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Maintenance Update

img_0457_1.jpgWell G-EWAW is getting a good rest and a thorough maintenance check. PDG have had my machine since last Monday and are performing a 100hr and 300hr check on her. The compressor was also due an inspection so that will get done too. I also had a short list of items that required attention which I hope they will get the chance to do, if the weather has anything to do with it, then I suspect they will have it into early January! I am in fact quite happy that G-EWAW is down at PDG because it

The odds and sods were nothing of significance, but included connecting a TOT reset key that had never been working, replacing the backlight bulbs on my VOR. N1 gauge and the compass so they can all be seen at night. We had also found that the throttle had become very stiff so they are replacing the throttle cable and also the collective had become ‘notchy’ and made it difficult to operate in a precise manner. On inspection of the main rotor head, PDG identified, some wear in a component on the swash plate and they were certain this was the cause of the problem on the collective , so that has been removed and is being sent to Sloane Helicopters for attention. They are all doing their best to have it returned prior to Xmas so that I can have it back during the New Year period, but to be honest I’m not holding my breath.

A major consideration for this inspection is the starts which have become very poor. I have previously written about these having a tendency to be very warm and although we changed the FCU (a scheduled change), replaced the starter generator and one or two other things, they have become poor again. So much so that it was becoming impossible to fire the machine without using a ground power unit in conjunction with the internal battery. A procedure that isn’t recomended but was necessary in the last few weeks to get her going.

The correction of this problem was to be number 1 priority on the list of things to do and the boys at PDG have concluded that my battery is actually the problem. This is slightly disappointing as I only had it fitted in March and is therefore less than 6 months old. I purchased it directly from the supplier and had it shipped to PDG for installation so I will have to deal with that element on my return although a new one is being ordered prior to my return to the UK.

Other items are unlikely to get done including a pre-flight kit that I bought in January and mainly provides for the installation of flight steps on the outside of the machine to stop me having to stand on the seats to conduct my pre-flight. They will get fitted eventually I guess. So that’s he update so far. I’ll keep you posted.

Type rating on the Eurocopter EC135 Helicopter

Eurocopter EC135

Eurocopter EC135

Editors note :My good friend Richard Tyrer is the youngest CPL (H) and FI (H) in the country. He is currently in the midst of training for his Instrument Rating, part of which includes a type rating on the EC 135. He is a very competent pilot and regularly flies my machine. He has kindly agreed to contribute some articles on my blog.

For every one who is a regular to this website, my name in Richard Tyrer. I have been a commercial helicopter pilot and a flight instructor since January 2009. I came in to contact with Joel when I was in need of a Jet Ranger to go down to the south of France in earlier this year and much to my surprise he said yes! Ever since Joel has very kindly helped me out with my career which I cannot even thank him enough for. Continue reading

Importing a Hughes 500 helicopter from the USA

Hughes 500c HS Helicopter

Hughes 500c HS Helicopter with Lee

Joel has asked me to write a short piece on my experiences of bringing a Hughes 500 back from the USA to the UK so here goes.

I’m Lee Jones ,my day job is as a Captain on Airbus A320/321 for Monarch Airlines based at Manchester Ringway. I have long had an interest in helis and got my PPL (H) about 5 years ago. The Hughes and MDH product line has always been a favourite of mine due to its great handling, versatility and above all it supposed ‘relatively’ lower operating costs.

The 500 has since gone through several owners including the Hughes Tool Company ,McDonnel Douglas, Boeing and now MDH Inc. Continue reading


HellfireThey say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but I’ve read about something that matches that, plus some. After reading this book I was convinced that hell definitely hath no fury like a hellfire missile launched from an Apache helicopter – and given, the choice, I’ll take the bad scorned woman any day of the week.

Hellfire is Ed Macy’s second book, the first being Apache, and both are about…..err the Apache Attack helicopter. Hellfire is the named of their most effective missile and is so called because of it’s mission capability it’s a HELIcopter FIRE and forget Air to Ground missile. Mr Macy has managed to write another book that really makes you believe that you are sat looking over his shoulder whilst he engages the enemy in Afghanistan. It’s a fast ride through some of his missions and at one point I considered ducking as he described being engaged by a twin barrelled anti aircraft gunner on the ground.

The intensity of battle is remarkable and I have often said that all of these guys deserve a lot more than medals for the time they spend doing their stuff in theatre. One thing is for sure, the Apache is a formidable attack helicopter and Ed’s second book further extols the choppers fighting capabilities.

Hellfire is now available in most good book stores and is, in my opinion, a must read.

Training for the CPL (H) – Part 2

Post written by Capt. David Harwood CPL (H).


Once you’ve completed all the assessment papers for module 1 and AFT have marked them to assess your progress, you can book the exams at the CAA. These are held on fixed dates every 2 months at Gatwick. In the mean time, you need to spend one week at AFT for a brush-up course. This is a requirement of the distance learning course that you spend 10% of the study time in-house, but it’s also very useful as you get together with other students and discuss areas you’re not 100% happy with.

After the module 1 exams, you repeat the study process for module 2 subjects. However, you don’t need to pass all module 1 subjects before you can start module 2 subjects. I decided to sit all 5 exams from module 1 at my first visit to the CAA. I then sat 3 exams from module 2 on my second visit, leaving “Aircraft General Knowledge” until the third visit on it’s own as this is a huge subject. Continue reading