eNews – April 2017

Dynamic Dave is off again

DAVE Sykes, our very own living legend, has set off in a second bid to fly his Quik from the UK to the North Pole. As usual, he set off at a moment’s notice when he spotted a weather window. In fact, it was so last-minute that he took a look at the weather, pulled his Quik out of the hangar at Rufforth near York and said: “I’m off. I’ll call Les (his girlfriend) later.”

Before that, of course, he’d already put himself firmly in the record books in 2011 with a solo flight from England to Sydney to celebrate 81 years since Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo to Australia. You can follow his progress here.

Geoff Hill, Editor

Photo CompetitionPhoto Competition
HEAVENS, schmeavens and pink socks with yellow bobbles on, but it’s the fewest photo comp entries in the history of the universe, a piffling five. Are you all unwell? Answers on a postcard, but in the meantime, the chosen fewer and the winner in your next MF. VIEW THE MAY ENTRIES.
Back in the air – 60 years on

ALMOST 60 years after first getting into an open-cockpit glider, a Fife man is working towards his microlight licence. Even an upcoming hip replacement hasn’t put Roddy Kyle off lessons in the Thruster at Balado with CFI Keith Edwards. Full story in your next MF, or click on the image for Fife Today’s take on the tale.

Going, going, e-Gone

CAMBRIDGE company e-Go, maker of the slick eponymous SSDR, has formally gone into administration. It closed its doors last September after attempts to raise £750,000 from investors raised only a fraction of that amount, and laid off virtually all the workforce while it looked in vain for funding to transform the business from a research and development business into a full production company.

Clive alive!

THE ever-enthusiastic Clive Mason taking fellow member Richard Smith’s daughter Jordan up for a tootle. While taking the rest of us back to 1984 with a Thompson Twins soundtrack. It’s a win-win!

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A sky full of taxis

HONESTLY, they’re like buses: last month we reported that Dubai plans to start an aerial taxi service this July using the Chinese-made EHang passenger-carrying autonomous drone, and now Airbus comes up with this concept for a two-person flying taxi with a top speed of 54kt and a range of 60 miles. It claims they could be up and running in seven to 10 years.

Final for Runway 18…19…20

NO, it’s not a late April Fool: Dutch researcher Henk Hesselink thinks circular runways could be the future.

Doc passes health check

DOC, the glorious Superfortress kept in the air by a bunch of enthusiasts and one of only two flying B-29s in the world, has been cleared by the FAA for another season of displays.

Icarus, you’re so last week, dude

SolarStratos, planned to be the first solar-powered piloted aircraft to reach the stratosphere, was starting test flights as we went to press. To keep weight low, the cockpit will not be pressurised, so pilot Raphael Domjan will wear a pressure suit. Once testing is complete, the plan is for flights of about 5h, including 2h to climb to 75,000ft, 15min to enjoy the view and 3h to descend. The aircraft was built in Germany, and the test flights are over Switzerland.

And if that’s a bit of a lofty ambition for most of us, we could be flying in electric aircraft from London to Paris within a decade, according to the BBC.

Anyone smell burning?

AN entertaining and possibly useful video by Rod Machado on how to deal with an engine fire.

Percy had the wright stuff

OUR very own Dr Bill Brooks appears in a fascinating 48-minute BBC documentary on early aviators, helping prove that aviation pioneer Percy Pilcher’s flying machine could have beaten the Wright Brothers. “When Percy died they sent his stuff to the Wrights, who hadn’t yet flown, as Lilienthal’s data had been sent to him. He was constantly in communication with the German pioneer and they were friends,” said Ted Snook, who spotted it. “The big advantage that the Wrights had was that they were more ‘scientific’ in their approach, whereas the others were less so.”

Another almost forgotten hero of aviation was the diminutive Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont, seen here in this documentary from the Snookery. It’s another long-form video, at 52 minutes.


A MAN who rode a lawn chair suspended by 100 large helium balloons into the approaches of Calgary International Airport has been fined £16,000 by a Canadian judge. Daniel Boria, 27, of Calgary, had planned to parachute into the main arena of the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo and western festival, to promote his cleaning business.