Pan European Training Trip

I have just completed an extensive and productive training trip in the TB20. We flew 15 hours and 9 legs to different airports over four days. David is an IMC holder who wanted to broaden his experience and Chris is an FAA IR holder in the process of converting to an EASA IR. Both of them have good basic instrument flying skills proportionate to their experience.

The planned route was Gloucester to Le Touquet to clear customs. Le Touquet to Montbeliard to collect Chris. Next day we planned for Montbeliard to Valence but in fact flew to Dole then on to Avignon for lunch and finally to Montpelier to overnight. The next day we flew to Lyon Bron and from there back to Montbeliard to drop off Chris. David then flew us on to Troyes to overnight. On the final day we routed via Southampton to drop off David and I flew solo back to Gloucester.

The weather was fairly challenging in Northern Europe with fronts, forecast icing and strong winds. The route panning therefore provided experience of taking account of the weather and the flight demonstrated actual actions in icing conditions, landing pretty much at the edge of the pilot’s capabilities, difficult RT and a variety of instrument approach procedures in the real, sometimes messy and confusing real world of IFR.

I am not a great fan of back seating on local training flights since the view of the instruments is not good and the back seater is already pretty familiar with the procedure and the RT calls. However, on a real trip it’s a lot more interesting and David felt he got a lot from his back seat time especially the RT and seeing how we coped with the unfamiliar approaches while he was free of the workload of actually flying.

This trip was quite demanding from an instructor point of view as I needed to monitor the pilot flying as well as figuring out what ATC wanted. An instructor sits in the right seat criticising and rarely actually flies so that cry of ‘you have control’ at some barely recoverable moment in the landing process definitely causes the pulse rate to increase. We encountered two approach procedures that had quite unusual features and indeed made at least one error that could have been serious if not identified. We used the automation to an extent that is unproductive in normal IR training so it also had a few surprises to offer me and was a really valuable learning experience for Chris, David and indeed for me!

If you want to read a lot more of the detail on this trip with focus on the learning points, then look in the knowledge base section very soon.

After the truly awful weather of the last few months I doubt if many pilots are as sharp as they would like so consider giving us a call and discussing a trip that would be valuable and interesting for you. It need not be especially costly particularly if you can involve a friend or we can team you up with someone.

It is shortly to be formally announced that the deadline date for conversion of third country IRs has been put back to April 2017.

Jim has joined Mark and gained CRE examiner approval with IR revalidation privileges. Together with Simon who can complete FAA IPC’s or BFR’s we can duplicate instructor and examiner capability on pretty much any aircraft type within our scope. Jim has been appointed to the EASA CBM IR review board, so will be well placed to keep track of changes and new developments.