Flying through

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

HeliTech @ Excel

AgustaWestland AW139 from SA
Day one and two at HeliTech 2013. The new venue is Excel, which is certainly easier to get to, but does have some disadvantages - notably that private pilots (indeed most pilots) cannot fly in.

There are some good things. I have been visited by many subscribers and friends - have chatted to many potential advertisers and subscribers, and there are some good machines here - like the AW139 left. But is does lack the buzz of HeliTech Duxford, and indeed HeliExpo. Hard to say why - might be the lack of outside air and flying helicopters.

Next year will be in Amsterdam. I've said I will go, but who knows how good that will be - I just hope there is room for some actual flying.

Bell has a B429 at the show, it is flying in and out of the car park and doing flights with potential customers down to Rochester and back. The other helicopters seem to be static only, which is a pity.

For the future Bell are excited that the JetRanger Lite is getting a LOT of interest. Gary Slater, the UK distributor, says that if he could already take deposits he would be rolling in it! I, like everyone else, am really looking forward to seeing the new machine.

Eurocopter has the T2s, both EC130T2 and EC145T2 are at the show. There have been a few problems with them, so no chance to fly them at the moment.

Sikorsky is also at the show. No Enstrom though, or Robinson, but a showing from Cabri, with a Swedish Guimbal on static display.

PremiAir has relaunched as a corporate charter company. The new MD was also trying to convince a skeptical press that Blackbushe is the new West London Heliport. Humm. I live in West London and it takes me an hour to drive to Blackbushe- work it out for yourself! At least Oxford London offers you a helicopter flight into Battersea.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

LPCs or now PCs

Bell 206
Wonderful couple of days doing proficiency checks - what used to be called LPCs but now, with the EASA regulations, has changed its name to something more confusing. Normal!

First did a couple of JetRanger PCs in Kent, wonderful flying weather, and both guys flew very well.

Two days later down in Dorset. Very windy and wonderfully eccentric places to fly from, which made it very exciting. We came in and out of some very small yards - at least one of which was for engineering.

Then if was a bit of H300 flying - the wind blew us around a little, but those little Schweizers are wonderous tough, and we had a lovely flight once the rain had blown through.

Another 300 flight tomorrow, weather permitting, and then should be a 500 on Friday - once again depending on the weather.