Today’s Flying Podcast finds me sat on the deck outside of Melvin’s Cafe at Barton Aerodrome.
It was a typically beautiful Spring evening in Manchester, the sun was just beginning to set and the Goodyear Blimp was about to depart. They were off to film a football match from overhead for Sky TV at the Etihad Stadium.
I took the opportunity to grab a few minutes with Chief Pilot Mark Finney before he saw the airship off on its flight.
Although it started out as a quiet night it soon got noisy with the police helicopter arriving and then, believe it or not, an Army Apache helicopter too which never happens at Barton.
Today I’m visiting Sherburn Airfield in Yorkshire to meet a fellow pilot, Brian Cattle. Brian is a very keen aviator and has been flying privately for quite a few years now. Dedicated and passionate flyers are always welcome on the podcast so I’m glad to say Brian’s agreed to come on the podcast to share the experiences of his flight training from PPL to CPL and on to Flying Instructor.
Today I’m talking to Rob Hart from Sky Demon.
Sky Demon started out by developing VFR flight planning software and have since brought out their own aviation GPS unit.
The flight planning software first caught my eye due to the quality of their charts which, I’m told, are built using adaptive vectors. That means that the detail on the map is always extremely clear no matter what level of zoom you are using.
The main driver behind the product’s development is to present all relevant data to the pilot in as clear a way as possible and this they have accomplished well. Even NOTAM and weather briefing information is presented both in text form and graphically on the charts in a simple straightforward fashion.
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.
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.
Today’s podcast interviewee is Craig Richardson. Craig actually wrote in and suggested the subject for this podcast. He’s at the point in his flying career where he’s about to launch into training for the ATPL and he’s trying to decide where to do his ATPL groundschool studies and the CPL/IR flight training. He thought that the decision making process that he’s going through would make for an interesting podcast.
Craig has done a great deal of research: on-line via aviation forums, by visiting flight training exhibitions and by talking to the training suppliers themselves.
Today we discuss which training providers made it on to Craig’s short-list, get an idea for which companies he’s thinking of going with and, of course, why he chose them.
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.