End of Year Review 2018

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This year was definitely focussed on gaining my instructor qualifications, but other highlights included a club tour to Sweden and a long weekend to Scotland in CORB. I’m beginning to understand why so many instructors rarely fly more than 25 miles from base, and have resolved not to let that happen.

My training route towards instructing for the Instrument Rating required several steps:

You’ll read that I found much of the theory irrelevant for the purposes of teaching at PPL level. EASA seem to agree, and are seriously considering reducing the CPL exam theory requirements for instructors to alleviate a shortage. The practical instruction was all extremely useful and relevant – much of it was fun – and definitely increased my general piloting ability.

Instructing has generally been quite good fun, working with enthusiastic capable students who don’t seem to mind flying older PA28 aircraft. I’ve taught at least one intensive full-time PPL course over a few weeks and shared students with other instructors. I’ve tried to encourage landaways, including taking one PPL student to Le Touquet and also on a sunny daytrip round Compton Abbas and Lee-on-Solent. He still completed almost within minimum hours. It’s always a buzz when someone passes, and there are always learning points from every flight.

Instrument instruction has been less forthcoming, but my first CB-IR student now has his rating, with training latterly delayed by winter weather. I’m half way through my first IMC/IRR student where club policy is to focus on ILS and RNAV approaches rather than outdated NDB ones. (I did fly a couple with him just to illustrate the benefit with/without overlay GPS guidance.)

Our TB20 share, CORB, was out of action for most of the summer period, seriously limiting touring opportunities. However, we did manage a very enjoyable trip to Glenforsa, Aberdeen and Sywell in May. I’ve also flown airways daytrips  to Leeds/Bradford and to Antwerp in Belgium.

No holiday to the USA this year, but instead a five day tour in the club PA28 across to Germany, Denmark and Sweden. We covered quite a lot of ground (and countries) in a short period but did allow enough time to look around and explore our stopovers.

My objectives from the end of last year were:

1: Completing my instructor qualification

Done. I am now an EASA FI unrestricted for PPL, Night and IR instruction.

While PPL and the last 10 hours of an IR must be flown at an ATO, I can freelance and instruct for revalidations, renewals and even the IMC/IRR on an owner’s or shared aircraft.

2: Some longer trips into Europe

I was quite proud with getting to Sweden, but clearly didn’t manage to do quite so much in CORB this year as I’d hoped. Given how busy I was with instructing/training, perhaps that’s no bad thing.

3: Keep up with PBN developments

All IR pilots now have to gain a PBN (Performance Based Navigation) endorsement to fly airways and RNAV (GPS) approaches. This is typically done during the annual revalidation, as I did in May. The IR theory course and initial skill test now incorporate PBN and so my first IR student qualified with that included.

I have also attended a number of meetings with AOPA and PPL/IR to understand how this is progressing (or not) at both UK and European level.

Raw Statistics

  • Total Time: 885:45 PIC 705:00
  • This Year: 207:20 (of which 6:05 night, 16:00 in IMC)
    • PIC  183:40 (of which 139:55 instructing)
    • Dual 22:20 (FI and IRI course)
    • G-CORB 33:15
  • 180 flights (of which 8 IFR Airways flights, plus some IMC/IFR outside airways)
  • 4 different aircraft types
  • 3 logged European trips to France/Channel Islands (plus 5 day tour to Sweden, one weekend to Scotland and a few unlogged mentoring ones)
  • 25 new airfields (Total 187)

Next year’s wishlist:

1: More instruction!

Making the most of the qualifications I’ve got and consolidating my instructional techniques. I quite enjoy having a mix of ab-initio PPL through to the full Instrument Rating and am fortunate to be linked to three training organisations/clubs each with a different emphasis.

I don’t imagine I’ll be doing much more in the way of qualifications or training next year, but perhaps may participate in an Instructor Seminar. If I take one of these two-day events, I won’t need to pass an Assessment of Competence (ie practical skill test flight) with an examiner in order to revalidate my Instructor rating and will be good for six years.

2: Some longer trips into Europe

I was surprised to see that I’ve flown the TB20 so much this past year – it didn’t feel like I’d been very far. I’d hope to make one or two decent weekend trips, especially when the weather improves. Family commitments in Scotland and Newcastle beckon.

3: Keep up with PBN developments

Same again. I’ve put myself down for live trials of new low power ADS-B equipment which AOPA are co-ordinating and will report back on any practical developments.

A few photos from the year just past:

OnTrack Flight Instruction – Back Verandah

Flightradar track to Beccles – thought I was going to Norwich

Visiting Beccles – the most easterly airfield in the UK


Student lounge at Bristol Ground School, one of several UK CAA exam centres

Lille city centre

Some fine examples of combat aircraft at Elvington Museum, near York

Looks like a sand sculpture, but more durable

Daytrip to Le Touquet for a cross channel checkout

View of the hotel from the parking area

Glenforsa Hotel, Isle of Mull, Scotland – the one with its own airfield


Aviator Hotel, Sywell Airport, Peterborough

Bristol Aero Club PA-28, which we flew to Sweden and back in

V1 rocket close up

Pennemunde, North eastern Germany, home and museum of V1/V2 rocket development

Pop-up winebar in otherwise wasted urban space

Lively nightlife in Malmo, Sweden

A reasonable group size

Visit to Distress & Diversion Cell at NATS, Swanwick

Final Approach Fix – airfield in sight – 7 miles

One of many instrument approaches flown this year

Airbus Beluga

Beluga landing at Hawarden Airport, Chester UK

(used to transport Airbus parts between factories)

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