During my visit to the Flying Show recently I caught up with an organisation I’ve been wanting to base an episode on for quite a while. A listener, Michael Womersley-Carter, had brought Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol to my attention some time back so I was keen to interview them at the NEC.
Tony Cowan MBE is Chairman of Sky Watch and kindly agreed to spare half an hour to chat about the organisation and about his own personal aviation story.
Oli went to LA to do his PPL training in late 2006. Like many of us that train in the UK he’d started and stopped due to the weather and lack of funds. So, when he’d saved up enough to get out to the USA to complete his training he took the plunge and went to California. The decision to go the Los Angeles was made easy by the fact that he had family out there so he could save on accommodation costs.
Just recently I was at the NEC in Birmingham for the Flying Show so I took the opportunity to have a chat with various people down there. First up was Steve Bridgewater, Commercial Director at Air Atlantique’s Classic Flight.
Classic Flight do a superb job of keeping some classic old British Aircraft in airworthy condition. They have recently opened `Airbase’ at Coventry Airport. Airbase is not a museum in the conventional sense but more a working hangar that allows visitors to go and have a look around. They actually call themselves a ‘safari park for classic aeroplanes’.
In addition they also offer pleasure flights in several of their aircraft.
It sounded like an interesting story, so for episode 34 of Flying Podcast I firstly asked Steve to explain the history of Classic Flight.
Episode 32 of Flying Podcast sees me back up to York to interview Peter Davies. Peter is an instructor on gyrocopters for the Gyrocopter Experience. He currently runs their Preston franchise. Quite by chance, when I was reading about gyrocopters I came across Peter’s name and I was fascinated to read about his experiences in the world of aviation. His flying pedigree goes way back to the early days of hang gliding and microlighting here in the UK and so I thought he’d make a good candidate to appear on the podcast.
For episode 31 of Flying Podcast I’m talking Martin Hatton. Martin spends much of his time training flying instructors for Ravenair, based at Liverpool Airport and City Airport, Manchester. I was interested to find out what it takes to become a flying instructor and what is involved in getting a flying instructor rating.
My first question was `Why do people become flying instructors?’.
Martin replied that it’s mainly to build hours for a commercial career but there are people who actually have other jobs and wish to instruct in their spare time, or, like Martin, they just want to be a flying instructor. There is the added advantage that you get to fly for free and get paid for it.
In this the third and final part of the DHFS podcasts I’m interviewing Flight Lieutenant Stu Walker. Stu invited me down to RAF Shawbury, arranged my visit and the interviews with the various personnel on the base.
Stu’s story is quite an interesting one and so I thought it would make a good stand-alone podcast in its own right. In this interview Stu tells me how he wanted to join the RAF from an early age.
Initially his aim was to become a front-line fighter pilot but you can hear how his military career progressed through flight training, flying Nimrods, doing a masters degree is Aero Systems, working in the Flight Information Publications department and then on to flying helicopters.
Stu grew up in the Lake District and often saw RAF jets flying around the fells. This is what spurred the young Stu to join the Air Force. He initially wanted to fly Tornados but as we’ll hear, this dream didn’t quite materialise.
In the second part of the DHFS podcasts I interview Squadron Leader Jason Bowes and Master Aircrew Graeme Longmuir. They’re both from 60 Squadron, responsible for training pilots and crewmen on multi engine helicopters at RAF Shawbury. I also talk to a couple of RAF students; Flight Lieutenants Keith Lam and Becky Corrigan and also to Corporal Neil Moncur, head of Flight Planning and lastly to Paul Gresty of the Met Office.
The Defence Helicopter Flying School is where helicopter pilots and crewmen for all of the UK’s armed forces are trained. In this the first of 3 episodes on the Defence Helicopter Flying School I’m talking to the Commandant, Group Captain Jock Brown, who gives me an overview of the unit which is based at RAF Shawbury. Also in this episode I interview the squadron leaders of the 2 squadrons that teach single engine helicopter flying, both basic and advanced, here at the DHFS.
Today I’m visiting London Gliding Club near Dunstable talking to Adrian Hobbs, a Basic Instructor at LGC all about gliding.
Before the interview, Adrian took me on a quick tour of the airfield which lies alongside a beautiful chalk ridge in the Chilterns. The field itself is an undulating grassy expanse with no marked runways so that the gliders can be launched or can land directly into wind. The club have several aircraft for aero-tows and mobile cable winches. They even have a mobile control tower and it’s all run by a dedicated but friendly bunch of gliding enthusiasts.
In this episode of Flying Podcast, I’m talking with Ted Moore of European Balloons. European Balloons operate commercial hot-air balloon flights in the Home Counties from their base in Great Missenden. The purpose of this interview was to find out more about hot-air ballooning. How do you get into it? What qualifications do you need? What sorts of balloons are there? How do you learn to fly a balloon, etc etc. If you like to know more about the world of hot air ballooning, have a listen to Ted’s podcast.