Christmas 2012 Newsletter

Merry Xmas Everyone,

2012 seems to have just flashed by despite it being one of the most difficult flying years in my experience. The weather has been absolutely dreadful and many of you have understandably struggled to stay current. This is always frustrating but is part and parcel of being a UK based pilot.

Despite the stumbling blocks, we have had an eventful year and I am pleased to report several very successful trips which have inspired and challenged our regular fliers.

Alps 2012


Ian, Ali and I took 5 customers on an Altitude Appreciation Trip to Megeve in March.  We were blessed with fantastic weather and once we arrived in Megeve we had an amazing week seeing the Alps up close. Roy, Ian, Tony, Richard and Mikhail had a fabulous time flying in and out of Courchevel, around Mont Blanc and up and down the snowfields in between. Most of us managed to get in a day or two’s skiing as well and we also found time to sample Megeve’s wide selection of restaurants.

Apparently they have a few bars there as well.

Ali, being such a talented film maker, put together a stunning montage of the week which takes pride of place on our homepage, if you haven’t seen it yet, click on it straight away and see what you missed.

We are intending to repeat the experience next year during the week commencing 9th March 2013, so put it in your diaries.  Sorry students but the trip is only open to licence holders – although you do not have to be R44 rated.


Lands End to John O’Groats

Tim and Ali excelled themselves in organising the LE to JOG trip in September.  I, for one, was absolutely stunned to hear that the two R44’s made it from one end of the country to the other in a day.  Excellent effort by all concerned.  The nature of the trip dictated that the accommodation was a bit basic but resouceful planning and the team’s willingness to muck in, meant that the mission was accomplished at the first attempt.

Mallorca 2012

Ian fancied a bit of warmer weather flying so, together with Richard Brook, set off for Southern Spain in G-WEAT.  After dropping Richard at Murcia, Ian went on to Mallorca, where Tony, Roy and David enjoyed the delights of the Balearics before travelling home with Ali.

We have been incredibly lucky with our trips this year and I’d like to thank Ian, Ali and Tim for doing a vast amount of research and planning to bring them to fruition. We must also thank our friends at the Aeroclub de Megeve and Sloane in Mallorca for their advice and assistance.

Lastly a huge heartfelt thank you to all those who joined in on the trips and made them such a roaring success.  Details of next year’s trips will be circulated as soon as we have dates, In addition to the Alps, some of those being considered are Anglesea/Snowdonia, Formation Flying in Gloucester and the Lake District.

Role of Honour

We are delighted with the achievements of our students this year.  We are proud to welcome Daniel Lister and Mike Beadman to the ranks of our PPL Holders.

Staff Changes

We are, of course, distraught to learn that Candy Barron, the stalwart of the weekend ops desk will soon be leaving us after nearly 8 years. However we are delighted for her that, at last, she will be able to join her husband Adam in the USA.  I have no doubt that she will very quickly make herself invaluable to a helicopter school somewhere in Florida and at least she shouldn’t need her hot water bottle out there! On behalf of all the staff and customers I’d like to wish her the very best of luck and thank her for her contribution over the years.

It’s a pleasure to welcome Clare Blake to the team to take over from Candy.  Clare has had some aviation experience with Scott Air in the past and is looking forward to meeting you all over the coming months.


I realise that it has been a frustrating year with weather and aircraft availability causing some disruption to the flying programme.  The damage sustained by the overspeed on G-RALA last year had many knock on effects on the availability of an R44 for SFH.  Sadly, RALA has now been sold and is no longer on our fleet.  I am, however very hopeful that a new R44 will be joining our fleet in the very near future to fill this void.


As many of you will be aware, we have been battling with the airport throughout the year regarding our continuing presence at Cambridge.  We have no desire to relocate but the charging policy that the airport has adopted is making it very difficult for us to justify staying. We are hoping that common sense will prevail and a compromise can be reached and we can get back to business as usual.


You should be aware that EASA regulation has largely come into effect and they are now the governing body.  The legislation is rather difficult to trawl through and we are all feeling our way a bit. Should you have any questions regarding the validity of licences and ratings, please email me and I will try to steer you in the right direction. The main thing to remember is that you should carry your licence and photographic ID as well as a current chart on all flights.


Lastly, may I express our gratitude to all our customers and owners and of course the staff.  Without you all, we have no business and would are not able to carry on flying without your continued support and custom.  Many thanks.  We hope to see you all soon, and those of you who have not been able to fly recently may get a chance over the Xmas break.  We will be closed on 24th, 25th and 26th December this year but are otherwise open as usual.

Season’s Greetings to all of you and your families.

Duncan Bickley, Head of Training