Flying through

Friday, 31 May 2013

AeroExpo 2013

Agusta 109
Well, here we are again at another AeroExpo - this time back at Sywell instead of Czechie and 2013 instead of 2012, but they roll around.

Bit of deja vue but less so. Same helicopters but many fewer gyrocopters. I have a feeling this kind of show, with its much greater emphasis on fixed wing and ultralight, is not really a good place for selling gyrocopters. Still may be more tomorrow.

One interesting booth is the Campaign Against the CAA! This group, which comes from Panshanger in Essex, thinks there should be an ombudsman to regulate the CAA. They feel that the CAA are just pushing up prices to increase their incomes and pensions and no one is able to stop or regulate them. They may be right, but chances are an ombudsman will push up the prices even more.

No one, incidentally, seems to be interested or worried in the current consultation by the CAA to charge for using the radio... in fact most people haven't even heard of it..

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Apache pilot's course

Went to Middle Wallop in the UK to see how to become an Apache pilot starting from ab initio and all paid for by Her Majesty's government. Sadly I am way too old, and when I was young enough women did not fly in the UK military, anyway I doubt if I ever had the 'right stuff'. Bit too wet, me.

Anyway, it was fascinating. Pictures were a bit limited, though if I saw anything secret I would never know. I also went round the sim - very lifelike graphics for a sim.

I would put a picture here but blogspot is playing up, so later!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Fama Kiss flight

Flying the Fama KISS with Nino - Aldina Hadzic in background
Yesterday, I flew with one of my former students to Bologna to fly the small turbine helicopter the Fama KISS. The student, John Heath, is interested in buying one and in becoming the British distributor. He is working with the CAA to see how possible this might be.
I had an interesting flight. At first the KISS would not start, owing to the ignition breaker having been left out. Then we got a hung start because the battery charge was too low. However, all these things were overcome and we took off to fly up to the hover area.
I was happy in the hover. There is more lateral travel than I'm used to, but the machine was nice and responsive and I enjoyed hovering it. However, when we took off the vibration was awful - I looked in amazement at Nino, and he looked annoyed with the machine. The blades must need tracking, he said. We flew for a while, but the vibration was getting worse, so we came back and landed, Nino still muttering about tracking.
When we landed, however, and Nino had a look around the machine he found it was not the tracking that was lacking, but that a bolt in the head had sheared off! Considering we had no back pitch it flew pretty well!
His mechanics rushed out and in a few moments (half an hour) the fault was fixed.
John then went flying and commented how smooth it was. I think I will fly it again and see what the full KISS is like!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Hradec Kralove Art Gallery

This is a really special art gallery - The Museum of Modern Art - in Hradec Kralove and I thought it was completely wonderful and worth travelling to HK for.

Concepts from the artists included a woman encased in her own thoughts and fears, a picture that could be viewed from both sides using a mirror, a sculpture of a Dandy, made from pieces of bicycle, an artist eating his palette, because, presumably, he would not make any art that would give him the money to eat and many other thought-provoking pieces. I loved it.

Artists eating his palette

EHS Air Display day three

Fly-by of 13 helicopters
Day three at the European Helicopter Show ended with a fabulous air display. It started with a fly-by of thirteen helicopters - something of a record in itself. This was followed by fire-fighting, a medical rescue, new light helicopter display by the FAMA Kiss helicopter, a Stampe air display, an Extra showing its paces, the Red Bull Cobra and many other wonderful and extraordinary delights. It was a brilliant end to the show.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Bike Garage Hradec Kralove

Bike garage
Hradec Kravlove's bike garage. Bike are taken up the ramp on the left hand side and put in to the lift, whence they can be taken up do whichever floor is desired, pushed out and secured in the bike spaces. Just like a multistorey car park.

Six to Six robot

Six to Six is an interesting flying robot which can carry a still or video camera for use by a ground handler. The handler can see what the robot camera sees either on the computer monitor or through special viewing spectacles.

Flooding resistant barrier bags

Before water
Other interesting booths included the LECRA Barrier Bag. This is a Japanese invention, marketed by the Swedes. It is a small packable bag weighing 300 grams and made of polymers. When the bag is soaked in water it grows and becomes a 23 kilo block forming a barrier to further intrusion from water. This can be used in flood and best of all easily carried to the site - perhaps by helicopter.
After water has been added

Day Two part two EHS

Day Two at the European Helicopter Show, started with about twenty students rushing through the gate - we got very excited seeing this as a tide of visitors, but actually they were on their way somewhere else and never even entered the show hangar.
Apart from that early rush, day two had about the same amount of people as day one, and consequently I spent most of the day talking to exhibitors and taking photos.
Left is the Astar, Squirrel or AS350 practicing its display for tomorrow. We are hoping the weather will get better - it started raining this evening and has kept up a long slow drizzle ever since - and that tomorrow will bring a host of enthusiasts and pilots.

Nice barbecue this evening with, perhaps, wild boar meat.

David Herbert, HL subscriber, with the Cobra

Thursday, 9 May 2013

European Helicopter Show day two

Cobra - not the Red Bull one which will fly on Saturday
Red Bull is here with its Cobra and an Extra. On Saturday there is an airshow and I am told both machines will be flying, certainly the Cobra.

There were also a series of interesting seminars today including one on Safety Management Systems by Malcolm Rusby of Tag Aviation, and one about flying with the LA Police in California. The police photographer also gave us tips on how to take the perfect photo.

European Helicopter Show day one

Hradec Kralove airport
Based at the wonderful old cold war airfield of Hradec Kralove (once the capital of Czechie) the European Helicopter Show has a mass of fascinating new and old helicopters both medium and tiny. Unfortunately, it is rather lacking in visitors, but I'm told that will be remedied on Saturday.

Helicopters here include the Fama Kiss helicopter, several Cabris, the CH-7 Angel and the CH-77 two seat angel. There is also a minute single seater the Mosquito, and a wide selection of gyrocopters.

Other interesting booths include a 300 gramme poly-pack which when put in water turns into a 23 kilo 'cement block' barrier bag. These are intended to be used in flood situations whence they can be carried by helicopter and dropped onsite. After use they can be burnt. The invention is Japanese and the barrier bags are currently being marketed and sold by the a Swedish company LECRA.

There is also a Danish company manufacturing faux grass helipads, as seen on the left with the Cabri on the pad.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

European Helicopter Show setup day

Set-up day at Hradec Kralove for the European Helicopter Show. Above is one of the oldest exhibts, a HeliBaby - more on this tomorrow.
Went flying in a Danish R44 - notice the helipad - more on this to come.
Note the helipad R44 is landing on

Hradec Kralove airport
Lovely flight over the local countryside - which made up for the fact that when I went to pick up my rental car to drive here from Prague Dollar Thrifty claimed that the car I was to have had been in an accident, the result of which was that I had to pay almost double for a different car. Everyone here thinks this is a scam... I am going to write to Dollar and find out why this happened.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

New Landscape at Oxford London Airport

London Oxford Airport is maturing into a full-blown Heathrow satellite, we were told by James Dillon-Godfray at the pre-EBACE briefing. Training, once its staple income is now down and business jets, once as rare as wisdom, are up by 2011 - 2012.
The general landscape has also changed with the demise of PremiAir, once known as Europe’s leading charter company, and the growth of Capital Air Services. Michael Hampton, MD of Capital, explained that due to CAA AOC changes Capital is no longer supporting Air Harrods under their AOC and consequently there are presently no Air Harrods charters. RotorMotion is also presently restricted, so the general face of the helicopter charter market is finding itself restructured. Interestingly, the Olympics last summer, to which aviation companies were looking with a mixture of hope and trepidation, proved to have a negligible effect for the airport.
Eurocopter, always the airport mammoth, retains its dominant position, and is now known as British Civil Helicopter Hub!
Since last year, when the owners of the London Oxford Airport, the Ruben Brothers, bought Battersea Heliport, a new and very effective helicopter service has been created to take business jet passengers into London via the heliport. Run by Capital Helicopters the trip takes 25 minutes and passengers get a discount on both landing fees, which essentially pay for the cost of the helicopter trip between.
Current improvements to the taxiways and apron have also led to an increase in larger traffic including a scheduled flight by the Greek company Minoan, which flies a Fokker 50 from Oxford to Edinburgh and Oxford to Dublin several days a week.
The airport is now open from 4.30 am and flights can take place anytime between 6.30 am and midnight. A new train station should be open by 2014, and James Dill Godfray says there has been little local opposition and instead a significant boost to the local economy.
Oxford now has 40,000 movements a year, considerably down on its training peak of 200,000 movements a year but less invasive for the local community and considerably more lucrative for the airport and its owners.