Saturday, 5 September 2009

...and another issue is finished

This is how the office looked at 1800 last night. At the time there were a dozen or so pages of the October issue of FLYER still to go. Some were waiting to have corrections done, some had gaps waiting for pictures to be dug out of dusty digital libraries, and others were in the queue to be made into a pdf, or uploaded to the printer's server.

Things were sufficiently under control for us to break out some cold beers (courtesy of Ian Waller).

Ollie (Art Ed.) will be in later today to check the pages on the printer's server. Assuming that all is well, the plates will be made and sometime on Monday the presses will start to roll. By the time they do, we'll have already started work on the November issue.

If you are planning to fly to Sywell on Sunday, come and say hello.

Friday, 4 September 2009

More Part M woes on the way?

I was talking to an aeroplane operator today. His maintenance organisation has just told him that his fixed-pitch propeller has to be sent away for an overhaul.

According to his engineer, the CAA has told its surveyors to ensure that propeller time-in-service limits are strictly adhered to. It's an area on which they'll be focusing apparently.

Neither of us is 100% sure the information that's been passed on is correct, so I'll be contacting the CAA early next week to do a little digging.

While I'm talking about Part M and its associated ARCs and controlled (or uncontrolled) environments, I have to say that I'm hearing a lot of complaints from owners about repeatedly high maintenance bills as a result of the changes. Time for a bit of a survey I think.

If you know anything about the prop. situation, or if you are 'enjoying' unusually high invoices as a result of Part M, please leave a comment, or send me an email if you prefer.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Rain, and lots of it

I hate this weather. Not because it's cold, not because it's wet, not even because it turns flying into a pure mode of transport (IFR) rather than a semi-recreational scenic tour. I hate this weather because I hate the thought of the aeroplane sitting out in the wind and rain with no protection other than a Cambrai cover.

The cover's fine, but it isn't a replacement for a nice, dry hangar. I know that I could move the aeroplane to an airfield with hangarage, and I know the decision to become a strip flyer was mine, but it doesn't stop me feeling somewhat sorry for the collection of aluminium bits that I've shared many adventures with.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Birmingham landing fee: £3.80* One day only

Birmingham Airport is celebrating its 70 birthday - and to celebrate the anniversary, the opening of a new pier and the arrival of the Airbus A380 they're offering a landing fee of just £3.80 for any vintage aircraft flying in on September 9th. What's more the landing fee even includes handling by Signature!

*You'll need to pre-arrange a slot by calling or emailing Andrew Davies on 0121 767 7073 or email andrew.davies 'at'
This has to be done by September 4th. No aircraft will be accepted at this special rate without an official slot number.

Here's the full press release

Auster, de Havilland and Miles, all names synonymous with the exciting, glamorous early days of flying in Birmingham.

For one day only, Birmingham Airport is inviting classic aircraft to visit on September 9th, to help celebrate the Airport’s 70th anniversary, the opening of the new International Pier and to contrast with the arrival of the Airbus A380, the world’s biggest airliner at Birmingham. And the best part is the price; help us celebrate for a landing fee of just £3.80, including handling by Signature Flight Support – a super jumbo bargain!

For seven decades the Airport has served the UK’s second City, as well as the wider region, and while Birmingham is now home to some of the most environmentally-efficient fleets, it all started off with a Dragon Rapide touching down at what was the old Elmdon terminal.

There are a number of events planned to help mark what is a true milestone in the history of Birmingham Airport and you could be part of what will be a memorable day. In fact there might even be a surprise or two in store as well!

Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive Officer, explains, “September 9th promises to be a significant day in the history of Birmingham Airport as we celebrate our 70th anniversary and the opening of the International Pier. At £45 million the Pier represents the biggest single investment the Airport has made in the last 20 years and it is fitting that its opening coincides with the marking of our seventh decade.

“It would be great if, on the day, people were given the opportunity to see some of the aircraft that were once regular visitors to the Airport in the early days of operations. We are all anticipating a day to remember and we hope those with interesting old aircraft can make a visit.”

So, if you think your aircraft could help set the scene on Birmingham Airport’s 70th anniversary and opening of the new International Pier then get in touch. To request your slot and operational details contact Andrew Davies on 0121 767 7073 or email Andrew.davies 'at', no later than Friday 4th September. No aircraft will be accepted at this special rate without an official slot number.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

and the weather for the LAA weekend... Sywell is looking, err different every time the BBC update their forecast. Yesterday they were predicting rain on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but today it is looking like sunshine which will be nice...

Norwich joins Strasser scheme

As a result of the following from CAP 667

“There were a number of fatal accidents where a timely diversion or precautionary landing could have avoided an accident. In the UK there is a ‘culture’ of pressing on and hoping for the best rather than accepting the inconvenience and cost of a diversion. This ‘culture’ needs to be changed, firstly by educating pilots and secondly by persuading Aerodrome owners that there should be no charge for emergency landings or diversions. It is recommended that all Aerodrome owners be persuaded to adopt a policy that there should be no charges for emergency landings or diversions by General Aviation aircraft.”

Charles Strasser, AOPA rep for the CI launched a project to get airfields to comply. Norwich recently became the 203rd airfield to join (although some see that as a cynical move to go along with their requested airspace grab).

The scheme applies to all unplanned diversions (i.e. it doesn't apply to flight-planned alternates), and in theory at least removes any financial consideration from the diversion decision.

Monday, 31 August 2009

A bank holiday video

Renaud Ecalle, who won this year's World Aerobatics Championships

Sunday, 30 August 2009

A quick guide to Chapter 11

Chapter 11 relates to US bankruptcy law. It's a legal tool that gives a company, in difficult times, a period to reorganise. Either the company itself, or one or more of its creditors, can file a petition in a US bankruptcy court for Chapter 11 protection.

In many cases it will be the owners or managers of a company who continue to run and reorganise the company during Chapter 11. This is known as Debtor in Possession (DIP). Any reorganisation needs to be approved by the bankruptcy judge, with a creditors' committee being influential in the planning of the reorganisation.

Chapter 11 provides protection from creditors. Any legal moves made by creditors are basically put on hold, and inevitably a negotiation concerning those debts will be part of any reorganisation. Should the debts exceed the assets, and reorganisation prove impossible, then Chapter 7 is the next step. Chapter 7 is effectively a liquidation. A court will appoint a trustee who will sell any remaining assets and distribute the funds.

So why the words on Chapter 11 in a UK General Aviation blog? Most US airlines have been through Chapter 11 at one time or another, and some of the big names in GA have also used its protection. From what I'm hearing, there may be a couple more before too long.