Flying through

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Day Three AeroExpo

Flying for the disabled
Day three of the show and - partly owing to my late nights and early mornings - I'm beginning to think I'm a bit too old for this game! I look tired.

Anyway, good so far, a number of committed advertisers and many subscriptions sold, so it was worth coming.

The fixed-wing left is the Aerobility training machine. Aerobility are the modern face of the charity flying for the disabled. They teach disabled people to be pilots, right up to Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) level. At the moment they have no helicopters, and hence no helicopter pilots, but are looking into this for the future. There are already two adapted helicopters, one in Italy the other in Florida, for disable pilot use.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

AeroExpo end of Day Two

H500 at Sywell
Very interesting day. Amongst other useful things I have learnt is that the Heliroutes H7 and H4 will be closed during the Paralympics. All the Heliroutes are closed during the main Olympics, with the exception of a route in and out of Battersea.
I have also been told that pilots should not be intimidated by the thought of flying and filing a flight plan during the Olympic period. AIS said: "be brave, take those flight plans and fly."
And take heart, you have a slippage of half an hour each side of the given time. On the second practice day they had 1000 flight plans filed with 80% correct. The main error was people leaving too many spaces, which upset the computer.
And during the Paralympics, as there is no restricted area there will be no flight plans.
Any questions look at the website:

This picture should give an idea of the number of planes here - I will check the exact number but I guess around 500 of which 10 are helicopters.
Probably that is a fairly standard percentage. There are also a lot of tents - sweet. What you might call romantic but uncomfortable!

Helicopter Life got a lot of interested enquiries, both about ads and articles and I got a host of new subscribers. Good day, kulu kulay!

Day Two AeroExpo @ Sywell

There are 100s of aircraft here - drawn in by the excellent weather and the fun of a day out with aviation - a sort of county show with helicopters, microlights, old timers like this one and gyrocopters instead of pigs, cows and horses.

There was also a queue right round the airport to get in and see the aircraft. Wonderful. Makes you feel that light aviation will always have a home here in the UK.

I'll let you know what the day brings in the way of helicopter excitement, but generally things are shaping up for a productive day.

Friday, 25 May 2012

AeroExpo Day One

Sloane Helicopters
Day One at AeroExpo. Sywell Airfield in Northamptonshire.
Glorious sunshine and a lot of pilots have flown in. Rows of aircraft flank the tents and few static displays - mostly aeroplanes of course, but a good few helicopters have also flown in. I brought my less than avian Polo.
Not too many helicopter companies though. So far, I have seen HeliAir, training, charter, sales etc and Sloane Helicopters - Air Ambulance, training, sales etc. There is also that wonderful magazine Helicopter Life! People have come by the booth to chat to me but I cannot persuade anyone to come and work the booth for me.
Hayward's Aviation is here in a red bus - they insure pretty much all the helicopters so I suppose you could almost call them a helicopter company - it is a joke Matthew!
HeliAir Helicopters
There are a couple of helicopters for sale here - Robinsons - but not the deluge there was one year at HeliTech, when every other helicopter had a For Sale sign on it.
Many people, both fixed wing and helicopters, have complained how 'flat' the market is. One optimist said he thought it was improving slowly - at least compared to the last two years.
As far as magazines are concerned there was a piece on the radio this morning about a company with local newspapers which is changing its circulation from daily to weekly, because they feel there is not the advertising, or the news, or the market for daily news other than on line. Not a good time for journalists then.

Life of a Helicopter Pilot

Bell 206 JetRanger at Shoreham in Sussex
The life of a helicopter pilot is pretty varied, I'm glad to say: Wednesday I flew a man to a field to pick up his wife and two friends for a surprise trip round the heli-routes over London. When the JetRanger arrived she was stunned and her friends burst into tears - of joy, promise!

The next day, I took a guy who has Cerebral Palsey flying - it had been his dream for years to go in a helicopter and finally we managed to arrange it. He was so happy he ha a huge grin on his face throughout the whole trip. His carer was not so lucky and felt sick but said she enjoyed looking at London from above anyway!
Sywell Airfield in Northamptonshire

Now it is three days of a trade show at Sywell Airfield in Northampton, to sell Helicopter Life and to promote the helicopter services of Fly Fizzi Ltd.

Come and see us - we are booth B6

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Eurocopter day at Oxford Airport

EC135 Hermes helicopter
Eurocopter had a Discovery day at Oxford Airport. To some extent it was a 'meet the family' day as many of the original staff have now left Eurocopter UK and there are a raft of new faces, it was also a chance to see all the new aircraft they have there, including the Hermes EC135.
It does look good, and below is the very orange interior. As it happened one of the guess was carrying a Hermes bag, so we were able to test the difference!

Apaches at Goodwood

I was flying the Tiger Moth at Goodwood when these two Apaches came in.  It was lunchtime but I guess they were eating their sandwiches in the cockpit as I didn't see anyone get out of the helicopters.
What a crowd-puller though! It was as though a cross between Kate Queen-to-be and Jordan Former beauty-queen had landed with anyone with a camera, phone or iPad out on the deck taking pics.
Who says aviation is old hat.
But, eventually, all good things have to end and, stuffing their crusts back into their plastic bags, they upped and off back to the Kingdom of Heaven or wherever they came from.
Hope they come again soon.