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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

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

Night Night!!

Breaking NewsWahay!! It’s over !! My night qualification training is now complete. I have logged over the minimum number of hours (15 hours instrument, 5 hours at night including 5 solo circuits) and all that is left to do is pay the nice friendly people at the CAA and have them remove the night restriction from my license. (Apparently it’s not so much the addition of a rating, it’s the removal of a restriction – go figure!!)

The weather was looking good, but we were hoping for it to be slightly worse than ideal to give me an appreciation of the reality of flying at night in “iffy” conditions. However, unbelieveably, it was  a nice clear night, and the forecast tempos of reduced vis and cloud base didn’t seem to appear. There was the odd bit of cloud at 2000 ft but other than that it wasn’t too bad.

Anyway, it was a last minute dash, but I dived into Barton at the death and refuelled my machine ready for the evening’s detail. As I had previously done my circuits and solo circuits I had to do a navigation exercise, so off we trotted to Blackpool to begin the training.

We began with a demonstration from “JJ” of an autorotation onto the runway (with a power recovery at 10ft). Although I practised engine failures last week, we recovered at about 200ft – but this time the plan was to carry ondown much further. The technique here is to begin the flare at approximately 150ft agl and then bring the nose level at 50 ft agl. From there, hopefully we have time to identify what if anything we might be hitting if it all went pear shaped, at night, for real. Continue reading