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Goodbye and good riddance to 2012 which has been a rotten year for light aviation – in spite of the superb drainage of our runway at Old Sarum, the inclement weather has been discouraging to say the least! But rules and regulations continue to multiply and I remind you that we are now in the JAR-FCL to EASA transition period so be sure to understand how this may affect your licence/rating.

Be aware that any EASA ticket will need to certify you are able to speak English! In 2008 the CAA decreed that all UK licence holders were automatically granted English language proficiency level 4 but this grant would only last for 4 years. So if you apply for any sort of EASA licence you need proof of fluency. If you do any sort of test with an examiner, there will be a section on the application form which  he can sign giving you level 6 competency which does not need renewing at any future date. If no test has been involved (e.g. revalidation of a rating by experience) then there is a “stand alone” form which an examiner can sign for you.

Of course if you’ve been unable to fly you will have spent your time drinking endless cups of coffee while gazing out of the window. Could I direct your thoughts along more useful channels to utilise the huge amount of aviation information on the internet.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

If you fly regularly and are not a member you should be. To a large degree they are the only organisation which represents GA nationally and internationally.

But it’s to the wealth of safety information they produce that I particularly wanted to draw your attention. If you look at the Air Safety Foundation (ASF) on the American site  you’ll find the following:

“Safety Advisor: Aircraft Icing” also “Cold Facts: wing contamination.”

Hard copy of both of these are available at the Ops. desk. I don’t want to seem superstitious but 2 weeks after I brought their advice regarding electrical fires in the cockpit that’s just what we had in G-ERFS!

For anyone thinking of cross Channel flights next summer you might have a look at their “Real pilot story – underwater escape.” It starts with a horrific video of a float plane nosing over on landing – can you spot why this happened? The full story told in an earlier edition told the whole harrowing story of  the pilot father who escaped but was unable to release his young son’s safety harness.

Don’t bother to look at this if you’re not crossing water and don’t bother with “Accident case study: in too deep” if you’re immune from being caught out by bad weather. But if you want to hear the actual R/T recording of a pilot mishandling VMC into IMC, give it a go! It’s really scary.

Please note that you will need to register on the website, but it is completely free and will give you access to other interesting stories and information.

Loss of control.

I was astonished to see the content of a CAA YouTube  production designed to remind airline pilots how to cope with this problem. If you want to go back to basics have a look at If you can’t be bothered then I’ll summarize it for you – in a stall/ prestall situation unload the wings by reducing the angle of attack.

Mid-air collisions.

In light aviation the vast majority of these relate to poor lookout, but this link will take you to a truly remarkable escape from an accident which cut a military aircraft virtually in half. Ben has put this on the School website under new and events/ articles.

Chart updates,

As the half mill. Chart is produced but once a year inevitably there will be features which need updating and NATS offer a free update service notifying any changes by email. They will shortly extend the update service to the frequency charts enabling down loads of the card with current R/T frequencies.

Air Information circulars.(AIC)

None of relevant this month. Please note however that my suggestion that R/T on 123.450 was permissible between aircraft if confined to urgent procedural matters using the correct terminology may not be correct and should only be applied in the unlikely circumstance of you having taken a wrong turn and finding yourself mid Atlantic.

And finally.

I thought high pressure was associated with good weather – and yet we’ve been stuck under this layer of cloud for a week I wonder why? Today’s Metform 214 (Ed. from Ben; this F214 is available here) shows the temperatures over the south of UK as +06 at 1000 feet, +03 at 2000 feet and +09 at 5000 feet. May be that has something to do with it? Perhaps I might have another read of my met. book which has lain undisturbed since I did my Met. exam.