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Training for the CPL (H) – Part 1

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

I’ve  just finished my Commercial Helicopter Pilot’s License – CPL(H) and I have to say it’s been a long road. For other pilots thinking of embarking on the CPL (H) training, it’s important you understand what you’re signing up for.

I passed my PPL (H) in March last year and for months I flew around on my own or with friends. My opinion at the time was that my flying ability wasn’t sufficiently acceptable to me. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I believe when you get your PPL, it’s a licence to start learning and doesn’t mean you’re a good pilot. It just means you’re capable of flying a helicopter without killing yourself!!! So last July I had time on my hands, a new PPL licence and a hunger for all information heli related (yes, my names David and I’m a self-confessed heli-holic!!).

I decided, if I’m going to read all the books and learn about helicopters, as well as doing a lot of flying to improve my skills, I might as well get the qualification and do the CPL (H).

This is my story and I hope it helps others who are considering the modular route, which is the route I followed. Continue reading


G-LADZ Update

IMG_0465Yesterday we popped over to see G-LADZ at it’s maintenance facility where it had been recovered to on the back of a low loader from Sleap after it’s unfortunate incident on Sunday.

It looked in a sorry state but this was understandable as it had been stripped down, ready for inspection by all and sundry. The initial assessment (and I stress that this is not an official account of the damage) is that it has suffered a significant amount of damage starting at the rear of the engine all the way to the tail rotor. To be honest you don’t have to know the first thing about choppers to work this out for yourself.IMG_0460

There is no doubt that both horizontal stabilizers have been trashed, together with the tail boom itself which is bent to say the least. One of the tail rotor’s is bent down it’s longitudal axis and the other one hasn’t faired much better either. The tail rotor drive shaft which feeds into the tail rotor transmission has been traumatised and is certainly going to require replacement also.

IMG_0469These are the obvious items which are visibly damaged without question. It’s also clear that the rear skids have been stressed as the fractures are evident and considering the chopper was pushed about 3 feet laterally fas a result of the impact it’s hardly surprising that they have suffered. Further tests are being made of the airframe to consider it’s overall structural integrity and the results of these will be known shortly. It’s too early to determine what the prognosis is but more should be known in the next few days. In the meantime, the owners are chopper-less (except for the fact they can use mine) and G-LADZ is looking poorly although she’s being lovingly cared for in the HICU (Helicopter Intensive Care Unit)

Let’s hope she gets well soon.

Flowers and donations can be sent to me at Manchester Barton !!!! 🙂

Training for the CPL (H) – prologue

Harwood2 You may have noticed that I have been giving my good pal Dave Harwood a hard time recently. The reality is that he has spent the last 18 months working his nads off to attain his Commercial Helicopter Pilot’s Licence aka the CPL (H), and having recently passed it, the opportunity to rip him to shreds was irresistible. However, now that things have settled down a bit, it’s time to give him a bit of credit too. (Not too much though!)

I feel like I’ve been every step of the way with him as he’s progressed through his Class 1 medical, his theory training and written examinations closeley followed by his JetBox type rating, hours building and then his flying training and finally his flight test. Although I may have been looking over his shoulder I’ve done none of the work; it’s all been done by him and I’m pleased to say that he has successfully passed all of his examinations, with flying colours on the first attempt.

I have asked Dave to write a post for the blog and he has agreed to. I’ll be putting part 1 up on Thursday and part 2, a short time later. Meanwhile, for the record Dave, you’ve done a great job, you’re a great pilot (understandable given that you had a fantastic mentor) and I look forward to you doing another 150 hours in my JetBox.

Well done Dave!

Garmin Aera Touchscreen GPS

Garmin Aera

Garmin will shortly announce a new range of portable GPS systems complete with a 4.3 inch QVGA sunlight readable touchscreen. The new series will be capable of working in either an automotive or aviation mode. When in aviation mode, pilots are greeted with colorful icons that use intuitive pictures and labels to indicate their function: map, weather, terrain, direct to, HSI/panel, active FPL, numbers, nearest, WPT info, position, XM radio, and tools. Pilots can choose any of these functions by simply touching the appropriate icon. For example, after touching the terrain icon, pilots will see terrain and obstacle data that vividly depicts potential hazards. Continue reading

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!!!

CY4OR’s new (apprentice) corporate pilot.

CY4OR Corporate Pilot

CY4OR Corporate Pilot

I’m pleased to introduce CY4OR’s new corporate pilot. My good friend and flying accomplice Capt. Dave Harwood CPL(H) has recently qualified as a commercial helicopter pilot.

Dave has studied particularly hard over the last 18 months and passed all his theory and practical examinations on the first attempt. More importantly he has perfected the expression “your helicopter is ready sir” and is now fit to fly me around in my helicopter, open the doors for me and carry my bags. (Whereas previously he wasn’t fit to do that!)

Despite being ugly, and slightly podgy in this photograph, he is a reasonable pilot. (Even though he is significantly less experienced than me, in particular). I am pleased to say that he has now been gainfully employed by CY4OR and will be flying me around the country where will be paying him an apropriate salary, commensurate with his ability and experience!! Particular thanks must go to the Government for assisting Dave through there “get the uneducated and unemployable back to work scheme”.

When Dave is not at my beck and call, he is available for other work. (Cleaning, car washing and tea making spring to mind)

Well done Dave!

P.S. Can you now walk one or two paces behind me as I don’t like to mix business and pleasure!!!!!

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