Beast from the East? It won’t stop us
THE rest of the country may have ground to a halt, but not microlighters. Graeme Ritchie, who’s an instructor with East of Scotland Microlights at East Fortune, took a customer up for a trial flight before the Beast arrived. “He lives in Kelso and wanted to overfly his house from East Fortune, so we combined that with a low pass of the farm strip at Lempitlaw and a short formation with Kim, my wife, also an avid flexwinger, over the snowy Cheviots, with me in her QuikR and her in my Quik,” said Graeme. After some enthusiastic shovelling to clear the runway after the Beast had been and gone, Graeme and East of Scotland CFI Gordon Douglas then cooled off with another jaunt.
And just in case those hardy Scots were accusing Sassenachs of being cissies, John Fielding didn’t even bother clearing the runway at Priory Farm in Norfolk before going for a spin in the SkyRanger. “Despite the snow being five inches deep, it was as light and fluffy as a… light and fluffy trifle,” said John, who was later taken away to lie down in a darkened room for a while.
LUCKY us, with 13 great entries this month, ranging from the Florida Keys to, er, Bagby. Heavens, you lot do get around, and long may it last. As always, the chosen few in your next MF. VIEW THE APRIL ENTRIES.
A REMINDER of the schedule for the next BMAA courses for pilots. You’ll have to get a wiggle on to catch the first one, but we know you’ll want to clear out your diary for the others:
- Aviation First Aid, 17 March at BMAA HQ in Deddington;
- Flying abroad, 24 March at Rochester; and
- R/T ground school, 14-15 April at Clench Common and 19-20 May at Rochester.
GET to grips with the technology of the paperless cockpit, says instructor Deepak Mahajan. Stand by for a great Old School v New School debate from experts on both sides in your next MF.
WE’VE said this before, but it bears repeating: if a ground service is still using a 25kHz frequency, you can still communicate with it using a 25kHz radio. Once a ground service has converted, aircraft must use an 8.33kHz radio to communicate with it. In practice, you can only continue to fly until the end of this year with just a 25kHz radio if throughout your entire flight you only need to communicate on 25kHz frequencies. Here’s which ground stations have converted to 8.33kHz, and which are planning to soon.
THE Beast from the East may have been and gone by the time you read this, but if not, Deepak Mahajan has some excellent tips on cold-weather flying. He’ll follow it up soon with one on flying in hot weather. Remember that?
EVERYONE who’s anyone in one of the little silver delights will be at Sywell on 28 April for the largest gathering of Eurostars ever seen… again! “Last year we had 65 in, making it the biggest single-type fly-in in the UK, and possibly Europe and the world. This year we hope to beat our record again for Eurostars on the field,” said organiser Richard Smith. “All types are welcome, but do park in your own line if coming in something else. This year we’re letting the EuroFox brigade share the event as long as they line up together and don’t mix in with the Eurostars.”
For details contact Richard on email@example.com or co-organiser our own Paul Kiddell, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07918 052715. Accommodation is available on site at the Aviator Hotel, and flying information and essential PPR from Sywell aerodrome.
CIARA Hillyer hopped in with Bristol pilot Steve Smith for a mini-Eurostar fly-in to Fenland – Airfield of the Month in your next MF.
JORDAN Bathgate, 16, featured on STV after he went solo with East of Scotland Microlights at East Fortune near Edinburgh.
CANADA has certified the Pipistrel Alpha Electro in its advanced ultralight category, the first certification of an electric aircraft in North America. The certification means the aircraft can be used commercially in its intended role as an economical trainer. AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli got an early taste of the Electro in Slovenia back in 2015.
SPECIAL Constable Kevin Taylor saved a motorist from death by hypothermia by flying a thermal imaging camera drone to find the unconscious driver after a crash on a wintry night. “Kev and I flew to Spamfield years ago in our Mainair flexwings, and he’s moved on to helos and posh fixed-wings. Another good lad, he puts service in unpaid as a Special Constable,” said Kevin Armstrong.
EHANG has now carried 40 passengers, including top government officials, in its autonomous VTOL, the Ehang 184. Previous unmanned flights have seen the single-seater reach 1000ft and 70kt, and follow a course for nine miles. The company is also developing a two-seat version with a payload of 272kg. If range improves, they could scupper the long-awaited flying car. This is where we’re at with that, according to the Beeb.
PANSHANGER Aerodrome on the outskirts of Welwyn Garden City was one of the most successful GA airfields in the UK, but has been closed for three years. It may now reopen, but needs your help. See here for details and to sign the petition.
ALWAYS wanted to fly an F-104 Starfighter? Course you have. Sign here.
PASSENGERS keep losing their lunch over your nice clean cockpit? Try this, the Reliefband 2.0 – or for a cheaper option, most chemists or Amazon sell a simple acupressure wrist band which presses on the median nerve for the same result. Just google anti-seasickness wrist bands. “My then girlfriend years ago always got seasick, and that cured her instantly,” said MF editor Geoff Hill.
STRATOLAUNCH, the giant airplane in development in the Mojave Desert, has been doing taxi tests up to 40kt. Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder who is funding the project, said the first flight is expected next year. The plane, designed to deliver payloads to low Earth orbit, has a world record wingspan of 385ft and is powered by six Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines scavenged from Boeing 747-400s.