Updated: May 14, 2021

RKID's perspective: some lively cumuli en route to LLanbedr

In this issue:

Shaw's Report - our Chairman Ian's thoughts on flying out

Club Night Report Thanks to Irv Lee.

Coming up at Club Night Steve Slade's evolution through microlighting

Achievements - Congratulations due.

Weather to suffer - Daniel Langton on the not so Sunny Sat Nav

Taking out the Sting - Ken Watt on his first SSN in his new aircraft

Alphabet Airfields competition - ends August 31st

Favourite Amazing Flyout 1 2021- plans

Medical application attention required and Radio licence similarly.

Dicey flying - Dave Moore composes an ode on thermal videoing

Airfield Attractions

Events and tour dates: please remember to look at the last page; the dates are correct and when I know of a major event I include it here. Feel free to let me know of any that you think might interest other Cheshire Flyers.


Shaw's Report

Our first post lockdown Sunny Sat Nav saw Cheshire Flyers disperse across the country on our monthly Saturday Flyout.

Plan A was to fly to Llanbedr, however on the day the forecast proved ‘fruity’ - a new CF technical term for ‘changeable with showers’.

A number of seasoned Cheshire Flyers opted for Plan B ‘Abbotts Bromley’, which swiftly morphed into Plan C ‘Appleton Thorn’. Meanwhile others planned in advance ‘not to go at all’, some thought ‘I’ll still try for Llanbedr’ and a few pondered on the ground understandably confused by the myriad of options presented on WhatsApp by the myriad of flyers.

Which begs the question – which decision was the correct one?

The short answer is, given no accidents nor soiled trousers (to the best of my knowledge) - they all were. However, I think this varied decision-making process is worth exploring further.

Firstly, lets go back to basics, those of us who are lucky (and cool) enough to have earned licences can all fly right? We all know how to land, take off, perform a 60-degree turn, stall, PFL etc etc.

So, we are sorted?

Unfortunately not, this flying business isn’t that simple – which is what makes it incredibly challenging, intoxicating and rewarding. We can keep our stick, rudder, bar, map reading, PFL, short field, radio skills etc etc current however the one constant that throws all this into chaos on any given flight is the weather. Those Gods don’t give a flying fig about your pre-flight planning, or your superior flying skills. Invariably it’s down to you, P1, ‘the Big Cheese’ to decide how best to navigate your way around the uncertain weather challenges that await.

Sometimes the decision is dead simple, CAVOK, 9999 viz, light winds – let’s go!

Sometimes like last Saturday’s SSN it’s a little more complicated.

That day the forecast was for localised showers, across the country. Winds were relatively light (below 10Kts), viz was generally 40 km or more but could be down to 7000m with cloud base of 800 feet.

I could have read this forecast in a number of ways. The pessimist in me would say stay at home, who wants to fly in 7000m at 800 feet in showers? The optimist in me said the showers will be localised, the poor viz and low cloud are probably contained within the showers. Potentially we can work around this – and so is worthy of further investigation.

What follows is my take on deciding whether to go or not. It doesn’t follow any particular rules, and not intended to be instructional but it works for me and may be of some help to others.

Metforms 214 and 215 give you a generalised picture of the country which confirmed the potential for low cloud and poor viz. I then look at the TAFs for the closest airfields to our route. This gives a slightly more detailed picture of likely conditions. This is followed by a review of the Met Office ‘public’ site for a more localised picture of likely surface winds, rain or low cloud (normally depicted by clouds with a dark grey colour) – don’t knock it, this is accurate and generally works!

I might also have a sneak look at BBC’s weather site who now use Meteogroup for their data and hence a slightly different take on the Met Office weather picture. If this forecast differs to the Met Office then I need to decide on which is more likely. If I can’t decide, I assume the worst. Back to the Met Office and if there are loads of those pesky dark clouds (generally meaning low cloud and/or poor viz) along my route, unless aliens are chasing me I’ll call it off or find another route. On the day concerned there were some but not a big concentration and very few around the coast.

This approach may seem a little ‘Flintstones’ to many of you. Surely I should be checking environmental lapse rates for unstable air and the like, with freezing levels correlated against dew point verses orographic lifting, followed by putting my underpants over my head and chanting obscenities to the weather Gods – whatever?

Which reminds me of one of my very first flyouts way back in the late 90s. Those participating had all pre-arranged to meet at Arclid to discuss the route and weather. I was a total newbie to all this. Some seasoned flyers had been on a Simon Keeling weather course and printed off all sorts of weather charts and data which were basically ‘Greek’ to me. It all looked very impressive though. Meanwhile for my ‘impressive’ contribution I had video-taped John Craven's Country File weekly weather forecast, stolen the video player and TV from my house for presentation to the assembled experienced Cheshire Flyers, which I might add included microlight British Team members. Suffice to say I felt a right plonker – it stayed in the car!

However, I still stand by my good intentions. Truth is if all looks good from the experts who know about these things (whatever source you care to use), you can plan your route.

On the recent SSN, in consultation with my flying buddy Dave West, a coastal run to Llanbedr was favoured thus avoiding higher ground and the potential to get caught out in that 800 feet cloud base and poor viz.

Prior to taking off we looked at the METARS for the closest airfields en route and the Dark Skies app which gave an up to the minute rain radar picture. From this we could see the localised showers and their direction of travel.

We then considered our options should the weather turn bad. We were sticking to the low ground which meant there were plenty of options to see and avoid. However worst case viz was down to 7000m which I am comfortable to temporarily fly in provided there are no big sticky out bits to avoid (hence the coastal route) and of course we always have the option to turn back. We could also contact our flying buddies en route via 129.835 and get an exact weather picture as we go. Importantly we made sure we had plenty of fuel for diverts – just in case.

The expression used a lot on WhatsApp was ‘Suck it and see’, which sounds a bit gung-ho but I wager that every flyer adopting this approach followed a similar thought process to my own.

The weather picture was generally an improving one throughout the day. If we could get there, I was confident we could get back.

Decision made – let’s go!

On take off we could see big rain clouds dumping their stuff over the low level corridor which was unnerving, however we could also see from the rain radar that this was localised and could be avoided.

The images of the trip speak for themselves – it was a glorious day along the coast and a fabulous flight.

Daniel Langton’s piece (following) is excellent and worthy of a Booker prize. Daniel sums up the torment of ‘go or no go’ superbly. As a relatively new flyer how do you obtain the knowledge of your ‘seemingly’ superior flying colleagues who appear to have worked this whole weather thing out with no drama or fuss?

Well, I’m sorry to report there is no short cut. Unless you are a ‘bold pilot’ (and we all know there are no ‘old bold pilots’), the ONLY route to knowledge is through experience. In my view this experience is best gained with baby steps.

Our monthly Sunny Sat Navs are those baby steps. Designed to fly to interesting or new airfields which aren’t too distant or taxing to find and land at. You know there will be a number of other club members flying to the same location so if you are in in any doubt on weather, route or procedures you can pick their brains.

The aim is to safely progress your own flying and touring skills with a little help from your flying mates.

Cheshire Flyers can’t fly the route for you, ultimately you will have to make the decision whether to go or not. If you feel it is a bit marginal or beyond your comfort zone then its absolutely fine not to go. There is no shame. Equally please don’t assume we will all fly together, one for all and all for one - we don’t. Flying in formation, even very loose formation is difficult and adds another burden, so best to avoid. Ultimately you are P1 and responsible for getting there and back.

Another pressure when flying in a group is waiting for the others to be ready or, worse still, you holding the others up (often guilty). This generates unnecessary stress, potentially leading to errors. Being in a mass group when arriving at an airfield can be worse than departing as one; chaos can often be the outcome.

Sometimes a flight may seem daunting – but that’s OK. I often feel anxious, but with almost 1000 hours under my belt I’m comfortable with that feeling. I guess it’s a life preservation thing.

Ultimately you will find a planning method which works for you based on your accumulated experience and comfort levels.

Where flyouts are concerned three aviation sayings are well worth noting…

1. It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the sky than in the sky wishing you were on the ground.

2. If in doubt there is no doubt.

3. … and, stolen from Daniel's below: ‘Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills'.

At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, this sport can often be disappointing, especially where weather is concerned. The important thing however is to keep the blue stuff on the top, the brown stuff on the bottom, make sure the number of landings equals take-offs and enjoy it.

Sermon over…

Ian Shaw


Club Night April 19th Report

Many thanks are due to Irv Lee for his interesting and informative presentation on the weather for pilots.

Irv's website is and is packed full of information. Irv mentioned that he runs radio courses (though of course he wouldn't have known that we have our own Kevin Edmunds to run these) and he also offered to run one of his PPL Masterclasses in Cheshire if enough pilots are interested in such.


Club Night Next - May 17th

Our guest speaker is Steve Slade and he calls his talk "Flying Adventures" as it summarises some of the fun he has had over years of flying. Steve is known to our Steve (Rosser) from the international competitions circuit.

Steve Slade had been accepted at the BA College of Air Training but an accident whilst travelling in the back of an army lorry changed his career direction somewhat. He studied for an Aeronautical Engineering degree at Southampton, and worked on a hand-control for a PA28. Early developments in the fledgling microlight movement attracted his attention and, following a review of all of the early microlights, he joined with Eddie Clapham in purchasing a Mainair Tri-Flyer single seat trike kit and married it to a Hiway Vulcan wing. He got airborne in Feb 1982.

His illustrated talk covers pictures of early microlights they reviewed, some of the adaptations made to the aircraft to enable him to fly them and includes stories of Round Britain Rallies, taking part in National and International competitions, flying from Lands End to John O'Groats in a day, the Kiev to Odessa microlight rally, setting world records such as 102 circuits in one hour and 114 airfields in a day, and some views from around this country and beyond. Steve retired from Rolls-Royce four years ago after 38 years in a variety of roles and is now finding time to explore other hobbies in addition to aviation.

And as well as this - we should all talk about the upcoming FAF1 which will hopefully embarked upon some 4 days after club night.



Well done to Sue Beesley who passed her GST on 26th April and has applied for her licence.

Many Congratulations.

Sue says " It's a big step on a longer path - Nav next, then cross-training on to the Eurostar and then build some hours and then.... "

Sue has some encouraging words for fellow students: "For the students among us, what with lockdowns and weather and mud and all the rest of it, it's been close to two years since I had my first lesson. And of course you hit plateaus and there are things you've been told and practiced repeatedly and it doesn't seem to gel, but eventually it does, honest. Just keep turning up 🙂

Excellent advice to all. Hang in there - it will happen.


Sunny Sat Navs: To Go or Not to Go? That is the Question. Weather 'tis Nobler in the Mind to Suffer...

Daniel Langton describes his decision dilemma

New weather tech is useful, but take up a mini-meteorologist if you can find one. This one is called Anna, 14.

Along with the many miseries that the pandemic has brought in its wake, there have been some positive and interesting new developments. One of them is the shift to video-conferencing that has made training events so much easier to access. I have attended six GASCo webinars since February, and each came with a little sticker for my logbook that reminds me of the footie cards we used to exchange in the playground. (If anyone wants to swap me a Recent Accident & Occurrences sticker for an Airspace Infringement Avoidance sticker, let me know. I've got two, both in excellent condition.) Of all the topics about which we need to continually educate ourselves, the weather is surely one of the most fascinating. I attended one webinar co-delivered by the CAA and the Royal Meteorological Society, and another by guru Simon Keeling (although there was no sticker for that one. I asked. Several times.) I can’t get enough of the weather. I have the feeling that once I can master the weather, I’ll be able to bend it to my will like the Ancient Ones in the Cheshire Flyers Club, who seem to effortlessly find weather windows and corridors and openings in their home in the heavens. Of course, I do realise that I’m one of the lucky ones in that modern weather-related technology has now come of age with SkyDemon, Dark Sky, Windy, XCWeather, the MetOffice Aviation Briefing services, and so on. Only a couple of years ago I would not have been able to join our WhatsApp fly-out group to 'listen in' to more experienced pilots thinking through their decisions out loud. The Sunny Sat Navs do a great job in encouraging the new pilot to stretch his or her wings, and the WhatsApp conversations about the weather in particular have been gold. The flip side of the freedom of flying is the responsibility of flying: every time I go up, I make and take decisions that are potentially very serious indeed, and among the most serious is weather prediction. The nature of aviation means that each of us repeatedly takes those decisions alone, and faces up to the consequences in a lonely sky, again and again. I was taught that this is a hard-won kind of knowledge, learned over time and often the hard way, and there doesn’t appear to be any alternative to the slow, painful, annoying business of internalising one’s own experiences. Aviation wisdom tells us "Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills,” and “It’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground.” But how does the novice pilot transform into that superior being who gazes down from on high without wishing to be anywhere else? Like so much else in life, we learn through making mistakes and the key thing is to try to take our braver decisions in conditions where the consequences of getting it wrong aren’t going to be disastrous. I suppose that this is how one develops a sense of one’s comfort zone, much beyond which we’re not supposed to fly. So while I like the reassurance of reading how others are making their decisions, it’s probably a false economy to depend too much on others. How can one internalise the valuable lessons of one’s own experience if one doesn’t embrace the responsibility of decision-making as an individual? If this is the right way of thinking about it all, then it’s inevitable that one has to take frustratingly small steps early on in one's aviation journey.

Back to the WhatsApp conversations about the weather. For a recent Sunny Sat Nav excursion to Llanbedr, I ppr’d the night before by email but the next morning, after doing my weather preps, I decided to cancel. I reckoned I could fly there without difficulty and quite quickly, but it’d be a much longer flight back in marginal conditions — I’d be dodging showers and squalls. I could do it, I thought, but it wouldn’t be much fun in the open cockpit of my trusty Quantum 503. Of course, as usual, at the back of my mind, I wondered whether I had read the weather correctly or whether I'd missed an opportunity. So it was most pleasing to see several more experienced flyers cancel their plans for pretty much the same reason, as one of them explained on our WhatsApp conversation. This didn’t affect my judgement; I’d already made my decision. But it gave me just a little more confidence that I had made a reasonable decision that day. And that is worth more than any number of webinars with the Royal Meteorological Society, with or without the logbook stickers.


The things we do for a Sunny Sat Nav

Ken Watt on the getting ready and heading out

In the words of two of the best songwriters in history “It’s been a long, cold, lonely, winter”.

A message from Chairman Shaw ended that situation with “Here comes the Sun’-ny SatNav; much excitement and not a little trepidation followed. Cheshire flyers from multiple airfields prepared themselves and their aircraft for the first group sortie of the year.

Readying my recently acquired new aircraft ZIZY, a TL Sting S4, took rather longer than the post lock-down checks. She was acquired in November last year with the plan being to get difference training at Dunkeswell and fly her home to Hawksview, where a man from Bristol had agreed to build a hangar for her. That plan was scuppered by a combination of our old friend the weather and contracting a nasty virus. As hangarage was costing £500 a month in Devon I arranged for the Dunkeswell CFI to ferry ZIZY to Hawksview. The first trip was scuppered by weather, low cloud and hills in the Midlands, forcing a return to base.

The second trip was scuppered by an electrical fault which had the intrepid ferry pilot turning back after one hour of flight with bits of kit slowly giving up the ghost, as the clouds lowered. First the transponder died; then the secondary Dynon screen died losing engine instruments; then the primary Dynon screen died, leaving only the back-up steam gauges. Finally, the pilot had to land this all-electric beauty at Dunkeswell without flaps, as they are electrically operated. By all accounts he did it without any flapping and, on hearing that story, I let out huge sigh of relief that I had not just jumped in and flown her home, an option which I had seriously considered.

The third attempt went well and a shiny new toy was tied down at Hawksview. The man from Bristol couldn’t get materials because Virus-nasty had closed all the suppliers. Winter was coming and I was very wary of British weather pouring gallons of water into all the crevices in my carbon-fibre treasure and then freezing the water to break all the crevices open; the bad dreams were increasing in frequency and severity. I borrowed a set of custom covers from a very helpful Sting owner in Halfpenny Green who had progressed to a warm dry hangar.

Those bad dreams continued. I had given up a delightful aircraft and spent lots of money on a new one that I couldn’t fly, and it was deteriorating in the open air. This winter was getting longer, colder, and ZIZY looked very lonely at the end of the field at Hawksview. There was no sign of a hangar being built before the Spring so in February Steve Webb offered to help. If we ever have to return to a lockdown, and may all the gods from all religions forbid that, I can thoroughly recommend building a hangar with Steve Webb. It was a truly liberating lockdown project. The hangar needed an 11-metre span for the roof which meant very big beams. With just two of us and no crane that made for some creative manual handling! I won’t try and describe the whole project here, it would take a full article, but let’s just say that building industry practice could learn a lot from us, though the various regulatory bodies probably wouldn’t wholeheartedly agree. We had fun. And ZIZY had a warm dry home, so I could set about that preparation for the Flyouts with Cheshire Flyers.

There was a lot to get my head around, but I think I enjoy working on aircraft almost as much as I enjoy flying them. This was a 912iS engine coupled to glass screens, with a panel config’ that didn’t suit me. The first thing I did was update the screens; they were many software versions behind current. Although the aircraft battery is less than 2 years old it didn’t last long enough for the software upgrade and the second screen died during update. That left it buggered and I had to return it to the US. The nice chaps at Dynon fixed it under warranty (6 years old!!!!) so it only cost me the postage in the end, but a lesson learned: always have decent backup power when doing an upgrade. Anyhow, with the shiny new software installed, the Dynon was now capable of better handling of the 912iS, with a little widget for the throttle position to effect the best engine start and a little widget to tell you how economically you’re flying. More of that later.

ZIZY’s previous owner was wedded to a Garmin pilot GPSIII, which was plumbed into the dash. I’m wedded to SkyDemon so some changes were made. I also added PilotAware Rosetta for “traffic in” capabilities and Skyecho for “ABS-B out” capabilities; the transponder which came with the aircraft being unable to do the ABS-B out, and a replacement costing mega bucks. After CAA help the EC solution was about £700.

I took out the seats and tidied up beneath and behind them; I also set about them at home with Dr someone’s upholstery cleaner. Some contact adhesive thinned with solvent dealt with the upholstery which was coming away from the frame. Hours of baby wipes and microfibre brightened up the rest and she was fit to fly a CF sortie. But before that she had an unscheduled inspection from both my LAA inspector and the engine had the once over from Simon at Eccelston Aviation. Now I can fly her :-)

Difference training with Ian Hoolahan, taking advantage of Barton’s inexpensive circuits offer, had me feeling safe enough to start to learn to fly her. Sunny SatNav here we come!

MayDay MayDay MayDay; it’s either the 1st of May, the first Monday in May, or a something to be avoided at all costs. In this case it’s 1st May and the weather forecast was interesting: nowhere near bad enough to keep aircraft in the hangar, not exactly CAVOK, but sunny spells with convective cloud being a nuisance. In the end whether you could join in came down to geography. With pilots from Manchester to Hereford trying to get out to play, some were lucky, some weren’t. I was one of the lucky ones, though it meant my take-off was in light rain. Once airborne I could see that the clouds were quite tall in places but laterally quite small, which meant I could go around them. The agreed destination was Llanbedr, and I had planned a direct route there and a coastal route back as the forecast suggested safer cloud bases earlier in the day. Listening on the radio I could hear aircraft from a few bases in Cheshire checking the conditions; if you were under one of the convection clouds it was useless, if you were not, it was sunny.

Charlie Appleby over Cheshire

Leaving the Manchester area, I swapped from Manchester listening squawk and contacted Hawarden. The hills looked clear of cloud (no tops were covered) as far as I could see and obviously with that much convection going on it could be party time for glider pilots. Hawarden confirmed Llantysilio were active so I edged further south to give some clearance and popped my eyeballs onto their stalks. There was then an interesting exchange with the controller at Hawarden. I was visual with an aircraft to the south of me and reasonably close, it was Mike Gilman in his Foxbat and I’d heard him on the other radio channel. Hawarden gave me traffic info and warning but started the exchange with “You are not identified”. Now this being an unfamiliar aircraft I immediately started to fret I’d buggered up the transponder settings, or worse still it had a fault I hadn't identified. I asked the controller if he could see me. He very politely informed me that my transponder was working fine but he hadn't gone through an ID process so had to say that before giving me the traffic data :-); a new one on me, but then you never stop learning stuff in this game.

I passed Mike and we chatted. It’s good to fly with Cheshire Flyers. I could see clear routes to the North of me and the tops were clear for at least 30km. I informed the others and started to listen on the Llanbedr frequency. Almost immediately I heard an aircraft talking to Llanbedr traffic. There was nobody on the ground doing radio. The aircraft in front announced downwind for runway 33 so as soon as I could see the airfield, I announced airfield in sight and joining downwind and visual contact with the aircraft in front. Llanbedr is huge. It took a while to fly the circuit but that gave me lots of time to get set up. There was a cross wind and possibly the east/west runway would have been a better choice, but the traffic pattern was established so I’d followed. After a very long taxi I found a local gyro who advised on parking. I opened the canopy and Mike taxied up in his Foxbat; very soon after that we were a group of seven aircraft, all parked neatly and ready for a stroll to the pub.

ZIZY and mates by Milton Turner

Being the first SSN there was much chatting and catching up to do. The Victoria Inn provided welcome sustenance, although we were obliged to sit in the open air. Fortunately, the rain didn’t attack us too ferociously and we strolled back to the airfield suitably refreshed but still chatting away. I’d elected to return via the coast but some chose to nip across the valley to Colwyn. Either way the scenery was spectacular and I was enjoying flying the new aircraft. Skirting the Liverpool zone I heard others getting a transit, Liverpool were being very obliging. I was using an abandoned iphone to get the traffic screen from PAW and could see most of the traffic around me on that screen which was reassuring, though I was passed by a low wing spamcan (PA28?) going quite a bit faster than I was. That aircraft was talking to Liverpool and I listened in on their approach while I passed the Wirral golf courses.

After a short bimble along the Northern edge of the Liverpool zone I entered the low level route and called Hawksview with my intentions. I saw G-MOLA take off both on the traffic screen and with the good old eyeballs and we passed at a similar level. Landing on 08 I was greeted with a stiff-ish crosswind which took me by surprise, a local thermal I think, but it did just edge the envelope a little bigger.

All in all it was a delightful day out with fellow flyers and gave me a pleasant surprise in the post flight review:-

The Dynon reported 1.08 hrs flight time for the return journey and fuel consumption of 11.8 litres. Sounded good to me, perhaps too good? So, I filled up again and dipped the tank. I used 25 litres for 2.5 hours flying; some of it at 110 kts. I’m getting to like ZIZY a lot more as I get used to her. And the Dynon screens are helping. I was always attracted to glass screens because of the amount of information they make available in a small footprint. The 10" screen adequately provides flying information (altitude, speed, direction, rate of climb etc), engine information (temps & pressures, RPM etc), and map information similar to SkyDemon but, in my opinion not quite as good. It can do all three or focus on one or two. They can be switched in and out on demand depending on the stage of the flight. They are all configurable and there’s a host of extras.

The 7" screen mirrors all that for the P2. I was, however, blown away by all the additional functions which can be configured by choice:- fuel burn in l/hr (or imperial units if you want), fuel computer with range, fuel remaining, fuel consumed. There‘s also a host of timers: air time (auto start), engine time (Hobbs and tacho) and count up or down timers for fuel or FREDA checks. All the engine and flight parameters can be “ranged” – that is you can set upper and lower limits and see corresponding green, amber, red, colours; and any sortie into the red generates an audible warning! There’s even a G-meter if you want it which can be configured to only pop up if you pull too much 😁. I’m pretty sure all the varieties of glass screen (Dynon, Garmin, Kanardia, MGL etc) will do pretty much the same job, but happy to be corrected on that one. And there’s much more and probably quite a bit I havn’t found yet! It’s like learning to fly all over again, but getting to know your way around can be done in the hangar with the aircraft safely on the ground.


FAF 1 May 21-25 - the potential tour options

See last month for the full article .. summary reproduced below. Some Cheshire Flyers will be camping so no panic about booking accommodation if you have that contingency as a possibility.

Plan A - N/NE. 21st May to Orkney (Lamb Holm Airfield) via a selection of on-route stops. Stay 3 nights in a Kirkwall Hotel with aircraft based at Lamb Holm. 22nd and 23rd tour the many islands and airfields of the Orkney Island group. 24th May commence journey home potentially stopping overnight at a location to be decided.

STOP PRESS: all who participate in this may become subjects in a French documentary film about getting to and around Orkney, due to be filmed while we are there. The owner of Lamb Holm passed on some CF contact details.

Also important to note the PPR information: for travel from the Scottish mainland to the islands the Scottish Government has asked for a lateral flow test to be undertaken three days before you travel and the second one on the day of travel, anybody that returns a positive test result should not travel, and that the current rules are that outside gatherings can be no more than six people from six households. This may change between now and your visit so please keep up to date with the rules that apply in Scotland which are different to those in England. It may be that you have to organise any group visits to the island airfields to take account of these reduced numbers staggering arrivals and departures appropriately.

Lateral flow test kits are freely available from the Scottish Government if you explain that you are travelling to Orkney. Regular rapid testing for everyone - (


Nicola Sturgeon has announced that from next Monday 17th May Orkney will be move to level 1 Covid restrictions, see So that means that the above PPR information about numbers allowed at outside gatherings has changed. Check the rules before you go.

Plan B – N/NW.

21st May to overnight at Prestwick (Premier Inn by Airport).

22nd May tour the Western Isles and overnight in Oban (Premier Inn in Oban Town).

23rd to 25th May to be decided.

Plan C – S/SE (Clockwise).

21st May to overnight at Clacton (Premier Inn Seafront).

22nd May tour the SE and south coast to overnight IoW Sandown (Premier Inn Merrie Gardens). 23rd Exeter (Hampton by Hilton with cancellation possible up to 23:59 on 21st);

24th Swansea (Premier Inn City Centre).

Plan D – W/SW (Anticlockwise) (- is cheaper than clockwise it appears, due to hotel pricing).

21st May tour of Wales to overnight Swansea (Premier Inn City Centre).

22nd May tour Somerset and Devon to overnight at Exeter (Hampton by Hilton with cancellation possible up to 23:59 on 21st).

23rd Sandown (Premier Inn);

24th May Clacton (Premier Inn).

Plan B provides an initial plan that can be built upon; any suggestions for alternative days/nights can be discussed at club night and following days. These plans are not in preference order, the weather will dictate what is the best direction in which to head.

Next club night - 17th is the last before the FAF departure dates and almost the final date for cancelling some of the pre-booked accommodation if you have made any in advance.


Alphabet Airfields

Have you 'bagged' these?

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. From posts on whatsapp there are quite a few contenders for the Cheshire Flyer with most of the alphabet.

A reminder of the rules was posted recently by Ian Shaw:

Rules as follows:

1. The challenge commences 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…