Please note: this page has not been updated for a while, I intend on updating it soon.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

East Midlands Airport – Air Traffic Control Tower Visit!

A couple of weeks ago on Sunday 7th September I (and some friends) landed at East Midlands Airport. We flew in PA-28 G-LIZI and after we had vacated RWY 27 we were greeted by a FOLLOW ME car that escorted us to STD70, not many GA planes get to park on the Cargo Apron! The reason for this was because if we had continued to taxi to where the other light aircraft usually park we would have technically go off airside and then we would require security passes which understandably they didn’t have time to sort out for four people as they would require passport details, CRB checks etc...

We were then met by a member of staff from Advantage Flight Support who took us in a minibus to the Control Tower. We were then met by an off duty ATCO who gave us some temporary visitor ID cards and began to show us around.

First we got to visit the ATC Simulator, which is located adjacent to the Approach Control Room and is on the ground floor of the building (not actually in the Tower itself) it was amazing to see! One of the controllers had spent his spare time editing the software and created a custom 767 painted in Scooby Doo livery, it was appropriately named ‘The Mystery Machine’. The controller then pressed some buttons and the right engine suddenly exploded and caught fire, then he demonstrated how he could summon the Airport Fire & Rescue Service to attend to the incident. Unfortunately there was a bug in the system which means that the fire engines often drive into the aircraft landing gear but they do put the fire out (and I suppose that is really the only required level of realism required for training in an ATC environment).

After that we were showed into the Approach Room, which we had just walked through. The controller who dealt with our arrival was happy enough to speak to us when should could get a break in the radio! It was incredible to see the other end of the mic. Suddenly a phone rang; it was a CAA Inspector… Someone in a C152 had just flown over an active airshow that was clearly NOTAMed in the AIP. Oh dear I thought, certainly not a good day for him!

After talking with another controller for a bit and our eyes hurting for staring at all the screens in such amazement we were led up to the Visual Control Room (VCR). This is something I wanted to do for years! We walked into the circular shaped building that was the base of the tower, I looked up… Forgot how many steps there are but it’s a lot, obviously there’s a lift, guess which is the more popular option? The person leading us up said the lift had broken down only a few times and they’ve had to walk up in the mornings – if I had to pick a lift to get stuck in it would be this one as you know someone will find out you’re in there and they’ll want to get it sorted ASAP so they don’t have to walk every day!

After an obviously long wait in the lift (which felt unusual as there are only 2 or 3 floors) there was brightness! We walked up a few stairs and we were in. I must have taken about 100-200 photos, it was great for filming arrivals landing up there. Strangely, it doesn’t seem that high but it is. One of the controllers told us there was a pane of glass that was scratched; next month there will be a crane to lift up a new piece that costs more than a million pound! A lot of the computers have been updated and things modernised since the photos I had found on the Internet. In the ‘good ol’ days’ they used to use flight strips, these are completely redundant now unless there is a system failure and they have no choice but to do it manually.

After some more picture taking and general chitchat to off duty staff we looked at the time and began to accept we would have to reluctantly leave. The minibus picked us up and the kind driver asked if we would like to tour the ramp and drive around the airport taxiways (I think you know what we said…) after the drive we pulled up at STD70 and began to perform the Pre-Start checks, we taxied out past the main apron and waited for an arriving a/c after we did our engine checks and departed from RWY 27. Heading en-route to Long Eaton we flew over Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station and due to excellent visibility we got a great view of Nottingham making for some fabulous pictures to add to my portfolio of aerial shots.

Finally we landed back at Gamston, and if the day couldn’t have got any better we had a McDonald's for lunch! I then returned home and straight away loaded up the files from my camera and GoPro.

It was a day I’ll never forget.

I would like to send my thanks to all the staff that we spoke to on the day and all those who made the visit possible. Also particular thanks goes to Paul Kay (ATCO Training Officer) for allowing us to have such a nosey in and being very helpful in assisting me to organise all of this.

(Pictures will be uploaded soon; I’m currently in the process of setting up myself a Flickr account.)

Friday, 29 August 2014

NEW Update

29th August 2014 - NEW Update

After having flew Solo for the first time on 16th February, I have since been building up my hours as P1 (in the Circuit).

I also have taken a decision to change where I am learning to fly… I now fly with the Sherwood Flying Club, still at Nottingham City Airport and still flying the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk though! After weighting up the advantages and dis-advantages I decided it would be better to learn in a friendlier Club environment as opposed to with a Commercial Company.

The good news is I'm now allowed to begin filming again. Expect a new video in a couple of months' time. It shall take me a while to get enough footage to even begin editing - from now on I will no longer be using my 'Flip' Camera as it has broken :-( However, my Canon SX50 is much higher quality and will allow me to upload in full 1080p HD along with my GoPro HERO3 which I bought a couple of months ago. This should allow me to upload some interesting footage with a different perspective.

Anyway, more recently...
I visited Harrogate again! I have now completed Navigation [80%], Flight Performance & Planning [85%] and Meteorology [90%] exams. I now only have Aircraft Technical/General and Principles of Flight to complete before I can do a FRTOL Radio License and (assuming I have enough hours and that at the time I'm over the age of 17) take my PPL Skills Test. If it all goes to plan then hopefully I'll have it by next year!

GCSE Exams!
Hooray!!! They are over, I'm pleased with my results and I did better than what I expected…
I officially start College on Monday 8th September but have to go for an 'Induction' on Friday 5th.
I'm studying:
- Geography
- Photography

That's all I have to say in this post, if you're interested in learning to fly then please visit this website "http://trainingtofly.com"
A friend has set it up and I'm trying to attract some views towards it, please bare in mind that it is currently under construction. I plan to write some things on there soon so keep an eye out.

Oh, one more thing...
On Sunday 7th I will be visiting Air Traffic Control at East Midlands Airport. I really don't know how I managed to convince them but we will be flying in at around 02:30PM for a tour of the Approach Control Room [ACR], Main Engineering Room [MER] and the (main part) Visual Control Room [VCR].
You can certainly expect some interesting photos from the trip out which I shall post at the earliest opportunity I have available to do it. If you've 'liked' my page on Facebook you'll probably see them on there before you see them here. Hopefully the weather is good or we won't be able to go!


Sunday, 26 January 2014

January 2014 - Update

Flying Solo Soon?!

Wow! I haven't been back here for almost a year. I don't know where to start, so much has happened in what feels like such a short amount of time.

First of all I'm going to start by saying I'm writing this entry on my iPad whilst on the way to Premier Inn at Harrogate, in a months time I am hoping to be flying solo! To do this I need to pass my Air Law exam - so the pressure is on. I have already passed Radio Telephony (Theory) and my Class 2 Medical. Tomorrow afternoon I shall be taking Air Law, Operational Procedures and Human Performance/Factors. I will be entering these exams at The Great Circle, who are a specialist in fast track PPL ground school. They seem to have good reviews, and claim to have 100% pass rates. If you fail you get your money back! To help with these exams I downloaded the 'PPL Exams' app on the Apple App Store for iPad, although I don't need to revise I hope it will further help me. The app itself is quite good; the only downside is it covers the old syllabus but I have been told is due to be updated.
In the car, on the way to Harrogate
I spent the night at a Premier Inn
05/02/2014 - I am pleased to say that I have now received all my results and achieved a pass in all the exams I entered. This should allow me to fly solo on the 8th February after my 16th birthday!

OAA Open Day
Talking about updates, in July this year, I went to Oxford Aviation Academy for an Airline Pilots Career Open Day. I had to special apply as I'm only 15, I thing they youngest there apart from me was 18?? Anyway, I found the day helpful - but that was not the end of it...
I seen some leaflets saying if you fill in a simple survey you could win a 'flying experience' in a Cessna 182 with OAA. So, I filled it in And days later, I got an email saying Congratulations! To cut a long story short, I arranged a day and time (which got confirmed) we turned up and was stopped by security and told there were no flying instructors in. We had to go all the way back to Nottingham from Oxford! After a few emails we got back in touch and there had been some sort of mistake. The day was rearranged, and as a apology they had organised for me to go in a full motion Boeing 737-400 simulator for an hour, they also gave us free lunch and payed us £75 petrol money for the previous trip we had made. This was a brilliant experience! I hope to go to Oxford Aviation when I am older; this is a day I will truly never forget.

RAF Waddington Visit with Aeros
Also this year I got offered a visit to RAF Waddington's GA Fly-In Day. Unfortunately there was low cloud and visibility was getting worse, so I couldn't fly. However due to the typical British weather, alternative arrangements were made in advance so we went by road. The day started off with a short presentation about MATZ crossings and proper use of the guard frequency (121.5MHz). Last year people got to see an E-3D Sentry cockpit so this year I got to go in a Spitfire! After the Spitfire visit went into ATC. I got to meet the controllers who I talk to when we are flying 'Local Area North' first and then into the Visual Control Room (VCR) for the base itself. One of the controllers said how on several occasions he has left the low flying aircraft warning lights on for the road adjacent to the runway and has heard of delays after leaving work. So he has had to turn round and check they are turned off!

Flying in Cyprus
Now, if you're a subscriber to my YouTube channel you will have noticed a video I put up in October. If you haven't seen the video it's basically me flying in Cyprus. This was a brilliant addition to my holiday and to make things better the aircraft I flew was a Tomahawk!
If you havent seen the video, then look below. Note to self: I better make sure I include the link to it in the blog post.

I'm too busy!
I haven't been updating this blog for a while, as I have been quite busy with my GCSE mock exams, plus not to mention I'm not allowed to film anymore. Other than what I've mentioned I haven't really been doing much other than circuit flights, I do hope for my solo flight however to get my GoPro mounted and record ATC and intercom communications with some special equipment I got for Christmas this year. That's it for now. Am off to continue my revision.

I shall re-format this post when I get time so the dates are correct, and may go into more detail about these exciting things that have happened to me in the past couple of months. So next time you visit things may look a little different.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Testing my new camera

Just thought I share a few pictures with you that I took with my new camera (a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS) I'm getting used to posting these now.
Nottingham Tower - (Radio on 134.8750MHz)
The Moon at 50x Optical Zoom. Look in the top right at them craters!
N44NE - Cessna 414 - a nice multi-engine, like what I want to fly after my PPL!
A beautiful Piper PA-28 climbing out into the distance.
That's my flying club!
HA HA, I'm authorised personnel, well it's not exactly Area 51 J

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Stalling and Slow Flight!!

Many pilots fear the stall characteristics in Tomahawks or the 'Traumahawk' as it is often referred to by other Student Pilots, to be honest I don't know what the fuss is all about. I have stalled before in a Vigilant T1 at RAF Syerston and that was awful! I prefer stalling in a Tomahawk, I hardly felt it! The aircraft I flew this lesson in was G-BGBW - I flew in December but am writing this in January as I have obviously been a bit busy with Christmas. For Christmas (aviation related) I got me a' David Clark Clark H10-60 Headset, I visited the airport and performed a simple radio check in G-BW to test them out, whilst there I used the opportunity to try out my new camera a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS - with 50x Optical Zoom! I got some good sample videos of a PA-28 and a good ol' Cessna taking off - I didn't have my tripod with me and it was windy so the video wasn't great however I was very impressed with the 50x zoom! I shall get some of my family to film my next takeoff with it as I shall continue to use my Flip Mino to film in the aircraft (it is lighter/easier for when I'm flying). My new camera will allow me to upload in full 1080pHD video to YouTube and I'm expecting to use it at East Midlands Airport regularly. Speaking of E.M.A I have just applied for Work Experience there and am hopeful of being accepted, I volunteered to do this in my 6 weeks holidays (well 8 weeks - if you know me!) as I haven't got anything better to do and will be down there anyway! Back to flying...
As I kind of mentioned I got to takeoff for the first time last lesson which will be an experience I hope to never forget it wasn't very action-packed if you know what I mean, but I hope it to be the first of many to come... I shall try and mount my camera to the back of the cockpit for my next lesson (this month, January.) More importantly I have some good news I don't know whether I mentioned it before but the first Tomahawk I ever flew was crashed and subsequently written-off in Skegness. After being told it was going to be re-built I got told it was going to get written-off again, BUT I have been told yet again it is going to be repaired/re-built for sure! If you don't know what aircraft I'm talking about, I'm talking of G-BJUR!! - It was given a new engine and repainted. I recently created a Facebook page were I shall list extra content, all my blog entries and new videos. So please give it a like - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Golfindia298/478056892236131 Well that's it now, I don't know what else to say but hopefully I will have even more to speak about next time.
Goodbye for now, and many safe landings!

G-BGGI in the main hangar.
The other aircraft I regularly fly! G-BGBW in the main hangar with G-GI in the background.
[Edit: More pictures coming soon. by George Hunter on Friday 4th January at 3:45PM]