have Now flying Piper PA-J3 Cub, PA-18-150, Maule M-7 Super Rocket increased, my flying has decreased, but I still Favourite aircraft deHavilland Beaver. “It’s a fly about 500 hours a year, mostly check rides. seaplane pilot’s airplane.” We don’t fly great distances. In a 10-mile Hours at job start Approx. 240 (in 2011) / radius, there are more than 100 lakes, giving Approx. 6,500 (in 2019) Hours now Approx. 8,200 us lots of diversity. Seaplane flying is low and slow, with sometimes an alligator swimming beside your floats while taxying. It feels like stepping back in time and attracts our inner adventurer. A lot less What’s been your favourite flight? regulated than other areas of aviation, it’s like the last frontier of A trip in 2012 with a student I’d trained, flying the small two-seat flying. There are many more decisions – and mistakes – to make. floatplane he’d got in Washington back to Florida. It was an Because our runway surface is ever-changing, seaplane pilots are amphibious aeroplane, so half of our stops were on water and half constantly adapting to the environment. As I’ve always had to on paved runways. Crossing the entire country in 40 hours and adapt in life, this mindset appeals to me. flying over all the different terrain, I learned so much and made Training new seaplane pilots is a big responsibility. There are no great memories. brakes on a seaplane, you’re dealing with boat traffic, and every landing is an off-airport landing. I love helping students maximise And your favourite airfield? their potential and introducing them to the floatplane community. I’m biased. F-57, the seaplane base where our flight school is All our staff members share a passion for the wonderful world of located. It’s busy during the day, with lots of seaplanes coming by. floats, making for an upbeat working environment. What’s also In the evening it’s peaceful, sitting on a rocking chair, you can see important to me is that I can fly for work, yet come home to my ospreys diving for fish and watch the sun set over the lake. family every day – there aren’t many jobs where that’s possible.
“There’s no brakes, and you’re dealing with boat traffic…”
What training did you have?
It wasn’t until I did my seaplane rating here at Jack Brown’s in 2010, that I knew I wanted to become a seaplane instructor. I immediately changed my major at Liberty University, obtaining my CPL and becoming a CFI with the sole goal of teaching in floatplanes. In 2011, I joined Jack Brown’s as a part-time instructor. In 2013, I did a summer season flying deHavilland Beavers in Alaska for a Part 135 charter company. Afterwards, I returned to Jack Brown’s. In 2019, I became the designated pilot examiner and purchased the family business together with my wife. 18 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Do you get to fly much outside of work?
Yes, and I often find myself doing exactly the same flying, with the only difference that I don’t get paid for it. My favourite part of aviation is sharing it, so I seldom fly alone. I mostly fly with friends or take my five-year-old son. I also co-own a Cherokee Six, which I use for visiting family in Venice, Florida. What’s your most valuable career advice?
Pursue something you enjoy, but do this with flexibility. Your best career path can be something you’d never considered. When I started flying, becoming a seaplane instructor wasn’t even on my radar!
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Overhead or direct?
might be imagining it, but the skies feel a little busier than I remember them from past summers… Perhaps it’s because after all the months locked down, we are all into the ‘you only live once mindset’ and want to take advantage of any free time we have now before it’s too late. Or maybe it’s because we can’t travel abroad, we are enjoying home turf more. Either way, it is great to see! However, with all that extra traffic flying around the chances of an airprox are high, especially when departing or arriving at an airfield, and I can’t help but feel that the overhead join can cause more issues than it prevents when it comes to airproxes. The principle is pretty sound. Fly overhead the runway from any direction 1,000ft above the circuit height, making a note of which direction the circuit traffic is turning in, and start turning in that same direction (or not, depending on which direction you’ve arrived from) to position yourself on the opposite side of the runway to the circuit traffic, the dead side. Then turn a bit more in the same direction and start descending to ensure you get down to the circuit height while still on the dead side. Turn a bit more to cross over to the live side and join the circuit at the start of the downwind leg. Then fly straight for a bit before turning a bit more to land. All this while getting your aircraft set up for the impending landing. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out and listen in on the radio to make sure you don’t bump into anyone else while thinking in three dimensions, as other aircraft might also be descending. Spotting other aircraft while turning is tricky, especially when you throw in the high- / low-wing conflict. They could already be in the circuit – or joining it – having just taken off, or even worse joining from the overhead at the same time as you just did. If that happens, hopefully your aircraft is faster than theirs so you can get in front and not have to keep wondering where they got to. Unless they do tighter circuits than you, in which case you should probably keep looking out for them. In fact, do that anyway until you’re on the ground, just to be safe. Of course if you’re flying with passengers they’ll definitely appreciate the extended views of the airfield you’re about to land on, from the left or right side windows, depending on which direction you’ve elected to turn in, and won’t be wondering why on Earth they are having to endure another few minutes of your flying skills as the air becomes bumpier and bumpier the closer to landing you get. Hopefully you are turning the same way as everyone else in the circuit, otherwise it’s a bit of a palava to re-orientate both your aircraft and mind to be the correct way around.
Unless you are correct and it’s the other aircraft that have got it wrong. Save embarrassment, and be mentally prepared before you’re overhead. There is another way to join a circuit pattern, which I much prefer, and that’s the direct join. This doesn’t involve aircraft all flying to the exact same point above an airfield like the overhead join but instead, you just join the circuit on the appropriate leg at circuit height. No need to get yourself dead side and descend while turning, no need to worry about aircraft at different levels to you. Just slot yourself into the circuit on crosswind, downwind or base and your landing is only moments away. Even better, if you happen to be coming from the same direction as the final approach course, you can join the final approach course and land! OK, there are a few downsides. You do need to have an awareness of what’s happening in the circuit before you arrive, especially if it’s busy, but I would counter that by suggesting that a busy circuit is perhaps not the best place to be congregating above with anyone else wanting to join
“Save embarrassment… be prepared before you’re overhead” while you figure out what’s happening below. Perhaps better to keep away for a bit until you’ve sussed out how you’re going to slot into the melee. Oh, and remember to make sure you turn in the direction as the circuit pattern, as with the overhead join, but at least you only really have to keep an eye on the aircraft you are joining behind rather than wondering what the other aircraft in the overhead are doing. You’ve only got to look at how IFR traffic is vectored for arrivals to know which way is better and safer. They do direct joins albeit radar vectored. It avoids having aircraft crossing over each other at different altitudes and keeps the flow of traffic efficient. The only time you get IFR traffic on top of each other is in a holding pattern. It would be much harder to try and vector aircraft around an overhead join. By vectoring each aircraft around a standard circuit, each aircraft doesn’t have to do lots of extra turns before landing and there aren’t any conflicts. Unlike in the overhead of a VFR airfield on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Bees around a honeypot anyone? Currently dividing his time between a Cub, a Catalina… oh, and a PC-12 firstname.lastname@example.org Summer 2021 | FLYER | 21
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Sense of the past
good mate has recently started a new enterprise entitled The Great British Car Journey, a simple piece of genius which celebrates the ordinary cars our parents – and grandparents – owned and cherished. His museum, housed in a long hall once home to a rope factory, celebrates the lives and fortunes of the UK’s great automotive pioneers – Herbert Austin, William Morris, William and Reginald Rootes – all surrounded by examples of their less glamorous products. And if you thought that was easy to arrange, there are for instance, only four 1.2 litre Vauxhall Chevettes still registered with DVLA. They and their counterparts represented utility and once they had lost their initial lustre, they rotted away pretty quickly. Richard’s idea is more than just a museum though. ‘Drive dad’s car…’ means you can drive an Austin Seven, a Hillman Imp or a Morris Minor, and many others. It’s a great idea, but the experience can’t be exactly the same as it was because roads have changed and traffic travels so much faster. And if you got the chance to live with ‘dad’s car’ for a few days rather than drive it round a small track, you’d wonder why the wipers were so rubbish, not to mention the heating, demisting, absence of aircon, lack of brakes, and whining axles. Industrial progress has resolved so much in our everyday transport, and that is before we even get to remote central locking and Bluetooth connections… Looking at all the stuff on an ordinary modern car, we should wonder how they are so cheap. Yet aeroplanes in general, and ‘The Light Aeroplane’ in particular, have not benefitted from a similar level of development. So even if the certified ones that most of us fly date from the same era as much of Richard’s collection, they seem perfectly normal today. You probably wouldn’t use a Morris Minor as daily transport but there would be no problem with a Cessna of similar age, provided it had a decent radio... Perhaps more importantly, the air hasn’t changed like the roads. Busier and increasingly regulated, but there are still large swathes where from 1,500ft, it looks much as it did when the aircraft was made. It’s the immediate sense of the past that makes ‘Old Aeroplanes’ extra special. The cockpit of my Messenger is much like it was in the 1940s, but it still rides the air exactly like it did. The feel of the controls is the same, the in-line clatter from the Blackburn’s exhaust just below my feet is still as loud. I’m transported body and soul, back to 1946… All of this is made real by the log books which are such an important part of an aircraft’s maintenance, but which also say where it’s been and who was at the controls. The yellowing pages of Civil Aviation form 26 – otherwise known
as a Journey Log Book – shows an entry by Arthur Linnell, the Messenger’s first owner, leaving Sywell on July 12 1947 with two passengers, bound first for Lympne, presumably to clear customs, landing at 1125. They left at 1155 and reached Deauville at 1330. Then, two days later they flew to Le Touquet, then to Zoutelaand in Holland, which appears later as a regular destination, every landing with a Customs stamp and signature. None of this very interesting per se, but fascinating as a part of the aeroplane’s life. Who knows why they went or for what, but it was in my aeroplane. Messenger is nothing if not well-travelled. There was almost a daily trip to France in the 1950s, then further afield to Munich and Cologne, and of course the beach landing to give rides at Skegness for which I have a photograph. That looks distinctly local though, compared with the log for the Fairchild Argus/ Forwarder which I found some years ago, hanging from the roof in Midden Zeeland. It had started life as a lend-lease aircraft and had flown the hour and a half’s acceptance flight, but then nothing further until it was shipped back to the Fairchild factory
“It’s that immediate sense of the past that makes ‘Old Aeroplanes’ extra special” where for some reason it was given a new Fairchild Ranger engine, then in 1946, dismantled and crated, shipped to Cairo and reassembled, wearing the South African registration ZS-BAY. A ‘Mrs Forward’ (appropriate name) then flew the 5,000-plus miles single-handed, to Johannesburg. Some of the places recorded in the yellowing pages you couldn’t visit now, but even if the politics were less of a problem then, there must have been challenges of a different kind. Khartoum to Nairobi to Dar-es-Salaam… How did she plan, how did she navigate? How did she know there would be fuel? Some of the legs were six or eight hours, so goodness knows what size of ferry tank she had or more to the point, how did she keep a Ranger 6-440 in oil for that long? That is one of the type’s little foibles which it took some time to make only slightly better. But I also know that then as now, the Fairchild would have been a friendly companion for Mrs Forward and if she’d had to put it down, then it would have floated on like some giant Stork settling on long stalky legs designed to cope with the roughest of fields. And 50 years on, I was able to sit where she sat, looking at the same knobs and switches, feeling the same controls, which like the Messenger, are linked by rods and bellcranks rather than cables and pulleys. You can’t put a price on any of that. Working vintage aircraft and cars make Mark particularly happy firstname.lastname@example.org Summer 2021 | FLYER 23
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Squawks Ian Seager
Why is the CAA and / or DfT doing this?
’m really not that person who always complains, but almost every single month the CAA and / or DfT does something that has me holding my head in my hands and wondering just what they’re playing at. I’d like to say that you really couldn’t make it up, but experience is telling me that short-sighted protectionism, jealousy, and the need to sustain a weak and ever-changing regulatory regime in the face of something better has given the CAA and DfT superhuman powers in the ‘making it up’ department. The latest example is notice that has effectively been given to pilots living in the UK but flying on FAA certificates. Essentially, a badly drafted document (no really), explained that by 21 December 2021, they would have to get themselves CAA licences instead. This applies to all licences and type ratings, but only to those people flying privately. There’s a bit of history here. EASA has had something similar for years, but it’s been largely dormant thanks to a series of derogations put in place while the EU and US negotiated a licensing annex to the Bilateral Agreement. That’s now been completed, and the current EASA derogation is set to run out in June 2022. Given that we’re no longer an EU member, that agreement does not apply to UK pilots, so the CAA created a derogation to take us until next December. The question I find myself asking is why? Why pick December ’21 when EASA picked June ’22. In fact, why pick an end date at all? Grant Shapps, our Secretary of State for Transport (and pilot of an N-registered aeroplane) wants the UK to be the best place in the world for General Aviation, but starting out by shafting a large number of FAA licensed pilots seems a strange way to go about it. You’ll remember that the CAA consulted on the opportunities ahead of us, now that we’re able to make our own rules. You’ll also remember that the biggest message coming out of that consultation was that pretty much everyone wanted the licensing mess that the CAA, JAA and EASA created to be sorted out. You may also remember Sophie O’Sullivan saying that it would not only be doing that very thing as a priority, but that as per the feedback, it’d be looking at the FAA to see what it was doing right! So why then bring in this unnecessary piece of legislation that will see some people having to spend considerable sums of money to continue what they’ve been doing safely for years, while others decide that it’s all too complicated and / or expensive and hang up their headsets as a result. I wouldn’t mind if it was safety related, but it isn’t, and never has been. So why do people fly N-registered aircraft with FAA licences in the first place? It’s nothing to do (as often suggested) with
cheaper maintenance, but has everything to do with a stable and generally more logical and better understood regulatory system. It has to do with wider access to new equipment, thanks to the large number of available STCs (I had Garmin’s autopilot in my N-reg C182 long before it was available under EASA). It also has to do with more accessible post-PPL training, particularly the Instrument Rating, and for some it has to do with more accessible maintenance wherever you are in the world. The FAA is not a flag of convenience, but as someone pointed out, the CAA is certainly a flag of inconvenience. It has NOTHING to do with safety, but I suspect everything to do with resenting what is, overall, a better system. Yes, it has its flaws, yes, there are areas where EASA does better, and yes, I imagine it must be galling to see people exercising what is currently their right to do something in a better way. I asked the CAA and the DfT why this decision had been taken. What was motivating the policy, and if there was any data showing that it was a problem that needed fixing? I got a technical reply explaining that something needed to be done thanks to law that we’d copied over from EASA, but I got no
“I wouldn’t mind if it was safety related, but it isn’t, and never has been” insight into why December ’21 had been chosen rather than reverting to how things had always been. Given the ambitious work the CAA is doing on licensing, and given how that is something that will significantly contribute to making us the best place in the world for GA, I think a better solution might have been to wait until that was complete and implemented, surely then, when we’re the best, everyone would have flocked to the CAA system? Given the mess with Cellma, the regulatory change surrounding PMDs, the confusion around theoretical knowledge, not to mention the embarrassment over the Goodwood Drone incident, I suspect the CAA knows that its full-scale overhaul of pilot licensing may not end up being all that world-beating. The perverse outcome is that from December this year, somebody living in the UK and flying an N-registered aircraft with a current FAA licence and medical will be able to fly that aircraft legally pretty much anywhere in the world – apart from the country in which they live. CAA and DfT, it’s time for some fresh original thinking… Publisher, pre C-19 often found flying something new and interesting email@example.com Summer 2021 | FLYER | 25
New piston singles to buy and fly T from £28k
There’s some great choices in the world of single-engine piston aircraft that you can buy ready-to-fly here in the UK…
his not a definitive list, just the popular choices that pop up among the FLYER team when we talk about what catches our attention when looking at what’s available. So if you’ve been thinking of treating yourself to something new, then read on. You might be surprised at some of the brand-new aeroplanes you can buy for not crazy money… OK, some of them are crazy money, but you never know, that Lotto win may be just around the corner…
26 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Spacek SD-1 Minisport This remarkable little machine is proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune, in fact just a few quid under £28k inc VAT, to get a brand new aeroplane. Thanks to the SD-1 Minisport being a single-seat de-regulated aircraft (SSDR), it’s also one that you can operate free of any regulation, and that you just need a microlight pilot’s licence and a medical to fly. The Minisport is available with a choice of engines and can cruise at 90-100mph burning around 4.5 to 4.7litres of mogas per hour. When you consider that SD-1 has a fuel capacity of 35litres, that’s six hours of endurance! There’s a number of options, including tailwheel and tri-gear, and a BRS emergency whole aircraft parachute. Just one thing with this lightweight machine though, it’s got a maximum pilot weight of 105kg. Due to it’s remarkable performance the SD-1 is has been flown to a number of wins in the FAI European Microlight Championships.
Game Composites GB1 Gamebird From the mind of gifted German aircraft designer Philipp Steinbach, created and tested in the UK, and now manufactured in the US, the Gamebird from Game Composites, gained its EASA Certification in May 2017. An awesome all carbon-composite ultimate-level aerobatic aircraft, it’s good for +/- 10g, seats two in tandem, and can cruise at 200kt for a 1,000nm. Power is from a 303hp Lycoming. FLYER’s US-columnist Dave Hirschman reckoned the GB1 is “…capable, versatile, and visually appealing, with the flexibility to accommodate many personal tastes. It can be graceful and smooth; forceful and rough; or it can span time zones traveling in a straight line. All the while conveying an exacting sense of precision and ergonomic thoughtfulness in every aspect of the way it looks, feels, and flies. The GB1 can take you where you want to go, any way you want to get there.” The base price of $425,000 includes 10 hours training.
Cirrus Aircraft SR22T In our opinion this is, by a significant margin, the best high performance single-engine piston aeroplane being built today. The SR22 first flew in 2000, and it’s been a story of continuous development since then, with the aeroplane getting better and better each and every year. Although the turbocharged version has a max operating altitude of 25,000ft and a high speed cruise of 213kt, in my experience its sweet spot is about 180kt and in the high teens where you can sit all day. At this power setting you’ll be burning about 18usg/hr, so just over five hours to empty tanks / full bladder. It’s impossible to talk about any Cirrus without mentioning the CAPS system that, when activated, deploys a whole airframe parachute system. As I write this, it’s been deployed 104 times, resulting in 212 people returning to their families. I know some aren’t keen, but when you look at both the physics (much less energy to dissipate) and the results, like the aeroplane itself, it’s nothing less than outstanding. Expect to pay over $1,000,000 for a new SR22T. Summer 2021 | FLYER | 27
Fly your New piston own singles to buy and fly from £28k!
Tecnam P2010 If you are going to take a crack at the four-seat high-wing market, you’d better come up with something innovative if you want to have any chance against this C172-shaped gorilla. Tecnam’s P2010 uses mixed materials (composite fuselage, metal wings), adds a third door (for entry into the rear cabin) and a choice of three engines. There’s a 170hp Jet-A version, and IO-360 or IO-390 avgas versions offering 180hp or 215hp respectively. Pick the Jet-A version for high altitude cruise where its turbocharger delivers, the IO-360 if you’ve eaten too many pies and need the useful load, or the IO-390 for those extra cubic inches and hp. If you plan for an average cruise of 120kt at normal UK GA levels you won’t be too far out. The cabin is comfortable, the extra door handy and the panel G1000NXi equipped. Prices are lower than the equivalent primate.
Flylight Skyranger Nynja An aircraft made in Britain! Yes, Sywell-based Flylight Airsports has gained A8-1 manufacturer status and supplies the Skyranger Nynja (and its cheaper sibling, the Swift) as a factory-built microlight or as a kit. The Skyranger is a simple, tough aeroplane with surprisingly roomy cockpit and side-by-side seating. It has a central stick and uniquely French throttles that look suspiciously like the gearlever on a 2CV. The Nynja is the latest derivative with considerably improved aerodynamics and a skin of beautifully finished glass fibre panels replacing the fabric of earlier aircraft. It’s available with 80hp or 100hp Rotax 912 engines giving excellent performance, and a choice of standard steam gauges or glass cockpit alternative at added cost. Which brings us to the price. The standard Skyranger Nynja, with 100hp Rotax 912ULS and analogue instruments is £50,940 incl VAT. That’s a brand new two-seat aeroplane for £50k!
Blackshape BK 160 Gabriél Italian aerospace company Blackshape had UK pilots lusting with their beautiful Prime, a Rotax 912-powered, carbon fibre reinforced epoxy (CFRP) tandem two-seater, which never quite got the certification required to be operated in the UK. But in 2017 at AERO in Germany, the announcement of the BK160 Gabriél, which had just received its EASA CS-VLA (Very Light Aeroplanes) certification, made it possible this beautiful, low-wing retractable could finally be purchased and flown here in the UK. Powered by a 160hp Lycoming IO-320, the Gabriél promises a max cruise speed of 148kt, a 250m take-off roll, landing roll 190m and max rate of climb 1,550ft/min. Max take-off weight is 750kg but useful load is just 220kg. With two 80kg people on board, that leaves 60kg for fuel (84litres out of a 114 litre fuel tank capacity), which is just over two hours’ flight time. The last time we heard a starting price, it was from €275,000. In a world of ‘cookie-cutter’ Rotax-powered two-seaters, the Gabriél cuts a striking figure, and you’d be sure to create a crowd wherever you went with one. 28 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Diamond Aircraft DA50 RG Diamond has been developing a big single for quite a few years. We knew there’d been experiments with various engines (having flown a couple of them) and we’d heard rumours of potential features like partial pressurisation and retractable gear, but it wasn’t until 2019 that the final configuration was made public. The DA50 RG would be powered by a 300hp CD300 Jet-A, have retractable gear and 44ft wingspan. Certified in 2020 the DA50 delivers five seats, 181kt, a 20,000ft service ceiling and a range of 750nm, although it doesn’t deliver them all at the same time. Sharing its fuselage with the DA62 twin, the DA50 RG’s interior is both spacious and luxuriously finished. It has the potential to be a brilliant long distance tourer, particularly given the universal availability of jet fuel and the increasing scarcity of avgas in some parts of the world.
APM Simba For a ‘lion’ the APM Simba from Issoire Aviation has a rather understated roar – 71.5db at max take-off weight to be precise. That’s thanks to the 141hp Rotax 915iS that powers this small, but really rather capable four-seater built in France. Pioneers of composite structures – they certified an carbon airframe before Boeing managed to do the same with the Dreamliner – Issoire’s light and efficient Simba was the first EASA-certified four-seater to use the 915iS. That combination brings a 460kg useful load, that’s complemented by a 147kt cruise at 36l/h and a maximum range of 900nm. Superb visibility thanks to an enormous sliding canopy make the cabin a great to be for the three passengers, while the pilot will enjoy well-harmonised handling and a wellequipped panel featuring Garmin G3X Touch. Expect to pay around €300,000 by the time you’ve added some optional avionics.
CAP 10C NG Yes, the CAP 10 is a +6/-4 g aerobatic two-seater but it’s also one of the nicest aircraft to fly cross-country you could wish for. You sit in a civilised cockpit, side by side with your passenger under a large sliding bubble canopy, with plenty of room for pilot stuff, a control stick each, and comfortable sports seats that look like something straight out of a classic English sports car. And the controls are heavenly, moving with an ease and precision that flatters any pilot. The original CAP 10s were built by Mudry which is now part of CEAPR in Darois, France – Robin Aircraft is also in its portfolio. The latest version is the CAP 10C NG, launched at the 2019 AERO Friedrichshafen show. It’s still made of wood with a carbon fibre wing spar, and uses a 180hp fuel-injected Lycoming with a two-blade Hoffmann propeller as standard. The NG updates include a revised instrument panel including Garmin G5 instruments, plus electric trim and flaps. A carbon fibre cowling and a three-blade MT constant-speed prop (it would be hard to resist the latter!) are now options. The price is €303,000 plus VAT. Summer 2021 | FLYER | 29
New piston singles to buy and fly from £28k!
Cessna 172 Skyhawk There can’t be that many pilots who’ve not flown a C172, can there? Introduced in 1956, the four-seat high-wing single is still selling in significant numbers to flight training schools, where alongside the venerable PA28, it forms the backbone of the world’s training fleet. The Skyhawk isn’t just about training. A comfortable and relatively spacious leather-clad interior, G1000NXi avionics and a 180hp injected Lycoming combine to bring simple, solid and safe touring (expect something in the region of 110kt-120kt) with a comfortable zero wind range of about 550nm. Should you decide to take it far and wide, pretty much any maintenance shop will be familiar with the type. Handling is reassuringly solid and predictable, and at lighter weights in skilled hands the C172 is a very good strip and grass runway aeroplane too. Depending on options, expect to pay north of $400,000 for what is a brilliant and clearly very well sorted aeroplane.
Pipistrel SW121 Virus Yes, we all know that it’s a silly name (especially now), and no I have no idea where it came from or why they don’t have a hasty re-brand, but to get caught up with the name would be to miss a gem of a composite aeroplane that’s been lovingly hand crafted to an exceptional finish. In SW (short-wing) guise the Virus can be comfortable tourer, trainer (intentional spinning IS approved), glider tug or just a fine flying bimbling machine. Powered by a 100hp Rotax engine, the Virus comes complete with a fully feathering prop and airbrake, so should you fancy a bit of engine-off thermalling fun, just shut the engine down, feather the prop and away you go. You can even swap out the wing’s outer sections to increase the span if soaring performance is your thing. There’s plenty of space inside (although some find the carry through spar in the roof can be a bit intrusive), but this is a truly modern two-seater from one of the most innovative companies in the business.
Piper Aircraft M350 If you are looking for the next level of capability in a piston single, you’ll be wanting a cabin-class pressurised aeroplane, and the only new aeroplane that fits that bill is Piper’s M350, the baby of the PA46 range. Powered by a 350hp turbocharged Lycoming, the M350 has a maximum cruise speed of 213kt and a ceiling of 25,000ft. With a range of up to 1300nm (depending on weights and power settings) the M350 really is an aeroplane that delivers on long distance comfortable and pressurised trips. As you’d expect with almost all new aeroplanes, the Piper has Garmin’s G1000NXi, but in the M350 you get three screens rather than the more common two. If the M350 is your gateway drug to pressurised comfort, the next steps on your PA46 journey will see the piston replaced by a Pratt and Whitney PT-6, which you’ll find in both the M500 and M600 models. Expect to pay from $1.21M for a new M350. 30 | FLYER | Summer 2021
WACO Aircraft YMF-5 There’s no point in pretending that this is a practical aircraft, it’s not. The YMF-5 is about pure indulgent fun, and it delivers that ‘biggly’ – as they probably say in the Battle Creek Michigan factory. This is one big open-cockpit aeroplane, and if you choose to fit amphibious floats it’s even bigglier, in fact it’s so big that there’s room for two in the front ‘hole’. Powered by a Jacobs 300hp radial you’ll get that Golden Age traditional design, great craftsmanship (it takes something like 6,000 hours to build a YMF-5) and modern avionics (you can have an IFR glass panel if you choose). Cruise speed is about 115kt and the Jacobs burns 14usg/hr so if you top off the 46 gallon tank in the upper wing you’ll want to be thinking about landing after a maybe couple of hours, but before you do there’s the option of some aeros with the aeroplane having G limits of +5.2/-2.1
Close Brothers: experts on aircraft finance Close Brothers Aviation and Marine has been financing General and Business Aviation in Britain and Ireland since 1976. We also provide finance for vintage aircraft, and are strong supporters of historic aviation in the UK. The aircraft we finance are usually registered in the UK, USA, Ireland, Isle of Man or Guernsey. We can finance new aircraft direct from the manufacturer, or pre-owned aircraft being sold by dealers, brokers or via private sale. We can also consider refinancing aircraft that are already owned, to release capital for overhauls, upgrades, rebuilds or other purposes. The types of aircraft we can help finance include light piston, turboprops, helicopters, business jets and air ambulances. How does aviation finance work? n The borrower provides information about themselves and the aircraft. n We perform an appraisal of the aircraft’s value and undertake our own internal credit analysis. n We expect the borrower to undertake their own pre-purchase survey of the aircraft. n We agree terms on the transaction with the borrower. n We perform a title search based on the aircraft’s registration number to confirm that no liens or title defects are present. n We then prepare documentation for the transaction, which includes dealing with the vendor, insurers, maintenance organisations and (where applicable) lawyers. n At closing, the loan documentation is executed, and the funds are transferred. Why choose Close Brothers Aviation & Marine? Just as no two businesses are the same, neither are asset finance providers. With us, it’s the combination of our people, products, and principles that make the difference.
Our people are experts in aviation finance This experience means our team really understand the challenges our customers face. You can rely on them to be a consistent and proactive point of contact, on hand throughout the life of the finance contract and beyond, building lasting relationships. Our products We consider all relevant aspects of your operation and then create tailor-made, flexible repayment schedules to suit. With minimal capital outlay, our asset finance enables you to invest in new aircraft or refinance existing aircraft to make them work harder for you. Our principles We are committed to helping our customers make the right financial decisions. We base our lending decisions on the overall health and plans for the operation – not just a credit rating. But we’re careful lenders too – a decision that fails to take account of risk factors is not in anyone’s interest. With local teams throughout the UK and Ireland, we can respond quickly to your requests for information and lending decisions. In fact, we aim to give you a decision within days, sometimes hours. Aircraft mortgages and registration Our finance facilities are structured by way of a loan secured by an aircraft mortgage. Security, by way of a mortgage over the aircraft, will be required, together with the appropriate guarantees, and facility fees normally apply. More information on aircraft and mortgage registration, can be found at: UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Isle of Man Aircraft Registry Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) Transport Malta - The Civil Aviation Directorate When lending to companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) we register a mortgage with Companies House. Contact us For more information visit www.closeaviation.co.uk or call a member of the team on 020 3642 5907.
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 31
New piston singles to buy and fly from £28k!
CubCrafters XCub Having refined the Super Cub concept with its work on the TopCub, and Carbon Cub kitplane/LSA, CubCrafters perfected the Cub platform with the XCub. Introduced in 2016 after six years of secret development, XCub was announced as a ready-to-go, fully certified aeroplane. The Super Cub was never much of a cruising aeroplane, but through airframe refinement XCub still delivers all the low-speed handling capability but with a 126kt cruise at 75% power. With a 180hp Lycoming driving a Hartzell Trailblazer constant-speed prop, take-off and landing distances are under 60m, and rate of climb is 1,500fpm. You’ll notice drag-reducing details, from aileron cables inside the lift struts to a single piece aluminium undercarriage. A modern interior brings comfort, plenty of storage and plenty of high-tech panel options. Prices start from $333k, but trust us, the options list is very tempting…
Elixir Aircraft Elixir The two-seat Elixir is a clean-sheet design that uses OneShot carbon fibre manufacturing technology pioneered in the yachting industry. That tech means the basic airframe can be made from just eight parts, which Elixir says makes for lower costs. The aircraft is also EASA CS-23 VFR certified. Powered by a 100hp Rotax 912iS with a variable pitch propeller, Elixir claim operating costs of €40-45 per hour, which covers maintenance and fuel over 2,000 hours use, up to the engine TBO. The spec includes Garmin G3X Touch avionics, as well as a BRS emergency whole aircraft parachute, and even electrically adjustable rudder pedals as standard Cruise speed is 130kt at 75% power setting, with an endurance of six hours. Stall speed is 45kt, Vne 157kt. Max take-off weight is 544kg. A more powerful version fitted with a 141hp Rotax 915iS is in the works, along with an IFR version and a glider tug. Basic price for the Elixir starts from €235,000.
Tecnam P2002 JF It can be hard to keep up with the Tecnam range, but the P2002JF has been one of the highlights for a while. The low-wing, two-seat, all-metal aeroplane is powered by the ubiquitous 100hp Rotax 912 which delivers a comfortable 110kt cruise (you can go faster, but I always think the 912 sounds a bit frenetic at high rpm). You’ll be off the ground in under 150m and while the book talks of a 336m landing distance, most landings will take up considerably less with a hint of wind and a nailed approach speed. The 100 litre fuel tank is enough for anyone’s bladder (over five hours), and visibility is pretty good thanks to a fair amount of perspex. The P2002JF is one of those aircraft that’s not brilliant at any one thing, but that nicely combines individual strengths into a very accomplished and developed package. There’s even an IFR version (for the US market only) 32 | FLYER | Summer 2021
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New piston singles to buy and fly from £28k!
Comco Ikarus C42 The German-made C42 is beloved by microlight flight schools across Europe. It’s a tough little two-seater that’s an absolute cinch to fly, surprisingly comfortable with great manners, beautifully made and well-equipped (includes a Ballistic Recovery System). A big plus is that it handles grass strips with ease. Up front there’s a choice of 80hp or 100hp Rotax engines although there’s very little difference in performance – the 100hp gives a slightly shorter take-off roll. Expect a cruise speed of around 90kt and fuel burn of 10-14 litres per hour. There’s a central stick, so if you’re flying from the left seat it’s in your right hand. Slightly confusingly, the throttle is a knob between your legs which moves up and down. Let’s just leave that phrase there... The flap lever is on the roof, reached with your right hand if you’re in the left seat. Hang on, isn’t your right hand on the stick...
Extra Aircraft Extra NG In the 2019 World Aerobatic Championships, in the top unlimited class, 32 out of the top 35 competing aircraft were from Extra, with the top four all flying an Extra 330SC. That was the conventional Extra design with an immensely strong carbon fibre wing spar and a steel tube frame, clad in aluminium and carbon fibre panels. So why would company boss Walter Extra redesign the aircraft to an all-new all-composite construction with the Extra NG (New Generation)? Extra has kept all the original’s attributes – razor-sharp handling, startling performance and brilliant powers of recovery – but added comfort, better ergonomics, latest avionics and improved the aerodynamics with the NG. It delivers! Load limits are +/-10g, manoeuvring speed 158kt, max cruise 202kt. The 635kg airframe is powered by a 315hp 6-cyl fuel-injected Lycoming giving enormous power-to-weight. No shortage of thrills in this $450,000 aircraft… World Championships? That’s down to you…
Piper Aircraft Archer LX The Piper Archer is exactly what a lot of people want: an aircraft that flies easily with predictable handling, a proven record of safe operations and no big maintenance surprises. For these reasons, the PA-28 series is a staple of flight schools and club fleets as well as group ownership. Current version is the Archer LX at a base price of $422,350, with a 180hp Lycoming engine, Garmin G1000 NXi glass cockpit with twin screens and G5 backup, and leather upholstery. The DLX version with a 155hp Continental diesel engine costs $475,500 for similar spec. A bunch of extra cost options includes autopilot, terrain awareness, synthetic vision, air con and Amsafe airbag seatbelts. Performance is very similar with a max cruise speed of 128ktas for the LX, 123ktas DLX. While the diesel gives more range, 848nm over the LX’s 522nm, it’s also heavier which reduces payload by 35kg. 34 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Specialist aviation finance provider Tailor-made aviation finance for your aircraft We provide fast, tailored finance for General Aviation aircraft, combining more than 40 years’ expertise with an innovative finance approach. Get in touch with our specialist team: 020 3642 5907 www.closeaviation.co.uk Close Brothers Aviation and Marine is a trading style of Close Brothers Limited. Close Brothers Limited is registered in England and Wales (Company Number 00195626) and its registered offi ce is 10 Crown Place, London, EC2A 4FT.
New piston singles to buy and fly from £28k!
BRM Aero Bristell B23 Czech light aircraft maker Bristell launched their B23 aircraft last year with a full type certificate from EASA under the new CS-23 airworthiness regulations. The B23 is a major step up for Bristell. With an empty weight around 435kg, maximum take-off weight of 750kg, and a full 120 litres of fuel – that’s 91kg – you still have 224kg for people. To meet the CS-23 requirements the airframe was reworked including changes to the wing, a longer fuselage and a bigger tail for enhanced stability. The B23 also fulfills Bristell’s other criteria: to be able to fly night VFR, to have a ballistic emergency whole aircraft parachute, and to burn mogas, rather than avgas. For that, Bristell has stuck with the proven and certified 100hp Rotax 912S3 engine fitted with a constant-speed three-blade MTV prop. Base price of the aircraft is €199,000.
Sonaca 200 There’s no easy way of saying this, but some of the new two-seat offerings ‘enjoy’ a fairly lightweight construction, so while they’re perfectly sound structurally, their ability to endure a stream of PPL students is often not so good. Not so the Sonaca, with its 750kg MAUW this aeroplane has all the makings of a modern classic: nice handling, tough undercarriage, tough interior, nosewheel steering, 115hp Rotax 914 turbocharged engine and a great cockpit environment that should make both teaching and touring a comfortable experience, particularly as it boasts a 750nm range thanks to its generous 140l fuel capacity. All of that is backed by the Belgian aerospace giant with an 80-year history, and all of the big names in commercial aviation as customers (Sonaca even assembled 160 F16s for the Belgian Airforce!). The Sonaca 200 is certified under CS-VLA which means it can also be used for VFR at night. Expect to pay somewhere north of €180,000.
Maule Aircraft M7 If you are looking for a STOL aeroplane capable of operating in rugged terrain with four (or even five at a push) seats, there’s a good chance that you’ll be filling your hangar with a Maule M-7. Available as either a taildragger (looks great, and like it’s ready to take on the backcountry) or with a nosewheel (looks awful), this really is an aeroplane you can load up and use in places where you would be very hesitant to take many others. Lightly loaded the M-7 is capable of leaving the ground in less than 100m and landing in under 300m, probably less if the approaches are clear. Powered by either a 235 or 260hp Lycoming it can be a bit thirsty, and at low speeds the aileron response might be thought of as vague (fit some aftermarket VGs), but for four seat value for money and STOL performance it’s hard to beat. If you have a hankering for more power, Maule can offer you a version with 450hp Rolls-Royce turbine… 36 | FLYER | Summer 2021
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New piston singles to buy and fly from £28k!
Beechcraft G36 Bonanza They’ve been building Bonanzas continuously for 67 years – that’s the longest production run of any aeroplane. Anywhere. Ever. But don’t be fooled, a new G36 is certainly not an aeroplane that’s stuck in the past. The tough six-seat aeroplane combines comfort (the rear cabin is in club configuration) with speed (plan on cruising between 150kt and 176kt depending on how high you want to go and how much fuel you want to burn) and modern technology (The G36 is equipped with Garmin’s G1000NXi and its class leading GFC700 autopilot). All of that comes in a traditionally manufactured package that brings versatility and fine handling along for the ride. If touring in comfort is your thing, the Bonanza fills the brief in spades, particularly if there’s only four of you. If you are buying new (and there’s a waiting list!), this kind of capability comes at a price, and in the case of the G36 we’re talking a cool million dollars!
ACA Super Decathlon There are some aeroplanes that are absolutely brilliant all-rounders, you know, the ones that do a little bit of everything well all in one package. The Super Decathlon is one of those aircraft, so if you’re looking to tick lots of boxes, then the Super Decathlon should be high up on your list of choices. Standard level aerobatics (+6, -5g) with inverted fuel and oil systems? Yup. Two-seat touring with cruise speeds in the 120kt range? Yup. In and out of all but the shortest grass strips with ease? Yup. All of this plus pleasant handling in a tandem configuration with sticks and a view from the front seat that barely qualifies it as a taildragger when manoeuvring on the ground. The base price is $272,000, and you are going to want to spend a bit more than that (I’d suggest adding an AI if you are going to do any touring), but it’s a very capable and versatile aeroplane that’ll keep you amused whatever floats your flying boat on any particular day.
Evektor Sportstar SLM If you are looking for an aeroplane capable of delivering huge amounts of flying fun and ridiculously low running costs then the SportSTAR should definitely have a place on your shortlist. This is another low-wing, two-seat, all-metal aircraft that’s powered by the 100hp Rotax 912iS or 912ULS so cruise speed is 100kt+, fuel capacity is 120 litres (so think a maximum of about 10 hours before refuelling). The light weight and low stall speed (40kt) means this deceptively tough aeroplane will get in and out of pretty much any UK strip if well flown. The big bubble canopy gives great views, and there’s enough 25kg baggage space for (most people) for a week away. If you want to know what the younger brother Eurostar aeroplane is really capable of, check out any of Paul Kiddell’s flying adventures in FLYER. I know three people who have owned and sold Eurostars, and every one of them regrets selling! 38 | FLYER | Summer 2021
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New piston singles to buy and fly from £28k!
Robin Aircraft DR401 Jet-A The cranked wing wooden wonder aircraft from France is, by several nautical miles, the best example of an airframe that started life powered by an avgas engine, and is now powered by a Jet-A fuelled engine. The result is a nicely built smooth flying tourer that sips (cheap) fuel, has a great range (up to 1500nm), and that combines really nice handling with amazing visibility. The aircraft are hand-built near Dijon, and as you’d expect there’s a huge range of options when it comes to avionics, interior and paint. While the modern covering means you do not have to hangar a Robin, like any aircraft keeping it in a good dry hangar will probably save you money in the long run. A really nicely equipped touring version (using S-TEC’s 55X autopilot, the Garmin is not yet available on the Robin range) will set you back somewhere around €300,000, which makes it excellent value on the new four-seater market.
TLAC Sherwood Kub Built in Norfolk by The Light Aircraft Company, the fun and slightly cheeky-looking Sherwood Kub is a single-seat deregulated aircraft (SSDR) that you can fold up in five minutes and store on a trailer at home. When you’re ready to fly, just add fuel and take it to the airfield, or maybe to a local friendly farmer’s big field if you’re lucky to know one. Outside of regulation, you’ll just need a microlight licence, medical and insurance to fly it. Constructed from 4130 Chrome Moly aircraft steel tube and quality aircraft components, the robust little Kub has a maximum take-off weight of up to 300kg. Power is from a 50hp Hirth two-stroke engine that burns around eight litres of mogas an hour, and you can cruise around 55kt. Take-off and landing roll are 50m. A good-size cockpit offers the pilot excellent visibility, which is perfect for those fun bimbling flights, hopping from strip to strip. Basic price for the Kub is £32,500 plus VAT.
Aviat Aircraft Pitts S2C The Pitts Special may no longer represent the absolute pinnacle of unlimited aerobatic competition aircraft but the combination of 260hp, tiny 20ft wings and +6/-5 G limits makes this archetypal aerobatic classic an aeroplane that is still capable of competing at unlimited level, while also being a brilliant aerobatic training platform – thanks to being fully certified and having two seats. Changes S-2C over the previous ‘B include wingtips, belly and canopy which have increased cruise speed to 150kt, but a Pitts is about so much more than straight and level speed (although I guess even aerobatic display gods need to transit). Aviat, which manufacturers Pitts aircraft, says its aerobatic ability is also improved with more precise and lighter controls making point rolls even sharper and faster – 300º per second is claimed, i.e., a blur. With wider track for the main wheels, the S-2C is said to be easier to land and rolls out in a straight line, something that wasn’t always the case with the ‘B. 40 | FLYER | Summer 2021
My First Solo
Having soloed a glider on his 14th birthday, then a powered aircraft at 16, now 18 years old, Travis Ludlow hopes to set an around-the-world solo record. Interview by Yayeri van Baarsen Solo stats Aiming to break the youngest solo pilot world record, Travis Ludlow will be circumnavigating the Earth in his Cessna 172R. When 14 February 2019 Where Wycombe Air Park Aircraft Cessna 152 Hours at solo Approx. 20 Hours now Approx. 330
How did you get into aviation? When I was really young, my mum used to take me to the airport café at Wycombe. While she was drinking coffee and chatting, I’d be pressed up against the fence, staring at the aeroplanes. I remember thinking it’d be so cool to fly one myself. One day, my dad came home with a stash of aeroplane magazines, which I’d read every night before going to bed. When, for my 12th birthday, my godmother gave me a trial flight in a glider, I realised I could actually become a pilot. On my 14th birthday, I first soloed in a glider. How did your powered flight training go? I trained at Wycombe Airport where everybody was very friendly. Learning to fly a powered aircraft was really exciting, especially the first few lessons. It was even better than I imagined and my glider experience helped a lot. I actually found powered flying easier than flying gliders, since you don’t have to worry about staying in the air. Practising forced landings was strange though: in a glider you can glide for ages, but an aircraft without power falls out of the sky so fast! Tell us about your solo? I actually planned to solo on my 16th birthday, but it was too windy so it didn’t
happen and my grandparents, who’d come all the way from Ipswich to see me solo, had to drive home again. The next day, they came back, and luckily I could solo. I was nervous and excited, but the fact that I’d already gone solo in a glider eased my nerves a bit. The flight went well, but I was a bit too high and too fast coming into land, so I did one go-around. Although soloing a glider at 14 was cooler, my first powered solo definitely was a significant moment. We didn’t have a big party though – afterwards, I continued studying for my GCSEs. Back when I did my PPL training, Wycombe was still a towered airport, with full ATC, which gave me good experience for my upcoming RTW flight. What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learned through talking to other Earthrounders in preparation for your flight? That’s hard to say, as I’ve learned a a number of different things from so many Earthrounders. They’ve all been extremely helpful in sharing their experiences and I’m so grateful to all of them. The most valuable thing is probably that if I ever get lost or confused, or need help during my journey, I can just give them a call. On my aircraft I’ve got a satellite link so I can call, email or text while flying.
“Soloing a glider at 14 was cool, but my first powered solo was a significant moment” 42 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Have any previous Earthrounders stories inspired you? Yes, especially the story of the Australian Ryan Campbell, who was once the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world. After his RTW trip, Ryan was in an aeroplane crash which left him in hospital for more than a year. He temporarily lost all feeling in the lower half of his body, but made the most amazing recovery. Afterwards, he went back into aviation and now he’s living in the US, flying a Super Cub. The fact that he continued flying after his setback is super inspirational. If you could have any aircraft in your ‘fantasy hangar’, what would it be? A Piper M600/SLS. Because it’s a really fast and safe turboprop which can go far and high like an airliner, yet it can still land at Wycombe Airport. Also, it has an Autoland emergency system, so if the pilot gets unwell, a passenger can press a button and the aircraft will automatically land itself at the nearest suitable airport. Actually, if I really had an M600/SLS in my hangar, I’d probably sell it straight away as it absolutely guzzles fuel! With the money I’d buy a Diamond DA50 – also expensive – but way cheaper to operate. What do you love about flying most? The freedom. It’s great being by myself, far away from the worries on the ground. Also, some of the views are absolutely amazing when flying. I just love it up there. Follow Travis’ trip at aroundtheworldsolo.
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Getting your aviation fix on YouTube… There’s loads of great General Aviation content just waiting to be watched on YouTube – and we’ve picked some of our favourites from the current crop…
f General Aviation provides us with that magic carpet travelling experience, then YouTube enables us to live a huge variety of aviation lives vicariously. Whether you want wild back-country ‘seat of pants’ flying, or procedural IFR buttonology, you can almost certainly find it on YouTube. Thanks to amazing video quality courtesy of Virbs, GoPros and stabilised 4K wonder sensors that sometimes also work as phones, easy video editing, and not to mention heaps of talent, there’s no shortage of great content out there. Ian, Ed, Jonny and Dave, aka The FLYER Livestream team (also on YouTube, every Thursday night, 7.30-8.30) have each picked five of their favourite General Aviation YouTubers. You may not agree with all of them, and we’ve almost certainly missed out some corkers (let us know), but if you’re not already a ninja level YouTubewatcher, this is a great place to get started…
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Meet UK Aviation YouTubers… If you’re interested to meet some of the UK’s Aviation YouTubers, including some of the ones we’ve mentioned in this feature, then you’re in luck, as there’s a fly-in taking place at Wolverhamption Halfpenny Green on Sunday 15 August. Click here to book your fly-in slot online!
Ian’s favourite five…
LewDix Aviation Lewis is a young English CFI flying out of Florida, with most of his video output being recordings of flights with his students. He’s an engaging presenter who clearly cares about making flying, and learning to fly, fun. Well worth a watch, particularly if you are ever planning to head to the US to do some flying.
New Page Aviation John is a British instructor and ferry pilot who specialises in Technically Advanced Aircraft, so expect to see him flying anything from an SR22 to a TBM940 or VisionJet. His videos have some great practical ‘how-to’ tips for IFR procedures as well as some long distance flying (London to Arizona and back anyone?).
Steveo1Kinevo Steveo’s a professional pilot now flying a TBM850 largely in Florida. He’s been YouTubing for the last 14 years, with things really ramping up when he started posting detailed flying videos from the left seat of the TBM. Great (non-nerdy) content that puts you in the pilot’s seat.
JonasMarcinko Another proponent of the back-country style of flying, Jonas had – and sold – a Kitfox before moving onto a Capella (which suffered a landing accident). I don’t know how much of Jonas’ attitude and approach is staged for the views, but he’s one of the, erm, more exuberant pilots out there.
Stefan Drury Stefan’s an Australian pilot who’s done a whole host of flying domestically and internationally (including Europe). His latest release talks of having lost a bit of his GA mojo, and how he intends putting that back into his flying, so maybe we’ll start to see more of his beloved SR22 ‘Echo Yankee Zulu’. Summer 2021 | FLYER | 45
Getting your aviation fix on YouTube
Ed’s favourite five…
Mike Patey Mike took the aviation internet world by storm with his Draco build videos three years ago and hasn’t looked back. A true modern-day Leonardo da Vinci of aircraft homebuilding – witness his current Scrappy project, you’ll sit watching, wondering how he gets SO MUCH fantastic quality work done, so fast! “Back to work!”
Plane Old Ben Probably the original UK aviation YouTuber, for over seven years Ben Cornwell has been filming his journey from being a student pilot through hour building all the way to his ATPL. With videos that are always full of detail, nicely shot and edited, and delivered with cheerful style, he’s one to make some time for.
FlightChops The most famous flying beard/moustache combo on the internet, FlightChops, aka Steve Thorne, is ‘always learning’ and documenting his flying journey as he adds ratings and new experiences. He’s even found time to build a Van’s RV-14 with a little help from his friends at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association.
Plane Lady Making aviation videos for YouTube seems to be maledominated, so Plane Lady (aka Christine) makes a refreshing change to watch as she builds a Van’s RV-10 with her husband Tyler. Not a big time channel, but guaranteed to inspire with plenty of Infectious enthusiasm.
Dewey Davenport A modern-day barnstormer (yes, really), while he might not have loads of subscribers or masses of videos, his easygoing style and love for flying old aeroplanes makes you want to watch more. I predict we’ll be seeing quite a lot more of Dewey online in future…
46 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Jonny’s favourite five…
Ben Atkinson Ben has documented most of his microlight training and now produces videos that show how much fun you can have for a relatively small amount of money in modern microlights. From days out with his fiancé to farm strip sessions with friends, Ben’s videos are great fun and with no high-viz jackets in sight.
Cory Robin Cory, from the Flying Cowboys gang, is another great back-country pilot and his videos showcase him and his Carbon Cub flying around the USA. Watch Cory’s videos to follow him landing on mountain tops or deserts and, at also at one point, nosed-over in an Ohio river.…
Trent Palmer If there was one single YouTuber to mix GA and its ability to provide fun, friends, amazing scenery and generally tick the ‘cool’ box, that person would be Trent Palmer. Flying his Freedom Fox backcountry-style from gravel bars to salt flats and everything in between, he’s a great storyteller with a camera.
Elliot Seguin If there’s something interesting to be flown, chances are Elliot has… His channel is a deep dive into the world of test flying (his job), so expect lots of fascinating technical analysis, interesting aircraft and, yes, one or two incidents that are dealt with in a very professional manner.
The Flying Reporter As the name suggests, Jon Hunt’s channel is full of excellent interviews as well as documenting his own exploits from flying abroad to his first tailwheel lessons. Coming from a professional video production background, his videos are high quality and he’s not afraid to shy away from difficult topics. Summer 2021 | FLYER | 47
Getting your aviation fix on YouTube
Dave’s favourite five…
Matt Guthmiller Back in 2014, Matt became the youngest pilot to fly around the world solo. These days, he’s still flying – lots! – to great places, mostly IFR. His vids are relatively long at 20mins or so, and in travelogue style, although he does pick up on things like icing, turbulence, engine problem at night in the mountains… scary stuff!
Rory On Air Rory Auskerry is a commercial helicopter pilot who started on microlights. His previous career working as a producer for the BBC means his videos are well made and professional, but also fun and informative. He’s honest about still gaining experience, making mistakes and enjoying the good bits, of which there are many. 48 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Guido Warneke Guido is a German ferry pilot flying turbine and light aircraft all over the world. His videos are in-cockpit reports, mostly IFR, measured and precise, with Guido’s sure hand on the controls. Helpfully, he pops in close-ups to show what he’s doing – great for learning your way around a Garmin G1000.
Peter Sripol An inventor and maker – the smoother, less edgy American version of Britain’s Colin Furze. His creations include various aircraft including an electric three-axis ultralight, a twinengine biplane ultralight, a manned personal drone and a flying sleigh. All flew, sort of, and he even took one to Oshkosh.
Just Plane Silly If you’ve the intellect of a gnat you’ll probably like Just Plane Silly for a minute or two. Any higher life form will want to move on quicker. Bryan Turner is a flight instructor and gets to fly a lot of aircraft and go places. This could be good, and humour is a plus, but this is a poor imitation of The Monkees’ zany behaviour.
Safety Accident Analysis
The right time to pull… As Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) became more common in new aircraft, many pilots imagined we would soon be dodging airframes as they rained from the skies. Steve Ayres wonders, why isn’t that happening?
The pilot, owner of a Cirrus SR22, accompanied by a passenger, took off from Toussus-le-Noble aerodrome for a local pleasure flight. After 50 minutes of flight, the engine oil pressure, stable at 54psi since take-off, began to drop and continued to do so until reaching zero at the end of the flight. Over that time, the oil temperature rose very slowly. The pilot detected the drop in oil pressure about 20 minutes after the drop began and initiated a diversion to the nearest airfield, but then considered this to be a false indication due to the stability of the oil temperature and resumed navigation to the intended destination. Shortly thereafter, he observed an increase in the oil temperature and again commenced a diversion. The engine oil had gradually leaked out, possibly due to improper positioning of the oil filler cap during the pre-flight check. The engine stopped in flight and the pilot decided to deploy the
Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), landing upright in a ploughed field, although subsequently the aircraft was pulled inverted by strong winds dragging the parachute. CAPS is designed to reduce the risk of injury to occupants. A number of safety aspects contribute to achieving this: deployment parameters, seat belts and harnesses firmly attached, and a body position ensuring optimal performance of the energy absorption systems on impact. Specific training for pilots operating aircraft equipped with CAPS is important, and does exist, but is not compulsory. The philosophy developed in the manufacturer’s online training strongly encourages the use of CAPS, while the procedure described in the flight manual leaves the pilot with more room for interpretation. The decision to use the parachute is not taken lightly and it is recommended that pilots consider before flight the various scenarios that could lead to its use. The procedures associated with the use of the parachute are specific and need to be understood by the pilot. However, only the procedure to be followed for the deployment of the parachute need be committed to memory. Ideally, pilots should know the scenarios requiring immediate action and be certain to memorise all the associated drills. These procedures should be explained to passengers before each flight as a passenger may have to release the parachute and manage the procedure alone, for example in the event of a pilot’s incapacity.
“The aircraft was pulled inverted by strong winds dragging the parachute” 50 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Finally, this event showed that under certain circumstances (strong wind in this case) the aircraft can be turned onto its back by the CAPS parachute after landing, making evacuation more difficult. (Translated from the French report)
An experimental Titan Tornado aeroplane collided with terrain shortly after take-off from Spanaway Airport, Washington. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the aeroplane substantially damaged. As the aeroplane climbed about 200ft agl, the pilot could not maintain level flight and had to apply full right aileron and right rudder. The aeroplane rolled left and he simultaneously reduced engine power and applied forward elevator in an attempt to arrest the roll. Despite his attempts, the aeroplane continued to roll left with the nose about 180° from the runway heading. Unable to regain directional control, the pilot decided to deploy the BRS. With an airspeed of about 70kt and a level attitude, the pilot pulled the activation handle. The pilot reported that after deploying the BRS, the left roll reduced to less than 5° of bank, and he realised that he would not be able to return back to the runway. He concentrated his efforts on avoiding the trees and executed a forced landing in a field adjacent to the runway. He attempted to configure the aeroplane in a landing flare prior to touchdown by applying aft elevator. The aeroplane did not respond and touched down hard on the main landing gear, followed by the nose gear collapsing. As a result of the impact, the pilot’s legs were injured and he was unable to egress under his own power. The engine continued to run and the parachute drifted into the propeller. The damage to the instrument panel made him unable to shut down the engine and it continued to operate until the parachute
everal years ago FLYER ran a feature on ‘To Pull or Not’, about the pilot decision making involved in deploying the Cirrus Aircraft CAPS parachute system and how the system could make a difference in various accident scenarios. Since then, there have been plenty more ’chute pulls, in both Cirrus and other types, but as parachute systems typically must be designed and built into an aircraft from the outset, and the option to retrofit them to aircraft is rare, it’s still far from becoming a common method to use in an emergency situation.
suspension lines stopped the propeller. The aeroplane was configured in a pusher-type style, with the engine mounted above and aft of the cockpit. The propeller remained attached to the engine with all three blades intact. Approximately three to four feet of the BRS suspension lines were tightly wrapped around the propeller prohibiting crankshaft rotation. The activation handle inside the cockpit appeared to be in the ‘deployed position’. A placard in the cockpit read: ‘Aircraft engines must be shut off prior to deploying parachutes. Failure to do so may result in death or serious injury’. An examination of the aileron system revealed that there was continuity from the aileron control surfaces to the actuation tube in the cockpit. The upper attach point of the control tube (near wings) remained intact and the lower end (in cockpit) was found disconnected from the control mixer weldment. The stop-nut that normally is affixed to the bolt connecting the aileron control tube to the control yoke tube was found on the cabin floor about five inches from the ball joint. The bolt end had a hole for a cotter pin, but no cotter pin was located. The aeroplane had accumulated 24 hours since inspection when the flight controls had last been disturbed.
A Cirrus SR-22 was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain after the CAPS was deployed near Kennesaw, Georgia. The private pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. During the descent from 17,500ft amsl, as the aeroplane was passing through about 7,500ft amsl, the pilot felt a jolt from the engine and subsequently received a low oil pressure alert. The pilot diverted to a closer airport and continued the descent. When the aeroplane was about 2,000ft amsl, the pilot felt additional jolts and observed sparks emanating from the engine cowling area. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost total power. With no clear landing area available in nighttime conditions over an urban area, he activated the CAPS and the aeroplane impacted trees and terrain with the parachute deployed. The aeroplane came to rest upright and the fuselage, wings, and empennage sustained substantial damage. The engine crankcase at the Nos 6 cylinder displayed a fracture hole and the connecting rod had sheared from the upper crankshaft
“With no clear landing area at night over an urban area, the pilot used CAPS” bearing. There was no evidence that oil had sprayed along the fuselage or windscreen. The source of the interruption of oil circulation to the engine could not be determined.
A Cirrus SR22 aeroplane was ditched into the Atlantic about 25 miles south-east of Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. The private pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The aeroplane was not recovered and presumed substantially damaged. The pilot, who owned the aircraft, reported that the yellow low oil engine
pressure light illuminated about two hours into the flight while at 8,000ft amsl. The analogue oil pressure gauge confirmed the low oil pressure reading of 25 psi. The oil pressure continued to drop and the pilot notified ATC of the situation. As the oil pressure dropped to two psi, the engine vibrated strongly and the propeller stopped. The pilot established the best glide speed and deployed the CAPS at 1,500ft above the water. The aircraft landed upright in the water. The life raft was inflated and the pilots egressed from the aircraft. They were rescued by a passing cruise ship two hours later.
Ayres’ Analysis I have not gone out of my way to filter these accidents unduly. They are a pretty representative crop from around the world of those involving use of some form of BRS. One of the stand out conclusions must surely be that there is seldom loss of life in such circumstances. Yes, serious injury can occur but even then it’s quite rare, mostly it’s just bumps and scrapes. It also appears that use of the system is rarely gratuitous although in a number of cases it can very much be a last ditch action and not always fully thought through. From my own experience, a decision to ‘pull the handle’ is not easy. It takes time to recognise that a situation is out of control and that serious injury could result if you don’t take immediate action. So difficult, in fact, that almost every monthly simulator exercise on fighter aircraft would result in an emergency requiring a decision on whether to use the escape system or not. The French inquiry was therefore right to discuss the pre-flight necessity of rehearsing the circumstances for use of the CAPS and the drills to be followed. And to say they apply equally to the non-piloting occupants. That said, there were certainly some occasions where better training would have eliminated the need to use a BRS although we should be careful drawing too many conclusions with hindsight. Faced with the reality of a situation, keeping a cool head and doing the right thing will always be a challenge. But, there are some circumstances where deploying the BRS is almost always the right choice. Over water, at night and over heavily wooded or built-up areas being such occasions. These are almost all circumstances when the outcome would have likely been considerably worse without BRS. Something to consider, perhaps, when selecting your aircraft type, if out of necessity (or choice!) you do a lot of this kind of flying. So, if as it appears, BRS is saving lives and reducing the risk of serious injury, why are we not seeing it appear on every new type? Perhaps there is something of a paradox here. The trend in making aircraft more compact, lighter, stronger and with lower stall speeds, arguably means there are fewer circumstances when using a BRS would make a significant difference. Also, for many of these aircraft, there tends to be less spare space available and certainly less surplus mass allowance. Perhaps adoption might be encouraged if there was a small additional allowance permitted for such systems, over and above the maximum take-off mass? After all, a BRS would comfortably mitigate the risks associated with the slight increase in mass and a lot more besides. Now, there’s a thought! Summer 2021 | FLYER | 51
Safety Accident Reports Murphy’s law... Steve Ayres summarises and comments on accident reports from around the world and looks at CAROL, the new incident search facility provided by the FAA…
Don’t assume… Cessna 172 N92036 Colchester, Illinois Injuries: One serious
The private pilot reported that he checked the fuel tanks prior to take-off. It was dark in the hangar when he used a wire to check the fuel level in the tanks. He was not wearing his glasses and he thought he had ‘an inch or so’ of fuel, which he thought was enough, and departed on a cross-country flight. During the flight, the engine ‘sputtered’ and lost power. The pilot turned the aeroplane towards the destination airport but lost airspeed, so he lowered the nose and conducted a forced landing into the trees. The fuel tanks were empty and there was no fuel odour anywhere at the accident scene. Comment While the old wartime adage ‘don’t assume, CHECK’ couldn’t be more appropriate than in this accident, sometimes it helps to think ‘what would happen if I assumed incorrectly…?’. Not quite so catchy, I agree, but the consequences of ‘assuming incorrectly’ are often too great to be ignored!
panel. They attempted to isolate the problem by operating the master switch gang bar, which switches off the battery and electrical generators, but this had no effect, so they declared a Mayday. The first officer tried to reach the fire extinguisher under his seat but found this to be difficult because of his shoulder straps. After landing, the crew evacuated the aircraft on the runway and the airport fire service attended, but the smoke stopped without intervention when the aircraft was shut down. The investigation concluded that the most likely scenario is that rainwater entered the cockpit through the storm window, which is above the CB panel. Comment This is a stark reminder that water can cause fires, as well as put them out – where electrics are concerned! Reflecting on how to isolate those electrical circuits is important too but as in this case your fire extinguisher may end up as your last line of defence – if you can get to it!
Stuck drain Piper PA-28 G-BZDA
Short circuit Beech B200 G-YVIP Bournemouth Airport, Dorset Injuries: None
The aircraft was on final approach to Bournemouth Airport in clear weather, at a height of about 1,200ft. Very shortly after selecting approach flap, the crew noticed a yellow glow and smoke coming from behind the commander’s circuit breaker (CB)
White Waltham, Berkshire Injuries: None
The accident flight was the fourth instructional flight of the day in G-BZDA for the instructor who was also the PIC. While his student undertook cockpit preparation, the instructor carried out a transit check in accordance with the PA-28 checklist. In addition to the transit check, he sampled fuel from both wing tank fuel drains and from the gascolator. During the after-start checks it was noted that
“The crew noticed a yellow glow and smoke coming from behind the panel” 52 | FLYER | Summer 2021
fuel pressure dropped when the fuel pump was turned off but stayed within the green range on the gauge, indicating to the instructor that the system was functioning satisfactorily. The engine parameters were in the normal range during the ‘before take-off’ power check. On the take-off roll the aircraft accelerated as expected but as G-BZDA climbed through 100ft its engine abruptly ran down. The instructor took control, lowered the nose and looked for a suitable landing area, while simultaneously transmitting a brief Mayday call. The engine then recovered to full power, so the instructor gently raised the nose to climb away. He had just started cancelling the Mayday when the engine ran down for a second time and stopped. With a railway line ahead, the instructor turned the aircraft hard left towards open ground and executed a forced landing. Although the nosewheel collapsed during the landing, the student and instructor were unhurt and able to vacate the aircraft without assistance. This accident resulted from the aircraft’s gascolator drain valve being inadvertently locked open after a fuel sample had been taken, causing partial fuel starvation and a loss of power when the aircraft was climbing shortly after take-off. The investigation found evidence dating back to 1975 that lockable gascolator drains were an identified hazard. Following this accident the CAA released a safety notice reminding owners and operators of this potential hazard for any aircraft fitted with lockable gascolator drains and recommending replacement with ‘suitable, non-locking alternatives.’ Comment I must confess to not having thought through the significance of a fuel drain sticking open downstream of the fuel selector valve. During a pre-flight inspection and with the fuel selected ‘off’ the gascolator will stop discharging fuel when emptied, only to start again when the fuel is selected back to ‘on’ during start. Now that’s a real ‘Murphy’!
,690 7 1 € T JUS IR/ME
Safety Accident Reports Spoil heap
“The left main landing gear struck the top of a 3.5 metre tall pile of gravel”
Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II G-BTRY Enstone Airfield, Oxfordshire Injuries: None
The pilot was returning to Enstone Airfield and, as the wind was light, he positioned the aircraft on a long final for Runway 08 to avoid landing into the setting sun. However, on hearing over the radio that Runway 26 was in use he repositioned for a landing in that direction. He found the glare of the setting sun distracting as he approached the runway, but he stated that he could see the airfield’s white brittle boundary fence and runway markings clearly enough to continue the approach. An instructor in an aircraft that was waiting to depart at the Runway 26 holding point stated that G-BTRY was very low on the final approach. The aircraft’s left main landing gear tyre struck the top of a 3.5 metre-tall light-coloured pile of gravel that was being stored on a disused section of the airfield, which was outside the airfield boundary fence. The gravel pile was on the runway extended centreline, about 120 metres from the runway threshold and formed an angle of 1.7° to the Runway 26 threshold, well below a normal approach path angle of 3°. The impact caused the left landing gear leg to detach from the aircraft. The instructor made a radio call to the pilot, informing him that he had lost his left landing gear leg and that he should go-around. The pilot diverted to Oxford Airport as it had better rescue and fire fighting equipment than Enstone. Shortly after touchdown at Oxford the aircraft left the runway’s paved surface to the left, coming to rest on the grass. Comment There is much to take away from this accident with something in it for all of us. Should the pilot have been more insistent about landing down sun? How close to obstacles do we really get on the approach? Not a problem with unobstructed approaches to licensed airfields, but when there’s hedges / fences… gravel heaps? If we even notice them are we actually confident about avoiding them? My schoolboy maths puts the clearance over the gravel heap as 2.6 metre on a ‘standard’ three degree glide slope. We can argue about eye-lines and aiming points etc, but that’s close in my book! Especially when your focus is on the touchdown point. 54 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Fatal omission Lockwood Aircam N123GN Hemet, California Injuries: One fatal
The pilot, who was also the owner / builder of the experimental amateurbuilt kit aeroplane, was conducting his first test flight in the aeroplane. On the morning of the accident, several of the pilot’s friends and acquaintances gathered to watch his first flight. A video showed that during take-off, as the aeroplane reached about 20ft agl, the left wing folded upward. The aeroplane immediately rolled left and impacted the ground. Examination of the aeroplane revealed that the forward and rear left-wing lift struts remained connected to the wing. At the bottom ends, however, the bolts were present and secured to the lift struts with washers and nuts, but had not been connected to the fuselage through the attachment fittings. One of two friends who assisted with the build was an aircraft mechanic, and he reported that the left wing had been removed and reinstalled several times during the build process due to ‘build
errors’. Each installation required the attachment hardware to be removed and reinstalled, which the pilot performed each time on his own. The mechanic reported that he periodically reminded the pilot to verify that the attachment hardware had been installed correctly, but he continued to find loose screws and nuts throughout the build process. The pilot likely attempted to install the lift struts on the fuselage after the wing’s last re-installation, but failed to ensure that the left-wing lift strut bolts passed through the fuselage attachment points at the attachment fittings. Comment Reducing the likelihood of this kind of accident is almost impossible where there is no final, independent check of critical items and, as a result, a fatal omission was carried airborne. The builder’s colleagues appeared to do their best to enshrine safe practices during the build process, apparently without success. And I suspect there was several occasions when the builder could have ‘taken a hint’ that he was not well-suited to his project but, in disregarding them, he ended up paying the ultimate price.
Safety kit NTSB aviation accident and incident safety database: CAROL Price Free | Details here
It won’t come as any great surprise to readers of this column that the USA is one of the major sources of material for safety incidents related to General Aviation. The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) publishes all notifiable incidents immediately and they can easily top 150 events in the summer months of normal times. This database had a major overhaul in September last year and the new front end meant it
was nearly impossible to find reports. Things have improved, though, and the new system, CAROL, is at last becoming more usable. Like most search facilities it takes a bit of getting used to but for those interested in researching incident types, rates, etc it is worth taking a look at the new system. You will probably want to use the ‘Advanced Search’ tab at the top and Apple users will need to avoid Safari as the browser (Chrome is fine).
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Saved by the Bell… Having survived cancer and climbed Everest, Jules Mountain took on another challenge, a transatlantic helicopter trip in a Bell 505 – raising money for charity in the process…
t was 2016 when I climbed Everest – it was a crazy stupid idea and I nearly died twice in the process (See Aftershock Everest, available on Amazon). But having been diagnosed with cancer several years earlier I promised myself that if I survived then I would make the most of every day… and Everest was a dream. But when I was having the five chemo drugs injected into my veins (one of them so harmful that the nurse had to wear a cloak, gown, gloves and face mask just to administer it), I could not even imagine walking down to the shops, let alone climbing Everest… Following the publication of Aftershock I was interviewed on Radio 5 Live, where I was asked, “Now that you have climbed Everest what’s next?” I replied that I was going to walk to the North Pole. It seemed like the obvious answer, so I said it. It’s a two-week hike and at any point, if you get into difficulty, they can heli-lift you out. And when you get to the North Pole they heli-lift you out anyway. But, to be honest my heart wasn’t in it. There really is no point in doing a challenge if you are not totally committed. Then, while I was sitting in a pub in Hertfordshire sipping a pint, one of my friends said to me that ‘there was a chap looking to bring a heli back from Canada and he’s going to strip it down, containerise it and rebuild it in the UK’. “What! Why not just fly it back?” The reasons were as follows: n It cannot fly 3,000 miles (its range is 300 miles) n It’s not made for it n It’s not pressurised n It does not have oxygen n It can fly for three hours max and the stretches across water are almost five hours so it does not have enough fuel n Nobody has done it before in a Bell 505, so it’s unproven. Suddenly the adrenalin was coursing through me – gosh that’s it. I knew from that moment that this was my next challenge! “Better to die trying
Opposite At Pangnirtung, Canada about to leave on one of the deadliest flights of my life Left An adventure needs a plan!
than never to have tried at all,” I thought to myself. Basically I would rather live a very full life and hope I make it to old age than sit in my wheelchair dribbling into my tea dreaming about all the things I wish I’d done. I only started flying three years ago, so this was going to be a monumental challenge… and it was. Added to that was the fact that I planned to do it in 2020 – and we all know what happened in 2020… Despite Covid-19, as well as all the other challenges the trip presented, it did go ahead and I was the first person to fly a Bell 505 helicopter transatlantic, and boy did it have some very scary moments. I’m now writing a book about the experience and all proceeds will go to my cancer charity, UCLH Haematology Cancer Care Charity. Below is an excerpt from the draft book of the flight, which details the journey between Canada and Greenland.
It’s funny, even when you’re in such a unique position, soaring over rolling clouds with crisp blue skies, somewhere very few people will be lucky enough to be, your mind can get stuck on the little details that could potentially go wrong. People don’t normally fly helicopters at 14,500ft. Summer 2021 | FLYER | 57
Above Two days of flying over pine trees in Northern Canada – wow this place is big and desolate Right In the hanger is Rekyjavik, Iceland being interviewed for a news bulletin Below More weather in Ammassallik – note the big bank of fog over the iceberg
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In the UK, most general aviation involves flying at around 2,000ft. You can see everything on the ground. You can see the houses, you can see the sheep, you can see the fields, you can see everything. But right now, I was right up in the Gods, and all I could see are clouds beneath me. I was whizzing along. I’m still thinking about the things that could go wrong and I am gasping for air – is hypoxia setting in? I shouldn’t be up at 14,500ft, but the clouds have forced me up here. It was a case of go under or over – and I chose over. Not just that, I’m thinking about all the other ways this serene scene could turn into the last thing I ever see, in the blink of an eye. Everything was so resolutely calm but there was always the potential for very real and immediate danger. I was acutely aware of that. Above the clouds looks magical, just like candy floss and all those other cliches, but I knew that was all a lie. It was -14°C – and those clouds could also be deadly. I was actually being trapped by them at this height. If I dropped into the clouds the windscreen would frost up immediately, the metal of the blades would attract moisture and as soon as it hit the blades it’d freeze on it, and ice / hoar frost would begin to build up. When ice builds up, the aircraft would become very unstable, very quickly. It would shudder like mad, then the blades would potentially fail, and I’d drop out of the sky like a stone! I was thinking about what it would be like to drop 14,500ft out of the sky… I’d have quite a few seconds to think about it before I hit the sea. God, what would I do? Would I jump out of the door, hoping that I could somehow survive the drop into the sea, all the while praying I didn’t hit an iceberg when I landed? Would I sit in the aircraft and hope to hell that when I crashed into the sea the impact didn’t kill me? From this height, it almost certainly would. I didn’t know what I’d do. I was now so committed – so committed – that there was effectively nothing I could do but ride it out. I was stuck above the cloud and if I went into the cloud for any reason, I’d be toast. If this machine failed now, if it ran out of fuel, if there was a problem with the pump, if that bloody fuse I’d been fretting over packed in, I’d be dead. There were so many tiny problems that could kill me immediately. In normal weather if the engine did pack in, you can take the power off, lower the collective, which disengages the engine, and then, with the upwards air through the blades, float down and steer – autorotation. But not if you go into freezing fog and ice builds up on the blades, making them unstable. They’d eventually rip themselves off. Once they’re out of balance, they’re not going to last long, it’s going to rip the driveshaft. The decision at the start of the day was whether to go under or go over the
cloud. Under was a 500ft corridor for 4.5 hours and the 500ft gap could close up at any time, so the decision was to go over. I was now totally committed and totally reliant on the aircraft. In many ways, I felt I was in more immediate danger than at any point when I had climbed Everest. Granted, in the death zone on the mountain there was very little chance of rescue if something went wrong – if you fell in a crevasse or something like that – but there was still a small chance of rescue. Here, I’m totally committed for five hours in a little glass bubble with a single engine. If anything goes wrong, I’ve got no way out. “Right,” I said to myself. “I think it’s time for a sandwich.” I dug about in my bag and pulled out a squashed sandwich. I had a flask of tea next to me, so I poured myself a cup and stuck some music on via the iPad. At least it was a bit of a distraction to help me forget the fact that my sphincter was twitching like a car suspension driving across a ploughed field… I sat there, looking out over the cloud, munching on a sandwich and trying to enjoy my cup of tea. It was a little moment of calm even though I had a perpetual knot in my stomach, among other places. I thought I’d better see if I could get hold of somebody, just let them know I’m not dead yet. I’d been flying for a couple of hours now and I’d meant to call ahead to my destination every 30 minutes to let them know I was OK. I’d been struggling with the satellite phone’s Bluetooth link-up off and on throughout the trip, which was making it tricky to get in touch, but it seemed like it had taken this opportunity to pack up entirely. I fiddled with the settings and picked up some static on my headset. Then it went again. Could I get the Bluetooth to work? No. It was just impossible. I took the thing out of the docking station, removed my headset from one ear, punched in the number for Sisimiut Airport and stuck the sat phone to my head. I yelled, “Hello? Can you hear me? Hello.” One thing about helicopters is that they’re pretty noisy. I was wearing a great set of Bose A20 noise-cancelling headphones, and you sort of forget how effective they are until you take them off and try to communicate in the heli without them. With the Bose A20 headset on you press a button and it’s like ‘zhuuum’ – everything closes, all the outside noise, the blades, the engine, all high frequency and low frequency stuff, it’s cut out. It really is mindblowingly good. But when the Bluetooth wasn’t working and you’re stuck wedging a sat phone to your ear, without the headphones, it’s a different noisy story. “November Five Zero Five Hotel here, can you hear me?,” I shouted into the phone. Very faintly, I could hear the far-off response, almost lost among the heli noises. I had no idea what it was saying. I continued to shout.
Left Flying over the Polar Ice cap, Greenland – one of my most amazing flying moments
It was ridiculous, like something out of a Monty Python sketch. I’ve got the thing glued to my ear but couldn’t hear a single thing the voice on the other end was saying. “I’m fine, I’m fine,” I shouted. “I’m on track, all good! I can’t hear you… I’ve got to go now.” I hung up, hoping they’d got the message. I’ve made contact, I thought, they know I’m still alive and that’s the main thing. It was frigging hopeless. I ploughed onwards. Not long afterward, a voice started coming through the headset. It sounded like comms from a commercial aeroplane, somewhere above me. I didn’t know if it was Greenland Air or something else, but I thought I could try radioing them and asking if they could relay a message to Sisimiut for me. “This is November Five Zero Five Hotel, come in,” I said. “Roger November Five Zero Five Hotel, I hear you,” a voice with a thick Greenland accent replied. I asked if they could relay my position to Sisimiut Airport and let them know I was making good progress and should be with them in a couple of hours. The commercial pilot was more than happy to use their more sophisticated comms systems to get the message across, and I relaxed a little knowing that Sisimiut wouldn’t be sounding the alarm – and assuming I’d crashed into the ocean. It was all looking good, the fuel pump was keeping my fuel topped up, my destination knew I was en route and I’d had a cup of tea. I was actually starting to enjoy myself. That was until … Beep. Beep. Beep. WARNING WARNING. Beep. Beep. Beep. “What the …,” I said out loud, startled. Beep. Beep. Beep. ECU DEGRADE. The incessant alarm cut like a knife – a piercing, shrieking noise. The clouds seemed to yawn in front of me, ready to cast me into the ocean to my death. I thought hard. It’s the electronic control unit, degrade isn’t good. This is a FADEC computer controlled helicopter system… This aircraft had more than 50 possible error messages, and I’ve got to remember them, in my head, all 50 of them. Summer 2021 | FLYER | 59
Above Beautiful Canada Right Being filmed from a Bell 407 by the Icelandic news crew – my ‘Tom Cruise’ moment… Below Greenland at Ammassalik village – east coast
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Geez, what is this one? Was I about to drop out of the sky? Beep. Beep. Beep. ECU DEGRADE. The aircraft continued to scream in my ears, crying out about the blinking ECU. “I think I’m OK,” I said to myself, the hair prickling on the back of my head. “If I fly carefully, fly straight and don’t make any violent movements, I should be OK. I think it sets itself to the last fuel setting it was in, so the fuel burn should be constant, so it just keeps pumping fuel in at the right rate.” I’m not sure I wholly convinced myself, but when the computer system that controls everything fails, the valves stop at the level they are at. What it could mean is that, when you come into land, you’re pumping in too much fuel. I was just thinking if I fly gently, fly carefully, keep going and get to Greenland, I could worry about how I put the heli down when I get there. The engine might over-rev when I try to land, as it would still be pumping fuel like mad, but in theory I could put it down without a disaster. ECU FAIL is a constant fuel flow so engine off landing, really, really bad. ECU DEGRADE is land as soon as practical, which won’t be for another two hours, and pray in those two hours it doesn’t become an ECU FAIL… I pressed the mute button to shut the ECU DEGRADE alarm. It stayed on the screen flashing in bright red to remind me that I might just be pushing my luck… I grabbed the packet of wine gums next to me. Whenever I got a bit nervous during the trip, I’d take to chewing wine gums. Right now, I was piling the wine gums in, and chewing like mad. Moving the headset mic down, chucking a wine gum in, mic back up again, chew, chew, chew. It was something to focus on other than the ECU DEGRADE. Twenty minutes passed and thankfully I was still airborne. I’d started to relax a little, easing up on the wine gums. However, my feet were getting really very cold now. The heli doesn’t offer much protection from the elements. It was only a thin single-layer plastic screen and between me and the -14°C freezing outside temperature. “Turn the heating on,” I said to myself. “Important to keep warm.” I reached and turned the heating knob. There was a massive crunch and the knob started spinning and spinning. All I could think was, ‘Holy sh*t, I’ve broken the heating knob as well now. Oh crap’. I had no idea if the heater had broken while it was set on defog or to heat on the feet. Consequently, this meant that now I’d no clue if I’m going to be able to demist the windscreen or if I’ll just have hot air pumping onto my feet for the rest of the journey. Keeping warm is important, but being able to see was the main priority, so I prayed it was
stuck on defog. Then before I knew it there was the sudden burst of Beep. Beep. Beep. COLD BATTERY, COLD BATTERY. Beep. Beep. Beep. The warning light blinked angrily on the screen. My mind was racing: Bl**dy hell, holy smoke. What now? The guts were really churning now. Bl**dy hell, this really was not good. I could feel the blood draining from my face… It was perfectly clear as to what was happening. The outside temperature was -14°C, the aircraft had never been pushed to these sorts of extremes before and it was really, really struggling. I didn’t even really know whether these aircraft are designed to fly at these temperatures for long periods. I was flying up there for around 4.5 hours. Normally, the heli was designed to fly for three hours, full stop, but with the TurtlePac fuel bladder, I could go for five hours. But it didn’t seem to me as if the heli had been built to fly at this temperature for this amount of time. It seemed like it was taking its toll, the computer system was basically shutting down ECU DEGRADE the heating knob was broken and I had a frozen battery. And I was running low on wine gums… could it get any worse? Beep. Beep. Beep, went the heli with another warning message, and again, Beep. Beep. Beep. All I could think was, oh crap, that’s it. I’m going to die now. I’m done, toast, heading for the drink. It was an odd experience, accepting fate, sort of like a weight off my shoulders… You’ve pushed it all your life, I thought to myself. You’ve really pushed it. You’re a cat with nine lives and you’ve already used up 10 of them. This is it, you’ve pushed it too far now. This was really stupid, I thought. I shouldn’t be doing this. I don’t even know why I’m doing it. Now I’ve overdone it and I’m going to die. What was it even for? Beep. Beep. Beep. BATTERY HEATING, BATTERY HEATING. Beep. Beep. Beep. What? Wait, what’s this? Oh yes, of course. The battery has a built-in heater, some sort of printed circuit board, and if the battery starts to get cold it warms it up, and it was really, really working. What a clever machine – well done Bell. I dared to breathe a little sigh of relief. It was a very, very smart bit of tech, something you don’t get in the old helicopters, nothing like it. The cold battery was dealt with, it was warming itself up. The battery wasn’t going to be the problem that killed me. I had no idea how long it was going to take to warm it up fully, but I was just praying for the battery not to fail. If it did fail, I’d lose all the electronics and up at 14,500ft at -14°C, I really just wanted everything to work. If all the electronics failed, this beautiful little Bell heli had a little standby unit with its own battery in it. It would keep working, but with limited
instruments of artificial horizon, altitude and speed. The bare minimum. Two little, tiny screens at the top of the dash. Jeepers, relying on those in these conditions would be tough, at this height with another two hours of flying, but much better than nothing and a nice design feature. Luckily, it looked like I wouldn’t have to do that, if the battery warming circuit did its job. I kept flying, there was really nothing else I could do. I was at the mercy of the elements, and of the heli. At least there were blue skies, and the sun was shining. Still, the only thing keeping me going, keeping me from panicking, was that I had a job to do that required my full attention. I had both feet going, both hands going, I was concentrating hard. Music pumping through the headset now, calming my frayed nerves. That was what I needed. The concentration it took to pilot the helicopter, to the job at hand, kept my mind off the fact that I could probably die at any minute. I am happy to say I made it into Sisimuit and the Bell 505 helicopter was indestructible and a fantastic machine to fly – it just kept going and going. For more on this adventure, wait for the book Heli-boy to come out. NB: Jules set up a JustGiving page for the transatlantic trip to raise funds for his cancer charity, the UCLH Cancer Care Charity. If you enjoyed this article and would like to make a donation, even £1 (if everybody donates £1 that’s £20,000 to the charity) please visit
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 61
The latest aviation kit, impartially tested and evaluated
Aviation Dry Sparkle HHHH
Starter kit £24. Refill (4x300ml) £31.99 | Manufacturer www.pooleys.com Left Starter pack comes with two microfibres, an applicator and 600ml of Dry Sparkle, enough to work your way through four to six aeroplanes Right top A mixture of insects, some fresh some not, and a bit of grease, oil and general grime Right A few minutes, and not a great deal of hard work later, and you have a shiny C180 (well, a bit of it)
t’s not that I don’t like cleaning aeroplanes, it’s just that it often ends up with cold water running down my arms when washing the underside of the wings or belly, and on colder days and at a strip with no easily available hot water, that falls quite short of the criteria for fun. Pooleys has recently joined forces with a cleaning company to produce something called Pooley’s Aviation Dry Sparkle, a product that claims to deliver a waterless (and almost effortless) wash. So with the temperature a very pleasant 20°C, I headed to the aeroplane to give it a try. Pooley’s is selling Aviation Dry Sparkle in two kits, a starter kit which at £24 comprises two microfibre cloths, one 300ml bottles of cleaner with a fine mist trigger diffuser and a 300ml refill, and a pure refill kit for £31.99 which comprises four 300ml refill bottles. The blurb on the bottle says that it’s biodegradable and non-hazardous, and that it’s suitable for use on ‘aircraft, glass, plastics and many other surfaces’. Other suggestions include to clean one area at a time, and to do so by misting
62 | FLYER | Summer 2021
some of the cleaner onto a microfibre cloth as well as a light misting on the surface to be cleaned… Folding one of the microfibre cloths in four, I give it a quick spray and do the same with the nose bowl on the C180. My first impression is that one or two trigger pulls go a long way. There’s a claim on the (300ml) bottle that it will clean about three aircraft if used lightly. I scoffed at this marketing line, but now I think it could well be right, assuming it’s used sparingly and maybe not on something the size of a C180. I apologise for not cleaning the entire aircraft three times to check…
But, back to the task in hand… the light misting on the aircraft is left to settle for maybe 20 or 30 seconds, and then wiped gently with the damp microfibre. This bit always worries me, and makes me think that I might just be using any dirt on the surface to mar the paint, but the claim that the combination of microfibre cloths and the waterless wash chemicals lifts the dirt away from the surface may actually be correct – I certainly couldn’t find any scratches or swirls. The next step is to gently buff the cleaned area with a clean microfibre (which I guess is why they give you two!). With the exception of a baked insect or Left Lots of nice reflections. If you are going to use this (or anything) on perspex, be very careful not to mark the surface by effectively scouring with dust and grit!
Laura Mayer Artwork HHHHH From £79 | Laura.Mayer789@gmail.com
two, the result is an impressively clean aircraft with no residue, no visible scratches and very little effort. As stated on the bottle, Dry Sparkle is good for plastic, but as the 180 doesn’t belong to me I refrained from testing it, particularly as aviation perspex is about as tough and scratch resistant as chocolate. Using a couple of pieces of scrap perspex I gave it a go and found no problems, so tentatively moved to the 180’s glass, taking extreme care to use a completely clean microfibre very, very gently… The result was equally impressive and the chocolate, sorry perspex, remained unmarked. So, that’s no more cold and wet weather arms for me. If it’s true that you can clean three aircraft with just 300ml, that puts the cost at £2.67 per aircraft, and if you only manage two per bottle, that’s still only £4, which in aircraft money barely moves the needle. IS
f, like me, you enjoy having aviation art and photography on your walls (for me, as much as my wife will allow), then you’re likely always on the lookout for something new. As viewers of the FLYER Livestream might have spotted, my warbirds calendar ( John Dibbs) has given way to a lovely canvas painting of our RV-6 from the studio of skilled artist Laura Mayer. I sent Laura a photo of the aircraft, which she drew, and then painted (in gouache and acrylic). I was amazed at her ability to capture detail like the mirrored chrome spinner and the reflections off the canopy. Laura is very good at sharing work-in-progress photos, and asking whether you’re happy with the current look or if you want anything altering. The progress shots helped me learn more about the work and planning that goes into artwork of this quality. Laura’s prices start from £79 and most of her work is done on canvas, of any size. All Laura needs is high resolution photos to work from (ideally without any Instagram filters!). I’m really pleased to have something unique and personal in the house and I’m already sifting through photos to find the next one to be painted. Oh, and John, if you read this – your calendar is still up – just on a different wall… JS Left The finished piece Below left The RV-6 being finished in Laura’s studio Below An Islander painting for another customer in mid-production
Verdict We like
Easy to use Safe and effective Pleasant aroma
We don’t like
Bottle states keep away from children, so how are they going to help clean the aircraft?
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 63
By Association Looking after General Aviation The UK’s flying associations at work
AOPA Action required By now many of you will have seen or even heard of the Government’s GA Roadmap. I am sure many of you will say it’s a good thing, as after all the government is clear in its words for the UK to be seen as the best place in the world for aviation, which starts with the grassroots. In the past there have been many studies and review documents – and I know, as I have taken part in most of them – and today they are sitting gathering dust. This document also supports the
network of airfields and sees them as a national asset. Under the banner of airfield protection the document makes references to supporting the strategic infrastructure network, which is pleasing to hear. It also references airspace reform. Today I am asking an open question to the government about its plan to help save Coventry Airport from closure. I believe that with the correct approach and with some innovative thinking it would be possible to maintain GA operations in the years ahead at Coventry, but this will
require a fresh approach. So, my challenge to the government today is to see if it is willing to back up with action what it says in words. Without airfields you do not need airspace, and without airspace you do not need airfields… Martin Robinson
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association www.aopa.co.uk
BMAA Looking to 600kg Despite the CAA’s failure with the introduction of the Cellma medical system, most of our microlight pilot members are getting safely back in the air enjoying flight time as summer approaches. Many are looking forward to the introduction of the revised definition of a microlight which will see the Maximum Take-Off Mass (MTOM) increase to 600kg for land aeroplanes and 650kg for aircraft that can operate off water. Although hoped for by the start of May 2021 it looks as if there will be at least a two-month delay to allow time for the
legal paperwork for the ANO definition to be completed. When the time comes, and 600kg is here, we have several non-UK manufacturers readying to bring their aircraft as readybuilt machines to these shores. Several have already started the manufacturer approval process with the help of the BMAA, and as soon as we have the final legal definition and agreed airworthiness build standards in place the BMAA will be helping with the initial certification process for these new microlights. After all, we are the Microlight Aircraft Association so it’s natural for these aircraft to be looked after by us.
In addition to new types, many existing microlights will be able to go through a fairly straightforward modification process, which will allow some increase in MTOM enabling a greater payload capacity which can be used for the larger pilot or passenger and of course more fuel. Hopefully, CAA (and God) willing, there will still be some summer left for the 600kg launch… Geoff Weighell
British Microlight Aircraft Association www.bmaa.org
Light Aircraft Association Looking forward to collaboration Thanks to all LAA members, as well as from the wider GA community, who responded to the CAA’s consultation on changes to delegated airworthiness organisation approvals. I’m informed that the CAA ‘inbox’ contained several hundred responses. As I wrote in an email to our members, the LAA has serious reservations about many of the changes proposed. It proposes the introduction of large swathes of regulation from the certified world, which will significantly increase bureaucracy and the cost of providing an airworthiness service with no commensurate improvement in the safety of our activities. In addition to the proposals themselves,
we expressed disquiet about how they were achieved. While this raised hackles in some quarters of the CAA, in subsequent meetings we’ve all acknowledged the importance of collaborative working. There is a mutual understanding of the CAA’s role as the UK independent safety regulator, but in the past all major changes to regulations have been achieved through a collaborative process which produces a result that is supported and respected by all. The original A8-26 approval was created via just such a working group consisting of the CAA, the LAA and the BMAA. In this case though, the CAA developed its proposals in isolation, without the collaborative process. Although some
minor changes were made as a result of subsequent representations, it is regrettable that the CAA decided to put its proposals out for public consultation without having sought a consensus, which meant that our differences had to be aired in public. The consultation closed on 27 May and the CAA has stated that after it has analysed the submissions the LAA will be invited, along with other key stakeholders, to discuss the findings and work on the final documents. We look forward to that, in the spirit of collaboration. Steve Slater Light Aircraft Association www.lightaircraftassociation.co.uk
Aviation associations Got something to say? You’re welcome to contribute to this page, email firstname.lastname@example.org 64 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Where will you be heading to this summer?
Time to enjoy the summertime… The days are longer, so it’s the perfect time to plan those long-distance touring trips!
t’s been great to see Club members, readers and livestream viewers getting out and pushing their own boundaries to visit new and interesting places. From Glenforsa and back in a day, to pizzas at Sandown – there’s so much variety in UK GA at the moment. FLYER Club members will have another opportunity to get out and about in July with the first Club fly-in to Sleap in Shropshire, plus there is also be a good excuse to visit Goodwood this summer… Stay tuned for more on that! All of this is a great reminder that while we’re struggling through difficulties like airfields closing and new medical systems being nearly impossible to use, the people involved in our hobby (yes, that’s YOU) are what will really make the UK the best place in the world for GA. In the process of arranging FREE landing vouchers for the magazine, we’ve spoken to
many airfields up and down the country. Most of them are finding their feet again and getting back to being fully operational, but many have still got some way to go because of the impact of the past year. Whether they are dealing with staff shortages or businesses closing, part of the solution will be us flying in and keeping them going. So, when you do drop into an airfield to use the vouchers, stop by the café, fill up with fuel or just share your experiences with other pilots, (don’t forget the ‘Pilot Notes’ button on SkyDemon!). To get a flavour for where other Club members have been visiting, just head to the next few pages – you’ll be in for a treat – and you might just get some inspiration!
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 65
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!
Mick Ward A real variety of types at Glenforsa!
David Taylor Early arrival at Glenforsa
Rory Auskerry taking his father-in-law for his first helicopter flight
Ian Corse Holiday weekend of aviation best moments, flying 3 ship formation over Loch Alsh, Kyle Reah in the background with two friends of 20 years who met because of these little aircraft
David Edes Freedom Aviation’s fleet at Easter Airfield
George Bayliss Bolkow Monsun fly-in at Sleap 66 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Mick Ward and friends at Glenforsa
Amir Aryanpour flying over Chesil Beach, aka ‘Deadman’s Bay’
Dave White flying over the gorgeous Wiltshire countryside Steve Randall testing his Chipmunk’s air conditioning system over the Californian desert
Ashleigh Carnell doing FAA CPL ME IR training in California
David Edes Oil rigs in Cromarty Firth
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 67
The FLYER Club
James heading to Sandown for pizza!
Nye Williams After a few years of dreaming, a daytrip to Glenforsa with my son Keir
Keir Williams flying over Ardalanish
James Phillips flying GA in Qatar
Rachel Ramsay Inspecting airliners at 68 | FLYER | Summer 2021
Stuart Roux landing at Lee-on-Solent
Craig Thomas flying at night – taken by his daughter
Nick Stone having an evening cuppa at Ringstead strip near Raunds
Nils Baker flying the rare C-175
Graeme Park taking off in his Kitfox 5 from Kingarth Airstrip. Taken by Paul Kiddell
Ben Chapman Glenforsa at midnight
George Bayliss cruising home after a Turweston lunch Derek Pake WEEVans at rest at Glenforsa
David Haines Flying down the Great Glen towards Stalker Castle en route to Glenforsa last weekend
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 71
Free Landings In association with
If you’re a member of The FLYER Club, click here for your personalised vouchers and save over £58 by claiming one FREE landing at each of these airfields valid from 15 July to 15 August 2021, although not at an aircraft’s home field. 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!
028 7082 5544 | www.causewayairfield.co.uk / www.av8r.org.uk Causeway Airfield was established in 2005 and is operated by Ulster Seaplane Association Ltd. Microlight, rotary and larger aircraft welcome. Fuel on request avgas /JetA1. Loan cans available if petrol needed. B&B, hotel restaurant nearby. Camping by arrangement. PPR. The main runway’s orientation is 34/16, with a second runway 11/29 under development. Club caravan on site, limited hangarage available. Non-radio aircraft also accepted.
Nearby attractions Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills distillery, the Carrick-aRede rope bridge and the beautiful North Antrim coast. PPR 07703 723097/02870 825544 Radio 135.480
01592 753792 | EGPJ | www.fifeairport.co.uk Fife (Glenrothes) is an unlicensed airfield with a hard 700x18m runway for daylight use, with limited overnight hangarage and the Tipsy Nipper bar/restaurant. Fife offers PPL training and trial lessons with experienced instructors. Visiting pilots should obtain a local noise abatement briefing. Fuel available onsite. Radio only, please. Please phone for PPR and to check local parachute ops.
Nearby attractions The glorious Highlands, with superb walking and climbing possibilities, are only 20 minutes away. PPR 01592 610436 Radio 130.455
Radio Accepts non-radio light aircraft, but PPR
70 | FLYER | Summer 2021
PPR Prior permission is required
Refreshments Including restaurants and cafes etc
Microlights are welcome
Fuel Aviation fuel available A avgas, UL UL91, M mogas
While you’re there When you visit these six airfields, why not show your support by enjoying a meal in the cafe or filling up with fuel? It’s good to support GA in the UK.
Free Landings are for FLYER Club member use only – click here to join!
07877 118280 | www.fishburnairfield.co.uk Fishburn is a pretty, unlicensed airfield with an 800m grass runway, three miles north of Durham Tees Valley CTR/CTA. Convenient for Durham and the university. Visiting pilots should join the circuit from the north. There’s NO deadside. Visitors welcome at any time. Avgas 100LL self service, pay at pump. Aviator Cafe open every day, 0900-1700, but check due to restrictions. Hangarage subject to availability. Microlights welcome.
Nearby attractions The picturesque village of Sedgefield, Hardwick Hall Country Park and Durham city itself. Radio 118.280
028 9181 3327 | EGAD | www.ulsterflyingclub.com Newtownards Airfield is the home of Ulster Flying Club which provides a range of aviation services, from trial lessons to PPL training, night ratings to IMC. The airfield is 20 minutes drive from Belfast city centre. Boasting three tarmac runways, the club recently celebrated 50 years of continued operation and hosts regular fly-ins and club events. There is also a thriving microlight community, a based helicopter operator, café and a warm welcome.
Nearby attractions include Strangford Lough, the Mourne Mountains, Belfast City and the Giant’s Causeway (North Antrim coast). PPR 02891 813327 Radio 128.300
01827 712706 | www.stokegoldingairfield.co.uk Stoke Golding Airfield, which is set in beautiful countryside on the Leicestershire-Warwickshire border, has been an active airfield since the 1960s. The airfield is in constant use by a variety of aircraft and is active most weekends during the flying season. All types of flying machine are welcome and the approaches are clear, flat and open, and the hedges are low at both thresholds. The airfield is unlicensed and PPR.
Nearby attractions The historic site of the Battle of Bosworth and its visitor centre, numerous walks, canal trips and an excellent pub. PPR 07774 225298 or via the form on the website Radio 129.830
07979 971301 | www.strathavenairfield.co.uk Strathaven Airfield is south of Glasgow and east of Prestwick, with three grass runways, the longest east-west at 530m. Home to a busy three-axis and weightshift microlight school, it has over 30 aircraft based in two modern, 10,000 sq ft hangars. Self-service drinks in the clubhouse. Since June 2015, Strathaven has operated as a not-for-profit company, run by volunteers, to promote GA and training in the area. www.facebook.com/StrathavenAirfield
Nearby attraction Strathaven Castle, the town’s Edwardian Park with its steam train rides, the Strathaven Ales brewery and Scotland’s oldest bakery, Taylor’s, founded in 1820. PPR 07979 971301 Radio 135.480
Win! A print or digital Pooleys UK Flight Guide QUESTION: What is the distance between Fishburn and Newtownards in nautical miles? To enter, post your answer, name, address and email details to Pooleys Summer Competition, FLYER magazine, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or send an email to email@example.com The closing date is 10 August 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 Causeway 2 Fife 3 Fishburn 4 Newtownards 5 Stoke Golding 6 Strathaven
2 6 1
The winner for June 2021 is: Nick Wright, Ambleside, Cumbria.
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 71
Make a date for YOUR Club Fly-in! Join the Club today and access all our great benefits – helping you to improve your flying…
FLYER Club members have got plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks! Including the inaugural FLYER Club Fly-in at Sleap on Saturday 3 July. We’ve also got exclusive video content coming with adventurer James Ketchell; a USAF pilot who races at Reno, and more. We recently spoke to Club member, YouTuber and CPL(H) holder Rory Auskerry (pictured) on the FLYER Livestream. Rory decided to fly from Leicester to his family home in the Orkney Islands with his wife in an R44. A fascinating trip with plenty of learning experiences for us all. Visit our YouTube channel to catch up – along with all the content we’re regularly uploading! Join the FLYER Club for FREE landings, discounts with pilot shops and lots more.
Join the Club – it makes sense 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
Adventurer James Ketchell will be giving FLYER Club members a full presentation covering his flight around the world in a gyrocopter.
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! 72 | FLYER | Summer 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 on 3 July (see above). We’ll be announcing details, plus more events, in 2021!
■ Back issues – there’s another FIVE years on the way with more to follow.
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Summer 2021 | FLYER | 73
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GROUNDSCHOOL Aeromedical Centre Initial Class 1 medicals (CAA) Renewal CAA & EASA Class 1 - 3 medicals Personal service with a quick turnaround for Class 1 & 2 renewals Initials and renewals of UK CAA Class 3 Medical Examination licences for Air Traffic Controllers Adjacent to Heathrow Airport, we have our own car-parking facilities, making it quick and easy to visit us EASA, FAA (USA), Australian (CASA), Canadian (CAME), Mauritian and KSA (GACA) medicals also undertaken Weekly House Padbury Oaks 583 Bath Road Longford Middlesex UB7 0EH
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by Linda Wheeler
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Aerodrome Manager, Sywell Aerodrome. The position of Aerodrome Manager at Sywell Aerodrome has become vacant on the impending retirement of the current Aerodrome Manager after 14 years in post. Sywell Aerodrome is a CAA licensed airfield with a FISO service and Cat 3 fire cover. Sywell is home to the Brooklands Flying School, Brooklands Engineering and Brooklands Executive Air Travel (a new venture), which form Sywell Aviation Ltd, part of the Sywell Aerodrome Group. The successful applicant will hold a current FISO licence with an up to date knowledge & understanding of CAA procedures & CAPs and previous management experience. Salary will be dependent on experience and level of responsibility.
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NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE
Summer 2021 | FLYER | 75
For the funny, the weird, the wonderful and the just plane strange…
Margrit completes 900th transatlantic ferry flight Legendary ferry pilot Margrit Waltz, 64, completed her 900th transatlantic crossing in May, flying a TBM 940 from the Daher factory in Tarbes, France to Muncie, Indiana, USA via her usual route: Wick (Scotland), Keflavik (Iceland), Goose Bay (Canada) and Bangor (Maine, USA). The trip took three days with 15 hours 38 minutes in the air. Margrit is well-known to air traffic controllers en route. “I’m around these people more often than my own family,” she told FLYER contributor Jean-Marie Urlacher. “Robin and Brian in Glasgow, Chris, David or Jens in Keflavik, Peter and Junia in Greenland… makes me think I need to wish Eris, my mechanic based in Sept-Îles (Seven Islands) in Canada, happy birthday. He turns 81 tomorrow.” Magrit started flying in gliders at 15, then learned to fly powered aircraft with an instructor in Germany who turned out to be the Luftwaffe’s highest scoring
Above Margrit about to depart the TBM factory at Tarbes, France Inset Enroute to the US! Margrit at the controls of a TBM 940
pilot in WWII, Erich Hartmann. “I was 17 years old and later I realised he was the greatest ace in the Luftwaffe,” explained Margrit. “He was humble, discreet and loved tight turns.” She flew her first ferry, a Rockwell Commander, across the Atlantic as a favour at the age of 20, then stepped in to ferry a Mooney just because she had done it before and was at the factory. Mission accomplished, other orders followed. “The pace has accelerated and I deliver about one
aeroplane per week from the USA to Europe or sometimes the other way.” Margrit met her husband at Scranton Airport in Pennsylvania. “We became friends but I made it clear to him that I will never marry someone who is not in aeronautics.” David took pilot training and the day he got his certificate, he asked Margrit to marry him. For 33 years they have worked together. David prepares Margrit’s trips, books her hotels, manages her schedule and paperwork, while she pilots.
Heroes & Villains HERO Peter Day for his determination and persistence in trying to persuade planning authorities to let him build Hangar Homes on an airfield. His latest attempt is back at Solent Airport but on the other side of the airfield with a new design. HERO On 10 June, RAF Cranwell pilot and
instructor Nigel Johnson, 47, will be attempting a triathlon from John O’Groats to Land’s End in support of Macmillan Cancer Support, after losing his mum to ovarian cancer. “The aim each day is to swim two miles, cycle 80 miles and run 18 miles. So, nine days, nine triathlons, 900 miles,” said Nigel, whose JustGiving page is here.
VOMIT-MAKER No villains in this issue, but a new dating website called Lusso for pilots succeeded in making us heave. Lusso’s PR says, “Lusso Dating allows its exclusive members the ability to find a partner based on premium pursuits.” It also claims to be the most expensive and exclusive dating site in the world and, at $1,000 a month, it probably is. If you fancy it, then you can join here
First F16A ‘Flying Falcon’ in private hands
American training provider Top Aces has become the first private company in the world to own and operate a fourthgeneration fighter aircraft, the Lockheed Martin 16A ‘Flying Falcon’. Top Aces describes its work as ‘advanced adversary training’ – what the US Air Force calls ‘Red Air’ – and it has a contract with the USAF for Indefinite Delivery/ Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ). We think that means ‘fill yer boots’. Top Aces took delivery of its first four F-16s in January. The company’s in-house maintenance team returned the aircraft to operational and airworthy status at its F-16 Centre of Excellence in Mesa, Arizona. The first of the F16As was certified by the FAA in May, successfully performing its initial test flight. More here
Travel by Seaglider
With all the fuss and money being thrown at electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) air taxis, other wacky projects are also being funded… such as the Seaglider from Boston-based Regent Craft. The Seaglider is allelectric and is being touted as a way of transporting passengers along coastal routes, flying 5 to 30ft off the surface. It’s claimed to have a range of 180 miles at speeds up to 180mph. Watch a video here
Send your QSY submissions to QSY, PO Box 4261, Melksham, SN12 9BN or to firstname.lastname@example.org 76 | FLYER | Summer 2021
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