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G-LADZ comes a cropper!!!!

G-LADZ_311009_001It’s not G-LADZ’s year having come a cropper whilst stood minding it’s own business at Sleap Airfield (EGCV) today. As can be seen by the picture, a Cessna ploughed into the side of it whilst it was stood waiting to be refuelled.

G-LADZ owners, and myself, were sat having a coffee in the lounge when the crash alarm was activated and we all instinctively went to look out of the window to see if all was O.K. – only to discover that LADZ had been unceremoniously assaulted without provocation. The elderly pilot of the Cessna had apparently applied full throttle whilst taxiing from the AVGAS pumps and had ploughed straight into the side of the Enstrom. Fortunately no-one was hurt and the RFFS team were on hand to ensure that there was no fire.

LADZ was parked in the designated JET A1 refuelling area but fortunately had not yet uplifted fuel (otherwise that would have been a waste of JET A1!!!). Regrettably there is a significant amount of damage to G-LADZ and whether it survives to tell the tale will remain to be seen. Either way it’s a terrible shame as it’s only just been released to service following it’s dramatic landing recently when the gearbox failed in flight.

Fortunately most of the LADZ boys have Jet Ranger ratings so I guess my machine will be seeing some more action. I’ll keep you all posted!!!

Blackpool illuminations at night!!

202055It’s been a short while since I flew at night so I arranged to do a trip with some pals and my other arf at night to include a trip up the Fylde coast to see the Blackpool illuminations.  Continue reading

Stanley House, Mellor, Lancashire

IMG_0051Recently I visited Stanley House in Mellor, Blackburn. The occasion was actually a re-union for couples who had married there, and as my other half and I qualified, we were invited to attend. As I fly anywhere that is more than 3.5NM away, it was obvious that I would be commuting there at 1,500′ (O.K. it was more like 300’AGL, but I have to say 1,500′ in case the CAA are reading! 🙂 ). Continue reading

Manchester ATC Visit

IMG_1095_1.jpgLast week I was fortunate enough to visit Manchester Airport’s Air Traffic Control centre. This was part of a reciprocal arrangement made to take Air Traffic Controllers on a trip around the Zone so that they have an appreciation of the pilot’s world and the pilots, in turn, have an appreciation of the controllers world. We initially met at Barton and then after tripping the Manchester Zone 3 times in EWAW, we transferred across to EGCC to visit ATC.  On arrival we were met by Ian Revell who was the acting Z watch manager and he guided us through the strict security procedures and up to the tower, which as you would expect, has stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding area. Continue reading

Night Flight to Reading (not Night boat to Cairo!)

I had an early morning flight from Heathrow on Sunday but I wasn’t able to organise any sensibly timed connecting flights from\ to Manchester. This isn’t too much of a problem when you own a Jet Ranger so I decided that I would fly down south myself. My only slight concern was whether I would encounter early morning fog or some other poor weather on the morning of my transatlantic flight. Travelling down the day before and staying over night was to be the safest solution, but as I had loaned out the JetBox for the day, I was going to have to fly down at night. Continue reading

Private Landing Sites (and rip off landing fees)

G-EWAW at Swinton Park Hotel

G-EWAW at Swinton Park Hotel

I go all over the place and I try to land at to my actual destination rather than the nearest airfield. There’s little point and less fun otherwise! If I’ve got the choice of where my meeting might be held then I choose somewhere that will let me land and I hunt around until I find somewhere. I also make sure that there is no landing fee or a very small one. This is more on principal than anything to do with finance. (We’ll talk about this a bit later!)

I usually always manage to come up with somewhere to land which makes things nice and interesting. Here’s what I do. It’s definateley not rocket science but if my technique helps anyone then that’s a good thing. Continue reading

Just get on with it!!!

G-EWAW at the Devonshire ArmsI’ve flown every day for the last 10 days which has been great. I’ve been all over the country including trips up to Cumbria and down to Buckinghamshire twice. Along the way I’ve encountered some pretty poor weather but I’m pleased to say that I’ve managed to get all my trips done safely with the minimum of delay. As I reported a few posts ago, I like to do lots of continuation training. Poor weather training plays a large part of that extra tuition.

Our weather system is shocking, and Manchester is particularly crap. If you believe the forecasts, I sincerely doubt any of us would ever fly. I find that the most important decision to take when flying in (or towards) poor weather/deteriorating conditions is when to actually give up and land. There is a strong argument that says that you shouldn’t begin the flight in the first place, but you really wouldn’t get airborne half the time and this was a particular gripe of mine. TAF’s/METARS would often containg Prob 30’s or TEMPO’s containing some real crud. Low cloud, poor vis, rain etc etc. I found myself postponing trips only to get to the end of the day and find that the weather had been perfectly (and safely) flyable. To me, Steve H and Mike B this was getting ridiculous and I hunted out someone who could teach us how to actually get going and critically get back (or at the very least down on the ground) safely. Continue reading