Sublime summer flying

In this issue :

Shaw's Report (... not) - our Chairman Ian is taking a much-deserved break.

Club Night Report - Thanks to Chris Bigg our guest speaker who gave us an interesting insight into his career and the Bristol Brabazon.

Achievements - Congratulations due.

Traumatic tyre - Dave Creedy recounts his experience of Llanbedr Airfield A & E.

Senior Mug - Mark Jealous, previously thwarted by COVID rules, presents to Ken Watt.

Alphabet airfields - competition closes at the end of this month - August 31st.

Flyers of the Third Age - Dave Creedy's light-hearted exposition on ageing flyers.

Top Ten Tips for TAFs - sound, if sobering, advice.

What is Gordon Verity not telling us?

TU in tyre trouble again - this time at home, another tyre collapse.

Darley Moor Curry Night - a great mid-week treat when the weather cooperates.

Tea at Le Touquet anyone? - it is confirmed that the French will allow microlights, NPPLs and 'self dec's' for flying in France again.

Check your rating is valid - Aaron Bliss at the BMAA informs on rating validations.

No need to be over-weight - At last, 600Kg microlights are legal.

Yes I can, Yes I can... - Sue Beesley on first flights after qualifying.

Alpaca Picnic Fest; 28th August - vintage car/bike and rock n'roll rally - Mike Gilman is hosting a fund-raiser for the East Cheshire Hospice; all welcome. Ends at 2100 for general public but CFers welcome to party til late. 😁

STIFI - at Stoke Golding - Capt. Braders agreed to publicise the fly-in to Cheshire Flyers as SG was very welcoming for a quick stop en route Old Warden recently.

Note the dates at the end of Cheshire Flyer; these are updated every issue. Alderney Fly-In for October announced.


Shaw's Report (.....not)

Our very busy Chairman is taking a well-deserved break from his Report-writing duties. He is on holiday in August but expecting to join FAF3 on 3rd September, wherever the weather takes everyone.

The news, however, still keeps on breaking - lots to know about in this issue of Cheshire Flyer.

Ian Shaw will be back Shawtly 😎


Club Night June 21st Report

Many thanks are due to Chris Bigg who talked to us about the Bristol Brabazon, illustrated with archive photos and his own, including some snippets about Concorde too. This was especially interesting for me (Editor) as my teenage years were spent not far from Bristol and I remember the pride and excitement, locally, over Concorde, and hearing the sonic boom.


Club Night Next - September

Don't forget that there is no club night in August. The next one is September, after the last official FAF of the year (FAF3 September 3-7) and also the 'not to Guernsey but somewhere else get away', around 11 September.



Well done to Phil Clarke who did his first microlighting solo on 2nd August, 2021.

Well done to Andrea Fern who completed her first solo on 14th August, 2021.

Also well done to Martin Hyde who passed his GST on August 22nd, 2021.

Many Congratulations all.

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Llanbedr A&E (Assistance and Excellence)

Dave Creedy describes his narrowly-avoided encounter with an expensive trip to the repair shop for EZZY 's spats or worse; a tyre trauma.

With my wife heading for the Tatton Park flower show, I was free to play. I was so excited to be going to HV that I forgot to call for fuel at my local garage and resorted to the gold-plated prices at Lymm services. My destination was Llanbedr, my first visit. I had already submitted the PPR form on t’internet and had accidentally paid the landing fee in advance. Non arrival was therefore not an option. After careful double-checking of the aircraft and listing the flight details on my knee pad, GEZZY lithely took to the air. An amicable chat with Hawarden for an overhead transit and onwards to the coast, around the usual clag. At the first sight of sea, my oil pressure gauge decided to taunt me with a merry dance, flicking to and fro before settling at full scale deflection. All other engine instruments were in range and the engine sounded sweet – as it invariably does with noise cancelling headphones. I elected to continue and sub-vocally rehearsed a pan call. A Basic Service from Valley kept the fast jets off my back and provided some comfort that most of the non-stop flow of traffic into Caernarfon knew where I was.

Short video clip of the over-excited oil pressure gauge

Soon a lone aircraft established contact with Llanbedr Information and started its descent over the sea to join downwind for 33. I was directed to the parking by the FISO. An inspection of the engine compartment showed nothing untoward. It was a lovely day for walking and I set off for Shell Island and the coast, continuing around the estuary and into Llanbedr. The sun was beating down mercilessly as I entered the metropolis anticipating a cold beer. A sign outside the hostelry announced that it was fully booked for all services. Muttering, I crossed the road to a small shop for ice cream and a drink.

After a cursory and inadequate pre-flight walk around, I mounted up and called for taxi. The runway surface felt very lumpy as I approached the hold. I called Information to notify a precautionary stop. A wheel rim virtually touching the tarmac greeted me mockingly. I called the Tower again and the controller told me that he would get help immediately – and he did.

A group spilled out of the nearest hangar and leapt into a truck. Soon I was surrounded by willing hands. I had a spare inner tube but needed to raise the wing. Worry not, said an official, and he darted off to return with a fork-lift. Wooden blocks and carpet were placed on the forks and I lay under the plane to guide it into position beneath the spar. With surgical precision, the driver lifted the wing, the spat was removed, the tube changed, the tyre inspected and the assembly inflated.

I stowed the spat and taxied back to the apron to sort myself out before flight. This time all went smoothly. A suspicious dark cloud was developing over Snowdon and hail and rain was being reported. To avoid unnecessary excitement, I headed south towards Barmouth before taking a north easterly track. My track just caught the edge of Hawarden’s RMZ so I dutifully squawked. SkyDemon showed Gordon’s and Steve’s planes entering the low-level corridor, returning from a monster flyout. I landed a few minutes behind them at HV. A few days later, I procured and fitted a replacement oil pressure sender and GEZZY was, once again, splendidly operational. I highly recommend Llanbedr as a destination airfield – lovely people, well worth a visit.

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Senior Mug

Ken Watt says thanks.

"Last night, [August 3rd, 2021] in the garden of the Military Arms, I was presented with the Senior Mug. The notes following were eloquently delivered in a speech by previous holder Mark Jealous and much appreciated by the gathered audience. Unfortunately they were not all Cheshire Flyers, but the members of the public in attendance did show their appreciation with loud applause at the end of the speech."

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Alphabet Airfields

Don't forget that the competition for the Cheshire Flyer with landings at airfields covering as much of the alphabet as possible, in their logbook, ends on August 31st, 2021.

Rules as follows:

1. The challenge commenced 1st September 2020 and closes 31st August 2021.

2. You are credited with the first letter of the ‘official’ name of the airfield name but can only use the airfield once.

3. The official name is as depicted on ‘official’ sources eg CAA Chart, Airfield Web Site, Pooleys/ AFE Guide. Where there are multiple combinations due to the airfield trying to get above their stations eg Barton Aerodrome, Manchester Barton, City Airport you can utilise the airfield for any of the letters ‘B’, ‘M’ or ‘C’ but the airfield can only be used once. You can therefore designate which letter you use. So Wolverhampton / Halfpenny Green could be either ‘W’ or ‘H’ – it’s up to you.

4. You can't temporarily rename your private unlisted airfield to 'Xylophone' or something.

5. For private unlisted airfields where there is ambiguity it is the airfields owner who would confirm the official name.

6. The handling pilot which (must be logged as P1 in their logbook) is credited with the letter which can be utilised either from a ‘take off’ or ‘landing’. For sharers one can fly in, the other can fly out and both claim.  Full stop landings only so no sneaky touch & go’s / swapping pilot mid runway.

7. The winner is that pilot who completes most of the alphabet.

8. The chairman’s decision is final – so it may well be possible to bribe your way to victory…

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Flyers of the Third Age

Dave Creedy light-heartedly urges fellow flyers to be mindful

We spend our formative and middle years chasing careers and raising families with little time or finance left for self-indulgent pastimes. Not surprisingly, therefore, private aviation is dominated by a skew of elder folk who have launched their offspring and are free to fritter away whatever funds remain. Some recognise that the low depreciation of many aircraft types makes purchase a low-risk venture and can justify spending the kid’s inheritance. Anyway, for whatever reason, there’s quite a few old gits flying light aircraft and younger pilots should not only respect their experience and contributions to flying, but also be prepared to politely assist.

As a Third Age Flyer (TAF) myself, I can chart some of the issues that arise. In common with many seniors, I am always right, argument is futile so don’t even try. Many bladders don’t age well; therefore, please let the elders land first, they will be desperate for the facilities. In particular, don’t expect them to fly much longer than ninety minutes without special arrangements (details redacted). Breaks for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea are essential. A short nap may also be a requirement sometime during the day - preferably while on the ground. An air-to-air call will generally suffice to jolt a dozing pilot from unintentionally heading across the Atlantic on autopilot. If you see a senior colleague merrily gadding along at 2,000 feet with flaps still dangling, a gentle reminder will help the pilot to understand the loss of performance. While on the subject of performance, the mile-high club is a serious challenge in any microlight and seniors are advised to undertake a ground-run before committing to the skies.

A momentary loss of concentration coupled with unnecessary haste can precipitate a senior moment on the ground. For example, having decided that the engine oil needed topping up. I quickly grabbed the first grey look-a-like oil container. The pink liquid didn’t look right. It was only a splash of antifreeze. Thankfully, ‘Hawksview Handling’ (Gordon and Steve) were soon on the scene to assist with a rapid oil change.

Post-its can be a useful mitigant for faculty fade 😂

Check lists are important for TAFs, not only in preparation for flight and subsequent stages of flight but also post flight. A checklist with large lettering on the hangar door will ensure that a tired TAF will arrive home still in possession of a mobile phone and total assurance that all switches have been turned off. You will all attain such a state one day so please look after the seniors and pave the way for your dotage.

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Ten Top Tips for TAFs (Third Age Flyers)

Editorial addition

I doubt that any of us Cheshire Flyers would want to define ourselves as 'elderly'; what exactly does that mean in terms of numbers anyway? Sixty is the 'new' forty after all. In all seriousness though, Dave Creedy's light-hearted, self-deprecatory, article is a reminder that inexorably age creeps up on us all and we need to acknowledge and mitigate the risks to ourselves, our passengers and our fellow airborne pilots, over the passage of time. We may not agree with all of the following but there are some good suggestions.

Here are some steps that you might take to keep flying safely into old age:

1. Fly frequently or not at all.

2. Physical health is crucial. Diet and exercise are all important here.

3. Note the gist of every instruction/clearance from Air Traffic before reading it back. When, two minutes later, you cannot recall what the precise altitude limitation was your note will tell you.

4. Fatigue is an increasing pitfall for the ageing pilot. Recognise that you cannot competently do as much you used to do five or ten years ago and limit your hours per day accordingly.

5. Cut out the more demanding sorts of flying – fly a simpler aircraft (after good type conversion training) – give up night flying and flying in marginal weather.

6. Use ATC and radar more. Accept that you are more prone to wander stupidly without a clearance into controlled airspace than you used to be. Get a Traffic Service and the extra protection from doing something stupid that this will provide. Failing that a Listening Squawk will be better than nothing.

7. Carry a Personal Collision Avoidance System (PCAS) or other electronic proximity warning device. Your eyesight is not as good as it was.

8. Get a noise cancelling headset. Your hearing is not what it was either.

9. Give yourself plenty of time for pre-flight work – NOTAMs, weather, performance, weight and balance, pre-flight checks and passenger briefings need to be considered without any time pressures. Avoid in flight decision making challenges by already having in place alternative plans to deal with eventualities such as adverse weather.

10. Consider flying with another pilot. In this way workload can be shared although it will be important that neither of you is ever uncertain as to who is the Pilot In Command at any time.

Extract from Foxbat Pilot, blog October 7, 2017; written by Peter Kelsey. Full article:

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What's Gordon not telling us?

Or Flight Radar 24 cannot be relied upon

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TU has tyre troubles again

Sharon Cox on Team TU's intrepid pre-flight fixing

We have read recently in CF of TU's puncture at Kirkbride and other Cheshire Flyers' need to be prepared for fixing things; we have also read Dave Creedy's account of his tyre failure at Llanbedr. This time it was again TU's turn to be in need of rapid repairs, not least since Ian was salivating over his potential Darley Moor curry.

Capt. Braders performed an exemplary landing at Dairy House suspecting a puncture of the port undercarriage tyre. On take-off the aircraft had suddenly veered to the left and been difficult to control but, as just about airborne, it was decided to press on back to Dairy House because there was no-one at all to assist at the remote departure airfield (Talybont).

Checking the undercarriage after landing, the wheel rim was pretty well on the ground but the spat was undamaged. So then rapid repairs ensued, with the noble assistance of Fred. Sharon was an unsatisfactory wing anchor as not heavy enough. Together Ian and John fitted a new inner tube and TU was good to go. Ian did get to go to the ball, or Darley Moor Curry Night as it is otherwise known.

John blames a duff manufacturing batch for two inner tube failures in quick succession

No need for a forklift, we had a Fred

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Darley Moor Curry Night

Sharon Cox - delighted to sample the food and in good company

Mark Hilton and the team at Darley Moor have reinstated the Wednesday curry night tradition, missing for the past few years. Some nights there is an additional treat of live music though not on the Wednesday past that I blagged a seat in Capt. Brader's QuikR. The Darley Moor event is a particularly good one for flexwings which, like moths, often come out in the evenings. Ian flew over in G-TU.

I can recommend the food - I practically licked the plate on which I received my Thai fish curry. There is also some very good ice cream on offer for dessert.

It was lovely to bump into Martyn and his wife Sue (though they were just embarking the aircraft to leave), Tony and Lesley Szczpanek, Steve Speake and Rob McManus. Hope to see more Cheshire Flyers making a habit of attending. For those that fancy a few beers it is possible to camp over.

Flocking flexies - a proper tongue-twister

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Tea at Le Touquet anyone?

Operation of non-Part 21 UK registered aircraft in France

The French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has agreed that UK-registered non-Part 21 aircraft (e.g. microlights, amateur built, historic*) may be flown VFR in French airspace, for periods not exceeding 28 consecutive days, by pilots holding valid UK-issued licences which include such privileges. This includes pilots holding a valid Pilot Medical Declaration.

*Annex I aircraft referred to in Article 2(3)-point (d), of UK Regulation (EU) 2018/1139

This agreement does not include operation of UK-registered Part 21 aircraft in France, for which a PPL with a valid Class 2 medical remains the minimum requirement.


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Check your rating

Important communication to Microlight Schools/clubs from Aaron Bliss

"If you have a SEP CRI (Single Engine Piston Class Rating Instructor) operating from your school/club (performing Microlight currency flights or similar) please make them aware that they do not have permission to revalidate Microlight ratings. They must hold either a current SEP examiner authority (with Microlight differences training completed) or a current Microlight examiner authority to be able to revalidate Microlight ratings, a CRI rating alone is not sufficient. If you know a pilot who has had their rating revalidated by anyone you suspect does not have the relevant authority, please put the pilot in touch with me [Aaron Bliss, BMAA] rather than turn a blind eye, as this could cause significant issues for the pilot should anything occur where they require an insurance claim for instance.


No need to be over-weight

At last, 600Kg microlights are legal

On 19 August 2021, the new 600kg Microlight classification has been incorporated into law.

Please see the full details in CAP2163: Reforming the microlight aeroplane category:Implementation and key decisions and on the CAA website.

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Yes I can, Yes I can...

Sue Beesley describes the joy of spreading her wings after qualifying

I’m gazing out of the window from my office at home, watching ominous, rain-laden clouds roll by on a brisk north-westerly. I had the plane booked out this afternoon but it’s definitely not flying weather. Ah, the frustrations of flying!

In my last article, back in November 2020, I had just flown my first solo in the C42 and was still reeling from the thrill of flying on my own. Since then we’ve had another soggy winter and two more lockdowns which stopped all training of course, but I have plugged away, slowly ticking through the long list of hurdles – exams, solo hours, navigation, RT and finally conversion to the Eurostar, and a month ago I finally received my unrestricted licence! I can now book my syndicate plane and take it flying whenever I want to – weather permitting….

Looking back, there were many times I wondered what I was learning for – would I ever really feel competent to fly on my own? Would I find a plane for sale with hangarage? Would an established syndicate take me on, as a novice pilot? Might I end up with a shiny new licence and nowhere to fly? In the end, it all came down to people – I joined Cheshire Flyers, plucked up the courage to chat on the WhatsApp page and shared my hopes with pilots who flew into DHF while I was training. I went to look at a C42 syndicate at Barton and nearly bought into that. I considered renting a plane by the hour from Nick Buckley at Ashcroft and that became my ‘Plan B’. But then a share in a Eurostar at Hawksview in Stretton came up, just five miles away from home. I went to meet Charlie and had a look round, knowing full well that while I was admiring their immaculately kept plane, I was being sized up as a potential syndicate member of their much-loved aircraft. There were other interested parties and that share went to someone else, but quite quickly another share came up in the same plane and I was in!

By then I had passed my GST in the C42 on a restricted licence so the next hurdle was conversion to the Eurostar. My first couple of training sessions with John Bradbury were pretty disastrous. All the main controls are in different places, not least the throttle and joystick in opposite hands and I found it hard to adjust, especially as we were flying from a different airstrip with an unfamiliar right-hand circuit over landmarks I didn’t recognise. For the first couple of lessons I occasionally moved the wrong hand, especially when concentrating hard on something else – like final approach. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get there and it was good to hear others talk about their conversion stories and understand that it was just a question of time at the controls. And they were right. In early June I flew solo in the Eurostar and completed my cross-country navigation exercises the following week. I took my RT exams with Kevin Edmunds while waiting for my licence to come back and that was it – training completed!

Sue in G-TZ, Hawksview

But, as every pilot knows, you pass the training and start learning to fly. The airstrip at Hawksview is lovely: long, largely flat, and unobstructed; but at one end you are almost in Manchester airspace and at the other you are in the middle of the Low Level Route between Manchester and Liverpool. There is no option to fly local and practice landings - circuits are banned. So it’s up and away, listening out on the radio as Easyjet and British Airways pilots are guided into Manchester Airport, carefully staying below 1200ft, watching out for other traffic in the corridor and making sure not to drift out of the four mile wide corridor. So far I’ve completed four flights on my own: two to the south over Cheshire, looping over Leek and Uttoxeter, across to Malpas and back via the familiar landmark of Beeston Castle and two to the north, out over the shimmering coastline near Ince.

In the air near Ince

I’ve spoken with Manchester ATC to get permission to enter their airspace to land on 26 at Hawksview and got it spot on 😀. I’ve also listened, with some amusement, as a Controller patiently explained to a GA pilot unfamiliar with the LLR how to navigate it correctly.

It’s a wonderful feeling to arrive at the airstrip, step into the hangar, and there she is, gleaming, waiting quietly in the dark. Winding up the large hangar door is hard labour – TZ makes me work for my fun. I move through the checks very carefully, printed checklist in hand, taking my time. Then I'm ready to start up and taxi to the end of the runway, turning to face west. I stop and call "Hawksview Traffic, Golf Charlie Foxtrot Tango Zulu taking off on Two Six." Invariably, I pause there for another minute while a little voice says "Are you sure, can you really do this?". I push the throttle in decisively and we are off, soaring over the hangars with Liverpool and the glinting Mersey estuary straight ahead of us before we swing left or right. ‘Yes, I can’ is the answer.

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Next Club Night 20th September, 2021