Eric Thomas – I Made My Mark

Today I have the video Eric Thomas- I made my mark. Anyone who knows me, knows that Eric Thomas is one of my favourite motivational speakers as I feel what he says resonates deeply with me. In this video Eric talks about the level of work and commitment that you are putting in and how this affects what is happening in your life. He is saying that you have to give your all when you are working towards your goal and that you need to leave your mark when doing it.
He also speaks about how you make compromises when chasing what you should be chasing and that you have no real need to. You need to keep your goal in site and everything you do should be working towards that goal, no exceptions!
You shouldn’t let people talk you out of what you want to do, it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand or they don’t believe in you. As long as YOU believe in YOU then that is all you need!

Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution – David J. Schwartz

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Hour Building: Shoreham to Cranfield

Yesterday I went up the school to do a local flight but when I got there a few people were going on a navigation flight to Shoreham so we tagged along and I did hour building: Shoreham to Cranfield.
Shoreham to Cranfield
This was cool because I got to do a lot of things for the first time. I
 got to do a zone transit of the Luton ATZ and fly near the runway where I got to see the big boys (easyJet and Ryanair up close and personal). I got to fly inbetween all the restricted airspace for all the London airports and I got to fly to Shoreham which is a really cool airport down in Brighton.
The PA28 is a cool plane especially as it holds four people. I have learnt on and only flew a C152 up to this point and I love this plane but the fact it only holds two people is pretty limiting especially when planning landaways. I need to get some more time on the PA28 as it will allow me to go on trips with some people at my school as well as take more people flying at the same time.
We departed the Cranfield and headed towards Luton, from here we got a zone transit across luton at no more than 2000ft. We went down between the airspace at Gatwick and Stansted before flying down to the coast at Brighton before requesting the join to land at Shoreham.
Shoreham Airport
We was on a tight turn around so we grabbed a quick bite to eat before I flew the return leg along the same route (but reversed obviously). Flying the PA28 turned out to be not all that different from the C152. The main things I needed to remember were the new rotation speeds, climb speeds and the speeds for the different parts of the approach. 
Oh there is a manual fuel tank switch that you have to remember to change, which I find quite weird.
The PA28 we were flying G-HARN also had much fancier equipment that I had to learn. 
The flight each way was 1 hour and we flew the majority of the flight around 2000ft. I did have my GoPro’s with me but I didn’t really have time to set them up but I do have a video that I made from camera / phone footage which is below. 
I am not flying next week, then I am off to Scotland the following weekend (with easyJet not flying myself) and I am at Bristol Ground School the one after for my accelerator weekend so hopefully I can go flying in four weeks time.

VFR into IMC

VFR into IMC is one of the most dangerous situations a VFR pilot can find themselves in.
VFR into IMC  is when a pilot takes of in VFR conditions, and is only trained for these conditions, but ends up flying into IMC conditions. Things go badly so fast that it is actually said that an untrained pilot has 178 seconds to live at this point. When flying VFR you are flying by reference to visual points as soon as these visual points are taken away from you, you have to fly in a completely different way, a way which you haven’t learnt to fly which is by flying with only reference to your instruments.
Ask an instructor to take you into IMC and see for yourself how different it is if you haven’t already!
NOTE – VFR pilots can do a IMC course to learn how to fly in these conditions.

This is why your go/no go decision is unbelievably important. As the pilot it is your job decide if it is safe to fly and this includes looking up the weather en route before you even set off. We also have to be willing to turn around! I have flown into IMC conditions twice, with my instructor as part of my training.
The first time was on my practice cross-country qualifier where we had to end up turning back as the viability was just too poor to land. There was some visual reference left (not a huge amount) so it was possible just about to navigate but it isn’t something I would have wanted to experience on my own.
The second time was deliberate as my instructor wanted to show me how quickly the situation could go wrong with even a moderate workload in the aircraft, he asked me to do a few things such as tune a VOR and look up something on a map while keeping the plane level. By the time I had looked back at the instruments the plane was already banked while I thought we were still flying straight and level!
If you watch this video you can see how quickly pilots with different amounts of VFR flight time take to lose control of the aircraft in the simulator.

As you can see the pilots all seem to lose control of the aircraft and a lot of them end up in a steep turn or a spin. You also see that a lot of them end up flying way too fast and their altitude starts running out real fast! If you look at this next video you will hear stories of more pilots who found themselves in this situation, what caused them to get into the situation, how scary the situation was and most importantly what they think what could have happened!

The second to last video I have for you is about a pilot who happened to fly into IMC conditions and sadly the worst happened. As I am sure you can see from this video, the pilot is stressed, has a high workload, is trying to workout what to do. His decision-making is becoming increasingly erratic and despite the controllers giving him what is most likely his best option (landing at Palwaukee / executive) he decides to do otherwise.

Firstly RIP to that guy and his 3 passengers 🙁 VFR into IMC can and DOES kill in fact for VFR pilots it is the leading cause of death.

This video shows a pilot has despite plenty of warnings and towards the end has ATC telling him the route he plans to take is not advised, yet he continues to fly this route. This unfortunately also ended in the death of the pilot so RIP to him also.

Last week I was doing circuits, I did plan to do a navigation flight but due to the weather not being excellent, I decided that was a no go as I didn’t want to risk getting stuck en route in bad weather conditions. On my second circuit I was on final with clearance for a touch and go when the skies opened up, in seconds visibility went from perfectly fine to hardly being able to see in front of me. I immediately called ATC to change from a touch and go, to instead land. That landing was much harder than any other I have done, it was harder to judge my height & to judge my flair and the simple reason for this was because the viability had became bad and I lost my visual cues. After I had got the plane on the ground the taxi was hard work, I could hardly see in front of me.
We all need to have respect for the weather, it is strong and it can come on very quickly.
Always remember there is no shame in turning back and there is even less shame in deciding not to go. I have learnt a lot from these videos that hopefully I can apply to my flying. Get-home-itis (OK not an official word, but the desire to want to get home) is also a thing that can affect us. This is where the desire to get home clouds our judgement and makes us proceed in situations where we should really stay put!

This video I have saved for last, as it is an hour long and I wanted people to watch the other videos first. This is a great lecture on VFR to IMC and most defiantly worth a watch.

Lessons to be learned.

  1. Your go / no go decision is important.
  2. Don’t be afraid to turn back.
  3. If ATC recommend you don’t do something, you should probably listen!
  4. Always get the weather for your route.


Remember, we are always learning!


Why flight training needs to embrace GPS

One thing that I have always found weird is that despite the technology we have at our disposal, flight training at least at PPL level has a reluctance to embrace GPS and uses a training system that was designed well before these modern technologies existed. So this is why flight training needs to embrace GPS.
Now don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the importance of dead reckoning and map reading skills and yes they most defiantly should still feature heavily in the learning process. However GPS isn’t going away and it is here to stay, so why are we not being taught how to use it properly?
Of course following a magenta line on the screen is not how we should learn to fly, however in the UK at least there is so much restricted airspace and with the CAA now announcing that you may lose your licence if you stray into it, why should we take any risks?
There are free and paid for options that would be able to help us avoid this all together.
When you are lost temporarily unsure of position 🙂 the workload in the cockpit goes up as you are trying to work out where exactly you are. Obviously map reading skills are still essential and should your GPS fail you still need to be able to work out where you are, but doesn’t it make more sense to take a quick look at the GPS and know exactly where you are?
It just seems to me at least, rather than resist these aides, and they are just that, aides to the tried and tested methods. The training should be redesigned to incorporate them alongside what we are already taught.
Also a few flights with no GPS to keep skills sharp would also make sense knowing that if something did go wrong, you could just flick it on.
I see no reason in modern time to set of into unfamiliar airspace without some form of GPS, I mean we all carry a phone with us that has a GPS chipset so why not use it? The technology and apps are out there.

ATPL theory week 4: Instrumentation

Still studying hard for the ATPL theory, so here is my recap of ATPL theory week 4: Instrumentation.

ATPL Theory Week 4

Following on from last weeks decision to focus on one subject at a time I have been working through the instrumentation lessons.
This week I was learning about gyro principles, direction indicators, artificial horizons, turn and slip indicators, rate gyros, magnetism, direct reading compasses, remote indicating compasses, deviation and compass swings. On top of this I had two practice tests thrown in for good measure.
Now I must admit, I knew the ATPL theory would be hard, but the sheer amount of information you have to process and learn can be quite overwhelming. I am now four weeks in and I can already see that when I get to the end of the module I will have to spend a lot of time going back and looking things up to make sure they have stuck. I anticipate at least a month (maybe two) of revision before I enrol on the revision week at the school.
I also have my accelerator weekend coming up at the start of August so ideally I would like to be doing the general nav subjects around that time.
It is hard to fit in so much study around work so you have to be very strict about getting in from work and putting a few hours in on your ATPL.
I will just do one update a month from now on to prevent all the posts being very similar.

Which memory card (MicroSD) for GoPro cameras?

Lets face it, most of us are going to get a GoPro or some form of action camera at some point. I say a, I currently have 2 GoPro’s and one Yi camera. But the question you will soon find yourself asking is which memory card (MicroSd) for GoPro cameras. I figured I would put together a quick list for which cards you should be looking at.
gopro 4
I personally think you should only buy the 64GB + cards as believe you mean, you will need the space when recording.
Please bear in mind the internet is full of fake SD cards that will fail to live up to the performance of their real counterparts. Please only buy your cards from respected retailers who you know are going to sell you original cards.

4k Video / 2.7K
If you are shooting your footage at 4k then it would be best to go with the high-end cards with guaranteed fast read / write speeds. Now this does not mean that a slower card will not work, it just means these cards will for sure.

  1. Sandisk Extreme – This card will give you up to 90MB read and 40MB write, it is also UHS-3 certified which means it is good for 4k video. GoPro have also certified this card for use with their cameras.
    Buy on Amazon
  2. Lexar 633x – This card from Lexar has is UHS-1 certified and Lexar and GoPro both confirm it is plenty fast for your 4k needs.
    Buy on Amazon
  3. Toshiba Exceria M302 – This card from Toshiba is much cheaper than the other two on this list but is UHS-3 certified which means it is plenty fast for 4k video.
    Buy on Amazon


1080p / 1440p
The truth of the matter is you need a fast card but you don’t need as fast of a card when capturing 1080p footage, so you can make a cost saving from the ultra high-end microSD cards.

  1. Samsung Evo – This card is a great choice for 1080p video and even possibly 4k. The older version was certified by GoPro and best of all this card is just over half the price of the high-end cards. This card is UHS-1 certified which means it is compatible with 1080p recording.
    Buy on Amazon
  2. Sandisk Ultra – Another card from Sandisk that is ideal for 1080p shooting. A similar price to the Samsung EVO also so you can choose the card you prefer. This card is also UHS-1 certified.
    Buy on Amazon

So you have two great choice for the different video standards, if you are going to choose a different card then make sure the card is at least a class 10 card otherwise it may just be too slow to keep up with the demands of constant video recording. However ever as all cards have different speeds, if it isn’t on this list make sure you do some research.


Aer Lingus mentored cadet programme 2017 is now open

Good news for all wannabe pilots. The Aer Lingus mentored cadet programme 2017 is now open!
The Aer Lingus training will take place over 14 months at FTE Jerez in Spain and on successful completion you will be assigned to the A320 fleet after a 12 week type rating course.
You have until 5pm on the 8th July 2016 to apply for this exciting opportunity.
Please see below this video for the requirements and the link to apply.

Essential Criteria

  • 18 years of age on or before 1st January 2016
  • Fluent in written and spoken English
  • Eligible to live and work permanently in the EU
  • Up-to-date unrestricted worldwide passport
  • Able to pass an airport security vetting procedure, including a five-year background check*
  • Two verifiable references
  • Able to obtain an EASA / IAA issued Class 1 Medical, including successfully passing a colour blindness test. Please refer to prior to application to ensure you can meet all medical requirements in line with eyesight/colour blindness limitations

*If you are a not an Irish citizen, you will require a current police disclosure certificate from your home country if successful

*If you have resided outside the Republic of Ireland for six months or more, you will also require a current police disclosure certificate from that country/countries

Educational requirements

  • You must have passed your Leaving Certificate (6 subjects) or equivalent
  • You must have obtained C3 grades in English and Mathematics at ordinary level or D3 at higher level in the Leaving Certificate
  • You must also have a minimum of 2 higher level subjects with a minimum of C3 grades in the Leaving Certificate
    *Equivalent grades are as follows:
  • GCSE Maths and English must be minimum of grade C plus
  • 3 A Levels taken at A2 level in any subject with minimum grades C,C,D

Where the minimum Leaving Certificate or equivalent grades have not been met, you must have one of the following qualifications:

  • A minimum of a Level 7 third level (ordinary degree) in any discipline
  • Completed an aviation-related apprenticeship

Key competences and skills

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Strong communicator who acts with integrity
  • Well-developed decision making skills
  • Technical aptitude
  • Strong team player with ability to build and maintain positive working relationships and demonstrate leadership qualities
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Ability and motivation to achieve a consistently high level of performance

If you think that this is for you then you can apply directly on the Aer Lingus site.

ATPL theory week 3: Instrumentation

I thought I would update with my progress through ATPL theory week 3: Instrumentation.
ATPL Theory Week 3
I was finding the General Navigation quite hard to get my head around, so I decided to book myself onto the next accelerator course down in Bristol. This isn’t until the first week of August so for that reason I have decided that rather than struggle through the lessons I will leave all the General Navigation lessons until after I have done the accelerator course. The accelerator course is included in the price for the course so I will just have to pay for petrol and one nights stay at a B&B.
I am finding that I am not liking the Bristol system of a few lessons from one subject, followed by a few lessons from another then a few lessons from something else. I have decided I am going to go through the course subject by subject which is the way that I am used to studying, so over the next few weeks I will be going through instrumentation before coming back to Met!
I did a lot of instrumentation this week the subjects covered included pitot tubes, air speed indicators, altimeters, configuration errors, angle of attack, accelerators, Air data computers, VSI & AOA.
I prefer this subject to subjects like General Navigation which uses a lot of reasonably complex mathematics.
As you can see I am slightly under target from where I should be so this module will probably take me a bit longer than I anticipated to complete, but this is fine and not an issue.

Hour Building: First flight with a passenger

Yesterday was a big day for me, it was the first time I had the chance to take someone up with me, I did Hour Building: First flight with a passenger.
I was planning a navigation flight and land away to Leicester but the poor weather put a swift end to that.
I only managed to get two circuits in as the rain started to come in and it came in fast. On the second circuit I was just happy I was on final when the sky decided to open up as it was really hard to see. I had to change my call from a touch and go to a landing call.
I took my girlfriend Nadege up with me, who is a nervous flier, she doesn’t trust pilots with thousands of hours, but seems to trust me with a massive 50 😆
The weather situation sucks as I could see she was starting to get into it and was transitioning from being nervous to actually quite excited
It felt like a big achievement to finally be able to share aviation with people and I look forward to being able to take friends and family up over the next few months. Most of my hour building will be done in the US however but I should be able to fit in a few flights.
Anyways, here the videos if you fancy a watch.

The UK has voted to leave the EU

No matter if you was on the leave or the remain side,  today is a pretty big day in history as the UK has voted to leave the EU. At the time of this post the vote looks like 52% in and 48% out.
eu referendum ballot paper
How does this affect us trainee pilots?
Well the truth is right now nobody knows what is going to happen.
There is a two-year timescale to leave the EU, so depending on how quickly the government organise the exit will dictate how it affects us in the short-term. As things stand we are still members of the EU until the government decide to invoke the leaving process. There are still a lot of things that need to be sorted out and negotiated and this is not something that is going to happen quickly.

How does it affect our job prospects?

Under the EU free movement rules we have the right to live and work in any EU country, with us leaving we can only speculate that this will come to an end. This however does not mean that we will not be able to get jobs in other countries, we would just need a visa. Now the airlines may be perfectly OK with this, or they may see it as an inconvenience, we just do not know at this point in time. Obviously this is not as convenient as the current agreement, but the same would be the true for foreign pilots wanting to work in the UK.
An agreement could also be reached between the UK and other countries in regards to aviation, there are too many hypothetical at the moment to go into them.
The EU has an open skies agreement, I personally don’t see the UK being excluded from this, especially with London Heathrow being a major European hub for international travel and connections. This however is just my opinion and is something that would need to be negotiated.

So what do we do now?
Well me personally I will continue training, why would I not. Who knows what the state of play will be in 18 months when I aim to be finished? But this is the way that aviation works, it is an industry filled with uncertainty and upturns and downturns.