Balkan Tour 2024 – Part 4 – Arad and Cluj, Romania

A very short and straightforward VFR flight today, crossing the border from Hungary to Arad in Romania. Now that both countries are in the Schengen area, border controls shouldn’t apply. However, this is a fairly recent development and applies only to airports at this stage. I was told that the border agencies do keep an eye on movements, and if they wanted to inspect our flight then they would already

Continue reading

Balkan Tour 2024 – Part 3 – Szeged, Hungary

Today we made a shorter one-hour flight across Hungary to Szeged. I had previously checked they would be open on May 1st bank holiday and that they had AVGAS. A NOTAM check the day before further clarified that the hard runway would be closed for a motorcycling competition, leaving the 1100m grass runway available. A flight plan is not necessary for internal flights in most countries but I thought it

Continue reading

Balkan Tour 2024 – Part 1 – Karlovy Vary

After our successful Baltic tour last year, I booked our TB20 aircraft share for a similar two week holiday with my wife again this year. Various directions were possible – Europe has so much to offer – and I sketched out a rough route through the Balkans including Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montegro and Croatia. These were all new countries for CORB, and me as a pilot, although I

Continue reading

Leeds East RNP Instrument Approach EGCM

After almost 10 years of Herculean effort, Leeds East and Sherburn-in-Elmet both had RNP approaches approved by the CAA in 2023. This was considered a significant new step because they are both first in the UK to gain approval despite having only Air/Ground radio service and no ATC approach control. Having flown many RNPs in many different countries, I was keen to try this out and see if there were

Continue reading

Air Ground Radio Operator Course Review (ROCC)

As an instructor, I’ve been training (and correcting) students how to talk on the radio for several years. More recently, I’ve run a couple of extensive FRTOL practical training courses online and held 1:1 online sessions via Zoom with students from other schools to prepare for their practical exam. Some have limited or no experience outside a grass strip with at most an air/ground service. Others have not been taught

Continue reading

End of Year Review 2023

This year seems to have followed a similar pattern to last. My time as a full time flight instructor is dominated by flight instruction as you would expect, at every level from one-off “trial lesson/air experience” up to to the full Instrument Rating. This is delivered in a variety of formats from in-aircraft, supervising solo flights on the ground, ground school, flight simulator sessions and remote coaching online. This last

Continue reading

Flight Instructor Revalidation

A UK flight instructor rating expires after three years. Assuming you are actively instructing, you can revalidate the first time by attending a two day refresher course. On each alternate expiry, you must revalidate through an Assessment of Competence with an examiner. These are not called Skill Tests or Check Rides, but effectively have the same outcome – if you are not up to standard, then you fail. Today it

Continue reading

AAIB Visit

The AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) is a unit of the UK Department of Transport that investigates civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the UK, its overseas territories and crown dependencies. Its purpose is to improve aviation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of air accidents and serious incidents, and promoting action to prevent reoccurrence. It has around 60 staff and is based next to Farnborough Airport, about

Continue reading

Belfast Aldergrove

August has been a very busy month with constant demand for flight instruction. Nonetheless, I was determined to take at least one flight in my shared TB20. My IR qualified friend Adam was keen to join me on an airways flight somewhere, and we settled on Belfast Aldergrove, staying nearby overnight. It’s the one large airport in Northern Ireland that I hadn’t yet visited and enabled a reasonable but not

Continue reading