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. So I’ve tried to simplify and clarify the key points below. This

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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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Peace Bridge, Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland

Next stop on my daytrip to Ireland was on the north coast. Derry was the first in the UK to be awarded European City of Culture in 2013, and continues to attract many tourists. It has a large natural harbour and has in the past been a strategic and busy shipping port for centuries. Admin Crossing an international boundary requires a flight plan (for which VFR using SkyDemon was very

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Weston Airport

Weston, Ireland

While instructing is very enjoyable and rewarding, sometimes you feel the need to fly somewhere new. I’d been to Le Touquet earlier in the week conducting a Cross Channel checkout for a new club member on what proved to be about the only good weather day for flying. Today’s weather also indicated heavy rain all down the east side of the country, but clear to the north and west. My

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First year of flight instruction

As my total flight time clocks over 1100 hours and my Unrestricted Flight Instructor rating enjoys its first anniversary, I thought it a good time to reflect on what its been like to have joined the ranks of Instructors. I’ve logged 360 hours of instruction to date. In 2016 I qualified as a CRI (Class Rating Instructor) and logged about 50 hours instruction in the two years thereafter. I championed

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Kortrijk, Belgium

The original plan for the weekend was to fly up to Aberdeen with my family to visit relatives. I’d planned to fly to Duxford to pickup my daughters and take them there in the TB20. What both I and my family have learnt is that with small aircraft, weather can often disrupt good intentions and you have to have a Plan B (and maybe also Plan C, D and E).

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