Hi Everyone, Merry Christmas.
It doesn’t seem a year since my last Xmas missive, but the unavoidable sounds of Slade and Wizzard in all the shops tell me that it is that time again.
A big thank you to all of you who have continued to support us in the most difficult of trading conditions. Fuel prices are at an all time high and the airport and authorities continue to want a bigger piece of the pie. We are amazed that trading has stood up so well in a year when 4 other UK helicopter schools have gone out of business. Our success is wholly down to the support from our regulars, we very much appreciate your custom and look forward to flying with you all in the New Year. I’d also like to thank my fantastic team, Chelsea, Ian, Ali, Candy and Amina all work so well together to create a brilliant working environment and enable us to provide our service to you throughout the year. It’s a great place to work.
The weather is seldom our friend and many of you have found it hard to stay current. Don’t forget that you can fly with an instructor at any time of the year when the weather is outside SFH limits. It never does any harm to revise emergencies or try something more complicated than you would attempt on your own. You’ll probably gain more from such exercises that repeated 28 day checks; you don’t have to wait until your LPC is coming up to do some revision.
This time of year it’s also good to try some night flying.If you have not experienced flying in the dark, I can recommend taking the opportunity to experience flying in the inky black and learning how different it is to flying in daylight. I can guarantee that between 1 and 3 hours of night experience will “open your eyes” to being in the dark! Legal night starts as early as 16:30 at this time of year, so it is very easy to fit in some sorties without staying out too late. It will sharpen your awareness and quickly convince you of the difficulties of flying after sunset. Please book in with Chelsea.
Please find enclosed a letter and voting slip from the airport to elect a member of the General Aviation Committee. I am delighted to have been nominated and would appreciate it if you be so kind as to vote for me. Please ensure that you vote and return the papers by 23rd December 2011. It will benefit us greatly if we have a permanent voice on the board.
We were most reluctant to have to raise prices in the middle of 2011, but that, I am afraid is the economic reality. Our annual price review will take place in January and whilst we will do our best to keep increases down both hangarage and landing fees will rise and we will have to pass them on.
As you will be aware, we were considering relocating during most of this year due to the airport’s desire to charge un-commercial prices for base operators. Thankfully they have relented enough for us to stay at Cambridge for at least another year. We have no desire to move but can only stay here if the financials stack up. We will keep you informed.
G-RALA suffered a bad overspeed in October and has been out of action ever since. We hope to get her back before the New Year and I am sure that R44 self fly hire pilots will be chomping at the bit to get current again. Don’t forget you can do a check ride on WEAT so that you are ready to SFH as soon as she comes back. Overspeeds continue to be an unnecessary drain on our resources. I shall be posting an overview of them on the Company website to remind us of just how damaging lapses of concentration can they can be – both to airframes and pockets. Please find time to read it – increased insurance costs are borne by everybody, so please do your best to minimise claims.
We would like to get a few more pilots coming along on our trips, preferably bringing passengers to make it a little more of a social outing. Please let me have any suggestions of places you would like to visit.
Merry Xmas to all of you and a Happy New Flying Year from all the team.