I’ve been banner flying and undertaking some instrument practise since I last wrote to you. I’ve also been working when I can on the next episode of the European series. In Episode 3, I encounter bad weather in western Italy, and have to divert to Pisa.
You can see from the picture that we were surrounded by some pretty serious weather in the Pisa area, and we were stuck there for a good few hours, waiting for the storm to clear through. I’m hoping to get the next video out this weekend for my Early Bird supporters, and it will go public a week after that. These three hour legs are taking a long time to edit, so please bear with me.
I think it’s really important to keep practising IFR flight. Even after a lapse of just a month or so, the skills start to get rusty, and obviously rusty skills aren’t great when you get thrown in at the deep end in hard IMC when you least expect it.
My IFR flying has taken a bit of a back seat since we moved our aircraft to Redhill, so I have to make a real effort to keep in practise. So, the week before last I took advantage of some low-ish cloud to fly in real IMC, and do an RNAV approach to minimums at Lydd.
In the picture above, I’m established on the final approach track, and can’t see a thing out of the window. By this point, I had acclimatised to the IMC conditions and was reasonably comfortable, but I’ll admit that I was a little shaky when I first entered the cloud. The heart rate elevated, the palms got sweaty, and I was over-controlling the aeroplane for the first 30 seconds or so. I soon settled back into it, but it was a really good reminder that I need to try and fly in IMC, or simulated IMC at least once every two months to keep the skills fresh.
My pilot friend Simon Moores asked me if I wanted to help him with some banner towing last weekend. He had a banner to fly over the Isle of Wight festival, and then a marriage proposal over Spitbank Fort in the Solent.
I flew from Maypole to Sandown, Sandown to Maypole in Simon’s adapted Cessna 172, and helped out on the ground and in the air for the two sorties. The weather was absolutely fantastic, and I’m pleased to say that Bianca said ‘yes’!
Flying the aeroplane, close to the stall, at 700ft AMSl with a banner dragging behind you really focusses the mind. A great experience.
My paying supporters will know that I was involved in a rather unpleasant Airprox last month. I haven’t spoken about it on my public channels, as I know from experience that the public channels can and do attract abuse and insults from non-followers. If you’d like to hear more about the experience, then you can sign up here to view the exclusive content. Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to watch my video on the subject, and share your kind words of support and advice.
I’ll sign off for now, but hope to be in touch with the next episode very soon.
Fly safely my friends.