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 Matter of Drones - Simon Moores for The Guardian

I have a drone on my airfield” – a statement that welcomes passengers to the latest dimension in air-travel disruption. Words of despair from the chief operating officer of Gatwick airport in the busiest travel week of the year. Elsewhere, many thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers turned in frustration to social media in an expression of crowd-sourced outrage.

How could this happen? Why is it still happening over 12 hours after Gatwick’s runways were closed to aircraft, why is an intruder drone – or even two of them – suspended in the bright blue sky above the airport, apparently visible to security staff and police who remain quite unable to locate its source of radio control?

Meanwhile, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, overtaken by both the technology and events, is reduced to sending out desperate tweets warning that an airport incursion is a criminal offence and that drone users should follow their new code of conduct. Yet this is not an unforeseen event. It was i…
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…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…