The Light Aviation Thread

Old John

Member
Location
N E Suffolk
I am an enthusiastic fixed wing microlighter and dairy farmer.
I would seriously consider training on a fixed wing microlight rather than ‘GA’ aircraft eg.Cessna.
I started flying paramotors from the paddock behind the farmhouse and had a great few years flying low and slow.
However I really wanted to share the flying experience with others and so bought a 2nd hand XAir Hawk and paid a local instructor to teach me on my own aircraft.
We have a rough and ready 450m Farm strip with 3 others flying from here and I don’t really see why you would fly Spam Cans, the capital cost of a 50 year old Cessna may be similar to an excellent high performance microlight but the running costs of a microlight are microscopic in comparison.
I just paid £240 for a full service (which I could have done myself) including oil and filters, annual permit will be £120, insurance is lower than a tractor and it burns 12 litres of unleaded an hour (80miles)
It is a fantastic escape from milking cows and I am looking forward to exploring more farm strips and country pubs this season.
Be happy for you to come and fly with me anytime if you buy the bacon sandwiches !
I am in Somerset
Cheers Mat
I would agree up to a point, but if you want to travel big distances at a reasonable speed, at night and in bad weather, you have to fly a G A plane.(and have the right licence)
If it’s more local and speed not critical, I agree , microlight is far cheaper.
Can you take a microlight overseas?
 

Andy12345

Member
Location
Somerset
I would agree up to a point, but if you want to travel big distances at a reasonable speed, at night and in bad weather, you have to fly a G A plane.(and have the right licence)
If it’s more local and speed not critical, I agree , microlight is far cheaper.
Can you take a microlight overseas?
At night and in bad weather is not for the likes of GA !! The deicing kit on GA aircraft isn't that great!
 

Dman2

Member
Location
Durham, UK
1 of our local airfields does microlight traning, but there is a 6`4" height limit and an 18.5 stone weight limit
I am 6`4" tall
And although I hav`nt weighed myself for a long time i suspect i maybe more than 18.5 st
 

Hazzard

Member
Location
Shropshire
My lad tried a R22, but didn't like it, prefering the 3 bladed fully articulating rotorhead of the Schwiezer. The one he learnt on was the training version, designed to compete with the R22 in running cost terms, with a smaller diameter rotor, less fuel, a derated engine and a lower all up weight. As such, a student was less likely to over torque the engine.
Had a lesson in an R22 about25 odd years ago, very twitchy I thought in my inexperienced way. Really would love to have a go in a Bell 47 though. When I grew potatoes back in the 70s I had blight spraying done with a piston engined Bell 47 and would often cadge a flight before the spraying began, awesome experience. Probably too old now to start lessons again:scratchhead:
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
Had a lesson in an R22 about25 odd years ago, very twitchy I thought in my inexperienced way. Really would love to have a go in a Bell 47 though. When I grew potatoes back in the 70s I had blight spraying done with a piston engined Bell 47 and would often cadge a flight before the spraying began, awesome experience. Probably too old now to start lessons again:scratchhead:
Racing cars can be "very twitchy" for newcomers too ;):rolleyes:


Not that I'm in any way comparing an R22 to a racing car :confused::)
 
Had a lesson in an R22 about25 odd years ago, very twitchy I thought in my inexperienced way. Really would love to have a go in a Bell 47 though. When I grew potatoes back in the 70s I had blight spraying done with a piston engined Bell 47 and would often cadge a flight before the spraying began, awesome experience. Probably too old now to start lessons again:scratchhead:
Back in the happy days of my youth in the Air Cadets, we used to cadge flights with Army pilots in the helicopters of the day. I believe the 47 was known as the Sioux in Army terms, and they used to delight in throwing them about trying to scare us. The Scout was another favourite like an airborne S1 Landie, with the "modern" Gazelles, Lynx and Pumas just entering service.
One of our exercises was to shin down ropes from a Wessex like mini Commandos, and the pilots would gently edge upwards as we climbed down so we ended up dropping into a tangled heap on the ground.
I could never justify my own license, but do a bit of paragliding and act as cameraman for the flying archaeologists in their C42.
 

Beowulf

Member
Location
Scotland
Got my PPL(A) in my teens at Prestwick. My then girlfriend's father was an instructor, but I lost interest very quickly afterwards as the only things available to rent were 1960s spam cans, and the 1 hour flight to nowhere got boring very quickly - funds at that time didn't allow for any real touring.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was living in London, with a bit more money in my pocket and a few more interesting aeroplanes available for rent, and the continent was a lot more accessible. Eventually I bought a share in a Cirrus, which naturally led to an instrument rating - the theoretical knowledge required for the IR was quickly followed by the full ATPL syllabus, and so I soon had a CPL/IR, albeit with no plans to ever use it in anger.

I did about 2000 hours over 10 years, initially in the Cirrus and then later in a Socata TBM. Mostly IFR touring around Europe.

The chap who did my IR renewals happened to own a small aircraft management/charter outfit, and needed some investment to expand the business. In return for me pumping some cash in I got myself typed and a bit of right-seat flying in a Legacy 600, and after I had the requisite 500 hours multi-crew I did the ATPL skills test and installed myself in the left hand seat. Did about 750 hours in total on the Legacy 600 over 3 years.

Then Mrs Beowulf happened, I moved myself and my business back to Scotland, and sold my share in both the charter outfit and the TBM.

I keep threatening to level out a grass strip on the farm and buy myself a tailwheel Maule, but in reality I know I would never use it. For me an aeroplane is about going places, and I'm not prepared to go places in anything less than a pressurised turbine that does at least 250 knots these days.

Mrs Beowulf isn't that keen on propellors, and jets worth owning are well out of my price range, so my flying has been fairly limited in recent years.

I've never had any interest in rotary-wing, gliders, warbirds, vintage aircraft or any of that sort of thing.
 

Daniel Larn

Member
I have just had a chat with someone today who tells me they are off to the US for an intensive flight school next month. I asked him what he intended to use it for, and he said it would just be for flying around for a few hours a year. It does seem a bit daft to me to spend so much money on a few flights a year, going nowhere. Surely the 'round the block' type flights can't be that engaging.

I'd love to get myself something along the lines of a DA62 for travelling around at my leisure, but I don't think I can justify the expense yet. Not sure I can imagine pursuing such an expensive hobby without it being somewhat practical.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
I have just had a chat with someone today who tells me they are off to the US for an intensive flight school next month. I asked him what he intended to use it for, and he said it would just be for flying around for a few hours a year. It does seem a bit daft to me to spend so much money on a few flights a year, going nowhere. Surely the 'round the block' type flights can't be that engaging.

I'd love to get myself something along the lines of a DA62 for travelling around at my leisure, but I don't think I can justify the expense yet. Not sure I can imagine pursuing such an expensive hobby without it being somewhat practical.
For many of us it's a life's ambition. When I was training we agreed that it didn't matter if I passed and never few again: I could finally call myself a helicopter pilot. :cool: How many of those do you personally know?
 

Daniel Larn

Member
For many of us it's a life's ambition. When I was training we agreed that it didn't matter if I passed and never few again: I could finally call myself a helicopter pilot. :cool: How many of those do you personally know?
I admire that kind of passion, can't understand it, but I know what you mean. I would love to do it as I say, but it isn't a passion project.

Personally I'd be happier on a boat, maybe I could start a thread for those and you could all raise your eyebrows at my questionable passions.
 

Dman2

Member
Location
Durham, UK
I admire that kind of passion, can't understand it, but I know what you mean. I would love to do it as I say, but it isn't a passion project.

Personally I'd be happier on a boat, maybe I could start a thread for those and you could all raise your eyebrows at my questionable passions.
I have looped in a chipmunk
Barrel rolled in a jet provost
Flown loads of times in light aircraft, without any issues
Yet the sight of a boat makes me queasy
Where`s the sick bag :sick::sick:
 

Daniel Larn

Member
I have looped in a chipmunk
Barrel rolled in a jet provost
Flown loads of times in light aircraft, without any issues
Yet the sight of a boat makes me queasy
Where`s the sick bag :sick::sick:
It's always a challenge trying to capture a rough sea in a photograph.

These weren't the roughest I've been through but they are arguably the best pictures to demonstrate.

You can barely make out that wave in the first picture, but we smashed straight into it and it submerged the focastle (8m above the waterline).

I loved a good sea/sky day, so called because when it was rough that is what you could see through the portholes in the galley.
FB_IMG_1551863768752.jpg
FB_IMG_1551863660249.jpg
FB_IMG_1551863965089.jpg
 

Dman2

Member
Location
Durham, UK
It's always a challenge trying to capture a rough sea in a photograph.

These weren't the roughest I've been through but they are arguably the best pictures to demonstrate.

You can barely make out that wave in the first picture, but we smashed straight into it and it submerged the focastle (8m above the waterline).

I loved a good sea/sky day, so called because when it was rough that is what you could see through the portholes in the galley.View attachment 773764View attachment 773766View attachment 773768

.
 

Lazy Sod

Member
Location
Warminster
There's an old saying:

It's better be down here, wishing that you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.

If you're flying and the weather becomes difficult, it won't take too long to get away from it and if necessary, get on the ground. To be hours out at sea when the weather gets rough, for me would be an absolute nightmare.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
There's an old saying:

It's better be down here, wishing that you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.

If you're flying and the weather becomes difficult, it won't take too long to get away from it and if necessary, get on the ground. To be hours out at sea when the weather gets rough, for me would be an absolute nightmare.
I did read an account from a pilot who had a lead/lag damper fail on a multi blade helicopter rotor putting the rotor out of balance. He said it took about 5 minutes to descend and land (from 10,000 feet) . All the way down his head was bashed against the airframe by the oscillation. When he shut down his flying helmet was spilt from the impacts :eek:

Even 5 minutes can be a VERY long time!
 

Andy12345

Member
Location
Somerset
I did read an account from a pilot who had a lead/lag damper fail on a multi blade helicopter rotor putting the rotor out of balance. He said it took about 5 minutes to descend and land (from 10,000 feet) . All the way down his head was bashed against the airframe by the oscillation. When he shut down his flying helmet was spilt from the impacts :eek:

Even 5 minutes can be a VERY long time!
In the sim we were given an uncontrolled fire , you have 10 minutes to get it on the ground! History will tell you the airframe breaks up soon after.... its an eye opener :)
 

Daniel Larn

Member
In the sim we were given an uncontrolled fire , you have 10 minutes to get it on the ground! History will tell you the airframe breaks up soon after.... its an eye opener :)
I've been involved in two emergency landings, thankfully both times the pilots remained in full control and had the luxury of putting us down on a helipad.

These guys weren't so lucky, although everyone managed to survive thanks to our training and the quick response from the crew onboard. This was one of our boats.


I've seen the unedited version of this, and it's really not nice to watch.
 

Lazy Sod

Member
Location
Warminster
For about 30 years prior to when I gave up my farm tenancy 18 months ago, I had a useful storage enterprise running in my buildings. I stored mainly cars, caravans, the odd boat and because of the proximity to the airstrip, microlights and light aircraft.

In the late summer of 2017, I was clearing out one particular barn when I came across a wooden box, containing a hydraulic ram. Made by Dowty and with an aluminium tube, it was obviously an aircraft part. The box was marked "Wing Folding Jack" and there was an inspection ticket tied to the ram which had a date of November 22 1951. It was obviously from a naval aircraft. I've absolutely no idea how it came to be in my barn, but can only think that perhaps when someone came to get up their aircraft, they had it in their vehicle and took it off whilst loading up then forgot to pick it up.

Armed with photographs and all the ram serial numbers, I contacted the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton. They were very interested and set about trying to identify which aircraft it might have come from. Dowty had destroyed a lot of their old records and could not help, so some museum people were sent round to look at various likely aircraft.

Eventually they came to the conclusion that it was from a Westland Wyvern, a single engine multi role strike aircraft in service during the early to mid fifties up to the Suez crisis. I think that about 127 were built and that a few early ones had a radial piston engine and the rest a gas turbine. Both engine types had contra rotating propellers. The only one left in the world is the one in the museum. It has the piston engine and has never flown, having been sent to Cranfield to be used as an instructional airframe. I offered to donate the ram to the museum and said that I would deliver it to them when I wasn't so busy.

I didn't get round to visiting Yeovilton until last July. Mrs LS didn't want to go and suggested that I should take somebody who would appreciate the private museum tour which I had been offered. I invited Tim, a friend from the village who I knew would be interested as he had flown several times with another local flying farmer.

Having been met by the museum curator, we were left in the capable hands of a museum engineer who got into the car with us and we drove round to the museum's storage hangar, where the Wyvern was located. The engineer looked at the ram in it's box and remarked that he thought that he'd seen it before, perhaps advertised on Ebay. After unloading the ram, we viewed the Wyvern and the many other aircraft in the hangar, including a Wessex 3 helicopter.

I turns out that Tim was in the navy during the seventies (in communications) and for a while served on HMS Antrim which was equipped with a Wessex 3.

Whilst on the Antrim Tim became friends with the helicopter pilot, through a mutual interest in bird watching. The pilot often invited Tim to go on trips in the Wessex, one such example was to pick up mail from Malta. HMS Antrim went on to serve in the Falklands and it's Wessex, nicknamed Humphey became famous after taking a direct hit which blew the sliding door off. The pilot managed to get the machine down. It was repaired and it flew again.

Humphrey is now in the museum, so there we were looking at the same helicopter that Tim flew in 40 years ago. It really made his day to see it again and was so unexpected. We had a good look round the main museum hall and then Tim bought me lunch. A great day out.
 

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