The Light Aviation Thread

Lazy Sod

Member
Location
Warminster
I've thought for some time that there ought to be a thread on this topic. Whether you are, have been, or aspire to be a pilot, or are just interested, here is your oportunity to take part. I'll kick it off with a little about my flying life.

I knew nothing about it until my elder brother learnt to fly in 1969. He set up an airstrip on his land adjacent to my former farm and bought an old aircraft.
I became interested and started buying flying magazines. In 1971, I learnt to fly at Compton Abbas Airfield on Rollason Condors and for the last few hours on Cessna 150s.

Compton Abbas, at the time, operated as a non radio airfield. As well as the power flying, we also had gliding and parachuting going on as well. On many occasions when on the approach, I had to overshòot because a glider was stil on the runway, so it was a matter of keeping a good lookout. There was also the matter of men with big boots falling out of the sky!

I had my own aircraft for 11 years, hangared friends machines, which I borrowed and used club aircraft a bit as well, finally to have a share with my brother and another chap in a Jodel 1051. After 31 years, and feeling that I had been there and done that, I stopped Flying and sold my share.

Being still surrounded by flying, I'm still interested, but don't feel the need to do it myself. All of my 3 children flew with me occasionally, but it was my younger son who got the bug, getting his fixed wing licence in 1996 just after he left university. About 6 years ago he started doing his helicopter licence and now flies exclusivly rotary. He currently flies a (hired) Eurocopter EC120, 5 seat, single engine turbine.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
Growing up here I spent muck of my time looking up to the sky and dreaming of flying. We are only 3 miles from the old Hatfield De Haviland factory and 1 mile from the (now shut) Panshanger aerodrome. Our skies have always been busy here.

Being struggling Tennant farmers it was only a pipe dream.

Fast forward to 2005 and I found myself in a new relationship with a supportive wife and money on deposit from the sale of my old house. I was bought trial flights in fixed wing and rotary but there was never really any question, I wanted to fly helicopters.

18 months and £16800 later I finally achieved the dream of a shiny new PPL(H) for the R22.

I flew for 6 years but now my licence has lapsed as I can no longer afford to fly. I will renew my licence in a few years when we move to NZ.

Rotary flying has been a fantastic experience. I have personally flown the R22 and R44 and ridden along in a B206 Jet Ranger, an AS341 Gazelle and a Met Police EC145 (low level over London by night). :cool: I have "flown" a B206 simulator in IMC. I have met helicopter legends like Phil Croucher and Dennis Kenyon and once bumped into David Jason without recognising him.

I can't wait to get airborne again.
 

David.

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
J11 M40
Roughly what would it cost to fly enough hours per year in a helicopter to keep your license current.
Just out of curiosity really...
 

Lazy Sod

Member
Location
Warminster
I flew for 6 years but now my licence has lapsed as I can no longer afford to fly. I will renew my licence in a few years when we move to NZ.
I remember from a previous post of yours @holwellcourtfarm that you had a ppl(h), also @Clive. Although I had a few helicopter rides in the past, it was only when my son started his ppl(h) that I began to take an interest in rotary flying. He did his training on a Schweitzer. Three years ago he brought one over and took me for a ride. I quite enjoyed flying it around, the only time I've been off the ground since I stopped flying.

I'm still waiting for a ride in the Eurocopter.
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
Growing up here I spent muck of my time looking up to the sky and dreaming of flying. We are only 3 miles from the old Hatfield De Haviland factory and 1 mile from the (now shut) Panshanger aerodrome. Our skies have always been busy here.

Being struggling Tennant farmers it was only a pipe dream.

Fast forward to 2005 and I found myself in a new relationship with a supportive wife and money on deposit from the sale of my old house. I was bought trial flights in fixed wing and rotary but there was never really any question, I wanted to fly helicopters.

18 months and £16800 later I finally achieved the dream of a shiny new PPL(H) for the R22.

I flew for 6 years but now my licence has lapsed as I can no longer afford to fly. I will renew my licence in a few years when we move to NZ.

Rotary flying has been a fantastic experience. I have personally flown the R22 and R44 and ridden along in a B206 Jet Ranger, an AS341 Gazelle and a Met Police EC145 (low level over London by night). :cool: I have "flown" a B206 simulator in IMC. I have met helicopter legends like Phil Croucher and Dennis Kenyon and once bumped into David Jason without recognising him.

I can't wait to get airborne again.

the trouble with turbines is they spoil you and you don't want to fly R22 / R44 etc again ! I did type rating on Jet ranger, Md500, Gazelle but my licence is also lapsed right now as too busy and my wife hates it, wont let me take the kids etc !
 

Daniel Larn

Member
I've never really had a passion for flying, but found myself getting more and more interested in exploring it over the last 10 years.

I was initially interested in going down the ppl(h) route, more for a hobby than anything else. These days though, I travel so much all over the UK and Europe, that I've been tempted to look at getting a licence for fixed wing.

It would be a nice excuse to fly regularly, and give me so much time back. Always been a little put off by the cost, of it though.
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
Roughly what would it cost to fly enough hours per year in a helicopter to keep your license current.
Just out of curiosity really...
depends what type of machine you do the hours in

cheapest way to learn and build hours has always been to do it abroad but its doesn't really prepare you for UK weather and air traffic if you do it that way
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
I've never really had a passion for flying, but found myself getting more and more interested in exploring it over the last 10 years.

I was initially interested in going down the ppl(h) route, more for a hobby than anything else. These days though, I travel so much all over the UK and Europe, that I've been tempted to look at getting a licence for fixed wing.

It would be a nice excuse to fly regularly, and give me so much time back. Always been a little put off by the cost, of it though.

fixed wing can be done at reasonable cost - forget any idea re rotary on a budget though !

Its amazing the time that can be saved - Geneva to Courchevel 1850 is a big part of a day in a car - 25 min in a chopper ! I was lucky enough to do that last year and arrived at Geneva with snow still on my boots !
 
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Daniel Larn

Member
fixed wing can be done at reasonable cost - forget any idea re rotary on a budget though !

Its amazing the time that can be saved - Geneva to Courchevel 1850 is a big part of a day in a car - 25 min in a chopper ! I was lucky enough to do that last year and arrived at Geneva with snow still on my boots !
I do Plymouth to Durham about 30 times a year, it costs me at least £200 and a minimum of 14hrs to go there and back.

I've done the route in a plane before, and it was over and done with in 1hr.

I know the training isn't that bad, it's more the cost of the plane that puts me off.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
fixed wing can be done at reasonable cost - forget any idea re rotary on a budget though !

Its amazing the time that can be saved - Geneva to Courchevel 1850 is a big part of a day in a car - 25 min in a chopper ! I was lucky enough to do that last year and arrived at Geneva with snow still on my boots !
(y):cool::cool::cool::cool:

There's cool and then there's helicopter cool :D

The owner of the Gazelle I flew in took his parents for a meal at one of the exclusive Oxfordshire Michelin star coutry house hotel restaraunts in it. He said the car park was full of exotic super cars but all eyes were on the family casually flying in to eat. Priceless! :cool:
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
(y):cool::cool::cool::cool:

There's cool and then there's helicopter cool :D

The owner of the Gazelle I flew in took his parents for a meal at one of the exclusive Oxfordshire Michelin star coutry house hotel restaraunts in it. He said the car park was full of exotic super cars but all eyes were on the family casually flying in to eat. Priceless! :cool:
Le Manoir ? I flew my wife there (before she decided it was too dangerous and I was going to kill her !) amazing how attentive staff are when you fly somewhere rather than drive ! ;)
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
Roughly what would it cost to fly enough hours per year in a helicopter to keep your license current.
Just out of curiosity really...
When I last flew the R22 cost me £345/hour all in. You can keep your licence by flying just 2 hours per year plus your annual skills check (lasts 1 to 1.5 hours at SFH cost plus examiner fee) but realistically I aimed to fly 20 hours per year.

Having said that I will go for the Guimbal Cabri G2 next time, a much better machine, and I see https://www.elstreehelicopters.co.uk/self-fly-hire/ are quoting SFH rates from £204/hr (probably for buying a block of 20 hours or more at a time).

I was spending around £4500 per year.

R22hover.jpg
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
What my son pays per hour to hire the Eurocopter is 100 times as much as I paid for my dual instruction on the Condor.
If you are brave enough you could go super cheap and fly a Rotorway Exec 162F kit build helicopter. You can buy a used one from the importers for around £45000 with a new permit to fly and run it on ordinary petrol. Insurance is still £££££ though.
 

Clive

Staff Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Lichfield
When I last flew the R22 cost me £345/hour all in. You can keep your licence by flying just 2 hours per year plus your annual skills check (lasts 1 to 1.5 hours at SFH cost plus examiner fee) but realistically I aimed to fly 20 hours per year.

Having said that I will go for the Guimbal Cabri G2 next time, a much better machine, and I see https://www.elstreehelicopters.co.uk/self-fly-hire/ are quoting SFH rates from £204/hr (probably for buying a block of 20 hours or more at a time).

I was spending around £4500 per year.

View attachment 771744
Low hours is what kills some, it not really something you can only do infrequently IMO, too much at stake ! you need to be fairly regular IMO or its safer to simply not fly
 

Lazy Sod

Member
Location
Warminster
The owner of the Gazelle I flew in took his parents for a meal at one of the exclusive Oxfordshire Michelin star coutry house hotel restaraunts in it. He said the car park was full of exotic super cars but all eyes were on the family casually flying in to
My son has gone in to places like that for a very expensive cup of coffee. There are also a few country pubs that have a suitable adjacent field.

He has a closed Facebook group to which he has given a few friends access to. Sometimes he'll post when he is going flying and offer spare seats on a first come first served basis.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
Low hours is what kills some, it not really something you can only do infrequently IMO, too much at stake ! you need to be fairly regular IMO or its safer to simply not fly
Completely agree. Like chainsaws, helicopters are utterly unforgiving of incompetence. That's part of the attraction, the challenge.

I made a point of flying regularly after my LPC then leaving it alone until soon before the next one and doing some refresher training. I also attended regular safety group meetings run by Phil Croucher (Paco on PPRUNE).

The R22 in particular has a bad reputation for safety but many accidents result from abuse. Most of the blade de-lamination events, for instance, happen in heli-mustering operations in OZ. I hear persistent rumours of the hobbs meter being disconnected to cut costs on these operations and so the factory specified blade change intervals are exceeded. Lethal in such a high abrasion environment.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
My son has gone in to places like that for a very expensive cup of coffee. There are also a few country pubs that have a suitable adjacent field.

He has a closed Facebook group to which he has given a few friends access to. Sometimes he'll post when he is going flying and offer spare seats on a first come first served basis.
I was spending around the same annually as work colleagues were on golf. I was happy with my choice. ;)
 

Guide your way through spring agronomy decisions

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The incessant and extreme wet conditions are now presenting huge challenges for every farm’s spring agronomy and cropping decisions.

Plans are being urgently reevaluated and rejigged to set priorities for treatment, with a watchful eye on deadlines for timely spring crop establishment when a window allows. And all against a backdrop of potential damage to soil structure to fields from traveling in waterlogged conditions.

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Lessons learned from last year have proved invaluable, with the latest Syngenta Spring Guide giving an insight into some of the tips and ideas to help with this season’s decisions...
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