Expanding horizons.... (Craig Fairman)

In this issue :

Shaw's Report - be inspired and plan on joining a Cheshire Flyers flyout.

Club Night Report - Thanks to the Barton crew that talked at length about the airport.

Coming up at Club night - Angus and Fiona Macaskill on fast and snow landings

Achievements - Congratulations due.

Flight of Firsts - Craig Fairman on his first post-qualifying flight.

Musings from a FAF novice - Renate Maddocks-Born on why everyone needs to FAF.

The Chronicles of Nynja - Nick's in the frame and imagining flying.

Full Circle to Great Circle - and this doesn't mean Jealous Mark's predilection for moons.

Chasing the Alphabet - The winner - Milton Turner with 24 the score.

E worries keeping you awake? - Where to find reasonably-priced UL91.

Sticking to the facts - Hawksview pilots share stickers for remembering rules in the LLR.

IMPORTANT! - Make a diary note of the 'official' Club tours (FAFs) for 2022 (at end of e-zine).

Small Ads - Small 'ads', not 'eds'; helmet available.


Shaw's Report

I’m pleased to report that I’m safely back from my sailing holiday, and even more pleased to report that I haven’t given up flying in favour of a boat, or made a bid for chairmanship of the Royal Yachting Association. Not that they’d have me, given my limited seafaring experience, which mainly revolved around looking for dolphins, buying a plentiful supply of cakes to accompany mid-morning coffee and learning how to tie a bowline (a sort of complicated granny knot).

However, despite my numerous shortcomings, it was enlightening to be immersed in a totally new discipline of which I had very little experience.

Its easy to forget how intimidating and daunting learning new skills can be – especially when all around you seem instinctively to know what they are doing.

Which brings me neatly to Renate’s inspirational article on joining her first Cheshire Flyers Flyout.

Renate is fairly new to our group and openly admits she was “more than a little nervous about her ability to cope, fit in, and keep up, given her limited flying experience.”

How many others in CF does that apply to?

Lots I wager…

Take a leaf from Renate’s book; in no time at all she slotted into our little flyout like a duck to water (as everyone does). Renate learned a lot, had a bundle of fun, all in a safe and supportive environment.

If you are new to flying, or had your licence for ages but don’t seem to get beyond Beeston Castle, next year is your year!

Make a pact with yourself – you WILL join the next flyout!

Renate summed up her first CF expedition perfectly: “It is ok to leave your comfort zone; it will make you a better pilot and might even be fun.”

Nuff said!

Ian Shaw 😎


Club Night September 20th Report

Many thanks are due to Nick Duriez and Rachel from City Airport - Barton. We learned some fascinating facts about the airfield's origins and history including its relegation from being the main airport for Manchester, courtesy of KLM's refusal to land there. It was a long session - some 2 hours if including the questions and answer session, following the slide presentation. Members had the opportunity to air some of their gripes about airfield operating hours and the price of fuel; all of which were received with a good grace. Part of the presentation was aimed at encouraging flyers to use Barton and not to be intimidated by the ATC chat required. Rachel - Barton's newest AFISO was keen to reassure us that the Barton controllers were friendly and helpful.

The other significant announcement, at the end of the evening because Ian had no time to go through much Club business, was the name of the winner and the runners-up of the Cheshire Flyers Alphabet Airfields Challenge. The winner was Milton Turner with an impressive 24 airfields visited, following by Martin Cawson with 23 and Steve Dancaster with 22. Ian congratulated them and promised them each the prize of a one-off competition edition of a Club T-shirt.


Coming up at Club Night Next - October 18th

Steve Rosser has arranged for Angus and Fiona Macaskill to speak to the Club on mountain flying.

Angus & Fiona have flown for over 30 years: 20 years by paraglider, more recently in fixed wing powered aircraft. They both hold several world records and Fiona has represented the UK in the British Paragliding Team on 5 occasions. In recent years, they have competed in the Royal Aeroclub racing circuit, won the Dawn to Dusk (twice) and flown extensively overseas. They currently fly a 1970 Monsun (B209): a low wing side by side nose wheel aircraft.

Angus will be talking about the theory of mountain flying, weather conditions & what to be aware of when flying in mountains.

Fiona will be talking about how to land on Altiports, Altisurfaces & glaciers with some pretty spectacular video showing how they actually did it in practice.

And of course we will be talking Club business too.



Well done to Alan Vaughan who completed his First Solo on Friday 15th October, 2021 at Dairy House Farm.


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Flight of Firsts

Craig Fairman takes his first trip after qualifying and completes several 'firsts'

I've wanted to fly for as long as I can remember and, no doubt as a result of watching too much Top Gun as a child, had decided I was going to join the RAF and become a fighter pilot... Unfortunately, after a rather disappointing trip to the careers office at the age of 13, where I was told I'd never be an RAF pilot (thanks to a minor ear op as a child), and being unable to afford to self-fund a commercial airline pilots licence, I resigned myself to the fact that flying would just have to be a hobby instead.

I had a few trial flights in my 20's but for years I put off starting any 'proper' training... not enough time, not enough money, new wife, new baby - there was always an excuse! However, when COVID-19 arrived I decided life was too short and that I needed to get on with it, so I called Cheshire Microlights and booked my first lesson at Dairy House Farm on 4th July 2020 - the day that COVID restrictions on flight training ended in England.


The weather gods were on my side that day and we had a great first flight in Bravo Echo (well, I did... Capt. Braders will probably tell you I was just another student trying to kill him!) - I was hooked and quickly booked another lesson.

Whilst researching all things flight training, one thing I saw repeatedly was "don't do your exams too early" - great advice, I thought... with the uncertainty over further lockdowns, and the good old British weather, I decided to leave those until a bit later down the line, to avoid them expiring and having to do them all again. As it turns out, despite two further lockdowns and a change in aircraft mid-way through my training, I managed to complete my GST in August 2021. Frustratingly, I still had 3 exams to pass before I was 'free to fly' (so, my advice to any prospective pilot would be - don't leave the exams too late!)

I managed to agree a date with John in September to sit my remaining exams, thankfully passing them all before rushing home to fill in my licence application form... Just a week later and my shiny new NPPL arrived from the BMAA - what a superb service!

First post qualification flight

The day after my licence arrived, I needed to take a trip to the airfield as our EV97 was being serviced and I'd offered to open up the hangar at Hawksview - I had everything crossed for good weather, so that I could complete my first 'post qualification' flight that afternoon, after work. Instead, the day was filled with intermittent heavy showers and high, gusting winds (Manchester reporting 15G25 from the north for most of the day) - it was not looking good! However, there was a glimmer of hope - both the 'tourist weather' and TAFs for Liverpool and Manchester suggesting the weather would improve and winds would drop considerably at around 4pm (Manchester TAF was 8kts, straight down the runway). Plenty of time for me to finish work and have a couple of hours for a bimble before sunset!

I messaged my wife, Beccy, to let her know there might be a chance of a local flight and asked if she'd fancy joining me for her very first microlight experience! Of course she said yes, and we agreed to meet at 5pm... the forecast was spot on, and by the time she arrived the wind was light and the skies were clear, so off we set! Beccy was a little quiet during take-off and climb out, but by the time we'd turned south down the Low Level Route and settled at around 1,100ft she was clearly enjoying herself and the camera came out to capture our 'flight of firsts'!

After the obligatory fly-by of our house, I thought I'd see if we could add another first for both of us - a zone transit through the Manchester CTR. Thankfully, ATC were quiet that evening and more than happy to accommodate my request, routing from Congleton to Hawksview via Jodrell Bank - a spectacular sight from the ground but even more so from the air!

My wife absolutely loved her first flight and, despite the added pressure of carrying precious cargo and flying through Class D airspace, so did I!

Craig and Beccy Fairman - Beccy's first microlight flight ever was with her newly qualified husband

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Musings from a FAF Novice

Renate Maddocks-Born describes her first FAF and recommends it


As an avid reader of the Cheshire Flyers Newsletter, I have followed reports of the various FAF exploits with a combination of amusement and envy. It seems to me that no other flying club I know, or have been part of, has managed to organise so many flyouts and written about them in such an interesting and amusing way.

Sharon Cox issued an open invitation for me to join any of the flyouts and this had become a longstanding ambition. However, work, adverse weather or family commitments always seemed to get in the way in the past. Also, not ever having participated in any group flyout, I was more than a little nervous about my ability to cope, fit in, and keep up, given my limited flying experience.

Taking the plunge – Day 1

The dates for FAF3 had been in my diary for a long time and I was determined that this time I would not let anything get in the way of my being able to join the group – wherever they were headed.

The hope had been to head towards the Western Isles but it became clear in the days leading up to the flyout that whilst the weather might be very nice in Scotland, it wasn’t elsewhere and it would be impossible to get there safely.

Accordingly, on September 3rd, I set off from my home airfield, Sherburn-in-Elmet, in less than perfect conditions, under a solid, grey sky to meet with the other FAFers for our first overnight stay in Boston. In previous weeks I had to abandon a number of flights due to low cloud and poor visibility and I nearly thought I might have to do the same again. However, I persevered and as I did not have to fly over high ground, I landed in Boston having flown most of the way under 2,000 feet, which is an unusually low altitude for me. Some of the other FAFers had spent the day at the LAA Rally at Sywell where the weather was more benevolent and I was the last person to land – which became a bit of a pattern over the next few days.

However, I quickly learned what makes the CFs so special when I met the “Welcome Committee” in the form of Ian and Dave who had waited for me, helped me to tie down the plane and cover her up for the night before sharing a taxi to our hotel.

After dumping my, for me at least, modest luggage in my spacious and very comfortable hotel room, I met with Sharon at reception for a quick catch-up chat before meeting the other FAFers for pre-dinner drinks. After the shortest possible time I felt any worry, that I might have had about fitting in with an established group, melt away as I was immediately made to feel one of them.

First drinks meet with Cheshire Flyers; Boston

Dinner was a lively affair in a very noisy and popular Italian restaurant in the town centre which had been recommended by Di, a member of the ‘Women with Wings’ group; she is based in Boston and coincidentally had her own table booked in the same restaurant that night. It was nice to meet her and to get to know the other FAFers better, although it was hard to hear anything above the din in the restaurant. I went to bed that night very happy but ever so slightly deaf.

Where to next? – Day 2

As there were too many of us to fit into the designated breakfast area the next morning, the hotel staff kindly provided us with our own special room, which was ideal for planning the day ahead. It had been decided previously that the first destination of the flyout would be New York as no one could resist having “Boston to New York” in their logbook. It proved a little more difficult to settle for an onward destination as the weather was still more challenging than we might have hoped for, and finding enough hotel rooms for a large group also proved difficult. A flight along the Welsh coast was ruled out on account of both reasons.

Renate with her Eurofox G-ZD in the Boston line-up

I quickly learned that decision making in a large group can be a protracted process and we opted for returning to the airfield to get on with the first leg of our flyout to New York instead. After a short flight to the well-kept farm strip at Whaley Farm, New York, a hamlet in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, it was suggested we carry on to Wellesbourne for fuel and lunch where we would determine our final destination for the day.

We were about to set off when it became apparent that one of the aircraft had developed an electrical problem. Many hands and, in this case, many toolkits, make light work, and an hour or so later we were not only ready for leg 2 of our journey but someone had also found accommodation for the entire group in Exeter. However, for those of us whose steeds are slightly slower this meant that there was to be no lingering at Wellesbourne other than for fuel and a comfort break as we needed to get to Exeter airport before closing time at 5pm.

Being used to working to my own timetable before and during flights, I get easily panicked when feeling under time pressure. It came as a bit of a shock, therefore, when I discovered that one of my doors was not shut properly as I waited to enter the departure runway at Wellesbourne but, luckily, my hatches and harnesses check as part of final pre-departure vital actions prevented a potential mishap.

Exchanging ETAs for Exeter with my fellow FAFers via the microlight channel en route (another first for me), made me realise that I might not arrive in time for the 5 o’clock deadline. The thought of a possible diversion to Dunkeswell made me fly the plane at the top of its safe speed range. Receiving instructions for a downwind join for runway 08 from Exeter Tower and having to repeat not to turn base until told to do so was another new experience and I began to doubt myself when the prompt to turn did not come for a long time. After finally being given permission to turn base and final, I landed at 17.02 and had just vacated the runway and taxied to my parking spot when a Ryanair jet thundered down the runway for take-off.

All smiles; Exeter just in time

I don’t think I was ever happier to arrive at a hotel, freshen up and get a cold drink than I was that evening. We woke up to a solid grey sky the next morning and it quickly became obvious that we would not be going anywhere in a hurry. Instead, we settled for a relaxing day (3) exploring Exeter and sampled its many coffee shops, eateries and pubs. The weather improved slightly in the afternoon and a small number of our group decided to take their chances and fly home whilst the rest of us enjoyed the evening safe in the knowledge that our accommodation had been secured, and at a preferential rate at that, thanks to Ian’s brilliant negotiating skills.

Meeting the legendary Dan – Day 4

Day 4 started with the familiar grey tinge in the sky but soon we could see chinks of sunlight which burned through the murk in the course of the morning.

After a leisurely breakfast we walked to the airfield, paid our dues and prepared for a flight to the Isle of Wight. I followed the contours of the coast, staying clear of the danger area, and coasted out from Hengistbury Head directly towards The Needles which was a glorious sight in the now brilliant sunshine. After landing at Sandown I fuelled up before indulging in one of the famous pizzas. After more members of the FAFers said their goodbyes and headed for home, Sharon, John and I attempted the cumbersome process of obtaining PPR for Sywell which we thought was a good location for both parties to fly home from the next morning and because of the convenience of the iconic Aviator Hotel on site. However, Sywell’s current PPR procedures are less than customer friendly and we might not have persevered had it not been for the generous assistance provided by Dan Subhani, Manager of Sandown airport, accompanied by his hallmark colourful running commentary.

The flight to Sywell was very pleasant indeed in glorious sunshine and good visibility. It would be nice to say that I finished my first proper flyout on a high with a perfect approach and landing. Alas, nothing could have been further from the truth and, like others before me, I confused Sywell’s left and right hard and grass runways respectively with the circuit direction and made a mess of things. Admittedly, I did not have a printed airfield plate in front of me and had looked at it only fleetingly on SkyDemon before my departure. However, that’s no excuse and it hit me hard because mistakes like that can potentially be very dangerous.

Farewell – Day 5

After another very pleasant evening and good breakfast the next morning, I departed and landed safely back at Sherburn after an uneventful flight back to base.

Looking back at the trip now, and with the benefit of hindsight, I have nothing but very fond memories and can’t wait for future FAFs. I have learned a lot and feel much more confident, especially when it comes to dealing with the unexpected. This has already stood me in good stead when I flew to Dunkeswell a few weeks later, again in less than perfect conditions, and had to deal with lots of diversions, including a landing at an unplanned airfield and sitting out bad weather by spending, you guessed it, another day in Exeter. But more than anything else, I enjoyed and cherished the friendship, encouragement and help I was shown by each and every group member. As far as I can tell, Cheshire Flyers are exemplary at sharing the joys of aviation with others and encouraging people to join in, regardless of their experience or ability. Expertise and knowledge are readily and generously shared and group members are looking out for one another without hesitation, irritation or judgement. There is a lot of good-natured banter and teasing, but no one takes themselves too seriously. In summary: great flying, great learning experience, great comradeship, great fun!

What I learned

  • It is ok to leave your comfort zone; it will make you a better pilot and might even be fun.

  • Always carry a printed version of the Pooleys or AFE Flight Guide in the aircraft, in addition to SkyDemon or any other flight planning and navigation software, as this is hugely helpful when diverting to or landing at an unplanned airfield.

  • Wherever possible, transfer the basic runway layout, elevation and circuit directions and joining heights onto your kneepad to reduce your workload when arriving at your destination airfield (top tip courtesy of John Bradbury).

  • Don’t succumb to group, time or any other pressure when going through pre-flight checks and only line up for departure when you are ready.

  • Chatting on the microlight channel with fellow flyout members can be very helpful.

  • Where appropriate, make contact with ATC services via a listening squawk rather than obtaining a service in order to reduce the workload.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak out if you don’t understand or feel comfortable with something.

  • Whilst everyone is responsible for their own safe flight conduct, when deciding to join a group flyout, choose people who are happy to look out for one another and whose company you would enjoy in case you get stranded somewhere.

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The Chronicles of Nynja

The Who, the Why and the Where - Nick Buckley is progressing the build.

Chapter 2: Painstaking Pace

Nick has completed 4 videos now on his Youtube channel 'Lets go flying'.

Here he is, allegedly going "Brmmm, brmmm" - the structure taking shape as an aircraft.

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Full Circle to Great Circle

Jealous Mark soon to be back in the cockpit flying Long Haul. He has fond memories of his first 'Entry into service' (EIS) back in 2013.

After nearly 20 months parked up it appears that the British Airways A380 will be back in the air in November. Initially it will be flying short haul routes to Frankfurt and Madrid to give the pilots operational exposure before returning to Long Haul in December.

It looks like I could be back at my beloved “Hooters” in LA fairly soon. This is being called EBIS (entry back into service) which, before we get to fly the aircraft, will require simulator training as well as supernumerary flying on the A350. I’m starting on the 22nd October with a trip to Atlanta on the A350 (a two-engined A380) as a supernumerary Captain.

The pictures above were taken during the Initial EIS (entry into service) back in 2013 when we were flying non-revenue flights from Manston as part of our initial line (flying) training. For me this was my training to be an A380 Captain after the Simulator phase. No passengers, just a bunch of pilots flying around the U.K. and France to get our sectors up.

The Red Arrows called up one day and asked if they could fly with us and take a few photos!

Although training for me, the Captain in charge was one of our own Cheshire Flyers, Rob De Martino, Rob flies the “N” (American) registered Cessna from Barton.

Wish me luck on my EBIS and Rob if you are reading this… kind to me!!

['In-joke' about moons - see Cheshire Flyer May 2017]

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Chasing the Alphabet

Milton Turner - a worthy winner of the Challenge with 24 letters of the Alphabet claimed

It all started, with a flight up to the North East with Martin Cawson, and in quite a relaxed manner, reckoning there was plenty of time to do this challenge. We had great weather and bagged four letters.

Bound for Yearby with Martin Cawson

There was a lull then due to Covid, winter and work. Come the spring, I decided I'd carry on with the challenge by trying to visit airfields I'd never been to before. A few routes were saved into SkyDemon that captured quite a lot of letters, whereupon I realised that several of the letters were going to require flying much further afield than anticipated, together with a bit of detective work, and prolonged negotiations. At a few of the strips I met some great people, total flying nuts, which was lovely, whereas other airfields were totally devoid of planes and people. I obtained PPR for all of the fields, some of which really did need a briefing, and I looked up a good few on Google Earth to make sure that my navigating would work out. I had tried PPR for some other fields and either didn’t get to speak to the owner or was refused permission.

Off to Isle of Wight with Alan Shuff in the distance

Finding the operators of the more challenging letters was ‘interesting’. Eastbach proved the best experience in this regard, whilst the flying in was also testing and fun. I found the airfield website, and over eight days tried to make contact with Bruce. Getting a bit pressed for time I found an alternative number and managed to speak to the strip ‘operator’. “Could I have PPR for landing in two days' time?” This was followed by a long pause, then a sucking in through pursed lips, “Well you see, a plane went through the hedge last week and I'm not sure about visitors”. I pleaded my case, told him I'd studied the website and tried to contact Bruce; “Oh no, Bruce thinks he owns the strip but he has nothing to do with it” he informed me. He continued on then granted a cautionary approval. As I was ending the conversation my phone rang; I looked, it was Bruce finally returning my call! I ended the first call abruptly and answered Bruce, “Errr.... I am trying to get PPR for Eastbach”. This second request was again followed by a pause, a long sucking through pursed lips, then, “Well you see, we had an accident last week where a plane went through the hedge...” Hold on, I thought! Are these two stood in the same room and in cahoots? In the end I had two PPR’s.

Eastbach on the nose

The strip was a challenge in that both runways drop forty feet and also have a good slant across their width. On the day, matters were further complicated by the grass around all the narrow taxiways and runways being about 4 feet high. Once stopped on the ramp I couldn’t see any taxiway or runway. I had to have a really good walk around, twice, to plan my exit.

Of those I visited for this challenge, the fields I'd recommend to fly to are: Eastbach, Home Farm Fields (using runway 02LH), New Farm (the threshold of 09 is lower than most of the runway) and Pound Green (get a briefing).

Quebec and Ventfield are ‘SUPER DUPER’ sensitive. PLEASE, PLEASE, don’t go there without their consent.

Milton, the aircraft and proving the win!

The Alphabet Challenge turned out to be great fun. I found it rewarding flying to new places that I normally wouldn’t have a reason to visit, meeting new fellow aviators and flying over some great scenery. I hope everyone else that took on the challenge had some good adventures.

Nice one Cheshire Flyers!

Milton's haul of 24 Alphabet Airfields

And his secret weapon is revealed below....