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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My first CB-IR Student

Having taught quite a few hours of PPL instruction, it was quite a contrast to be able to instruct for the CB-IR (Competency Based Instrument Rating). I’d known my first student for some time, having given him an RNAV/G1000 training session in the Redbird simulator and later mentored him on his first cross channel flight. Andrew has a share in a Turbo Arrow based at Bournemouth, so would need to

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Instrument Rating Instructor Course

This week saw the final step in my journey to become a qualified EASA IRI (Instrument Rating Instructor) – similar to an FAA CFII – which allows me to instruct pilots towards a full Instrument Rating as well as the UK IR(R). Over the past 18 months, I’ve passed 11 CPL Theory exams, undergone a six week practical training course and Assessment of Competence to become an EASA Flight Instructor,

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