Skip to main content

On Auto-Pilot

It's almost as if I had forgotten to post to my weblog completely in recent weeks!

I guess I've been busy with the Airads business and just as importantly, finishing-off my commercial pilot's license.

Having passed the final flight test (GFT) , with no more right to fly in God's clean air than a weasel or at least I'm sure the CAA examiner thought so, now what? The GFT and the pre-test, the 170A were each two hours of stress-filled torture that left me wondering why, at my age, I was putting myself through it. Almost two years of my life has been lost in cramming for the exams and learning to fly with the absolute precision demanded of a commercial pilot.

After over ten years of flying about, you might think that I could fly already. True, but rather like taking an advanced driving test, one has to be able to demonstrate control and knowledge of a complex aircraft in a manner which is acceptable to the CAA and their examiners as a public transport pilot. It comes as a rude shock!

Working-up to the flight exam is rather like honing oneself for the Olympics in anticipation of the skills tests. As an example, one has to memorise the emergency checklists because there's absolutely no point in trying to read a checklist when the examiner throws a fire drill and or engine failure at you. If you get the checks out of sequence, it's a fail and the stress factor is something else; which is all part of the course, seeing if the candidate panics or makes critical mistakes.

Anyway, it's all over now and the next step is the Instrument Rating on multi-engines, perhaps followed by a type-rating on small business jets if I can justify the costs.

I'm just reminded that the aircraft pictured crashed within a few hundred yards of where I live sixty years ago this week!

Popular posts from this blog

A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

Merlins over Thanet

Marooned, temporarily at Manston this afternoon are the Merlins over Malta team on the way to the Mediterranean for a display to mark the historic Second World War defence of the island.


Charlie Brown

Unfortunately, the weather over Thanet is appalling this afternoon and the Spitfire and Hurricane can’t get airborne again until it clears, so the celebrity Battle of Britain aircraft pilots, Charlie Brown, Clive Denny and their team-mates are contemplating an evening among the fleshpots of Margate.


Clive Denny (Hurricane) & Charlie Brown (Spitfire) Pilots

I’m rather hoping the weather it will clear through though as they have to get to Jersey before dusk if possible and I have to take some photos of the Spitfire and Hurricane for Pilot Magazine and I’ve always wanted a chance to get in either aircraft!

An Interview with Charlie Brown

They just got off, squadron scramble or what? They were ready and gone in ten minutes towards the nearest patch of blue sky!

An interview with the legendary S…
Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!