After a prolonged absence, for no other reason than I’ve been busy and because some weird stuff happened to the site (thanks to Guy and Dave at returnondigital for getting it back on line) i’ve returned and hope to return to my frequent blogging.
My aviating has remained consistent throughout my absence and I’m racking up hours each week as usual. I’ve recently returned from Las Vegas, where temperatures reached 48f, forcing me to take out a 44 on a trip around the place at 07:30 to remain within temperature limits.
Other trips I’ve completed include excursions over to Le Touqet and I was invited along to repatriate my friends Eurocopter EC120 helicopter from Holland where it had been for it’s 12 year inspection. I was fortunate enough to be able to fly it all the way back to the U.K. which was fun – particularly as we flew 160nm over water. Not for the feint hearted!!! I’ve also done the London Heli routes a few times now and taken my pal Mark through them too.
My last entry prior to my disappearance was regarding my move over to the Heliport and I was slightly sceptical about this. I’m pleased to report that this has pretty much worked out very well. In fact I cant really think of any dis-advantages. The operating hours have been extended and within reason, and subject to prior approval, I can pretty much operate from their 24/7 – and i sometimes do.
The perimeter fence that was a slight concern has been removed allowing for a clear entry and exit and this has some obvious advantages when i’m heavy.
Barton itself hasn’t changed much although unfortunately Gary Cooper has sold his business to Heli Air and taken up a post with PDG Helicopters as a commercial pilot. Heli Air have bases throughout the U.K. and hopefully will rejuvenate rotary instruction on the field.
Over the last year I’ve added to my list of regular places to visit for business lunches and I have also taken clients clay pigeon shooting at a number of clubs around the North West all of whom are helicopter friendly.
One significant change is regarding maintenance. PDG no longer maintain private clients and notified 44 of their customers that after February 13 they needed us to have made alternate arrangements for our aircraft. After much deliberation, I have moved to Aeromaintenance at Walton Wood Airfield, Pontefract with two of my buddies (Mark and Simon) both of whom currently own Robinson R44’s. One distinct advantage is that they are only about 25 minutes away and will also conduct 50 hr checks on the field saving on the commute over.
Thats it for my re-introduction, I’ll probably expand on one or two of the items I’ve mentioned shortly.