Can we begin to believe that flying freedoms beckon?
In this issue:
Shaw's Report - our Chairman Ian's suggestions for fly-outs and lots more besides
Dave Moore on Club Merchandise
Government updates on General Aviation restrictions removal timetable
Club Night Report
BMAA Briefs (not merchandise but guidance)
Gordon Verity alerts us to the CAA's Virtual Voyage webinars
Dave Creedy drones on (in a good way)
City Airport (Barton) revises its joining requirements
Infringement - this is not a lockdown lack of hairdressing - it needs to be avoided
Off comms? - BMAA and LAA explain what the recent Ofcom letter is about
Coming up at Club Night next Monday 15th March... our own Stewart Prentice will talk about anti-submarine warfare and his time operating electronics as part of an RAF Nimrod crew.
Gigha airfield is closing
CAA Skyway Code new edition available
Dr Mark Nicol advises that CAA has changed the way it receives applications for Medicals
Not long now, 16 days and counting till RKID gets to flex its little wings. That said, rumour has it that Barton is closed on 29th and it’ll probably be raining the rest of the week.
Truth be told I’ve quite enjoyed not flying (bizarrely). It’s given me a bit of time to concentrate on other ‘man cave’ type stuff, and the enforced break has delivered renewed energy to attack those flying goals I meant to do last year as well as the year before that etc. etc. …
So, it’s a good time to start making cunning plans, maybe try something a bit different? For example, how about a flight up to Scotland around the Summer Solstice ie June 20th? Sunrise is 04:14 and sunset is 22:22 on that day, technically we can fly till almost 11 pm. Maybe combine it with a Lands End to John O’Groats trip with a stopover at Easter Airfield near Inverness?
The Guernsey Air Rally is 10th – 12th September. Technically its Alderneys turn for CF to descend on - but nobody's counting. Not forgetting we are going to look so cool arriving en masse in our new gear!
And, of course, we have our FAF dates namely 21-25 May, 9-13 July, 3-7 Sept. Venues to be decided although I suspect the big issue this year will be finding accommodation.
Finally, at the risk of information overload I’ll avoid banging on about returning to flying safely: we’ve been treated to a GASCO ‘chat’, there is a wealth of material from various sources included below and I know – when the time comes – we’ll all do the right thing.
I would add though, it is worth doing a quick check to make sure your licence is in order. It’s far too complicated these days with the myriad of licence & medical options, so it’s important to decide which licence you are flying under - especially for those of us that took advantage of NPPL SEPs and LAPLs. Have you got a valid medical for that licence (‘self dec’, LAPL med’ etc.) and do you meet the minimum licence conditions ie hours flown, recency with an instructor etc? All very dull but important if (God forbid) you have a prang (or worse) and, upon receipt of your claim, the insurance company confirms ‘Sorry matey, your licence wasn’t valid for that flight’. Nobody wants to give those pesky insurers any more reasons not to pay up.
Looking forward to returning to some sense of normality and seeing you all ‘zoomed in’ on Monday.
Dave Moore's merchandise musing
Cheshire Flyers were excited,
Merchandise was near.😛
Virus stopped the easy movement,
How to get it here?🤔
Chairman hired a UAV, (quadcopter, helpful drone).
Programmed it to fly the stuff
To each C Flyer's home.😇
Software often has its bugs,
its unexpected glitches.😕
Lat and Long were somehow swapped,
some merch fell into ditches.😥
Other merch was lost in transit, none arrived as planned.
Chairman thought he'd better scarper, 😨
leave this sorry land.🛩️
Someone on their PC saw (Flight Radar Twenty Four)
RKID disappearing South,
Avoiding traffic call.🛩️
Merchandise can be replaced, but chairman, not so easy,☹️
Bring him back, it's all forgot,
And p'raps I'll buy a fleecy.😁
Coronavirus (COVID-19): General Aviation
Updated 12 March 2021 (addition - highlighted)
Roadmap out of lockdown
The government has announced its plans to ease lockdown restrictions.
This is a summary of what this will mean for general aviation.
Step 1 - from 29 March
People will no longer be required to stay at home.
This will allow the safe restart of GA flying for non-professional purposes for solo pilots, or individuals flying with a member of their household or bubble.
Training for professional pilots, or those in training to be professional pilots, will be able to continue.
Training for leisure or recreational purposes should not take place where rules around social distancing cannot be followed.
GA activities should take place in line with the wider restrictions. Travel should be minimised as far as possible.
Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April
Flight training for all pilots, and flights with an instructor, can resume.
GA businesses will be able to open following COVID-secure guidance, for example commercial balloon operators. The rules on social contact will apply in these settings. Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households, and no indoor mixing will be allowed.
GA activities should take place in line with the wider restrictions. Travel should be minimised as far as possible.
Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May
Some large events will be permitted. These will be:
· in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full, whichever is a lower number
· in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full, whichever is a lower number
· in the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend or a quarter-full, whichever is lower
COVID-secure guidance will remain in place and businesses must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits.
The government will lift most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors, but gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors will remain illegal. Indoors, people will be able to meet socially in a group of 6, or with 1 other household, though it may be possible to go further than this at Step 3 depending on the data.
GA activities should take place in line with the wider restrictions.
Step 4 – no earlier than 21 June
The government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact, and reopen any remaining closed settings.
Club Night Report
A thin night on the entertainment front – but that probably sums up all our lives these days. However, it was topical and pertinent and, as always from GASCO, worth attending.
In lieu of the usual zoom get-together Cheshire Flyers were all invited to attend the GASCO safety webinar. Ian was invited to make the host’s intro and then it was over to 3 different individuals from GASCO plus John Teesdale from the BMAA to make a series of relevant presentations on aspects of safety and pilot skills.
As usual ‘Human Factors’ played the leading role. We were told some interesting stats and reminded about our lack of currency being likely to make us feel a heavier workload when we eventually get back in the cockpit. I found the following diagram in which the size of the circle denotes the number of occurrences to be interesting. The right-hand side is reasons for fatalities.
I’m sure everyone has their own views on things that are important and need remembering. My key take-aways were:
Make sure I pay due heed to the mnemonic I’M SAFE
I ILLNESS Are you well enough to fly?
M MEDICATION Side effects, covering problems?
S STRESS Any pressure, passengers, annoyed?
A ALCOHOL Less than 25% of UK driving limit!
F FATIGUE Enough sleep, well rested?
E EATING Blood sugar correct?
Have a checklist of checklists.
Are you fit to fly? Ask yourself the question ‘Can I really say, 'I’m Safe?’
Are You Ready to Fly?
Is your licence, medical and logbook up to date and valid?
Is your insurance up to date and valid?
Are machine’s papers valid, certificates, engineering sign offs etc
Are your maps, charts and flight guides up to date and valid?
Did you check and interpret for both planned flight and for possible diversions:
Airspace, both horizontal and vertical limits?
Weather for the route and for diversions?
Do you have accurate airfield data for my planned and alternates airfields?
Assessed the likelihood of carburettor icing?
What runway length do you need for this configuration?
Are the necessary documents on board?
Have you completed necessary weight and balance calculations and planned aircraft loading appropriately?
Have you created a distraction free climate for pre flight inspection?
Are you following the POH guidance on pre flight inspection?
Is your safety gear checked for validity, stowed correctly and accessible once the aircraft is loaded?
Have you briefed the passenger thoroughly on emergency drills, sterile cockpit procedures, and how they can contribute looking out for other aircraft?
As you close up:
Have you done as much thinking and planning on the ground so that if you meet trouble in the air you will have sufficient capacity to AVIATE, NAVIGATE and COMMUNICATE
Do you have the right recent experience and skill level to execute this flight safely?
Have a Plan , brief on all the ‘what-ifs’ before take off
Task–o–meter should be in the green – manage your workload and make sure you don’t overload
Currency barometer…. Where are you on that? Should you consider some re-skilling practice before you take passengers and go cross-country?
Follow the ‘return to flying’ course on GASCO website. https://www.gasco.org.uk/
GETTING BACK TO MICROLIGHT FLYING AFTER A COVID-19 LAYOFF
INTRODUCTION For many pilots it will have been some weeks, possibly months since they last flew, due either to the Covid-19 lockdown and/or Winter weather. We understand that pilots will be keen to get back to flying as soon as possible but urge a degree of caution before that first flight. Please consider taking a familiarisation flight with an instructor as a safety precaution, even if this means waiting a few weeks until the Government guidelines allow instruction. The following guide gives some food for thought to help to ensure everything goes safely.
MIND-SET Recognise that however keen you are to fly and however experienced you might be any lay-off will have caused a deterioration of your pilot skills. (Skill Fade) These will be both handling skills and thought processes. What might have been a simple task when fully current can become an overwhelming problem when out of practice.
Remember that flying is NOT like riding a bike. Mental capacity will be reduced. Situational awareness will be compromised. Task saturation will cause mistakes such as infringements or accidents.
Recognising your own potential shortfalls is the first step to avoiding becoming out of your depth in flight.
PLANNING The more difficult the flight that you plan the more likely you are to reaching a state of overload before you rebuild your skill levels to what they were.
Start with a simple flight with limited opportunity for error. For example, plan to fly a session of circuits in good weather and on your own, unless you feel that it is wiser to take an instructor if this can be done safely with respect to virus contamination. On this flight you will minimise workload. You won’t have to change the altimeter setting. You won’t have to change the radio frequency. You won’t have to navigate with GPS or a Chart. You won’t have the distraction of a passenger.
You don’t have to land off the first approach, you can go around at an early stage. Take the next few approaches a bit further and a bit further and don’t land until you until you are confident everything is just right.
When you get back into practice you can start making the flight more complex. Leaving the airfield to the local area. Some basic handling practice. Returning and joining the circuit to land. Leave the long flights with multiple altimeter and radio frequency changes and an interested passenger until you are totally confident again.
PAPERWORK Before going flying make sure that your personal paperwork is up to date. Check your licence, medical and insurance. Remember that when you do start to take passengers again you must have flown three take-offs and landings within the preceding 90 days. Many pilots won’t have done this, so check.
Just as important as your personal paperwork is that for the aircraft. Check that the Permit to Fly has a current Certificate of Validity and that any maintenance required is up to date. If you are a share owner don’t rely on others to have done this, check yourself.
HEALTH As always it is vital to ensure that you are healthy enough to operate the aircraft. The pneumonic I’MSAFE(E) is a useful check list that you can use before each flight. This is copied below. Illness - Is the pilot suffering from any illness or symptom of an illness which might affect them in flight? Medication - Is the pilot currently taking any drugs (prescription or over-the-counter)? Stress - Is the pilot overly worried about other factors in their life? The psychological pressures of everyday living can be a powerful distraction and consequently affect a pilot's performance. Alcohol - The pilot should consider their alcohol consumption within the last 8 to 24 hours. Fatigue - Has the pilot had sufficient sleep and adequate nutrition? Emotion - Has the pilot fully recovered from any extremely upsetting events such as the loss of a family member? Eating- Has the pilot maintained physical functionality by proper eating. Health also includes your mental attitude. Be keen to fly, but not at any costs. Be honest with yourself. There will always be another day. THE AIRCRAFT As well as your layoff from flying the aircraft itself may have been sitting unused for some time. It is even more important than ever that thorough pre-flight preparation is carried out before attempting to fly. Usual pre-flight checks of course, but remember that if the aircraft has been sitting for a while there may be other considerations. Fuel quality doesn’t last forever. You may be wise to drain out any fuel that has laid in the tanks for a month or more. Rubber parts like tyres and fuel and water tubes tend to dry out and may perish if not used. Make sure that none of the rubber parts show any signs of cracking. You will need to rotate the tyres to look for damage when they might have sat in the same place for a while, and to make sure that the brakes are operating. Animal and insect damage can occur to an aircraft when parked for any length of time. Check thoroughly that there are no nests or chewed wiring. Make sure that vents are clear and, where fitted to an instrument, the instrument is working too.
RADIO AND NAVIGATION AIDS When planning, make sure that any radio frequencies that you might use are correct and that you understand how to enter them in the radio. More pilots are now using a GPS enabled device to assist with navigation. This is being encouraged to help reduce the number of airspace infringements. Make sure that your device has current software and chart and that if used for flight planning it has the up to date NOTAM information. Some devices allow the pilot to turn off some features. It is recommended that any activity features such as gliding and parachute sites are turned on to give you the best picture of potential airspace hazards. Finally make sure that the devices have sufficient power for the flight and are placed in a position where they can be of most use. There is very little point in leaving your navigation tablet in your flight bag,
PASSENGERS By the time you fly, some pilots may have been vaccinated, so may some passengers, but remember the danger of spreading the virus remains.
In a microlight it is impossible to stay 2 metres away from a passenger and so we advise extreme caution if taking anyone with you. Common sense must apply and if there is any chance that there might be a contamination between pilot and passenger then the flight should not take place. The rules allow close contact between members of the same family living in the same household, so under that circumstance passenger carrying in a microlight will be as safe as any other contact between those two people. If an aircraft is shared then due consideration must be given to disinfecting the aircraft between different pilots. All surfaces must be cleaned with substances that will kill any virus that might be left on surfaces. The rules for flying in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are often different. Be sure to make yourself certain of the current local rules before you fly.
AIRFIELDS AND AIRSPACE During the Covid-19 lockdown many airfields have closed as staff have been furloughed. This means that airfield maintenance may not have continued as normal. Make sure that the airfield is open before you go to fly, and be understanding if it’s not just yet. Even if you fly from your own grass strip, make sure that the condition of the strip is good before you attempt to fly. Is there a rabbit hole that wasn’t there before? Walk the strip to find out. Many Air Traffic Service units have also furloughed staff and are operating on a very limited capacity. Your flight planning must be flexible so that you don’t rely upon assistance or clearances that may not be available due to low staffing levels. The CAA ask that you file a flight plan to enter controlled airspace so that the ATS unit can manage flow with limited capacity. Don’t expect too much too soon.
CLUBS AND SCHOOLS Most pilots will operate from an airfield with other people. It is important that social distancing and hygiene protocols are developed and followed. Best guidance comes from Government as published on the .gov website and television that we are all well aware of.
OTHER GUIDANCE Other guidance will be published by the CAA and the Department for Transport in due course and we will forward the links. GASCo has also published an online briefing which is also a very helpful prompt ahead of a return to flying. This is the link https://www.gasco.org.uk/returntoflying.html
SUMMARY It is widely recognised that a long lay-off from flying will have a detrimental effect on pilot skills. Plan a safe return to flying by being cautious and aware of the dangers of reduced skills and mental capacity. Please, follow the guidelines above to ease back into flying so that you stay safe.
Virtual Voyage.... Verity is joining it
Gordon Verity alerts us to the CAA initiative to help everyone re-join flying activities safely
CAA launch Virtual Voyage 2021 General Aviation Summit
Please join us for Virtual Voyage 2021 General Aviation Summit, brought to you by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Hosted by Sophie O’Sullivan, Acting Head of the General Aviation Unit, we bring you 90 minutes of interactive discussion featuring a number of interesting and engaging topics, including getting back into the air safely following the national COVID restrictions, to hearing about and having the opportunity to ask questions on the future of GA following the UK’s departure from the EU. Our agenda includes:
Getting back in the air safely
Understanding Human Factors
The future of aviation
Life after EASA and an update on the GA consultation
Due to expected popular demand we are planning on running this live session on five separate dates to ens