Flying through

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Slippery snow and 300s

This was last winter. We were trying to push the helicopter into the hangar after a beautiful flight over snow covered fields...
However, less romatically, when we tried to push the helicotper back into the hangar we kept falling over on the ice...even with my tough Timberland pink boots!
In the end I had to start-up and hover backwards until we were off the ice and in the edge of the hangar. Trickey but it worked!
I hope we are into Spring now....

LPC on H300

Ok this is not a very suitable photo - but it would be fun to fly this would it not....especially in the snow.

The LPC was good - unusually nothing went wrong (!) but I did learn not to believe the weather forecast, which originally claimed it was going to be wet and windy. It was a babe of a day, with puffy little clouds around Southend, and 8 knots of wind. Lovely.

The only problem is the cost - I feel the CAA gets most of its income from pilots who can least afford to pay it - ie the ones who have to keep current to get work, however much or little work they get. A very odd system.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

UK SAR, Soteria bid cancelled

It is now slightly over a year since the Soteria consortium lead by CHC won the United Kingdom SAR contract. In that time doubts and worries have been gathering speed. First, we heard that the heir to the throne Prince William, himself a RAF SAR pilot, had ‘voiced concerns to the government’, then we heard that the Royal Bank of Scotland, an integral part of the consortium had pulled out. Finally, in February we were told that there were irregularities in the bidding process. On February 8th, 2011 we were told that the 6 billion privatisation programme had been cancelled and that the preferred bidder admitted that it had been helped by a former Whitehall insider and given access to “commercially sensitive information.”
There appear to have been other more basic concerns too, both around the co-operation and training aspects, and around the location of helicopter SAR bases. The first concern was voiced by rescuers who were nervous of the 70% reduction in staff in the new service, and the suitability of the Sikorsky S92, given its extra weight. The second set of fears was exacerbated by the news that RAF Kinloss is to close, closely followed by the likely closure of RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Leuchars. All going as part of the Coalition's cost cutting programme.
Now we have the leaking of commercially sensitive information and the knowledge that CHC is itself under investigation by the MoD police.
While we are told that the government is keen to reopen the bidding process and that they wish to continue with the privatisation of the SAR in the UK, the most likely outcome is a considerable period of reflection. Let’s hope that from this reflection comes a wise outcome. We can only continued to watch the news and see what happens.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Eurocopter in Aberdeen

Would you recognise this as an EC225? Here we are in Aberdeen, flying the sim - it was a good day. Eurocopter chose an Indra sim from one of the biggest Spanish companies as it was 'much better value'. Indra do a lot of sims including Harriers - ha not much use here any more! They also do buses and police car sims - wonderful eh-