Two years of flying

Another year has passed and this month marks two years of flying, so I thought it would be cool to recap what I have managed to achieve.
Shoreham to Cranfield

  1. Night Rating – I managed to achieve my night rating last winter. This allows me to fly at night (funnily enough) and means if you get caught coming back from somewhere and are late you can still fly.
  2. ATPL Exams – I have managed to pass 9 out of the 14 ATPL exams so far. It is a real struggle doing these around work but I am finally at the point where there just might be some light at the end of the tunnel.
    I really cannot wait until these exams are over and I can get my free time back.
  3. Flying from a new airfield – I started flying from Blackbushe and have been flying from there for the last year. It was nice to be based somewhere new and I am on the verge of moving somewhere new again.
  4. Booked my CPL ME IR – My prefered place to do my CPL ME IR course was Bartolini Air in Poland due to the good reputation and the cost. I should be heading there next summer!
  5. Buying a plane – Well technically 1/15th of a plane. If all things go well I should be joining a group locally in the trusty C150 and flying from a grass strip.
  6. Building Hours – It has been nice to spread my wings and travel to new airfields and increase my flight time. I still have about 70 hours to build before next summer so there is still lots of flying to do.

So I feel that I have achieved quite a lot this year building on from when I had completed one year of flying. I look forward to what the next 365 days has in store for me.


This weather is awful

Not really much to say at the moment as this weather is awful so I am pretty much grounded because of it.
Awful weather
As you can see from the forecast from two of my local airports the chances of getting any flying done are pretty slim. I don’t recall the weather last year being this bad but in the first few months of 2017 it has pretty much been awful whenever I have tried to fly.
I really want to start navigating away from the circuit / local area again and I am looking to do my first trip to Kimble in the Cotswolds, however every time I have the plane booked the weather is seeming to put an end to it.
The other day it had dawned on me that my last land away was actually my PPL cross-country qualifier which was ages ago now! I did do a trip to Shoreham (nice airport but £30 landing fee?) but I flew the return leg back to Cranfield. I don’t want to get rusty on the radio or my navigation so I need to make sure I keep practicing.
Also I only have around 60 hours of flight time. I still have a lot of hours to build to be ready for my CPL course and I also need to do a qualifying flight of 300NM with landings at 2 aerodromes.
In the mean time I am focusing on my ATPL theory, I have not to long started Airframe and Systems, Electrics, Power Plant and Emergency Equipment. To say I am not loving it is an understatement but I will go into that in more detail on my next ATPL theory post.
Anyways, lets hope that the weather improves over the next week or so. I can see that Monday and Tuesday are looking good but it seems to head downhill once again after that.
Send your prayers to the weather goods to send us some clear blue skies to disappear into!

One year of flying

So it has dawned on me that my one year flying anniversary was this month, so I thought I would reflect on what I have achieved and learnt in the last one year of flying.
I remember my first lesson pretty well, I remember not really liking the feeling of the plane rocking on take off. It took me a good 4-5 lessons before I was totally comfortable with feeling every slight bump and the turbulence. I lucked out as I had great instructors who really took an interest in my training, I feel this is very important.
My first solo was very memorable, I had been at the stage of being ready for a few weeks but the weather wasn’t playing ball. Eventually I got it done on a lunch break from work. The realisation that the plane climbs so much faster with just two people in it was awesome fun. I love the fact that you are in charge and it is your responsibility to get it down on the ground and there is nobody else to help you.
The next big thing was the cross country qualifier. The feeling of being let loose to fly across the country and land at other aerodromes is amazing. My first contact with radar, doing over hand joins (for just the second time) and navigating long distances! This day will never be forgotten and was a huge milestone in my PPL.
The most nerve-racking part was the PPL skills test. The nerves building up to it, the actual flight and trying to remember everything, the landing back at the airfield and waiting to see how you did (I passed!).
Now that I had my licence it was time for the first flight with a passenger. One of the joys of getting your licence is the ability to take people flying with you, so they can see what you have been working on. Also knowing that they have the faith to come up with you and trust you as pilot in command is a great feeling.
Lastly it was time to pick an ATPL ground school and then the work put into the material (on going work). It is hard work doing it around a full-time job but still fun at the same time.

It has been a fun year of flying and I feel like I have achieved a lot. I hope the next year is just as good and I can’t wait for all the adventures that lay ahead.

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

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.

Les Brown – It’s not over until you win

I am a big fan of motivational speeches and I find they really help and resonate deeply with me when I am working towards a goal in my life.
Today I wanted to share Les Brown – It’s not over until you win.
Les Brown is an American motivation speaker and in this speech he goes over some key points that really strike a chord with me .

  1. Someone’s opinion of you doesn’t have to become a reality – I like this message as it says that no matter what people want to label you as, doesn’t mean it is true. That is THEIR opinion of you which they are entitled to of course, but it doesn’t make it true.
  2. Someone who believes in you, can change your life – In Les’s case it was a high school teacher who had the belief in him and in term made him believe in himself. You come across people in your life who will inspire you and motivate you to do better.
  3. It ain’t over until you win – Les is telling you not to give up, keep working towards your goal.
  4. You are already doing something most people are not – Just by chasing your goal and working towards it you are already doing something that a lot of people do not do. How many people do you know who are unhappy with their job, or want to do something, but are doing nothing to work towards it?
  5. Don’t stop running towards your dream – You WILL get there eventually, you will overcome the issues you are facing, hard times are not here to stay and things will get better if you just keep working.

I hope you enjoy this speech as much as I do.

Whatever your goal is, keep working, you will get there.

Dr Eric Thomas – You owe you

Sometimes you come across some speech that is so powerful and resonates with you so deeply that you can only sit back, listen and take in what that person has to say. For me one of my favorite videos when I need some extra motivation is Dr Eric Thomas – You owe you.
Dr Eric Thomas is an American motivational speaker who has given speeches all around the world and lists many famous people and institutions among his fans.
In this video Eric Thomas gives a speech which revolves around the question, what do you want?
He speaks about how people need to work hard and go after what they want in life. How people shouldn’t just do what is easy, if it isn’t what they really want to do.
The one thing I always get from Eric’s videos is the passion he speaks with, when you are passionate about something, people listen to you and pay attention.
If you want to achieve something, you can achieve it. If you believe you can achieve, this applies to everybody.
Just because somebody says you can’t do it, doesn’t make it true. Disregard these negative people, some people in life only ever have negative things to say.
We have all been told we can’t do something, but how do they know what we can do? Nobody can tell you what you can and can’t be. We can do anything we put our minds to, the only person who will stop us is ourselves. Surround yourself with people who have the yes you can mentality!
If you want to do it, you will do it, you will find a way, you owe you!
It may not be easy and you may have to make multiple sacrifices, but you can do it!
I hope you get as much out of this video as I do.

The weather means no flying


Once again the weather means no flying. The clouds are low, the visibility is bad and the winds are gusting up to 40 Kts.
I can’t work out what is more annoying, the fact that the weather is so bad or the fact that the media keeps giving these ‘storms’ names which seems to be a recent annoyance.
It is a bank holiday weekend here in the UK so I booked around 5 hours flying time to push me closer to my test. Unfortunately the weather restricted me to a grand total of 1 hour so just 20% of what I have booked.
In April there is one week where the airport will be closed and then the following weekend I have to work, which really sucks. I will try to get some mid week days of to make up for not being able to fly here.
Since there has been no flying, I took the time to update the theme on this blog which I think looks a lot better and more modern.
On top of this I did a plan for my next navigation which is Cranfield -> Conington -> Sywell -> Cranfield, which with a bit of luck will be next week Friday.
Again, it is very frustrating when the weather brings an end to your plans and it is very hard to plan ahead. I have mentioned before my frustrations with learning in the UK for this very reason and if I was doing it again I would think about going abroad. I am hoping now that we are heading into the spring that these weather issues will become a thing of the past.
I am up to 30 hours now and the minimum to take the test is 45 so if I can make minimums then in 2-3 months time I should be ready, especially if I can get some days of work booked to go fly.
I am also working on brushing up on my radio work as I will also have to take a radio telephony exam before I send of for my license. Well actually that is not true, you can send it of without the radio telephony pass but I would prefer to get it all done at the same time.

No flying due to airport closure

The skies are blue, the visibility is great, I have the day off, so of course there is no flying due to airport closure.
Out the window
I must admit since I have started to learning I realise that not being able to fly is way more frustrating as a pilot then it ever was as a passenger.
The lighting system has failed at the airport and needs to be repaired which is taking the airport out of action for the entire weekend.
I have decided to use the time to study towards my Radio Telephony exam as that will also need to be passed in the next few months.
I am also looking to purchase an Ipad mini 2 cellular as there seems to be a lot of great apps that make flying easier. You need the cellular model as that has a GPS chip built in and saves your messing around with additional GPS receivers (being apple only a few are supported).
I think that really the 16gb will be too small so I will also need a 32gb version at least.
I managed to get a really good deal on an Ipad Mini kneeboard on eBay. It was brand new and worked out about 75% less than the cost of buying it from the online flight shops.
The other reason I am picking the Ipad over an Android is that the two ground schools I am looking at only provide Apple apps, which to be fair in 2016 is just not good enough.
It is even worse when you consider that Android devices outsell Apple devices.
Anyways, time to crack open the CAP 413 and start learning what I should really be saying and when!

Stormy weather and high winds

The UK is currently being battered by stormy weather and high winds, which is bad enough for most people, however when you are learning to fly it is a huge pain.
Looking at the weather report for today for my local airport there is a tempo which forecasts the winds to gust up to 34 kts at some point today which is basically a no go when you are trying to get your first solo done.
I was actually surprised I got any flying done this weekend as most days last week there has been really high winds however there seemed to be a few hours on Saturday morning where some flying was possible.
The weather forecast shows that the storm will be passing by Scotland, the high winds will be affecting England as well. The winds in Scotland will be up to 90mph!
The BBC have reported a stormy start to the week, as storm Henry makes its way over with the possibility of a bit of a gap in the middle of the week, followed by more stormy weather at the weekend.
On a totally random note, I’m not sure I am a fan of the American system of giving these storms names.
I will keep and eye on the weather mid-week and if I see a break, I will see if it’s possible to get a lesson in.
I must admit, I am starting to see why people head to warmer climates to get their training done as the weather in the UK makes it a real nightmare when you are trying to get your private pilots license done pretty quickly.
Either way the sooner this storm passes the better, let’s hope that the spring brings much better weather going forward with nice clear days with ideal flying conditions.