Episode 15 – Learning around The Liverpool Loop

Steve discusses his latest flight, one he dubs The Liverpool Loop, since it involves a flight which starts and ends at City Airport Manchester (Barton) but follows the edge of Liverpool’s controlled airspace in a loop. The journey touches on the tip of North Wales and Steve even managed to negotiate a zone transit over the Airbus facility at Harwarden, where the Beluga Super Transporter is based. Steve also talks about his recent learning points from flights he has taken since the last episode of the Ready for Departure Podcast aired, including a fairly significant safety omission from the start of one of his flights. Listen in as Steve discusses problems with ipads, last minute changes to plans and making the best use of aircraft time.

Episode 14 – First Passenger

In this episode of the Ready for Departure Podcast, Steve talks about his first two flights post-qualification, including his first flight with a passenger. Steve has now gained his UK National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) and took Kat on a tour of the North West’s motorway network, since this was something she had requested to see from the air. A video of the flight is linked in the blog post which accompanies this podcast. Steve walks through some of the things that went well with both flights as well as some of the things that didn’t go as well, including a couple of small mistakes, things he forgot and self-learning points for future flights with passengers. Faulty ipads, self criticism, dodgy radio calls and a failure to listen to a fellow pilot’s advice all feature. Listen now!

Episode 13 – The Flying Widow

In this episode of the Ready for Departure podcast, Steve is joined by his first guest, his wife Kat. Join Steve and Kat in this special podcast episode where they talk about what is was like “from the other side” and how the support of his friends and family helped Steve during the difficult stages of his flight training. Kat shares her own experiences of watching and supporting Steve while he learned to fly, all the while watching and wondering how much it was all costing! Now that Steve is qualified Kat is looking forward to going flying for the first time in a microlight and, as you will hear on the podcast, Kat wants to see lots of motorways….why? You’ll have to listen in to understand!

Episode 12 – Fun Frustration Impatience Relief and Happiness

Steve has completed the final flight of his NPPL training for qualification of a his private pilot’s licence. It has been a long time coming and Steve describes some of the frustrations he experienced, talks about how impatient he became at times as his second and final qualifying cross country flight was cancelled numerous times due to weather and conditions. Not forgetting that the whole point of learning to fly is for fun, Steve reminds us how enjoyable flying across the country solo is and talks about his relief and happiness at finally reaching the milestone of qualification for the NPPL private pilot’s licence.

Episode 11 – New Airfields New Procedures

In this week’s episode, Steve talks about flying with his instructor to Sleap Airfield in Shropshire. Experiencing lots of new and different procedures for the first time proved to be a huge challenge, including navigating the extremely narrow Manchester Low Level Corridor, which is in between Manchester and Liverpool’s controlled airspace. As a navigation flight (and preparation for his final Qualifying Cross Country flight), GPS and electronic navigation aids are forbidden! Therefore all navigation is done via map and dead reckoning, with all pre-planning done with just protractor, ruler and map. The new procedures and flying to another new airfield put Steve outside of his comfort zone – listen and hear how Steve overcame these difficulties and successfully completed the flight.

Episode 10 – Navigation

This week’s episode is all about navigation flying. Steve goes through his navigation training, from learning how to make the necessary wind and heading calculations manually (with nothing more than pen, paper, map, ruler and protractor) all the way through to completing one of his Qualifying Cross Country flights – a flight from City Airport Manchester (Barton) to Blackpool Airport on the west coast of Lancashire. Steve describes some of the difficulties he encountered mastering navigation. Listen as Steve discusses his progress through navigation training.

Episode 8 – Advanced Turns

Steve talks about his experiences with Advanced Turns in this week’s episode. As part of the NPPL syllabus, it is a requirement to be able to complete a turn at up to 60 degrees of bank angle. Very steep turns! Steve discovered that he was having an issue with the G forces that are pulled during the advanced turns. Listen as he describes how he overcame that problem. Steve also realised that while he had been shown how to do advanced turns in previous training flight, he actually hadn’t learned how to complete the manoeuvre on his own. Here, Steve talks about his first few attempts at advanced turns with his instructor and ultimately describes how he eventually completed advanced turns on his own.

Episode 7 – Radio Telephony

Radio Telephony, RT, is the subject of episode 7 of the Ready for Departure podcast. Steve explains how the RT qualification fits into the PPL syllabus and he talks about his experiences with the two exams, the written test and the practical aural examination with a CAA examiner. Using real-world examples of RT from City Airport Manchester (Barton), Steve explains some of the most common RT calls and how he learned the phraseology. Steve highlights the importance of listening to the radio as well as getting the calls right and refers to the example youtube video below, courtesy of Touchdown Point. The RT bible, CAP 413, Steve mentions in this podcast episode can be downloaded in PDF format here. Podcast episodes are released weekly. For early-bird access, why not make a small donation (a pound a month would help to fund some of our website hosting and bandwidth costs). You can do that by clicking here.

Episode 6 – weather

In this episode Steve discusses how the weather has played an important part in his flight training, whilst working towards the UK NPPL pilots licence. As well as talking about the meteorology exam that must be passed as part of the syllabus, Steve goes into how poor weather disrupted his training and how he took advantage of weather windows in order to make progress with his training. As Steve is a microlight pilot, he operates from a grass airfield and not only was Steve grounded during poor weather days, but at many times for several days after some bad weather, while he waited for the grass runways to recover. Podcast episodes are released weekly. For early-bird access, why not make a small donation (a pound a month would help to fund some of our website hosting and bandwidth costs). You can do that by clicking here.