Airborne again – Beach trip to Lee-on-Solent

The UK government has relaxed lockdown regulations in England which now permit solo flights optionally with members of your own household. Flight instruction is not allowed although a few commercial schools have found a workaround by locking down both instructor and students in their own household bubbles, sharing accommodation as well as training facilities, but all CPL/IR skill tests have been suspended. Engine Health Flights During the interim, AOPA UK

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Setting up Flight Simulator Scenery for your BATD

What quality and depth of scenery do you need when using a Flight Simulator for real-world flight training and currency? I’ve been investigating how to make use of X-Plane for my own currency as well as instructing at a club or flight school. I’m also adopting the term BATD (Basic Aviation Training Device) to distinguish my purpose from Flight Simulator more often associated with computer games, whether that’s the case

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Flight Simulator BATD for PPL and IR training

There is quite a difference between gaming, so-called “Simtertainement” and training. The former might want the widest screens, fantastic visual graphics and simple but easy control. The latter may only require a limited panel, but may benefit from more switches, buttons and knobs resembling the aircraft you will fly. A full physical mock-up of the cockpit, with full instrument panel layout, rudder pedals and yoke all would all seem to

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Flight simulators for PPL and IR flight instruction

During this period of enforced downtime, I’ve been researching the options and capabilities of flight simulators. I’m a believer that wider use of Flight Simulators in the right context should allow students to progress more efficiently and effectively – reducing the flight time/cost to gain a licence or rating, reducing the elapsed time because it can be done in all weathers, and perhaps even increasing the scope and range of

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How Coronavirus (COVID-19) affects UK private pilots

During the current crisis, there has been a stream of notices, advice and guidance from the CAA, EASA and pilot organisations. It can be difficult to filter out the specific issues that affect private pilots, i.e. those with PPL, LAPL etc. and also spot what’s missing. It’s very easy to mix these up with derogations for commercial pilots. The CAA has provided some exemption guidance in a simpler and easier

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Airprox Board Meeting as Observer

I got the chance to attend a monthly meeting of the UK Airprox board which I accepted. The board has offices and a permanent staff based at RAF Northolt in north east London. The meetings start at 9am promptly, so its either a very early start to drive there or staying overnight nearby. The meeting room was the size of a small dance hall, with about thirty seats laid out

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Raspberry Pi Kiosk with PIR activity detector

Subtitle: Automatic flight calendar display for flying club office Using a Raspberry Pi to display a webpage with current bookings onscreen but only when people are in the office. Knowing exactly which aircraft are booked and when they are next required is really helpful at a flying club. The calendar changes constantly depending on weather, technical problems and pilot/student availability. Many clubs, like ours, have an online booking system that

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End of Year Review 2019

VFR Cross-Channel Groundschool course dates for 2020 published. Book your tickets today! This year capitalised on my recently acquired instructor qualifications, ranging from first flights with potential new PPL pilots through Night Ratings, IMC Ratings to full Instrument Ratings. PPL instructing has generally been quite good fun, working with enthusiastic capable students who don’t seem to mind flying older PA28 aircraft. CB-IR courses have almost all been in the student’s

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Leeds East

Today’s flight was a VFR trip from Gloucester to Leeds East – what pilots call a $100 hamburger run – flown solo in my shared TB20 from Gloucester. Leeds East (EGCM) used to be RAF Church Fenton (EGXG), a busy wartime fighter base. For some years it was the Royal Navy’s Elementary Flying Training School, and from 1998 to 2003 became the RAF’s main Elementary Flight Training airfield. It’s about

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Class 1 Medical Examination

Having undergone the trauma of the EASA CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence) theory exams in order to become a Flight Instructor, it seemed to me to be a smaller step to complete the practical side of the course and attain a full CPL licence. While I am far too old to become an airline pilot, it could open other opportunities including CPL instruction and commercial aspects of General Aviation. To gain

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