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GA in the UK slowly returning to normal


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Hope everyone is well......In the UK we are now allowed to fly solo and with family members. Managed to revalidate my NPPL in a Pipistrel Alpha trainer. Requirements were... all surfaces, control stick, door handles etc, to be wiped pre and post flight, masks and gloves worn and, to fulfil the DVLA requirements for driving instructors, a clear plastic screen was fitted between the instructor and pilot. The layout worked quite well except for me I felt a little uncomfortable flying left hand and operating the center throttle and flaps with my right hand...apart from over controlling a little the renewal was ok.

 

In the UK the NPPL has 3 categories, SSEA, Microlight (<450kg or 472.5 with a BRS fitted) or SLMG. The BFR renewal only covers the category the pilot is seeking to renew. Renewing in a microlight does not mean you can jump in and fly a group A Piper Cub (SSEA). It is strange that I am allowed to fly my Jab ULD microlight but not the Jab SK an identical aircraft that does not meet the microlight stall requirements.

 

Anyway the real point of this post is to announce that I flew my Jab solo for the first time in nearly 9 month last Tues evening and it was fantastic...blanked off the oil cooler intake to get the oil temp as high as possible in the green and flew around the strip for 40 minutes staying in gliding distance to the strip...hope there is more to come....ps can anyone identify the single engine aircraft partly hidden behind the Alphas left wing..?

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Lee-wave - The aircraft partly hidden by the left wing of the Alpha is a French-built, 6-seater MH.1521 Broussard.

 

It was built by the Max Holste company in the early 1950's to meet a requirement for a light liaison and observation aircraft for the French Army.

 

Powered by a P&W Wasp Junior (R-985) radial, it is quite a rare aircraft today. Out of somewhere around 350 built, it appears only about 6 are left in flying condition.

 

Good to hear you are getting back to some degree of flying normality in the U.K., after the brutal impact of the coronavirus.

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Well done, @lee-wave. I was at Blackushe last Tuesday to show the buyer of my share the TB20 the aircraft (he didn't even attempt to haggle) and it was not as busy as normal, but there were more flying than I thought.. the cafe was open and I think it is fair to say social distancing was being very loosely observed. I am popping into Dunkeswell today to see if they are doing checkouts because it is now 8 months since I have flown (long story about long time the TB20 was in the shop getting a respray).

 

What airfield do you fly from?

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Well done, @lee-wave. I was at Blackushe last Tuesday to show the buyer of my share the TB20 the aircraft (he didn't even attempt to haggle) and it was not as busy as normal, but there were more flying than I thought.. the cafe was open and I think it is fair to say social distancing was being very loosely observed. I am popping into Dunkeswell today to see if they are doing checkouts because it is now 8 months since I have flown (long story about long time the TB20 was in the shop getting a respray).

 

What airfield do you fly from?

Check flight was at Damyns Hall...home strip is mentioned in the photograph....you might find it difficult to fly with someone willing to sit nest to you for the check flight....as far as I know only the school at Damyns meet the requirements for dual instructional flights and BFR renewals.

On a different subject I have switched my insurance to a sort of pay as you go cover...basically you pay what is the minimum legal requirement of 3rd party liability and, if you wish for full hull cover, book and pay for each days actual flying... not sure if I am allowed to mention companies in this forum but you can check it out online....

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Re the Broussard - I clean forgot. I have a tractor forum "buddy" in California, who owns a Broussard! His name is John Martin, and he owns a big recycling business in CA.

 

In the video below, his son Jeff is showing Juan Browne (blancolirio) around the Broussard at a High Sierra fly-in in 2016. That R-985 lives up to its description, "converting fuel and serious money into noise"!

 

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Check flight was at Damyns Hall...home strip is mentioned in the photograph....you might find it difficult to fly with someone willing to sit nest to you for the check flight....as far as I know only the school at Damyns meet the requirements for dual instructional flights and BFR renewals.

On a different subject I have switched my insurance to a sort of pay as you go cover...basically you pay what is the minimum legal requirement of 3rd party liability and, if you wish for full hull cover, book and pay for each days actual flying... not sure if I am allowed to mention companies in this forum but you can check it out online....

 

I think I have seen the insurance company advertised in Flyer magazine or on their forums... Good idea... and from memory they cap the annual premium to what it would have been if you had havetaken out continual insurance for the year so you don't end up paying more.

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In the UK the NPPL has 3 categories, SSEA, Microlight (<450kg or 472.5 with a BRS fitted) or SLMG.

 

lee-wave, Hi from down-under. Please excuse my ignorance but i am not familiar with the UK Regulations. What is a NPPL and does the UK have a system for people to fly Light Sport Aircraft without having a PPL?

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NPPL is National Private Pilots License. It has a lower level of training required and it is either a self declared medical or a GP checks you to the standard of a truck triver or something. Anyway, requirements are here: UK CAA Nation Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) – Ravenair and on reading it is basically a PPL with lower hours required (for the SSEA version).

 

The alternate is the EASA issued LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilots Licence). Not sure of the training requirements - I think it is the same. But as I understand the medical required is virtually a class 2 medical.. So mamy don't bother with it (over 50, an EASA class 2 is required every year and every two years they require an ECG. When you have to do the ECG, it becomes an expensive undertaking).

 

Either is required to fly "Permit" aircraft... i.e. LSAs.

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Just adding to J-As comments.....that many pilots, including retired air force and airline pilots, who might otherwise not meet the class 2 medical requirements, simply downgrade to NPPL which only requires a biennial online medical self declaration. There are other restrictions for NPPL such as VFR day only, no more then 3 passengers,etc...but to all intents and purposes an NPPL allows a GA pilot to do everything a PPL can.... currently NPPLs can fly to France and Spain...not sure what is going to happen in the future.

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I know that permit aircraft (LSA) suitably equipped and individually approved aircraft can fly IFR/in IMC. I assumed you could get an IMC Rating (or IR®) attached to the NPPL... is this not the case? A quick internet search without having to read the legal mumbo jumbo wasn't conclusive.

 

I also believe NPPLs can fly in most European countries, but need to obtain prior permission (except for those mentioned by Ice-Wave)... Also, I think Germany and Austria are also on the list of European countries where NPPLs are able to fly for up to 30 days without permission. Not 100% sure as I am GA/PPL...

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