I’m an instrument rated private pilot (CPL) and instrument flight instructor (FI/IRI) based in the UK.
PPL and Night Rating
I learnt at Kemble (also known as Cotswold Airport), taking my first trial lesson in January 2010 and passing my skills test in October 2010 after 55 hours training. I added the Night Qualification at Gloucester Airport (Cotswold Aero Club) over the winter of 2010, and then joined RAF Lyneham Flying Club where I organised regular club flyouts and social meetings.
IMC Rating and building experience at clubs
After starting my IMC training at Lyneham, I completed the course and passed the test at Oxford in September 2011. The Lyneham club relocated to Kemble (EGBP) when the base closed in the summer of 2011, where it has its own office space and parking area.
From there, I flew the (very common) PA28 Arrow and Warrior – both four seater aircraft capable of about 130 and 100 knots respectively. With endurance of up to 5 hours, both can potentially reach most parts of the country and Northern France in a single hop. Being IFR equipped, these aircraft can be flown in cloud if needed (although not normally the preferred choice – it doesn’t have any de-icing equipment and it can get pretty bumpy/uncomfortable). I joined the Bristol Aero Club, which had also relocated to Kemble when Filton closed, where I qualified to fly both their PA28s and PS28 Cruiser. I was the committee member who co-ordinated the relocation of the Bristol Aero Club to Gloucester Airport in February 2017, where it has become very successfully established.
I have enjoyed several flying holidays in the US with club members and unrelated business trips, visiting New England, California, Texas, Las Vegas and Florida. This involved getting an FAA Airman Certificate issued on the basis of my EASA licence, adding a Seaplane Rating and later adding my Instrument Rating with just a ground exam.
Buying into an aircraft share
In July 2013, I bought a share in a Socata Trinidad TB20 based at Gloucester (EGBJ), completed differences training on it, and flew it on a tour to Germany with the family. This is a fully IFR equipped single engine aircraft, cruising at 140 knots with a range of 1000 miles at up to 20,000 feet (if oxygen carried) and fitted with the latest Garmin GTN650 avionics that allow auto-pilot coupled GPS and ILS approaches.
Instrument/Flight Instructor Ratings then Commercial Pilot Licence
I took the (old style) Instrument Rating course with Rate One Aviation, gaining the qualification in May 2014. A theory test in the USA in September added the IR to my FAA licence.
In January 2016 I completed a Class Rating Instructor course and passed the skills test with On-Track Aviation at Wellesbourne. In February 2018, I completed a practical Flight Instructor course (including for night ratings) while also taking 13 Commercial Pilot Licence theory exams. This allows me to instruct “ab-initio” – meaning anyone even with no flight experience at all, including the LAPL and PPL courses. After reaching 100 hours of instruction and 25 solo signoffs, I became unrestricted in August 2018. I then took the Instrument Rating Instructor course with On-Track in September so can now instruct for both IMC and IR ratings.
In November 2020 I completed a Commercial Pilot training course at Andrewsfield in Essex, and gained a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).
Full time flight instructor
Being self-employed, I have been able to be more flexible and devote more time towards my passion. Since 2000, I have become a full time flight instructor, working at several clubs and training organisations (DTO/ATO) as well as online via Zoom.
As of June 2023, I had flown over 2,300 hours total time of which more than 2,000 is PIC (Pilot in Command) and 1,300 as instructor.
I’ve found reading other people’s flying blogs really helpful. The idea of this blog is just to note down some of my trips and other learning experiences. If others can benefit from this too, then so much the better!
Your comments are very welcome
Opinions, views and recollection of events is entirely my own.
You can contact me by filling in your details below, and I’ll aim to get back to you within 24 hours.