Visit to Pilot’s Paradise, Florida

During my holiday and flying tour of Southern Florida, I popped in to visit Pilots Paradise – a flight school/FBO based in Sebastian run by British ex-pats. Carole and Tony work full time there and have expanded the business considerably in recent years. They have a fleet of six PA28s and two other aircraft, several instructors, maintenance and fuel facilities. The organisation is dual approved for FAA flight training (under

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Flying Fort Lauderdale via Okechobee to St Petersburg

Last day of our four day tour of Southern Florida, and it was going to be an interesting two hour flight back. To add interest, I planned to fly low level further up the east coastline before heading inland, and stop for lunch at Okechobee. This would involve talking directly to the tower controllers of several airports in quick succession: Pampano, Boca Raton then Palm Beach for what is termed

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Flying Key West past Miami to Fort Lauderdale

Surprisingly cloudy start to the day – I thought it was supposed to be wall-to-wall sunshine in Florida all year round. METAR reported overcast at 300 feet, with a TAF suggesting it might rise to 1500 (for VFR) around lunchtime. Reports from further north were better, but still in the range of 1500 to 2000 feet. A NOTAM check confirmed that the Presidential TFR which would have limited our tour

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Flying from Naples to Marathon and Key West

Today was highly anticipated to be the most exciting of the trip. We’d be flying over the Aligator swamps of the Everglades (one rogue student pilot was reportedly eaten), then over shark-infested waters across to the Keys. Just to add to the tension was a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) because the US Vice-President was visiting Key West – any aircraft not complying with the restrictions could be shot down. And

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Flying from St Petersburg to Naples Florida

Today’s plan was for a simple VFR flight from St Petersburg Albert Whitted airport (KSPG) to Naples (KAPF), the first leg of a four day South Florida tour with my wife in a rented Archer II. Pre-flight planning identified several NOTAMs for Naples, including that one of their two runways was closed, and that they had no radar so could only accept VFR arrivals. The weather suggested this shouldn’t be

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FAA Instrument Proficiency Check for a UK pilot

An Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC) isn’t legally required for an FAA instrument rated pilot provided that currency is maintained – you need to fly 6 approaches every six months, extended by another 6 months if you use a simulator or safety pilot to catch up. Regular pilots can do this for years without ever needing to be retrained or tested. Only if currency lapses, would you need an IPC with

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FAA Flight Review and Club Check

This year’s US flying holiday was a two week trip with my wife getting away from the cold British winter to the warmer sunshine of Florida. I’d arranged to rent a PA28 from St Petersburg (KSPG) for four days exclusive touring of Southern Florida, but first I’d need to be checked out by the flight school. Legally I wasn’t due an FAA Flight Review until the end of May, but

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Pembrey

Today’s flight was opportunistic. The TB20 had been booked by my co-owners who aren’t IMC rated and who didn’t want to fly in today’s weather (cloudbase 4000 feet at Gloucester but elsewhere around 2000 feet). Although cold (hence a low freezing level), the cloud layer was thin and I thought quite feasible to fly above it otherwise remain close to base. This was confirmed by pilots at the club who

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End of Year Review 2018

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: Passing 11 CPL Theory exams (I was

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Daytrip to Antwerp

Deciding on a Daytrip With so much of my flying time now spent instructing, I was still keen to fly my group share TB20 G-CORB somewhere. The flight profile of an instructor can often be limited to 25 miles from base, although I have managed a couple of cross-channel day trips with PPL pilots. Some of those taking my formal cross-channel groundschool later ask me to join them on their

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