Checking the altimeter 😉
In this issue :
Achievements - Congratulations due.
Time flies when you're having fun - Anna Langton, a chip off the old block.
Round Britain Rally Remembered - John Bradbury reminisces
Nothing stays the same forever - reminder on the LLR procedures
For aspiring cross - Channel pilots... - Royal Meteorological Society and GASCO webinar
History of IOW Aviation museum opens at Sandown - Dan's the man...
IMPORTANT! - Make a diary note of the 'official' Club tours (FAFs) for 2022 (at end of e-zine). These are now also on the 'What's On' calendar on the website.
There are some lovely heart-warming tales to indulge in below so my ‘grumpy old man’ rant over the newly red coloured low level corridor can serve to balance things out a little.
Visually ‘to me’ it looks like Manchester and/or Liverpool have claimed a big chunk of airspace, installed a barbed wire fence and stuck up a big sign saying ‘GA, Sod off’!
Mandatory squawk and being forced to listen out on the Manchester frequency was clearly just the start. I wouldn’t mind if they provided some sort of service but we get zip. I’ve had so many close contacts in the corridor, contacts that would have no doubt been apparent on radar.
If safety is the main aim then perhaps advance knowledge of an imminent mid-air collision might help?
I could go on, for example when inbound to Barton along the Low Level corridor approaching the ‘Thelwall funnel’ the safest course of action would be to listen out on Barton's frequency for reciprocal traffic entering the Low Level. However instead we are now forced to listen to Manchester – which is devoid of any useful GA information whatsoever.
What use to me is the knowledge that ‘Easy blah blah’ has 23 track miles to run?
When transiting North or South without the benefit of local knowledge of the area and procedures, I have no doubt that unfamiliar pilots might consider the path of least resistance to be a routing via the higher ground to the East of Manchester or out to sea to the West.
To my mind the latest Low Level revisions appear autocratic, ill-conceived and very GA unfriendly.
We get penalised if we don’t follow these new rules and, in my opinion, they add nothing to enhance GA safety, in fact just the opposite.
(PS these are the views of a grouchy Chairman and don’t necessarily reflect those of CF).
Swiftly moving on to more positive notes we’ve made a couple of changes to the Nav Competition which include amending the finish date to end November and a clarification of the 3 year rule.
We’ve also got a new club merchandise page about to launch imminently so that you can pre-order club clothing thus maintaining our position as the most stylish flying club on the planet. Details to follow…
Finally, someone, somewhere, mentioned it would be good to maintain a database of airfields including cafes or local hostelries to visit? I’ve long thought this would be a cracking tool to have at our disposal given the wealth of knowledge Cheshire Flyers have accumulated over the years – we need to document this. A topic for future discussion, any thoughts on how the information could be presented will be gratefully received.
Ian Shaw 😎
Club Night Report - March 21st, 2022
Whoop, whoop..... it was a real, physical meeting at the Market Tavern for March' club night.
Thanks to Graham Fern especially, for specifying the internet requirements and to the landlord of the Market Tavern for putting in the appropriate cables. We now have access to a private room with a large screen that zoom meetings can be shown on by projector. For the GASCO zoom webinar Graham ran the laptop and everything was very smooth from our end. Any technical hiccups were down to the GASCO guys running their presentation. Those attending were emailed with the certificate of attendance for their logbook. Perhaps not many surprises in the presentation for those that have seen similar run by GASCO in the past, but a good refresher nevertheless.
It was good to see various members of the club together in person, and beer was available (alongside alternative beverages of course).
Coming up at Club Night on April 25th, 2022
Good egg Graham Fern has volunteered to talk through the many roles of Military Support Helicopters, from low level to high mountains, peace time to operational missions. He comes with 3000 hours flying experience, over 12 years in the RAF, in operating helicopters. The presentation has a fair amount of interactivity and videos so it cannot be delivered effectively over zoom. There are also lots of great photos to see. Graham will deliver this in person at the Market Tavern. Not to be missed.
It will be a fascinating insight in to a different world of flying. Not microlighting but flying!
Congratulations to Dave Cahill on his first solo on 24th March, 2022.
and to Anthony Wareing for his first solo on 10th April, 2022.
And to Ian Scragg for his first solo, 14th April, 2022.
Well done guys - savour the triumph.
Cheshire Flyers ‘NAV Competition’ – 2022
Reminding you about Cheshire Flyers ‘New Airfields Visited’ (NAV) Challenge; note the revision from in the last 5 years down to 'in the last 3 years' and the shortening of the competition length to 9 months (up to 1 December 2022).
The idea is to visit as many ‘New’ (to you) Airfields during the 9 months period as you can; a new airfield is defined as one that you haven’t visited in the last 3 years before the competition started.
The winner is the pilot who bags the highest number of ‘new’ airfields flown to or from, between 1st March 2022 and 1st December 2022.
Rules are as follows:
The challenge commences 1st March 2022 and closes 1st December, 2022.
The handling pilot (must be logged as P1 or PUT in their logbook) is credited with the airfield which can be utilised either from a ‘take off’ or ‘landing’. For sharers, one can fly in, the other can fly out, and both can claim. Full stop landings only, so no sneaky touch & go’s / swapping pilot mid runway.
The airfield must not have been visited by the handling pilot within the 3 years preceding the start date of the competition to count - ie. not during the period from 1/3/19 to 28/2/22.
The winner is that pilot who gains most New Airfields Visited (hence the catchy title NAV Competition)
The chairman’s decision is final – so it may well be possible to bribe your way to victory…
Please log your entries as you go. Use this link and enter the details of your new airfield visited. http://www.cheshireflyers.com/nav
A summary of entries without identifying individuals (unless everyone clamours for full transparency) will continue to be included in future magazines to pep up the competition.
As at 23 April - here is how the competition is shaping up....
Ten pilots have visited 39 new airfields between them. The competition looks like it will be interesting: the two top ranked pilots have visited 8 new airfields each, the second in the list has visited 7. The remaining 7 flyers have notched up 1 to 6 each so far. So there are pilots vying with each other already. It would be good to see more pilots submitting entries. Allegedly there are over 100 members of Cheshire Flyers!
But it's early days... only April; summer, FAFs etc. coming up; and there are seven more months ahead of us until the competition ends, so plenty of opportunities to fly to some new (to you) fields.
I can't resist this photo - taken by Ian Mac with Daniel in the background. A new destination for both of them - Pilling Sands. If you have a good photo of a new airfield please send it in to inspire others.
New Airfields and Old friends
Renate Maddocks-Born enjoys flying with purpose
The sun is up, the sky is blue.
It's beautiful, and so are you.
Against the background of ever-increasing fuel prices and with a desire to make, albeit small, changes in favour of the environment, I decided at the beginning of this year to curb non-essential car journeys. This includes, wherever possible, undertaking the 100-mile round trip from my home to Sherburn-in-Elmet airfield only for longer flights with land-aways, instead of the regular, local, bimbles I used to make, especially in winter. With the arrival of warmer temperatures and glorious sunshine in late February and throughout March, I needed no further persuasion and enjoyed a number of trips to new destinations, mostly in sunny, blue skies, with the added benefit of honing my RT and airfield joining skills, as well as meeting up with friends and fellow pilots.
In late February I flew to Tatenhill in Staffordshire where I had arranged to meet a pilot friend for lunch. After an uneventful but enjoyable flight, I joined overhead for its very long, asphalt runway (RW26). My friend was already waiting for me and we received a very warm welcome, both in the air and on the ground. Current improvements are being made to some of the facilities on the former RAF airfield, including the café which is a little limited and crammed. Luckily, the weather was kind enough to allow us to sit outside for 2 hours for a good catch-up over a coffee and the cheapest cheese toastie ever at £1!
Holy Island - Eshott
I celebrated the first day of March by taking a friend and a picnic lunch on a flight along the East Coast to Holy Island. I asked for and received basic services from Leeming, Teesside and Newcastle, and further north we marvelled at the beauty of Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh and Lindisfarne Castles. It was a cold but gin clear day with fantastic visibility where you don’t want the journey to end but we turned over Holy Island and headed back home via a convenience and picnic stop at Eshott. The runways are not in the best state of repair and the very limited catering facilities, whilst the new café and outdoor seating area is still under construction, were compensated for by the warmest of Geordie welcomes and a log fire.
Turweston (EGBT) and Peterborough Conington (EGSF).
In 2017 we moved from Aynho, near Banbury, to North Yorkshire and still have many friends in the area. Also, I learned to fly with GoFlyOxford in Hinton-in-the-Hedges, 4 nm southwest of Turweston, and have many fond memories of flights in that part of the country. It seemed a good idea, therefore, to combine a flight to Turweston and around the local area with enjoying lunch and a catch-up with a friend at the café. The facilities at Turweston are superb, the staff are friendly and helpful. The café overlooks the runway and we enjoyed watching the comings and goings sitting on the café balcony in warm spring sunshine. Just a word of warning: the café gets very busy and it is recommended to book a table in advance.
On my return leg I decided to pop into Peterborough Conington for old time’s sake. The clubhouse facilities have been upgraded and improved and, given my mindset of reminiscing about my training days, it seemed an incredibly lucky coincidence that on arrival I should run into one of my instructors and a fellow student from GoFlyOxford who were just getting ready to leave.
I arranged to meet my Tatenhill lunch date at Beccles during mid-week towards the end of March. Over the previous week we had enjoyed a number of days of warm sunshine and high pressure. As I was planning my flight, I vaguely recalled a point made by Simon Keeling where he talked about the likelihood of haze, murk and possible inversions following a few days of warm weather with an easterly wind.
I was not surprised, therefore, to wake up the next day to a thick layer of fog which did not seem to shift during my drive to the airfield. I took my time getting the aircraft ready and whiled away some more over a coffee. There seemed to be very little activity at the airfield and, after a quick chat with the staff, who seemed to think it might be best to stay earthbound, I contacted my mate to learn that he had already taken off. I decided to do likewise and check on conditions from an airborne perspective with a view of returning back to base if the visibility was too poor.
I proceeded from Sherburn to Skegness, aided by services from Doncaster and Humberside, in conditions that weren’t exactly enjoyable but within VFR limits. I thought about turning back at Skegness but figured that I had come this far and, accordingly, might as well carry on. However, rather than a significant water crossing over The Wash, I opted for a longer flight following the coastline which was visible, rather than plunging into the indistinguishable grey fusion of water and horizon. A few miles out from Beccles the sky looked blue and, after a much delayed but safe landing, enjoyed exploring the rather unusual airfield with its many quirky buildings and excellent restaurant. The staff at Beccles have been amongst the most friendly and helpful I have ever met. During refuelling (just in case of further diversions) they told me that the airfield gets very busy, especially at the weekend, when free-fall parachuting takes place. It also offers overnight accommodation in what look to be very comfortable chalets.
The conditions for my return flight were slightly better and a more direct route across The Wash got me back to Sherburn in significantly less time.
I was extremely shocked and saddened to learn that the day following my flight, Beccles was the scene of a fatal accident and the airfield had to be closed for a couple of days. I was not surprised, however, to read the pilot notes on SkyDemon covering this period who praised the airfield staff for their kindness, generosity and care of pilots who were stuck at the airfield during the closure. I will definitely return!
Love letter to his plane and pastime
Lifted from a post on Facebook by Artyom Liss - I thought this was rather lovely - reproduced without the author's permission. 🤫
Here's an ode to farm strip aviating. Not to the flying as such, - no. Lots of people have sung its praises far better than I ever will.
No, I want to talk about the other stuff.
The early start, sustained purely by coffee and optimism. The complicated procedure of opening up the hangar, done carefully, making sure you stick to the routine: left door first, right door next. Not the other way round. Never.
The physical exercise of pushing and pulling the heavy doors which invariably get stuck.
And then, your plane greets you with that that lovely smell of aviation, the best smell I know. It's made up of a powerful cocktail of petrol, oil, freshly mown grass and expectation.
And so, the plane sits there, in its tiny hangar, looking up at the sky (because it's a taildragger, of course).
You greet it, stroke its propeller, touch its wings, remove its covers and protective streamers, - slowly, sensually, for you've no reason to rush, you have the whole day set aside just for the two of you.
You take the plane out into the open, and then you carefully inspect it, looking, one by one, at all its bolts, and pulleys, and cables, and rods, and wires, and bits of glass, metal and plastic.
Like a priest who has to go around his altar in a particular fashion, you navigate your aeroplane clockwise, - always clockwise, - now bowing to it, now standing up on your toes, now touching it, now just smiling at it.
You know it wants to fly. It knows you want to fly. But before you set off, there's a dance to do. And so, you dance.
You plug in the headset; you make sure that all the switches are as they should be; you open the fuel tap; and then you shout "clear prop", and suddenly the plane is alive. And you're alive with it, too.
And then, you're both off. A team, in which you're entirely dependent on your plane, trusting your life to it; and your plane is entirely dependent on you. I'm sure it, too, is trusting its life to you.
This is a relationship you'll never build with a rental Cessna from your local licenced aerodrome. That 180 pound an hour rental is a cheap (ahem) slut, happy to please whoever pays the bill.
But that slow, simple, rag and tube plane that sits in a rickety hangar at a ridiculously short farm strip - that plane is yours, and yours alone.
And so, as you return from the skies, you take just as much care putting it away as you did taking it out hours earlier. And you stroke its propeller goodbye. And you promise to see it again soon. You close the hangar doors, and it goes to sleep behind them, waiting for you to return, and dreaming of clouds.
April Sunny Sat Nav
Darren Elliston organised a fly-out to Netherthorpe
Lots of discussion on the club WhatsApp group around the weather forecast for the first Saturday of April but of course every pilot made their own decision on whether it was feasible for them. Cheshire pilots are widely dispersed and the weather conditions can differ between home airfields. In the end it was a good turnout of 5 aircraft, all from Hawksview, that made the trip to Netherthorpe: 3 Eurostars, 1 Eurofox and a GT450.
Gordon Verity posted a few photos on WhatsApp that follow:
[As Capt. Braders noted in a WhatsApp post - rather a distinct lack of visible CF logos! Not always by choice as some are 'late to the ordering party'. But.. soon there will be no excuse - you will be able to pre-order on the CF website. CF Merch may become mandatory like the LLR squawk😁. I suggest maybe the next item on the design list is somehow getting the logo on flex-wing flying suits? There's a challenge. Me - I'm waiting for 100% cotton tees to be available for the summer flyouts]
Queen Elizabeth visits the Mersey
Steve Grimshaw flies over the Navy's finest carrier.
I took off late in the afternoon on Saturday 25th March, from Hawksview, in my flex-wing with the intention of getting some aerial photos of the Queen Elizabeth which was visiting Liverpool over the weekend.
However as I approached the coast near Seaforth some long dark clouds developed, blocking out the sunshine. After a couple of orbits, and me about to give up on the light, the sun suddenly appeared again lighting up the carrier and city centre beautifully so I immediately called up Liverpool Radar who very obligingly gave me clearance and a radar controlled service from Seaforth to Pier Head.