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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Post Maintenance Flight

The first flight after any significant maintenance always feels like it needs more careful attention. No matter how expert the aircraft engineers, the simple fact that the machine has been taken apart and reassembled introduces scope for issues to arise. These may not be directly related to any components worked on, and sometimes simply down to the age or lifetime of the equipment – our aircraft was built in 1991.

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A Snapshot of UK Instrument Approach Status

This review takes a snapshot view of the number, type and support for UK instrument approaches at civilian airports. It assesses the coverage of both documentation and database support, reviews the implications of EGNOS withdrawal and considers what pilots might lobby for. You’ll also find out which UK airport has the largest collection of published instrument-approach plates. Current instrument approach coverage The scope of this study covers UK civil airports

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Technical issue after take-off

I’ve encountered relatively few problems in my shared TB20 over the eight years since I bought a share, even the minor problem with I had with the gear a few years ago was quickly resolved. We had lost use of the aircraft since November when it went in for its Annual and had the gear actuators overhauled as planned – quite an expensive operation. I flew it back to base

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Propstrike due to helicopter downwash

Today was my first and hopefully last report to the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB). I was instructing at the Bristol Aero Club at Gloucester and taxied out for power checks for the third instructional flight of the day. While parked at the A2 hold, commencing power checks, a large EC135 helicopter hover taxied close behind us from Spot 5 towards the fuel pumps, tipping the aircraft significantly forward and

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Ramp check at Gloucester

Ramp checks are common in commercial aviation but relatively rare in the wider General Aviation world, so it was a surprise to see six CAA inspectors arrive by minibus at Gloucester Airport. I was instructing at the club and somehow managed to miss their attention, but they did check another co-owner of my shared TB20 and also one of the other instructors at the club. The team were courteous, polite

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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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Visit to Distress and Diversion at NATS Swanwick

John, one of the more proactive members of Bristol Aero Club, organised a visit to D&D (Distress and Diversion not dungeons and dragons) at NATS (National Air Traffic Services) in their Swanwick centre near Southampton. These are the controllers who answer the distress frequency 121.5 which is available to all aircraft throughout the UK airspace 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The centre also handles all commercial traffic in

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Bristol Aero Club moves to Gloucester

I’ve been pretty busy over the past three months helping Bristol Aero Club move from their previous home at Kemble across to new club facilities at Gloucestershire Airport. We had been operating from the grass for some time, and the committee had previously decided that this just wasn’t sustainable long term. Despite various attempts to arrange suitable hangar space, we hadn’t been very successful and when our hangar “landlord” closed

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PA46T JetProp

Quick whizz in a PA46T JetProp

When someone asked if I’d like a short local flight in a Piper PA46T JetProp, it didn’t take long to say yes. Paul owned a share in an N-Reg and would be visiting Gloucester for a meeting, offering to take us up and find out what it was like. I was joined by a couple of other friends who happened to be in Gloucester that day (getting their own aircraft

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