• Learning to Fly: Lesson 22
    My 22nd lesson turns into a photo blog of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Durham from the air at sunset
  • Decarbonising General Aviation (Oct ’23 Update)
    I recently wrote about decarbonising General Aviation (GA) under the heading of “Futurology”, but it turns out that that future has already started to arrive, and our travel to a future of carbon-neutral GA is accelerating.
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 21
    My first solo navigation exercise, 61 nautical miles through the afternoon September sun, with a nice surprise afterwards.
  • Futurology: The Path to Zero-Carbon Aviation
    We’re closer to slashing carbon emissions from aviation than we might imagine.
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 20
    The night before this lesson I checked the weather. It said the skies would be clear but the wind would be 13 knots (~15mph) gusting to 22 knots (~25.5mph) from a heading of 250 degrees (i.e. from the west-ish). When I arrived at the airfield the wind had picked up Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 19
    As usual, I had been glued to the weather reports for the days leading up to this lesson and, as usual, the weather forecasts were completely wrong. The Plan (A) Over the past 6 hours of flying I’ve stayed within the circuit at the airfield, going around and around and Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 18
    Buckle up because this is a big one. This trip to the flight school was full of events, learnings and concluded with my first attempt at one of the nine theory exams you must pass before you can be granted your pilot’s license. Read on to see how I did. Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 17
    This trip to the airfield was challenging, enlightening, embarrassing and involved an unexpected encounter with a YouTube star. I walked into the clubhouse and met with the Chief Flight Instructor at the school who, like Jiminny Cricket to Pinnochio, would be doing his best to turn me into a real Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 16
    Clouds covered the sky and grey cotton wool balls hung lower than the overcast here and there. As I steered the car north I thought it might end up being a ground school day. My instructor was stuck in the Caribbean. He flies heavy long-haul jets for a large airline Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 15
    So, in case you didn’t see it, this isn’t actually lesson 15, lesson 15 happened a couple of weekends ago but the weather was so bad my instructor and I abandoned the lesson after only 10 minutes in the air, so I’m not counting it… My instructor also dropped a Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 14 1/2
    I’ve spoken a bunch of times about the weather looking grim on my drive north to the airfield only for its little micro-climate to win out and blue skies to be waiting for me on arrival. But not this time. Checking the weather at local RAF Boulmer’s weather station, it Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 14
    An overcast day but that shouldn’t be a problem. Winds quite light but variable. Will I finally get to solo today?
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson Lucky 13?
    Checking the weather in the days before this lesson I was 50/50 whether I would be taking off at all. Wind was showing as 14 knots (16mph) gusting to 26 knots (30mph) all week. When I got to airfield the cloudbases were at 2,500ft and the wind was a steady Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 12
    This was the lesson I’ve been waiting for ever since I decided to learn to fly: Circuits. The lesson the day before had completed the first page of my Pooleys flying log book and I took a moment to reminisce about the aircraft I’d already had the pleasure of flying. Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 11
    After my ego (and nerves!) had taken a comprehensive battering at the previous lesson my mindset had shifted from “I’m here to show the instructor I already know what I’m doing” to “I’m here to learn”. For any students out there, as soon as you stop learning you’re in trouble. Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 10
    I’ve mentioned before that pride comes before a fall. Today proved this once again: this was a frustrating and disappointing lesson. The Pride Driving up to the airfield today I was in a buoyant mood. The music on the radio was energetic and positive, and I knew today would either Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 9
    Well! It’s been 7 months since my last lesson due to Long COVID keeping my medical certificate (which is required to go solo) just out of reach, but I’m back armed with a LAPL medical certificate and back in some 1960s vintage flying metal. LAPL? Medical certificates? Let me explain… Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 8
    Stalling 2. This was one of my most fun lessons yet. Building on the basic clean- and turning-stalls from last lesson today we would be simulating a bunch of close-to-the-ground stall situations that were a lot more dangerous – except we’d be doing them at 4,000ft (my new altitude record). Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 7
    “We’re doing stalls today,” said my instructor. This was the lesson I’d dreaded the most. Being a plane geek for years, I could recite many crashes from stalls over the years. One stuck in my head as the briefing began – the tragic accident involving an Air France A330 over Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 5
    Another day driving into dark clouds expecting to do ground school took a turn for the better as the clouds broke and blue skies peeked through the closer I got to the airfield. My instructor briefed that this lesson was going to be about climbing and descending, but as the Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 4
    I did not expect to fly today. When I woke up it was raining and the sky was a dark grey in all directions, all the way to the horizon, but I drove the 45 miles to the airfield anyway, knowing I could do some ground-school with my instructor if Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 3
    I arrived still buoyed by the joy of unexpectedly landing at the end of my second lesson. Perhaps even a little cocky. This flying stuff is easy! I even invited my wife and daughter to watch my take off. The friend who recommended the flight school to me gave a Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 2
    We briefed today’s lesson then headed out to the Cessna, past an attention-grabbing 1950-vintage RAF Chipmunk, which I snapped (above). As last time, I started the engine and ran the ROSAMS checks and rolled forward to test the brakes before making a now-familiar radio call, “Golf-Alpha-Yankee-Romeo-Golf backtracking runway one-niner to Continue Reading
  • Learning to Fly: Lesson 1
    Dec 31st 2021 23:59 – As the minute hand of Big Ben hoisted itself to point straight up toward the ‘XII’ I took a moment to reflect on what I wanted to do in the forthcoming year. I made two resolutions: Invest in the friendships and relationships that had stagnated Continue Reading