Well, I finally did it on 27th April 2016, I managed to go solo in the Chipmunk after many weather problems, and how happy I was when Tim said off you go on your own. I did one landing and the tower congratulated me, so Tim told me to do another one, I did not like the approach so I went round but made a perfect landing the next time.
I must thank everyone at Boultbee for looking after me, and being so welcoming. Had a fabulous time, and at the end of that long day I was so thrilled, and there was champagne and celebrations afterwards.! I have been down to Boultbee since and had a solo sortie on my own, around the lovely areas of Chichester, and a brief solo when we only managed to get on day's flying in! I hope to go down there again soon.
This is the Other De Havilland Chipmunk I am training in for a tail wheel conversion! A more structured training programme with hopefully a non-disappearing Chipmunk! Tim Granshaw was my patient instructor at Chichester/Goodwood aerodrome, and I really enjoyed flying the Chipmunk again after my brief affair with G-HFRH below! This aeroplane's registration is G-BBMV, and it was an absolute dream to fly. Unfortunately, we lost a whole day to weather and I was unable to fly at all on the first day, so the course was truncated, and the other two days did not allow us to go and do emergency procedures like stalling, and such like. I was soooooo close to going solo, and although I was disappointed we could not finish it in the July 2015 session of two intense days flying, it gives me the excuse to go back to Chichester, which is a place I really love. What could be better than learning to fly the tailwheel aircraft with two Spitfires, a Mustang, a Harvard and Tiger Moth by your side? I enjoyed the training with Tim, who was an excellent instructor, and really made me shine with the aircraft (he even said I was a natural with the Chipmunk, and flew it with great feeling!). Many thanks to Tim for his encouragement and help. I managed to use three different runways as well, which was good circuit training. Watch this space.....
To see the photos from the course click here!
This is the De Havilland Chipmunk I am training in for a tail wheel conversion in preparation for my Spitfire course mentioned below. I had done a few hours in a Piper Super Cub at Duxford, but the availability of the aeroplane was an issue, so I moved to Turweston where this grand old plane is sitting waiting for me! G-HFRH is a real antique made in 1952. I had my first outing in it on 17th May 2014 and loved every minute of it despite hitting myself with the propellor when I was 'sucking in' as required during the start up checks! Not tall enough to reach the propellor to pull it down sadly! Ho hum! I will have to arrange for a tall person to be standing by next time! I have another session soon but might not complete the training before the Spitfire course but will continue in order to fly the Chipmunk on occasions! Tim Granshaw warned me it would be addictive.... he was right! My instructor Ian Underwood was excellent, great sense of humour and very encouraging!
This is the dream. Next year in 2014, it will come true. I have booked myself onto a course based in Chichester (Goodwood) aerodrome under the wing of the Boultbee Flight Academy. I have been liaising with Tim Granshaw who has helped me with all the forms and details, and we now have some dates! let us hope that the weather will be kind! The courseis in July. We will be flying a Chipmunk (maybe a Tiger Moth if available),an American Harvard and then the mighty Spitfire. I still can't believe I am about to do this, but I would rather do it now while I still can than regret not ever going for it! It is expensive (naturally) but hey ho! You can't take it with you when you go! So watch this space and I will soon be adding Spitfire to my logbook! It is a two day course based on a similar course to that taken by RAF pilots, and we will have instrcutors of the highest quality. Check out the Boultee Flight academy link above to find out more about the great work they are doing in keeping the Spitfire in the air. What an honour it will be to fly this great beautiful warbird.
Well, been there, seen it, done it! Click here to to the photo page to see some beautiful Spitfire pictures!
Here I am at a new Flying Club, still based at Cranfield Airport. They are called Azure Flying Club. Their planes are all PA 28s which as you know are my favourite aeroplanes! On the left you will see G-BTNT or 'Dynamite' as I call him, my favourite craft! Since I passed my Twin engine rating at Cranfield, I found a sea change of attitude and emphasis at my former home. I am not going to go into great details about my decision to leave, but needless to say I have found a wonderful home in Azure. Our first encounter was with Ian Ellis, the Cranfield base admiistrator for the Club. He was totally sympathetic to my plight, and it seemed they were welcoming me with open arms. The fall out with CFS was not very pleasant, and I feel the move has enhanced my experience. The booking system here is wonderful, no one erases your booking without telling you, and the communication for information about the aeroplanes and the news at Cranfield itself is absolutely fantastic. I receive constant updates about any changing situation, and everyone I have met so far has been so friendly and helpful. I would like to thank Ian Ellis, Dave Lawrence the Chief Engineer and his colleaugue Paul, Andy Stewart who met me to try and do my check flight on a Sunday but the weather beat us, Malcolm Wayland who did do my check flight and had me going with his little jokes. I have also met Steve Betts and Andy Gambles, who are regular flyers at Azure. In the aeroplane pictures section you will see the other Azure aeroplanes I have already flown. (Dynamite is mine though!) The flying club has a website which you can see if you click here.
Well, after gaining seventy hours solo, I am embarking on the next adventure to become proficient in flying a twin engine plane, namely the marvellous beast on the left G-BRUX PA44 Seminole. My instructor is Michael Clifford-Smith, who has been my mentor for many hours of PPL training, and the majority of my successful IMC course. The key to the Twin engine training appears to be mastering what happens if one engine fails, and I have had a couple of sessions involving dealing with emergency eventualities. Watch this space to see how I get on with this new venture. It may not be swift, as it is somewhat expensive, but I am determined to complete the course now I have started it! Back to studying for exams again.... groan! Oh well, needs must!
I was going through the rating course for twin engine aeroplanes. Or should I say, it is called multi engine rating really. The twin G-BRUX is lovely, and very speedy compared to our humble single engined fellows, but although that takes a bit of getting used to, overshooting the centre line in the circuits because you get there quicker than you think and daft stuff like that, I think after nearly six hours flying and intense training I feel more confident about the handling of the plane. I still think six hours is not enough, but those are the stipulations. Or is it me being slow?
Michael Clifford Smith has been my ever suffering and trusty instructor in this adventure, and we have had some great trips in the twin together in our quest to make me capable enought to pass the skills test. I took the written exam and was horrified not to know the answer to the first question because I had never read anywhere how long the rating was valid for! So I went into meltdown, but as soon as we got onto questions about the POH I was much happier! I did pass the exam with five (or was it six) questions wrong out of 50, so I thought that was not too bad. Two of the questions I admit I did not even understand what was required.... outboard engine???? I mean they are BOTH outboard aren't they? Everyone has been very encouraging, and I really feel I am getting somewhere now!
We have been delayed by the really bad weather at the start of 2013, and G-BRUX went into maintenance for an engine change, so we are still to complete the whole course! Watch this space!
Finally managed to do an engine shutdown in cruise flight and an accelerate stop (loved that!). So all systems go for the test.........help me!
The day arrived! April 20th 2013! Test day! I was soooooooo nervous,because I just want to do well, and try my best, knowing I lack perfection in these things, but also feel comfortable with G-BRUX now. I have to say a big thank you to James Stratford, my examiner, who cunnignly overlooked my nervousness and hopefully saw through my stiff, on edge muscles! But, let us say a big Bravo and Hurrah! I made it! I felt completely traumatised afterwards, and in fact when James told me I had passed I just collapsed back in my seat instead of whooping for joy! Thank you, James, you really helped me through the test. Thank also to Michael for teaching me through the course and all the people at Cranfield who have been so supportive of my advancement. Woo-hoo! It's a real proper aeroplane! I mean just look at him in the picture! Isn't he a beauty?
Below are three pictures taken by Michael Clifford-Smith of me and the lovely BRUX!