Updated: Jul 20

The overtaking lane

Craig Fairman captures RKID passing by 😎

In this issue :

Shaw's Report - .

Club Night Report

Achievements - Congratulations due.

Cheshire Flyers ‘NAV Competition’ – 2022- the count so far.

What's 'Appened?

Brakeless in Bergerac - David Creedy and Gordon Verity on cooking in France.

Plan a Fly-pie - It's the way forward; Steve Grimshaw on the delights near Dairy House Farm.

FAF2 - Newbie Nicola Smith on Faffing fun and newfound friends.

Lundy Sunday Fly-in

Alpaca Picnic Fest

IMPORTANT SAFETY ADVICE - Aircraft performance during exceptionally hot weather

DON'T MISS OUT - Diary dates 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.


Shaw's Report

Firstly, a minor club concern – only 5 members attended club night last month. Not sure why – I had a life changing excuse, maybe others did too? It could possibly be a blip? It could even be because I wasn’t there? I’d like to think so, but I’m not that good – so I doubt it.

Following the COVID years, perhaps we’ve lost our club night rhythm? True we’ve been lacking in speakers but there is always lots of club stuff to talk about as well as people to meet old and new.

Remember its your club, and if club night is not meeting your needs then just shout. Let’s have some ideas and we can try a different format if necessary?

This Monday is going to be a hot one. Hopefully we can all do our best to join in the fun whilst drinking maximum qtys of whatever quenches our thirst. And - I’m reliably informed the club clothing will be ready for collection, so I’m hoping to bring it along with me. If you have ordered stuff make sure you come along and collect.

There are some great articles below. New member Nicola’s piece perfectly captures the thrill of joining in a club flyout. I’d also forgotten how much fun travelling through France can be after reading about Dave and Gordon’s French trip.

However all is not lost as we have the opportunity to relive some of that with our forthcoming FAF3 trip to Alderney. The Alderney Fly-in is over the weekend of 9th to 11th September and registration is now open – just google ‘Alderney Flying Club’ and click on the 2022 Fly-in Page to register. Put your home club as being ‘Cheshire Flyers’.

We generally reserve the 7th to 13th September (that’s Weds to Tues) in our diaries. We may not use all these dates but it gives us maximum chance of using any available weather window to get there. If you simply plan to leave on Friday 9th and return on Sunday 11th, I guarantee your chances of getting there and back will be less than 50%. We generally use the weather window the stretched dates afford us. Typically we will fly via Northern France and pop over the short crossing to Alderney at a convenient time to suit conditions. Its all great fun and I like to think a bit of a ‘rite of passage’ for Cheshire Flyers.

We can of course discuss all this and lots more tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing everyone and picking your brains on top marriage tips…

Ian Shaw 😎


Club Night Report - June 20th, 2022

Sadly only 5 stalwarts made the club meeting in June. Club night is the place to meet old friends and make new ones. It is important to attend when possible to keep the club alive. New members can meet long-standing members (note I didn't say 'old'); it's good to encourage and support students, help find a share in an aircraft or hangar space etc. etc. All sorts of stuff to discuss and learn - not least, as Ian says - the next club tour to Alderney and beyond.

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Congratulations to Andrea Fern for passing her GST and sending off her licence application.

Well done, onwards and upwards...!

Congratulations to Daniel Langton who has succeeded in winning his GOLD Wings on the BMAA Wings scheme.

300 miles cross country (flight times and fuel estimates must be within 20% of pre-flight plan), Single Pilot Resource Management training, two safety, one educational and one flight skill achievement (conversion to fixed wing). Only 5 pilots in the UK have this award (as of July 2022).

Well done indeed - an impressive achievement.

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Cheshire Flyers ‘NAV Competition’ – 2022

As at 17 July - here is how the count of 'new' airfields visited is shaping up....

15 pilots have visited 180 new airfields between them. That's new to each of them so the number of unique airfields amounts to 99. Remember it's not the winning, it's the taking part that counts. It would be good to see some additional pilots submitting entries. It's as much about the interesting new airfields that club members visit, as how many one individual manages in total. If anyone wants to submit recommendations on strips they've visited please do send them to me (Editor).

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What's 'Appened?

Lot's of flying and other going's on have been reported on the Club WhatsApp groups: epic tour of Ireland for Charlie and Rob (hopefully you can read more details about that in a future Cheshire Flyer); a large number of flexwings flocked to Darley Moor for the Flexwing fly-in. That looks to have been a fantastic success, helped in no small part by perfect flexwing weather. Daniel and Anna Langton also took advantage of the balmy weather and flew to Llanbedr, returning over Snowdon. Meanwhile LeJOG was thwarted by poor weather as was a FAF to Orkney. But no-one is complaining about the alternative fly-out to Cornwall and the Scillies. FAF2 was superb - read Nicola's account further down.


Brakeless in Bergerac - a French Broiler

Dave Creedy and Gordon Verity on cooking in France and other adventures

Every year Gordon and I plan a special flying holiday for the ladies. The specification requires relatively short flying days and stopovers in pleasant hotels for sightseeing and gastronomic delights. Flexibility is important so we can respond to the vagaries of weather. Advance bookings are only made at hotels with last minute cancellation policies which, at present, are generally quite plentiful. During the trip we discovered that, in the areas we were travelling, we could wait until landing before booking as there was plenty of capacity.

To celebrate our post lockdown return to Europe, our first stop over the Channel was to be the all-time favourite of Le Touquet. Quiberon on the Atlantic coast was initially planned as the next overnight but the ultimate destination was Bergerac as we had booked a cottage at a HPB (Holiday Property Bond) for three nights and the cost was non-refundable. Bad weather in Brittany ruled out Quiberon and we became mission focused on getting to Bergerac and back, which proved much more challenging than we expected.

Destination France

The two aircraft departed early from Hawksview, destination Sywell. We had studiously followed the PPR procedure and obtained approval. It was quite windy and the corridor was bumpy but the air smoothed as we climbed. We landed at Sywell without a radio service and without causing chaos. The kiosk staff were very friendly as we settled our fuel bill and booked in. Tasty breakfast buns at the hotel prepared us for the day. We watched an aerobatic display while donning wet suit waistcoats (GEZZY crew only) and life jackets ready for the cross-channel hop.

The air was as rough as a bear’s bottom around Stansted where all GA traffic is forced into a letter box only 1500ft high. Listening squawks meant we didn’t have to speak to anyone and could concentrate on piloting and missing other planes. Gordon had all the fun on this leg when his aircraft experienced an instantaneous loss of lift and dropped with a bang. Luggage toppled, Gordon’s head slammed into the canopy and Karen wished she wasn’t there. Various theories were postulated. A helicopter flying below perhaps or an illicit gas venting site. I think it was some special British air - the reason why our aircraft have to be approved for flight irrespective of European mainland acceptance.

A hazy French shore was visible from Folkestone routing for Cap Gris Nez. Landing at Le Touquet was by traffic calls in French only as ATC was not manned. A refreshing feature of France is that airfields can be used without any hassle outside of ATC hours. We were warned of severe turbulence on the approach by another pilot but it was not too bad. The aircraft were tied down on the grass after uploading some very expensive Avgas from the tanker. A longer walk than necessary took us to our B&B hotel. A taxi ride to our usual haunts near the Red Fox landed us in a heaving street where we enjoyed beer and food followed by a stroll on the beach boardwalks. A lovely evening would have augured well for the next day of flying had we not chosen to go so far south.

Le Weekend

On the following day, we walked back to the airfield by a more direct route than the inward journey. We made a general nuisance of ourselves by passing in and out of the customs and immigration kiosks a few times but the officials were kind and understanding. The tower was awake and we departed into the inevitable headwind.

A hard runway at L’Aigle airfield led us to a welcome en route break. We were marshalled into a space on crowded grass parking having inadvertently gate-crashed a lunch break for a Normandy rally. Nevertheless, we were made very welcome and invited to share drinks and snacks prepared for the rallyists. A donation was made to club funds despite resistance from our hosts.

L'Aigle Aero Club Rally

Boiled Alive

We took off for Tours. The previously silky air had now been replaced by thermic cobblestones. The interior of the plane got warmer and warmer until we were sweltering at over 35 degC. The Ps and Ts remained steadfast within prescribed limits but we didn’t. I was finding it hard to concentrate and most of the water I crossly accepted, spilled over my lap.

Tours tower were contacted and instructed us to report at a VRP which Gordon, in front, couldn’t identify so he headed straight for the runway. The patient controller gave up and I was instructed to follow. We landed, refuelled and parked on a patch of grass after taxying over loose stones; we were later advised by a fellow flyer that we should have stopped and pushed the plane. What we ‘should have done’ became a regular epithet. In searing heat, 41 deg C, the luggage was unloaded and the tie down process started. My body decided to let go and collapsed from heat exhaustion. Karen was in a bad way too. In the cool GA reception, cold drinks aided recovery. Fuel paid for, we took a taxi to Hampton by Hilton, central to the old town and close to a popular restaurant and bar street. Highlights of a two-night stay, in addition to food and drink, were a shady river walk, splendid buildings, Le Petit Train on which we boiled while touring the sights and occasional showers with super-size spots of rain which drove us into agreeable coffee shops and bars.


GEZZY’s brakes seldom perform when needed, despite the lavish but ineffective care I afford them. They started to misbehave early into the mission but not badly enough to be a nuisance. However, they took exception to the extreme heat at Tours when one piston sank effortlessly onto its stop and the other felt like a soggy sponge. I’m used to brake problems and have developed various techniques which make them almost redundant. I warm up the engine on grass whenever possible to benefit from the additional friction and use gentle gradients and undulations on taxiways to hold when awaiting departure. The process of holding against propeller motion was helped by my new Ignitech ignition system which facilitates smooth rotation even at 1000rpm. Long tarmac runways allow plenty of time for full power application and, if necessary, a safe abort and rollout. I always try to pretend everything is perfect but my crew has learned to spot the signs - the furrowed brow, slow taxying, intense concentration and a prickly response to any allusion to a possible problem.

Bergerac or Bust

Having spent an enjoyable weekend in Tours, our plan was to continue southward to Bergerac. An airport taxi was booked but the sky was not looking too friendly. Bergerac was showing IMC but was forecasted to clear later. By the time we had found somebody to pay for landing and parking, the sky over Tours was brightening.

A loud bang from inside GEZZY at the hold awaiting clearance alerted the crew to a possible problem with the flap level. As a precaution, we requested a return to the apron. The controller directed us onto the runway to the next exit. Gordon asked to follow, permission was given but instead he backtracked down the taxiway. The flaps were exercised, examined externally and all was pronounced well. We finally departed, almost brakeless by now.

Darkening skies en route to Bergerac

It was my turn to lead. Cloud at around 1800ft barred our way. I announced to Gordon that I would look beneath but instead went on top. I thought he would see me on PilotAware, but I wasn’t visible. Soon we were both cruising above the clouds, peering through gaps at the ground. Our crew members were not entirely comfortable with the situation, albeit it being legal and safe. Gordon identified possible landing sites en route, which I had no intention of using as the weather was not going to go away. A nasty CB hovered in the distance to the left and a lesser rain cell to the right as we continued in fairly calm air above the fluffy carpet. We received a first-class radar service from firstly Limoges then Acquitaine information despite only requesting a Flight Information Service. At one stage I was advised of a safe avoidance height to miss oncoming traffic. Eventually, we were gifted a cloudless sky. Nearing Bergerac, the pilots were asked to report at November Whisky then establish for a long final to 09 to the west of the city; this we both managed. Ahead was a vast swathe of tarmac. Immediately on landing we taxied to the pumps to refuel, me quite slowly due to a near total absence of braking power. It’s good practice to try and refuel before parking as refuelling personnel are often difficult to find; we had neither a Total nor a BP card which would allow self-service. Apparently, these can now be obtained without having a French bank account.

Then started the parking saga. ATC told us to park wherever we wanted and the security guy said the same so we taxied onto an expansive grass area and prepared to tie the aircraft down. A despatcher, who was new to the job, arrived and said we couldn’t park there as we would be exposed to manoeuvring jets. We explained the need for grass for pegging down as the apron was unacceptable. A senior despatcher then arrived in his van. He understood our needs and drove me to a lovely patch of grass outside the Aeroclub and asked if that was satisfactory. It was perfect. With luggage unloaded and planes pegged out, we were let out of the airfield through the Aeroclub gate. The club building provided essential facilities including ice-cold drinks at a very modest price.


Relaxing in Constant

A pre-ordered hire car was collected at the airport and we set off for the supermarket for supplies. Exhausted from the stress of shopping, the navigator fell asleep and a 20-minute journey to the village of Constant became 50 minutes. We were approaching Perigeux before the dozy navigator decided to check the position using Google maps. To his dismay we were on the wrong road going to the wrong place.

Once installed at the HPB village of Constant we were able to relax for a few minutes before initiating a dispute over the moules frites dinner which we had booked, anticipating an alternative for the non-shell fish eaters in our party. The chef calmed matters down after the rude waiter had upset us and food was eventually produced to satisfy all.

Over the next two days we visited some delightful places. We learned something of the fascinating history of the area on a boat trip from Bergerac along the river Dordogne which once marked the edge of the English domains. Black kites were nesting in the trees along the river bank and majestic herons adorned the water edges.

Bergerac Old Town and the famous Cyrano de Bergerac

On the third day in the area, we decided to check if our aircraft were still where we left them. We arrived in torrential rain which was dousing the airport and our planes. We informed operations that we would be staying a little longer than planned. No problem came the response. On the same day we transferred to another two-bedroom cottage at Constant which fortuitously had become available. We had thought at one stage of flying to La Rochelle but the weather forecast was not encouraging.

Friday arrived and I persuaded the party that they needed to experience the underground world which the Dordogne is famous for. The show cave, Grotte du Grand Roc, was selected for our subterranean adventure. The realm of Hades into which we ventured was adorned with masses of magnificent natural decorations which we examined under the watchful gaze of a knowledgeable but grumpy guide.

Flyers go caving

At our cottage complex, there was a distinct lack of sun and sitting round the pool offered no attraction. However, there were some pleasant countryside walks with plentiful tree cover providing shelter from persistent showers. Competitive table top games amused us and we enjoyed some delightful restaurant meals.

The day before departure, we drove to Bergerac to refuel the car and to purchase provisions from the Supermarché for a grand, home-cooked, final dinner. Back at the village, Gordon and I downloaded, printed and signed a Sywell PPR form each, installed scanner software on the reception computer and transmitted the documents after sending GARs and obtaining the acceptance codes.

The Journey Home

Monday 27 June brought an early start. Gordon dropped the hire car off. I arranged for us to be checked through security. Our pilot’s licences were examined before we were allowed airside. The planes were uncovered, untied and inspected. We then needed to go out again for facilities and to pay landing and parking fees. After enquiring with a long-suffering lady in the airport reception, we found out where to pay. The sign was difficult to miss but we pilots had managed it. After settling the accounts with a lady that I had previously communicated with when seeking PPR, she gave us the code for the aeroclub gate. We returned airside without having to go through the security process. Could we have bypassed the security process if we had known the payment process earlier? If there is a next time, we will test the theory.

Once airborne, Gordon, unbeknown to me, was struggling with radio reception - possibly due to water ingress after days of rain. The problem seemed to evaporate once we left the Bergerac area. The flight northwards to Blois was very pleasant. I had emailed ahead and we were expected. The lady controller sacrificed her lunch break to guide us in. The refueller had already gone to lunch so we did too.

We took off for Le Touquet with tanks full of aviation gold into a maelstrom of thermic activity. We were looking forward to an excessively lively crosswind on arrival, if we made it that far. The lady crew members were not happy and we were finding stick wiggling quite a handful too as we were thrown around mercilessly. Descending, we found slightly calmer air at about 600 feet above the ground provided we skirted around forests and built areas. After persevering for a while and discussing early landing options we chose Chartres as our emergency divert. Gordon later pronounced the conditions the most severely thermic he had ever encountered.

Chartres aero club was most welcoming and refused to charge us as it was a weather divert. We selected a hotel, with the help of a well-known app, and a taxi was arranged to take us there. A superb galette restaurant brought smiles to the mentally and physically drained, thermic- embattled flyers.

A passport stamp is essential on the way out if you ever plan to visit France again and we discussed various options for the port of exit. Calais is cheaper to land at than Le Touquet, it offered an in to wind runway but immigration need notice and there was no guarantee that we could refuel. We also considered an intermediate stop at Abbeville anticipating lower cost fuel. In the end we decided that Le Touquet was the best all-in option as we should be able to refuel and complete exit formalities quickly and conveniently, all in the same place or so we thought.

Approach to Le Touquet from the south

We departed Chartres early morning for Le Touquet in silky air. On arrival, immigration and customs were there but the fuel wasn’t. The bowser had broken down and there was no plan B such as a Total card that could be used by the refueller at the pumps. The airport staff started to ring nearby airfields to arrange fuel for us but that would complicate our exit. As we had enough fuel, and reserves, for the short crossing we elected to enter the UK at Lydd after checking for fuel availability. We cancelled our GAR for Sywell, sent an email to be relayed to Border Force, after a phone call was rebuffed, to let them know we wouldn’t be arriving at Sywell and attempted to file a new GAR. The original GAR was by now active and SkyDemon wouldn’t let us file another. We each had, therefore, to open accounts on the UK government website to allow new GARs to be submitted. What a bureaucratic nightmare. After an expensive landing at Lydd and a total lack of interest in us by Border Force, with tanks replenished we headed for Sywell in very turbulent air. At Sywell, we hunkered down due to unflyable conditions further north. Our aircraft were pegged down facing the lovely retro hotel.

On the following day we returned to Hawksview without further drama having flown a distance of 1,267nm with a total flight time of 15.5h. Never again, said the ladies, but they always say that after an exciting holiday.

Le Difference

French hospitality was, as always, amazing. A big difference compared with previous visits is cost. Fuel was typically 3.30 to 3.50 euros per litre, landing fees were cheap everywhere but parking was expensive in Le Touquet (20 euros per night). Hotels prices had risen but we had rented a cottage in the Dordogne at a significantly lower cost. Car hire is very very expensive along with the rest of Europe. The French are suffering the same as us.

We didn’t notice any change in attitudes, documentation or general treatment as a result of Brexit. We found all airfields extremely helpful including Le Touquet which is expensive but so convenient with Douanes seemingly in attendance all the time so no notice is needed. We did not have to show any aircraft documentation other than pilots licenses to get airside at Bergerac. Once the passport was stamped at the port of entry and NHS Covid pass shown, we were free to travel anywhere in France. We had no ramp checks and no aircraft documentation checks. Our passports had to be stamped on the way out. The GAR coming back is a bit of a pain but that has always been the same with UK Border Force. Filing flightplans via SkyDemon is as easy as before.

Technical Matters

A few days after returning, Gordon and I reviewed technical issues encountered during the journey over a coffee at the Golden Arches. A minor episode with my flap lever at Tours disappeared after exercising the détente. Gordon’s radio scrambled communications when leaving Bergerac which he thought was a result of water seepage during the heavy rain. Gordon questioned the effectiveness of my PilotAware transmissions as he kept losing me from his SkyDemon screen. These issues were to be investigated and remedied. Gordon also cast an expert eye over my delinquent braking system and proposed an action plan to unequivocally rectify the recurring deficiency.

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Pie in the Sky

Steve Grimshaw recommends us to fly for pie.

As all microlight pilots know, an airfield café or nearby shop/pub where good food is available is often high on the agenda for deciding where to fly to – and rightly so.

Dairy House Farm (DHF) between Crewe and Nantwich is a lovely airfield which falls into the latter category.

Set in the beautiful Cheshire countryside in the small, quaint, village of Worleston, not only is DHF the home base of Captain Braders of Cheshire Flyers/Cheshire Microlight Centre fame, it is also blessed with the most wonderful homemade pie shop, plus a very smart looking pub – The Royal Oak - which serves food all day from 1200.

Both of these eating options are just a short stroll from the airfield- simply walk through the farmyard and turn left when you reach the road.

Besides the amazing choice of homemade pies, quiches and cakes, the shop (Hulse Village Bakery) also serves take-away breakfasts which can be consumed on the picnic tables outside. And if you fancy a sandwich, they make these up fresh to your specification.

On a recent visit to DHF from my home base at Hawksview we loaded up the Quik with as many pies as we could fit in, including a large quiche which had to be stored vertically on its edge.

I was fully expecting to find a mush of quiche in the bottom of the bag on landing but remarkably it survived intact and, what’s more, it tasted delicious – probably the best quiche I’ve ever had.

I can thoroughly recommend a fly-pie to DHF – you will not be disappointed ….. unless the pie shop is closed of course (NOTAM: shop closes 2pm Saturday and all day Sunday). Pub open though.

Just refer to the DHF information and circuit pattern in Skydemon (also soon to be added to AFE), noting and avoiding the noise sensitive areas. PPR via Capt Braders (07831 274201) is only required if it’s your first visit.

Avoid overhead joins, blind call Dairy House Traffic on 129.830; there are no landing fees but charity donations are welcome.

Enjoy the pies – they are to fly for.

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FAF2: All you have to do is fly with Cheshire Flyers

Newbie Nicola Smith revels in Faffing

A very brief introduction to me… I am newly qualified, flying N8203D (PA28) from Tatenhill and keen; the rest will become apparent as you get to know me. As I said: keen, so when Dave asked me if I wanted to join him on a flyout, FAF2 from 8th – 11th July because his resident co-pilot, Chairman Shaw was on honeymoon (great timing from my point of view) I jumped at the chance. But what was I letting myself into? what is a FAF? What would the Cheshire Flyers be like? Would I be able to reach the rudder pedals in RKID?

I had been informed that we would meet at Wellesbourne and would be staying in Bodmin for 2 nights with a flight to the Scilly Isles. Keen to impress, I prepared the flight from Tatenhill – Wellesbourne – Bodmin. A few early clouds delayed the pick-up at Tatenhill, but all was good, and we arrived at Wellesbourne in time to meet the FAF2 team. I’d virtually met Sharon but great to meet her in person. I was then introduced to Captain Braders who kindly offered, and I accepted, his cold toast; Ken Watt who was wondering whether wearing ‘cords’ on a scorching hot day, was the best choice; Steve Bettley, well what can I say – maybe more later, the lovely Red Baroness who really was my saviour; Bob Scott who carried around his own jerry can of fuel and Alan who also flies from Tatenhill.

As we sat chatting, I realised that I had totally missed the point of a FAF, it wasn’t about flying directly to the end destination, it was about enjoying the flight, visiting unknown (to me anyway) airfields, taking on the challenges of landing on short runways (especially for RKID), being part of a great team and, most of all, having fun, and it was certainly fun.

The first leg on route to Bodmin was Henstridge, although Bob and Alan took a diverted route to Compton Abbas. Being thankful that Captain Braders completed everyone’s PPR and planned the route, we marked up our chart, set SkyDemon, refuelled, and departed to Henstridge. Ignoring the fact that we landed downwind and needed to brake quite hard as a result of a fast landing on a short runway, we regrouped and enjoyed a cooling ice-cream. What a great day; sun, sky, a bit of planning and lots of laughter.

Next leg was to Bolt Head/Salcombe for afternoon tea; I felt a little more relaxed about this leg as I’ve been to Salcombe before and had many cream teas in small cafes along the way. But again, expectations were totally mismatched - after a successful landing by all and the chance to video a few of them because even though RKID took off last we arrived first – we walked across the field, down a track to have a self-service, honesty box, afternoon tea in a farm barn. Heading back to the aircraft, Captain Braders asked a very sensible question –“Do we have taxis booked to meet us at Bodmin”? Now getting into the swing of a FAF, my assumption ‘of course not’ was proven to be correct.

A couple of great landings, educating me on short field landings and Microlight capabilities

Final leg Bolt Head to Bodmin, another great flight. I swapped with Sharon and Captain Braders instructed me on how to fly TANGO UNIFORM. I’m beginning to get drawn to these smaller lighter aircraft (although I do need to buy some platform shoes to reach the rudder pedals).