Fern Fun Flying in the French Alps

In this issue :

Shaw's Report - .

Funding the Cheshire Flyers Club - a note from Ken Watt, Club Treasurer.

Club Night Report - Thanks to the guest speakers.

Coming up at next Club night


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

Find the Gap - Andrea Fern enjoys expanding her flying experience in France.

GOLF ECHO DELTA - Runway vacated - Mike Spiers remembers Garry Davies.

The Tale of Nicola and the Robin - Chapter 1 - Nicola Smith on choosing her aircraft

CAA publishes The Aviation Safety Review 2021

CAA releases a new Safety Sense Leaflet: Flight under VFR

The LAIT Report - Gordon Verity and Steve Dancaster report the latest in local infringements

DON'T MISS OUT - Diary dates at the end of this e-zine. These are now also on the 'What's On' calendar on the website.


Shaw's Report

Poor Ian is signed off sick for this month's Shaw's Report. He is too poorly and his flying is limited to the short distance between bed and bathroom. 😯

Ian will also have to miss club night tomorrow (other reasons) so no danger of any of you contracting anything from him. He hopes that everyone has a great evening and takes advantage of the opportunity to get to know other club members.

pp Ian Shaw 🤢

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Funding the Cheshire Flyers Club

Note from the Treasurer - Ken Watt

We announced in last month's Cheshire Flyer that we need to adjust the way in which we fund the club. We no longer ask for the small contribution on the door at club night, as some members may not attend very often in person. We instead ask for a small voluntary donation to club funds on an annual basis. Having analysed club income and expenditure over the last few years we calculated that a donation of £20 per year would satisfy the funding requirements, provided that enough members are prepared to do this. We are doing pretty well on this with around 53 members having made a donation so far.

For those that haven't yet and would like to make a donation, these can be paid directly into the club bank account:

Account Name: The Cheshire Flyers.

Sort code: 30-14-69.

Account No.: 00005253.

We hope we have your support in keeping the Cheshire Flyers the best flying club in the UK and look forward to your contribution.

Our progress on funding is shown in the thermometer graphic below.

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Club Night Report - September 26th, 2022

Thanks go to Graham Naismith and Luke Christophides who beamed into our club meeting and regaled us with their tale of 'derring-do', flying facts follow.

It was an interesting talk with some stunning photos of flying over some of the scenic terrain. You can read about their adventure in the August issue of Microlight Flyer.

I believe I counted around 18-20 people at the Market Tavern and maybe a smaller number on zoom. Thanks to Darren Elliston for organising the technical wizardry superbly; the webcam meant all those on zoom could see the room in the pub and so could the speakers. Ian, never more comfortable than with a microphone in hand, was audible to all, so everything worked seamlessly. Club business was discussed as usual which included shout-outs to the newly solo'd and GST passes as well as reference to safety matters that anyone wants to raise. It's always good to see friends in person as we didn't have a club night in August.


Coming up next Club Night - October 17th

Club night next Monday is hoped to be an especially social affair. It's a relatively rare occasion that we don’t have a guest speaker, so is an ideal opportunity for students, newcomers and veterans alike to chat and get to know one another. Particularly over lockdown, and despite the use of Zoom, many students and newcomers have felt somewhat isolated. We therefore urge all members to attend this club night and welcome the newbies to our excellent club.

There will be lots of interesting stuff, plans and achievements to discuss. Also planned is an informal discussion on practical R/T procedures; potentially a valuable and informative session for members new and old.

As this is an informal meeting without a guest speaker, there won’t be a Zoom connection; hence more reason to see you there.



Congratulations to Jason Barnett for his FIRST SOLO on 23rd September, 2022.

Congratulations to Kelvin Halden for his FIRST SOLO on 8th October, 2022.

Congratulations to Paul McEvoy for completing all his exams and his licence application. This was sent off on Monday 3rd October and he received his licence only 5 days later.

Brilliant service by the BMAA and without any biscuits involved I understand.

Congratulations to Ian Scragg who passed his GST on 14th October, 2022.

Well done all, onwards and upwards...!

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Cheshire Flyers ‘NAV Competition’ – 2022

The 30 November cut-off for the NAV competition is fast approaching... get your (new) airfields on record asap.

As at 12 October - here is how the count of 'new' airfields visited is shaping up....

So far, 16 pilots have visited 261 new airfields between them. That's new to each of them so the number of unique airfields visited by at least one Cheshire Flyer amounts to 143.

Get your entries in soon. The winner could become the proud possessor of a unique Cheshire Flyers prize T-shirt - like Milton Turner, seen below in full sartorial elegance in his Alphabet Airfields T-shirt at the Alpaca Field. Given how many 'new' airfields are being visited we may have to be even more imaginative on the design of the winner's prize this time.

Don't forget to put the Club Christmas Awards evening in your diaries - Monday December 19th. Your Committee is already starting to think about the venue and theme for the evening. More information will be available in November's Cheshire Flyer but for now - try to keep that evening free of other commitments.

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Andrea Fern has fabulous fun flying around the mountains of France

In August this year, after two years of training (including some Covid disruption) I qualified as a microlight pilot, flying out of Dairy House Farm with John Bradbury and Mark Atkinson as my legendary instructors.

My husband also flies and he had decided some time back that he wanted to undertake the Flying Instructor (R) course, choosing to do his training via a month long, intensive course at Gap-Tallard, France, with Marcus Dalgetty. Not wishing to be left behind I begged work for a month off so that I could accompany Graham and also fly in the French mountains, hoping for sunny weather, the opportunity to improve my knowledge, become a better pilot and, of course, get to know some mountains and how to fly in and around them.

We stayed in the picturesque village of Tallard, which has a 14th century chateau on the hill and cute, narrow, streets with lots of brightly painted doors and walls. We chose September, for its Bluebird (blue sky) days and a nice 27 degrees C. Gap-Tallard airfield is all but 4km from the village; just a pleasant stroll away from our accommodation. It is said to be the mecca for ULM or as we would call it Microlight sports flying. If you fancy parachute jumping this is also the place to go, with two schools occasionally dropping some of the most advanced parachutists I’ve seen. We weren’t disappointed; it definitely lived up to its reputation: with sun, light winds, and aircraft everywhere. We flew 24 days out of 28! Yes; you read that right!

The airfield sits at 2000ft AMSL. It’s a busy place with parachutists dropping and landing all day long; the parachute school Pilatus Porters and Cessna Caravans landing in the opposite direction to which everyone else takes off; multiple helicopters taking sightseeing trips every 15 minutes; gliders, autogyros and microlights or should I say ULM, all serviced by 6 runways – tarmac, grass and a small tarmac runway called the mini piste all facing the same directions (02/20). Mountains surround the field; the small ones are higher than Snowdon; if you fly north for about 15 minutes they tower above 10,000ft. Then there is me: a newly qualified girl who has only flown a C42 in and around Cheshire, which as we know is flat by comparison!

Before the time at Gap, I had been flying the C42 during training and I hadn’t flown anything else. So, my local familiarisation flight around Gap Tallard in a Skyranger NYNJA was entertaining to put it mildly.

I had to adapt my flying: the Skyranger airspeed indicator was in kph, now that threw me. The altimeter would be set to 2000 feet QNH and you fly the circuit on QNH at 3000 ft. The FISO mainly talks in French but speaks in English if you pipe up in English. The throttle is at the side of you whereas I was used to having one centred between my legs, trim is above your head, and not electric and there is a handbrake type lever for flaps on the floor not the roof. “Things are going well so far!” I think to myself. Then I am introduced to the need to use the rudder; yes that thing I was taught about, got lazy in the C42, and then forgot about. Consequently, I have now become proficient in stick & rudder flying! Over the time at Gap my feet have earned their dancing shoes and I found a rhythm for taking off, landing, turning, power change….oh everything, even top tip don’t forget the rudder.

I like to call the flying I did “hugging mountains”. Take off would be early, around 10:00 and we would be flying through the truly magnificent valleys so we could see what was going on with the wind and weather; we would see what updrafts we could find. I was learning about what to look out for when flying so close to ridges and mountains. To make use of free lift, the actions were ‘nose up, reduce power and the airspeed is increasing, a LIFE check and wow, we are at 8000 feet and the mountains are still with us; the terrain was so spectacular. There are some videos on the Pegasus France facebook page if you want to see what it’s like.

Then there were the little mountain strips. “Let’s go and land uphill”, Marcus kindly suggested. ‘Easy’ I thought, having flown in and out of DHF; no one mentioned the mountain on overshoot and also please can we land to the left to avoid the stones and rough ground. My horizons broadened! Now the next instruction, “Let’s do a short field take off and I would like to be off the ground by a certain point so we can avoid the patchy ground”. Me: “I will do my very best” and that I did. Just truly rewarding flying with Marcus; his guidance and instruction.

When you are asked, “What do you want to do today?” I say "I would like to do 500-feet circuits with simulated engine failures please." “Of course, you do… “

So; no surprises right. You take off, climbing away to 500 feet, then Marcus says “I have control”…straight into simulated engine failure, power to idle, into a crosswind leg, then turning right immediately and heading back to the airfield, then the words “You have control!”. Landing on the small mini piste runway, such a confidence boost to know what you can do.

Again, up to 500 feet, my turn this time, entering into the downwind, power to idle, I turn towards the airfield keeping the runway in sight by looking under the wing. I think I am a little high so I try a little sideslip in descending left turn and upon turning in I was too low. The hedges were getting too close for comfort. Full power for a go round and let’s try this again. Such great practice for learning how to manoeuvre safely when close to the ground and maintaining airspeed; also gaining an understanding of whether you are too high, too low or too far away to land in difficult terrain. As they say: keep calm, fly the plane, get your speed under control and make some small gentle adjustments to land.

I recommend that you have a look on SkyDemon or Google Earth and then tell me that you don’t want to fly over, land or take off from some of the places listed below:

  • Superdevoluy (the ‘Lord of the Rings’ archway),

  • Mont Dauphin,

  • Fort De Tournoux,

  • Aspres

  • Sisteron

  • Montmeilleur

  • Fly along the Serre-Poncon lake

And so on…