Friday, July 25, 2014

Slings Rock!

This must be one of the greatest Sling pics I have seen.. taken by the Sling USA factory team flying north and east from their home base in Torrance, California, up through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and South Dakota to Oshkosh in Wyoming, for the world's biggest annual airshow where The Airplane Factory will once again be exhibiting. Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is home to the National Memorial of Presidents which is visited by 3 million tourists each year (compared to the 10 mil that visit the whole of South Africa annually) and it's rare to catch a glimpse of the Presidents by air!

The Sling USA team fly over Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

National Memorial of Presidents in South Dakota, USA

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Commercial Pilot's Licence start

I took the next step towards a Commercial Pilot's Licence by registering for 2 Com exams - Air Law and Meteorology, today. 

I will write these in August and hope to do 2 exams a month until completed. I am doing this simultaneously with my NPL Instructor's training, so if I can get though the training and exams should have both by year end possibly.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday training

Great pic of me flying in the right seat, taking off from Virginia Airport to go to Ballito and Isithebe up the North Coast where I did some circuit training for my Instrcutor's rating today. Thanks Trevor Viljoen for the photo. 

Cockpit view of the north coast

The Tugela River Mouth as we turned to go inland to Isithebe

The view back to the Tugela Mouth with the Lighthouse just in from the shore

Instructor Brad (right) with me at the controls having "patter" training simulating my giving a student pilot instruction

What stunning weather and beautiful coastline to be following

Umhlanga coastline comes into view as we return to Durban

Saturday, July 19, 2014

More pics of the Fly-in

Here are some superb pics lifted off photographer Debbie Geldenhuys' Facebook Group, one of the organisers of the Fly-In today...

The Eagle has landed..

Final approach runway 01 Aloe Wildlife Estate, moments before touchdown

Touchdown, neatly on the main wheels and keeping the nose-wheel in the air to reduce pressure on the oleo along the grassed runway

Landing with full flaps to keep the plane speed lower on touchdown

Local aviator Muffy (left) with Dave and fellow aviator

Aloe Wildlife Estate

I just love Durban in Winter with temperatures rising to over 25c. This morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and not a cloud in the sky and we were off to the new Aloe Wildlife Estate for their first official fly-in. ZDL was the first aircraft to land and we were soon joined by 12 more. Debbie and Hennie, developer of the estate and future aeropark,  saw to it that we had fabulous cakes and snacks followed by a hamburger breakfast whilst her photographic club also had a field day with the aircraft taking off and landing.. expect some snappy pics to follow.

Durban in all it's glory beneath our wings

On the ground at Virginia just before departure for the fly-in

Durban City and the Harbour

On the ground at the new Aloe Wildlife Estate after a text-book landing on the good, grassed runway which is super-dry with the lack of winter rain

The aircraft lined up after landing here

One of the brighter aircraft

We met Karyn who flies this "Chipmunk" Aircraft out of Pietermaritzburg
Tail-end view of the Chipmunk taildragger aircraft

Eyes to the sky for the group of enthusiastic photographers who had a field day with the aircraft taking off and landing


On the way home with full tummies after a scrumptious breakfast

The route home takes one via Cooper's Lighthouse on the Bluff, then to the Harbour Entrance and further north along the coast to Virginia Airport

The photographic club had their funny hats and Christmas in July event at the Airfield, so Llewellyn posed with these borrowed accessories

Monday, July 14, 2014

Left and Right

I am feeling confident flying from the right as well as the left seat now and yesterday evening before sunset our CFI Brad and I did a few more manoeuvres over Durban skyye as the sun was setting including banking stalls, simulated engine failures on take-off and precautionary landings and how one would take this through with a student. Coming in to land on the beach I was thinking the plane needs a loud warning hooter and it was looking like the plane would have to be ditched in the sea if the beachgoers didn't move in time.

ZDL cockpit seen from the right side


Dave left with Brad right

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Instructors and Night flight

A whirlwind day today with a sudden ad hoc inspection of the Flight School by Raasa, the administrative body delegated by the Civil Aviation Authority that looks after Part 62 aviation training organisations. That all went well, along with a decision in favour of my completing my Instructor's training in our own plane ZDL for my National Flight Instructor rating.

The Durban skyline was clear after the cold front and rain which washed away the smog
 The Raasa inspection was followed by my third Instructor's "patter" training flight, raking up 3,5 hours towards the 15 needed for the licence as well as exams.

The sun was setting over Durban as my Instructor Brad and I returned to Virginia

Feeling slightly strange sitting in the left seat but flying the plane as Brad gives me instructor "patter" training

ZDL cockpit by day

My day flight was followed by a bite to eat then a short night flight from Virginia to King Shaka International where we did a touch and go, this time with me back in the left seat

Llewellyn and I with our night lights on

The Umhlanga beachfront, pier and lighthouse by night

Approaching King Shaka runway 24 by night

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

GPS making inroads

Whilst navigation by map remains a part of every pilot's training, GPS based aircraft navigation and surveillance systems are becoming the norm.

Our flight school's Sling aircraft are fitted with Cape Town manufactured  MGL avionics "glass cockpit" GPS based EFIS systems which give you map and navigation data combined with full engine statistics and information management capability. The auto-pilot in ZDL is especially useful for longer flights and will take us across the Mozambique Channel to Madagascar next year.
The MGL EFIS and GPS in our aircraft

NewGen

The next generation of GPS-based aircraft technology is the "NewGen" ADS-B transponders. (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast). This is surveillance technology to replace radar tracking of aircraft and is becoming mandatory in certain airspaces in the United States as well as Australia. Our aircraft in Durban operating in the King Shaka airspace are already required to be fitted with Mode S transponders. These send out signals which can be tracked by the conventional radar systems used in our controlled airspace by the air traffic controllers. The ADS-B equipment is a modified Mode S transponder in which each aircraft uses GPS to find it's own position, then broadcasts this position to other aircaft as well as air traffic controllers. Discussion in the States is around making this new equipment mandatory for General Aviation Aircraft and in the interim in a spreading number of controlled airspaces.

The facility for aircraft to broadcast their position and be tracked by other aircraft is intended to greatly enhance safety in the sky and in the States, where air traffic is reaching capacity loads, will enable aircraft to be routed closer together using the more reliable and accurate ADS tracking system.

Predictions are that by 2020, most aircraft will be fitted with this equipment.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Having fun at our scholars Pilot Open Day

We had some fun in Durban yesterday with our scholars Pilot Open Day.. introducing our planes, the Flight School and Instructors. Also with my son Mark here from Stellenbosch he came to help and also fly with me in our Sling ZDL.

Dave ready to welcome scholars at Durban Skyye Flight School Open Day

Mark and Dad getting some "airtime"

Durban Skyye Sling ZDL

Mark and I over the Umhlanga beachfront and lighthouse

OurSling ZDL whilst Instructor Brad chats to visitors alongside the Flight School's microlight

More pics on our Flight School blog here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Instructor's Rating started

I have had my first Instructor's lesson in "patter" - learning how to instruct students once I qualify. This would give me a Grade C National Flight Instructor rating. My instructor of course is my flight school partner, Brad and we flew in our newly approved flight school training aircraft Sling "Yankee" ZU-FYA.
Winter and early evening as the sun sets, a beautiful time to fly. The air was a bit choppy though as a south-wester was coming through with the wind gusting over 20 kts

Dave learning to fly from the right seat while Brad, an A Grade Instructor gives him "patter"

Durban Skyye Flight School Open Day Sat 28 June

It's our Flight School Open Day this Sat and a chance to see that the skyy's no limit when you come start your training with us. Come and meet our highly experienced instructors and take the opportunity of an Intro Flight in our microlight or fixed wing aircraft for only R600 or R850 - come and experience the freedom of flight and the thrill of starting your Pilot's licence! Bookings on 083-7033329 or online through Durban Skyye Flight School's website.



Monday, June 23, 2014

FYA gets it's Flying School ATF

I had to fly to Johannesburg this morning and back again at sunset to get the Authority to Fly for our Flight School Sling. It needed an inspection check and a personal visit to the CAA to present the original documents, issued in time for me to drive back to Tedderfield (bakkie courtesy of Andrew) and get back to Durban as the sun was setting.

Unfortunately the plane wouldn't start as I was trying to get going as it seems the Master switch was left on while the guys were tinkering on the plane and the battery ran flat. Anyway, it was quickly tested and "jump-started" and was charging ok, so I was soon on my way. Thanks guys for sorting today. We now are able to offer training on FYA in the Flight School.



Routing to Tedderfield, home of the Airplane Factory just North of the Vaal Dam

Beautiful Slings lined up at the Factory




A new Sling 4

 The Civil Aviation Authority on Midrand controls aviation in South Africa and looks after Part 61 pilot training and Aviation Training Organsations.

At the same time as I collected the new ATF for FYA I also delivered the over 1000 pages of Manuals for approval of our proposed extension of flight school training to include Part 61, or PPL training in addition to the microlight and light sport aircraft training we offer.


Jean and Daniel check my plane's battery


The magnificent mountains around the Harrismith area on the way home.