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8
Oct

What to do if your Bluetooth GPS stops talking to your iPad

We have had a few Bluetooth GPS returned to us recently that have lost the connection to their iPad.

When the Bluetooth GPS Module has a satellite fix and Bluetooth connection to your Apple device but no GPS fix in the navigation app, this is usually down to the iPad settings.

Under these circumstances the iOS location service of is not transmitting the received position data from the GPS module to the navigation app.

The following actions should restore the connection to the navigation app:

  • ·         Turn off Location Services.
  • ·         Turn off the iPad by pressing the top button for ten seconds and moving the red slider for switch off.
  • ·         Restart the iPad.
  • ·         Turn on Location Services.
  • ·         Create the Bluetooth partnership between your iPad and GPS module.

The navigation app should then display your position correctly assuming a satellite fix on the GPS module.

12
Jul

Terra Incognita – Preparing to go off the edge of the map

Ok, so the summer has finally arrived and you’ve visited a few local airfields, but now that you’re back into the swing of things you want to go overseas. Here are some things to consider whether you’re an experienced international traveller or if its your first time crossing the channel:
map
Planning:

Make sure you have current up to date charts for the countries. Each country has its own revision schedule for their own charts, some update all of them in one go others do them one at a time. Make sure that your’s are in date for the entire time you plan on being away. If you are going to more than one airfield it is probably best to invest in a Jeppesen Trip Kit for that country. These are printed to order so that the most up to date information is provided to you. These take between 2 to 3 weeks on average to become available, so plan ahead.

A flight plan will need to be filed at least 1 hour before you arrive at the countries FIR boundary within the EU. Some airfields require PPR 24 hrs before arrival so check before you fly. Remember that the channel Islands are not part of the EU and therefore you will have to give customs 24hrs notice of the trip and all of the passenger’s passport numbers.

Equipment:

For any flight over a large body of water it is probably best if you carry (if not actually wear) Lifejackets. The best kind to go for are the manual activation type, as an automatic may go off if you get water in the cockpit before you get out trapping you in the aircraft.

Also look at carrying a liferaft (and look at our long flights over water blog previously). I think that the current recommendation is that you should carry a liferaft, lifejacket for every passenger and a PLB or ELT if you are more than 10 minutes from land.

On the subject of ELT’s make sure that yours is up to date and transmits on 406MHz as well as 121.5. Most now come with an in-built GPS to tell the rescuers when you are. It is mandatory to carry either a PLB or an ELT in France. If you are ramp checked make sure that you have registered yours with the coastguard (if it requires it) at least a week before your trip because they will check.

Flying:

Flying on the continent is very similar to flying in the UK, but if this is your first trip it is an idea to have someone on board who has flown it that country before. I always found the radio difficult on my first trips as the phraseology does vary slightly from country to country. In France as well they will speak in French on the radio, so it is a good idea to brush up on your language skills before going.

Finally, don’t forget to send us a postcard!!

21
May

Garmin Handheld GPS Updates at AeroExpo. Only on the Transair Stand For £25.00!!

Its back!! Garmin Aviation database updates will be available from our stand at AeroExpo. Only £25.00 and this year we are able to update more units than ever before. Get you Garmin updated quickly and easily for a reduced price.
 
The units we will be able to update are as follows:
 

aera 500, 550, 795

GPSMAP 96, 96C

GPSMAP 195

GPSMAP 196

GPSMAP 295

GPSMAP 296

GPSMAP 495

GPSMAP 496

GPSMAP 695

3pilot

Please note this service will only be available at Aeroexpo and can not be used in conjunction with any other offers.

15
Jan

So what is actually involved with a type rating?

Flight deck

So you’ve got your licence, multi-engine & instrument rating, where do you go from here? Well, for some pilots it’s time to say goodbye to the class rating, and to move on to more complicated aircraft that require a type rating. Whether it’s for a Kingair, or the Airbus A380, the training structure is likely to be similar.

First of all, before you get anywhere near the simulator, you will need to know how all of the systems operate. Now I know that basic hydraulic, electric and pressurisation systems are taught in aircraft general before license issue, and the principles behind them will not have changed, so why are we looking at them again? You are really looking at the limits of operation for that specific system, and what will happen when part, or all, of the system fails. In most cases these aircraft normally have two, or in some cases three, parallel systems, so (unless you are incredibly unlucky) you will never be without the service entirely. It also looks at what other parts of the aircraft it will affect, for example loss of on hydraulic system is likely to impinge on the flight control systems, as the speed of control surface movement may be reduced, or you may lose some spoilers, or leading edge devices. It may also give you a solution, for example if you had a generator failure you may be able to stop the automatic load-sheading by switching on the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). However, the recovery procedures are normally taught in the Sim. The other thing this section teaches us, is the technical aspects specific to the aircraft and not included in the licence. Good examples of this are Airbus’ fly-by-wire laws, Normal (all protections available) Alternate law (some protections available) and direct law (no protection and it now handles like a conventional a/c). This section will tell you what each law will let you do, and how to tell when it’s been downgraded. There will be a written test for this section.

Also, in the ground school phase, you will look in detail at the mass and balance, and performance for the aircraft. Most licenced airfields in the UK have sufficiently long enough runways, that a single engine piston should be able to stop on the runway, if you were to have a failure at the rotate speed. (Always do the performance calculations though! Don’t get caught out) With a 50 ton+ aircraft this is unlikely to be the case, and therefore a decision speed (V1) needs to worked out, so that if a problem occurs after this speed is reached, you are committed to taking it into the air. This relies on acurate working out of the mass and balance. Also remember that having some systems on or off will affect performance. For example, if you have to use anti-ice that uses bleed air, this takes power way from the engine, increasing the take-off roll, which may in turn reduce V1.

Once this is completed and the relevant exams passed, you will then be let into the sim. Remember that demand for certain sim types are very high, so don’t be surprised if a session starts at 1am. The first few sessions will show you how the aircraft handles in normal operation, when they are finished you are on to the failures. This is where the learning curve suddenly becomes very steep. If it is a multi-crew aircraft there may not be time to show each pilot the failure when they are pilot flying  so you need to pay attention at all times, if you are going to stand any chance of passing the skill test. Before you get there though, there will be a Line-Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) exercise. This is basically a flight from A to B with one or two failures thrown in. Unlike the earlier training, where you would simply return to the departure airfield, you may find that the weather makes it impossible to go back, and you have to decide how you wish to proceed. It’s really designed to see how your decision making process is working. Then it’s on to the skills test.

Once you have passed the skills test, you can’t just run to the CAA to get the type added to your licence. You have to complete 3 to 6 take-offs and landings (depending on your experience level) in a real aircraft. I think this is the most fun you can have with a public transport category aircraft, as without the passengers, baggage, catering and trip fuel they achieve accelerations normally only found in supercars, and climb like a home sick angel. Please remember while you are having fun, that you are still being assessed. Provided this all goes well, you can then get the new type stamped in your licence.

9
Nov

Flying on the gauges

So you want to become an instrument pilot, but what exactly do you have to do to gain your instrument rating. It is not as easy as saying I Follow Roads.

First of all the Pre-flight. As well as all the normal paperwork you will be expected to present to the examiner, you will also have to file a flight plan. Remember that this has to be filed at least an hour before entering controlled airspace. This means that you may have to work backwards from that point to get your engine start time depending on where your departure airfield is. The examiner will normally give you about an hour to do all the planning, mass and balance, performance etc. This is quite a tight timeframe in which to do this. Develop a system that works for you and stick to it. Practise it regularly, and you should get thought this part with little or no worries. Then when it’s all ready, grit your teeth and go and see the examiner for the pre-flight brief.

Once you are in the aircraft, the examiner will expect you to do your checks as normal until the power checks are complete. Then most of the screens will go up, and they will taxi on to the runway for you. After T/O the final screen will go in and you will be left on your instruments. Always have a few Take-off alternates in mind especial if you are going in genuine bad weather. If you have a real emergency and the weather is below minimums at your departure airfield, you need to know where you are going to go.

The test is very stringent. You have to keep within 100ft of your assigned altitude, but if you maintain 99ft above or below you will not pass as the examiner will expect you to attempt to recapture the correct level. Also you have to maintain your heading to within 5 degrees and be at your turning points within 2 minutes of your nominated time. On top of that you have to maintain coms, ident the beacons manually, and manage the aircraft. This is a very high workload, and something unexpected like the loss of a radio beacon can really ruin your day. To avoid such problems, read the NOTAMs carefully in the days running up to the test looking for any planned beacon shutdowns (or anything else that might effect you either) and look at what other beacons you could use in the even that the one you want to use is not working. For example if you are en-route to waypoint Olney in the UK and the Daventry beacon is down, you may want to use the Bovingdon beacon instead.

At some point in the route you will have to do some general handling. This consists of Stalls, unusual attitude recovery on limited panel, and if you are flying a twin, some flight with one engine off.  Sometimes the examiner will do this after you have made your initial approach to the destination airfield

When you reach your destination, you will have to complete a precision, and a non-precision approach. The first will always result in a go around from the minima’s. Again if you are in a twin, you can expect an engine failure at this point, and you will have to make the second approach without it.

A precision approach is an ILS approach. The limits here are half scale deflection of either the localiser or glideslope indicators. Remember that you are effectively flying down a cone and that where you may have had 50-ft tolerance to begin with this is going to reduce as you continue with the procedure.  Also make sure that you intercept the glideslope from below as there can be false glideslopes at 6 degrees as well and it is normally the three degree path you want. The chances of survival are inversely proportional to the angle of arrival.

NDB, VOR, and Localiser only approaches are classed as non-precision. You may find that you get a procedure like the Cranfield NDB approach to Runway 21 (Plate dated 30 May 2012) where you have to pass over the beacon at a certain altitude. Be prepared to level out if necessary before the beacon, as you are allowed to be plus 50ft, but a value below will result in a failure. Also remember to add 50ft to the minima as the reaction to the change of momentum has not been calculated as it has with the precision, and you could descend too far.

Somewhere in all of this you will be required to fly a hold. The only thing I can say here is that if the wind on the makes the drift angle more that 30 degrees on the inbound track, consider cancelling the test as it is unlikely that you will be able to fly the hold to the required standard without autopilot.

Once all this is complete the examiner will remove the screens so you can land. Taxi in, shut down and smile. You’ve passed.

The limits for the test are from what I remember. For the full requirements consult Cap 804

12
Oct

Garmin Glo Charging Issues And Battery Care

Recently here at Transair, we have had a few perfectly healthy Garmin Glo GPS sent back to us as faulty, and we just want to clear up any confusion for other customers. The manual states that with the status (orange/green) LED that “charging = slow flashing orange” ” faulty battery or systems error = Alternating orange and green.” In reality when charging the unit the green light is on at all times with the orange giving short flashes at regular intervals. If the unit is faulty, the orange light will be on its own for a longer period before changing to green for the same length of time. Please see our video for further clarification.

While we are on the subject of batteries, we just thought that we would share some tips for getting the best out of your portable equipment. When using GPS or other devices with a screen (touch or otherwise) reducing the brightness will increase the useful battery time. Avoid making unnecessary changes to flightplans, frequencies etc., as this will also drain the battery quicker.

Some batteries have their own charge management circuitry. This is put in place to give you best power management and an even charge rate. However, it sometimes can cause problems if the battery is fully discharged, and this is something that you should look out for, if you are not going to be using your unit for a long period of time. The circuitry will draw a small amount of current even when the unit is switched off. If this is left long enough there will not be enough power in the battery to run it. The issue then comes when you need to charge it, because it only takes the power from the battery not the mains, it will not function to enable charging to take place and then you will need to buy another battery.

Also, if you are one of these people who runs the unit from the Aircraft electric’s all the time, and only use the battery as backup (I know I’m guilty of this), it is a good idea to let the unit discharge completely occasionally. Don’t worry about the above issue, the unit will power off before it gets to that level. If you don’t do this you will not be able to get the full use of the battery should you have an electrical failure. It tends to be more an issue with the older batteries, but Lithium and Ni-MH ones do benefit from doing this.

Finally, if you do suspect that the unit is not holding a full charge anymore, there is something you can do about it. By fully charging and completely discharging the cell a couple of times you can increase its capacity. It will not bring it up to the level of a new battery but it may keep it working for longer.

28
Sep

What do you think about at night?

Now that the nights are drawing in I thought it would be good to talk about night flying. I have posted before about what is required to achieve your night rating, here I want put up some things for you to consider when you fly after dark.

Colour in roads, and towns on your chart in black. Yes that’s right, black. Most light aircraft have an internal red light that makes it almost impossible to see the reds, yellows on the standard CAA ½ mill scale chart. I did not do this on my first ever night flight from Cranfield. Upon returning to the Bedford area my instructor asked me to show me where the airfield was. I immediately pointed to the one within 20 degrees on the nose and was told that I would be in a lot of trouble landing there as that was Luton. Roads and towns are nearly always lit making them a great aid to night navigation. By colouring in my chart with darker colours that would still be seen in the cockpit, I would have been better able to orientate myself by using the shape of the town and the layout of the roads.

So you get to the airfield and the sky is clear, the wind is light and variable and the dew point is very close to the temperature. A couple of things to think about here, first of all icing. Now that winter is on its way the aircraft may be cold soaked. Combine this with a high relative humidity and water will start to condense on to the airframe even if there is no visible moisture in the atmosphere. Icing as we all know is a bit of a double hazard in that not only does it reduce the amount of lift the wing generates but also it adds weight as well. If you don’t have a de-icing system, keep an eye on the temperature and the leading edge of your wing. The second is that this weather is a good recipe for fog. Have a good read of the TAFs before you go and have a few alternates planned incase you get fogged out.

To my mind there is nothing more annoying with night flying than having spent the last half an hour getting your eyes fully adjusted to the dark to have someone taxi past you with their strobes on. Good airmanship applies to the ground as well, if your aircraft doesn’t have them tied to the weight on wheels switch, make a note on your checklist to switch them on when you enter the runway.

Finally, for those of you that make use of the various radio navigation facilities, remember that Non Directional Beacons (I know they are becoming few and far between now, but even so) have a reduced range at night. Make sure you are within the published range before attempting to use them.

For more on night flying I suggest you read Sunrise to Sunset by David Robinson.

That concludes this week’s blog. If you have any tips or interesting experiences about night flying that you feel will help others please post them in the comments.

11
Sep

End of the flying season?…

 So September is upon us once more and with it the flying season draws to a close. But before you tuck your aircraft into it hanger for its annual hibernation, I would like you to stop for a moment and think about the weather.

Over the last 2 years or so the winters here have been quite mild, whereas the summers have been totally sodden. Here in the south we were advised that there would be hose pipe bans from march, and that even if it rained constantly until October they would not be revoked. This was lifted in June.

 
Some climatologists are saying that as the world heats up, that this pattern will continue and that’s good news for us pilots and I will tell you why. 
 
First of all, visibility. There is less energy in the air so it can support less pollution, giving you a much clearer view. Also cold is less likely to be turbulent, giving you and your passengers a much nicer ride. Having said that, keep an eye out for inversions.
 
The other reason is improved performance for both the engine and the aircraft. Cold air is denser than warm air, so in effect in winter you get more air in every cubic meter improving the efficiency of the wings and engine. Therefore increasing the performance.
 
So put away the cover, scrape the frost from the wing and I will see you in the winter skies.
 

Image courtesy of Stephen Danks

22
Aug

If Aerobatics Were An Olympic Sport – Who Would Win?

ImageHere at Transair we have been glued to the Olympics along with the rest of the country. Its been great watching the likes of Michael Phelps, Sir Chris Hoy and Usain Bolt winning gold medals. This got us thinking, if aerobatics were an Olympic sport who would win Gold? We thought we would give you a selection of airshow performers and see who comes out on top.

  1. The Matadors. Paul Bonhomme and Steve Jones have been amazing the crowds together since 1997 with their (very) close formation flying.
  2. The Vulcan. The tin triangle may not be as manoeuvrable as some on this list, but it can certainly beat them all for noise.
  3. Christian Moullec and his Geese. An unusual one, but it very impressive to see those geese in formation around the his micro light
  4. Miss Demeanour. If the paintwork on Jonathon Whaley’s Hunter (pictured) doesn’t dazzle you, the flying will.
  5. The Strikemaster. The Strike version of the 1960s Jet Provost trainer is a must see at any air show.
  6. The Yakovlevs. This 4-ship team has been entertaining us with our displays for over a decade.
  7. The Breitling Wingwalkers. They may have had many different names over the years, but the are always a firm favourite.
  8. The Blades. These former Red Arrows Pilots really know how to put on a show.

Image from MAC1

11
Jul

The Red Arrows – A Jewel In The British Crown

The Royal Airforce Red ArrowsIt wouldn’t be a British celebration without some pomp and this year alone we have seen and will see our fair share of grand occasions. One thing that inspires cheers and happiness in the public are the Royal Airforce’s Red Arrows. This nine man team are some of the most experienced and qualified military pilots in the world and they showcase some of the bravest and jaw dropping stunts with ease.

And over the past decade the British public have experienced the amazing highs and depressing lows of this ultra-talented and tight knit team. First we have seen the Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Wedding passes, the whole of London looking skyward as these majestic planes ebb and flow above. But also there has been two fatalities in recent years and these cannot be forgotten.

In the space of a year two pilots tragically lost their lives; the first in the summer of 2011 just one mile from a Bournemouth airstrip, and then in the following November when another pilot suffered the same unfortunate consequences when his ejection seat was accidentally released whilst at their Lincolnshire base.

However, this will not stop pilots across the country working hard to become part of this elite team. They are one of the most sought after jewels of Britain and they spend the year flying across the globe featuring in all sorts of large scale events. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world but the noticeable bright red fuselage of a Red Arrow Hawk is recognised anywhere.

So next time the white, red and blue trails begin to fall behind these exquisite planes just remember the training, the risks and talent that involved. The British nation is lucky to have such a unique squadron within the Royal Air Force.

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