Thursday, 9 June 2011

You've got to feel sorry for him...

Earlier today I was flying along, minding my own business and dodging the showers. I was outside controlled airspace but listening to a local unit just to see what was going on.

A couple of Exam call signs were on frequency, both pilots on IR tests, both pilots undoubtedly towards the end of an expensive, intensive course. The first pilot seemed on top of things and was soon passed to London, the second pilot sounded more nervous. The unit I was listening in to cleared the second pilot to 2,500ft - but shortly called him to ask his altitude as it was indicating 3,000.

The pilot replied that he was correcting to 2,500 - but I'm guessing that the level bust was going to spoil his test. I can imagine how badly he felt as he pushed the nose down, perhaps taking his feet from the rudders for long enough to kick himself. As if that wasn't bad enough, ATC then called the Exam call sign to remind him that the previous agency had only cleared him to 2,500 - so even if by some miracle the examiner had been asleep/missed the mistake the first time around he/she was left in no doubt. I suppose there's a chance that the pilot got a partial pass, but a mistake like that at the beginning of the flight can't have done a huge amount for his nerves.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Time for a photo shoot

The good news is that the weather looks good. The bad news is that just as soon as it looks good it starts to look wet too. Best take a brolly…

TAF EGLL 080459Z 0806/0912 23009KT 9999 FEW030 PROB40 TEMPO 0809/0818 24015G25KT 7000 SHRA PROB30 TEMPO 0909/0912 8000 SHRA=

Edit. While there were a couple of showers around the weather turned out fine, if a little blustery!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Cessna's new CEO

Jack Pelton came into work at Cessna a couple of weeks ago and retired. Colleagues in the USA tell me that Jack's retirement came in the form of being fired with immediate effect. Some poor Q1 numbers and a reluctance to make deeper cuts apparently sealed his fate. That's all rumour and hearsay of course.

Today Scott Ernest, Jack's replacement, starts his second week at Cessna. If the rumours are true the spreadsheets will be getting worn out and Scott will be weighing up his first set of tough decisions. If the rumours aren't true…well, Oshkosh is only six or seven weeks away and Cessna will be shouting from the Wisconsin rooftops.

Watch this space.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Long day

I had the opportunity to fly a new Tecnam P2006T from the factory in Naples, Italy, to Wycombe in the UK last week. We left the factory at about 16.30 on Tuesday, overnighted in Cannes and landed back at Wycombe at about 19.00 on Wednesday. The flight will be the subject of a 'Flying Adventure' in the magazine, but for now I thought I'd mention a few observations.

VFR in Italy
Like the UK, Italy has a lot of low-level Class A. If you want to stay over land (we didn't), you're stuck with a lot of compulsory reporting points. If you're happy over the sea, you'll end up low and quite a few miles off the coast.

Don't run late
While talking to Bastia we overheard a pilot heading for somewhere in Italy. His destination was about to close so he tried to negotiate an after-hours unicom style arrival. The Italians were clearly not in the mood to go along with his plan, and eventually the obviously frustrated pilot diverted into Calvi for the night. There are worse places.

This airport is situated in one of France's most gastronomic regions. The restaurant however caters for the mass of passengers passing through on Ryanair flights. Panini was about as exotic as it got.

Thanks to some seriously strong headwinds the flight back took a little under eight hours. After landing at Wycombe I flew my C182 back to the strip. That's a lot of flying in a day, but thanks to the factory-fitted autopilot I managed to stay awake for my supper, even after a post-flying beer. Hand flying all day would have had me dosing in my dinner!.

The full story will appear in FLYER soon