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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Old Warden

Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden

I’ve spent most of my time this summer as a full time flying instructor. The risk is that you stick to the syllabus, fly only to a few nearby airports and almost forget what it’s like to go places. While I have made a couple of day trips in my TB20, today I had blocked out some time to fly with another club member (John) for a sociable landaway. Old

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Baltic Tour 10 of 10: return home via Groningen

Today was our last day and the weather again was still favourable for our trip home from Lübeck to Gloucester. I planned a stop in Groningen, Netherlands to clear border control and have our passports stamped. This is quite a friendly regional airport that has a permanent immigration and customs presence. We’d stop there for lunch in the café, which I checked was open until 1300 local, but did not

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Baltic Tour 9 of 10: Lübeck, Germany

Bydgoszcz to Lübeck The sunshine in Bydgoszcz wasn’t matched by the low cloud IFR reported at our planned destination of Lübeck, so we took full advantage of the 12 noon checkout at our hotel and delayed our departure to 1pm. I’d reviewed the route, checked the weather and NOTAMs, and expected this to be a fairly straightforward VFR flight. I filed my flight plan just before checking out. We took

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Baltic Tour Part 8 of 10: Bydgoszcz, Poland

For non-Polish speakers, it’s pronounced something like ‘Bid-Gosht’, and I hadn’t heard of the place before, but it was a pleasant surprise. Our original plan for today (conceived once we knew Visby was out of bounds) had been to land at Poznan and stay for one or two nights. The weather looked favourable. But once the cost became apparent, I decided to make a fuel stop at Bydgoszcz and then

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