EBG’s Annual Fireworks Night

Our Fireworks Night will be held tomorrow (01/11/2014) and be Hosted at EBG Helicopters, Hangar One, Redhill Aerodrome (RH1 5JY).

Come one! Come all! and don’t forget to bring a firework and marshmallows for toasting.

 

Fireworks-exploding

We’re dead chuffed with G-CHFD – Our new 109

EBG has now moved into the twin arena with the arrival of G-CHFD an Agusta 109 SP. This aircraft is probably the best kitted and newest in the country and is now available for Charter. She cruises at anywhere between 140 and 160 knots and can comfortably carry six passengers. With the unfortunate series of recent accidents involving twin-engineered high performance helicopters we had to seriously jump through the CAA hoops to demonstrate that we could safely conduct CAT flights on this aircraft. Whilst we are restricted to VFR only we can, in fact, conduct charters to the near continent (France etc) as well as night time charters .

Our first charter was to the famous Glyndebourne House where the passengers enjoyed a laid back time watching the Opera whilst enjoying a picnic in the grounds before returning back to Battersea well after dark.G-CHFD at Glyndebourne Private Site

As part of the approval process we had to conduct a demonstration commercial charter to the CAA. Captain Grumpy, otherwise known as Crowbar, the Salad Dodger (a bizarre reference to his dietary progress) was offered up as the VIP passenger. The flight entailed a departure from Redhill to Battersea with a diversion and then on to Silverstone for a simulated Grand Prix procedural arrival and then back to Redhill. All this was accomplished in a little under an hour and a quarter. Captain Grumpy was called Sir spelt with a capital ‘S’ on a number of occasions and felt a little bit like a wealthy business tycoon – obviously a lot of play acting was going on by all concerned, particularly by the pilot Leigh Howell. After our arrival our Ops Inspector from the CAA muttered into Captain Grumpy’s ear “That Pilot knows his stuff”. High Praise indeed!

Unfortunately, Captain Grumpy had to come back down to earth. He’s put the fat cigar away and has since enjoyed making his after dinner conversation about his flight and being treated like a Demi-God – Quite right too!!!

Fly Away Days

Dear EBG members,

For those of you who could not make our BBQ a couple of weeks ago please find below the list of hopeful (weather permitting) club trips:

  • Friday 23rd May Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton.
  • Friday 20th June Clay Pidgeon Shooting.
  • Friday 18th July Le Touquet.
  • Friday 22nd August Go Carting.
  • Friday 19th September Stratford upon Avon.
  • Barring Stratford, which is new to us this Year,

These trips have all proven to be quite popular so if you are interested in any or all of them just let me know.

More detailed information regarding Yeovilton on the 23rd May to come shortly.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Linda Rehbein
Operations Assistant

G-ETWO New Cabri G2

Helicopteres Guimbal was founded late-2000, with the purpose of developing and certifying the two-seat helicopter Cabri G2. The program was based on the achievements of the technological demonstrator that Bruno Guimbal had built and tested in the 90’s. After six years of intense development and nearly 300 hours of relentless flight testing, in December 2007 they were successful and had achieved the Cabri G2 Type Certificate. The first genuine European piston helicopter ever!

Jump forward to 2013 where we began our own route to obtaining a Cabri G2. After talking to current operators of the machine and contacting other maintenance companies involved in the Cabri G2, EBG (Helicopters) Ltd decided to obtain their own Cabri G2 through the UK distributor Cotswold Helicopter Centre.

The decision was prompted by a combination of factors; the R22’s flight characteristics are delicate and are often considered twitchy for a training machine, in addition the manufacturer has no plans to develop it further. There has been a leap in both technology and construction of the Cabri which helped EBG to reach this rather exciting decision.

Captain Ken Faria (Chief Instructor & Director at EBG) visited Cotswold with his partner in crime Nick Rehbein (Director at EBG) for a flight test before making their final decision on the new aircraft. They were impressed with its stability especially when considering the day they flew into Cotswold there were plus 35 knot winds!

The next task was to introduce the new acquisition to the Pilots club and students which was arranged in conjunction with one of the regular BBQs at our base at Redhill Aerodrome. The BBQ experienced a greater turn out than any other that season, as Cotswold flew in a demo machine and students and pilots were given the opportunity to take the G2 out for a quick spin. In true British style a queue formed as everyone waited with baited breath for their turn – everyone that is except Captain David Milton (Instructor at EBG) who had offered to go up to the Cotswold Helicopter Centre so that he could fly down with Andy Moorhouse (Instructor at Cotswold).

After placing our order for the G2 EBG began jumping through each of the hoops required by the CAA & EASA and it is now with great pleasure that we can say our new helicopter is finally ready for collection!

The first photographs we received of our new baby was ..G2-inbints

But now we can see that the caterpillar is most certainly a butterFLY as it has completed its flight test! Here is EBG’s newest addition, our Cabri G2 with the fetching UK registration of G-ETWO!G2-EBGs

Ken & David will being taking a plane down to France on Monday to pick up our new Cabri G2. They will then fly G-ETWO all the way back to EBG’s base at Redhill.

Guimbal Cabri G2 Helicopter

The 2013 end of season BBQ had a great turnout – mainly due to the arrival of the Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopter for demonstration.

Never before has a crowd of grown men stood in complete silence listening to the “instructor” or queued up as patiently for their turn.

EBG club G2The weather was lovely and there was a lot of chatting and catching up!!!!

Our New Baby Goat should be arriving this month weather permitting! Ken and David are now type rated and have booked their flights down to the South of France, they will be flying her up from Marseilles so for those  of you who missed it back in September come along and have a look. We will be the only organisation offering training on this lovely little machine south of the Capital.

David-G2

February 2014 – Newsletter

Highlights from the newsletter are below as well as a link so you can download the full colour copy.

FROM THE EDITOR: “Happy New Year”.

The year ended up in December like a damp squib. Weather was horrible and as I write January/February have been no better. Fortunately for EBG the flooding did not reach us and all our helicopters were tucked up nice and dry in the hangar!!- That is until the “mini” hurricane took a panel of the hangar roof!

Other aircraft were less lucky.
planes flooded redhill

BBQ on 13th April – when we will publish the Club programme for
the summer.

Download the full EBG Helicopters newsletter.

EBG fly into Wedding Fair! – Wedding Helicopter Hire

We are always trying to think of new and interesting ways to market ourselves here at EBG so some bright spark came up with the idea of exhibiting at a couple of wedding fairs in the area to see if we could generate some interest from brides to be.

First up was the Hop Farm, we negotiated pride of place at the main entrance for G-WCKD. Ken and I would give out leaflets with the help of Nick Eed who provided plenty of entertainment in his own unique style.

The morning of the show was foggy but burning off. Ken went straight to the Hop Farm to recce the site and I would fly down as soon as the fog lifted. Just in time I was on my way to get in before the doors opened. I knew exactly where the Hop Farm was as soon as I lifted because there was still one patch of low cloud so it’ll be under that then!

We were parked between some very cool classic wedding cars and fielded plenty of enquiries about flying in to weddings around the area. We even dared to venture round the show and do a little bit of networking. I immediately regretted this, the mind boggling array of ways to empty your wallet for photos, table dressings, make-up and bucking broncos? (Must be a Kent thing) has put me off for a little while longer (sorry Hannah). It also made me think that the helicopter is the cheapest thing there! I tried on one dress that was £25,000! I’ve said too much.

Next was the Detling show a few weeks later. This show was probably four times the size of the Hop Farm. We didn’t get quite such a good spot (further from the coffee and doughnut van). But still near the entrance, so you had to talk to me whether you like it or not! It’s always amused me that people go a long way out of their way to come and tell you they wouldn’t get in one of those! I wouldn’t get in a Citroen Picasso but the Courts were quite clear about forcibly telling people this. Unfortunately the rain was a bit more persistent this time so we went inside from time to time for a little bit of drying off and a game of guess what the harpist is playing.

We’ve had a few enquiries from the shows and they keep coming, not to mention Ken and I probably now know more than we ever wished to about planning your wedding, should anyone need some help on that.

 Captain Nick Cox

We have a number of helicopters which will give your wedding entrance the class you want. Call us on 01737 823 179 for a quote or more information on aircraft available for Wedding Helicopter Hire!

Talking Cars! – Jay Leno’s P1 test drive

It’s been a very busy Charter flying season for EBG, not uncommon to see 30 or 40 quotes flood in each day. This was an easy one, one passenger, Fairoaks to Dunsfold, wait three hours and off to Battersea. Can we use G-WCKD because it’s pretty?

It was only the day before the flight that more information started to come in. Can the pilot sign a non-disclosure? Can we pick up from the McLaren factory? Mr Leno weighs XX. Sorry? Mr Leno? Unfortunately even though he triple checked, Ken couldn’t fly the job as he was out of duty hours. I was obviously disappointed on his behalf and expressed this by laughing and printing out pictures of the super cars he would not be seeing that day.

I was now quite enthusiastic, as I have been known to show some interest in cars. I flew to Fairoaks in the sunshine and waited to meet the organisers. Probably for the first time I was excited to meet a celebrity!

Jay Leno was instantly recognisable as he strolled out across the apron and opened by asking what engine the EC130 had in it. Explaining that one of his motorbikes had an Alison C20 turbine in it, because he thought it was a good idea. Probably one of the best opening gambits I’ve ever had. We were quickly joined by all manner of film crew, assistants and some people that probably weren’t sure themselves, what it is they do. It quickly transpired that we were here to film Jay Leno trying out his new car and it was all to be filmed for one of his many petrol head shows.

It’s a quick hop from Fairoaks to Dunsfold and there below us was the familiar Top Gear track and two prototype McLaren P1’s parked by the McLaren welcome centre. I was to land so that the P1 was visible through Jay’s window while he did a piece to camera. I’m pleased to say I hit the mark and didn’t pebble dash the £1 million car too much. I was doubly glad when I later found out it was actually his new car!

While all the meet & greets went on some of the McLaren engineers sneaked over to have a closer look at G-WCKD, cowlings up and prodding away at her. To our amazement we were quickly joined by Leno who was equally enthusiastic to have a prod and poke around at what is a very cool bit of kit to fly.

Normally us charter pilots try to hide in the background with a book and maybe send Robin a photo to show him that I’m having more fun with his helicopter than he does. But watching the P1 lap the track really was quite incredible! Leno was clearly not holding back, despite having just got off a long flight from the states. My enthusiasm must have been a little too obvious as I was offered a look inside the other P1 and MP-12C. Both stunning but I explained that I’d stick with my W reg Golf for now. I was happy to wait for the Diesel version which I hoped would keep the MPG in double figures.

Before leaving the Directors begged me to try and chase the P1 around the track “a couple of ariel shots would really make the video extra special”. Obviously chasing supercars around is very dull but if I must! G-WCKD is pretty quick but this was just silly! Think Wylie Coyote and roadrunner, I knew how the poor guy felt! We got the shots they wanted and it was time to wrap up for the day, (after pocketing a couple of chocolate brownies from the buffet).jay-leno-mclaren-p1-embed-1

But no, just one more thing…. Chris Goodwin (Chief test driver) wondered whether I’d like a couple of laps of the track for being a good sport? I’m only guessing at the last half of the sentence because I was already in the car putting my seatbelt on. These are prototypes so a little rough around the edges. I was bracing myself with one foot on each edge of a big hole in the floor full of electrical circuitry. I thought standing on them looked expensive, so best not to.

jay-wckd2
I’ve been lucky enough, thanks to my old job to drive some fast cars in my time so exiting the pit lane I was relaxed and ready for a quick bash of the track at a respectable pace. Turns out however that this chap was clinically insane with very little understanding of death! I think as we exited the 4th or 5th corner still flat out I may have said “I say old chap this is quite spritely” or words to that effect. After 3 or 4 laps, he let off for a moment and asked if I was going to be sick? “Only normally people were by now”. Definitely not! Can we go until we run out of fuel? Mr crazy decided that this meant I was implying that he was going a little too gently so we really went for it now.

The P1 has loads of new high tech bits on it but probably the most exciting is a system similar to F1 KERS whereby you press 2 buttons on the steering wheel and the spoiler lowers to reduce drag accompanied by an instant 120 BHP boost from electric motors. Who drove a 810 BHP Super car and thought ‘it’s good but needs another 120 BHP’ I don’t know but they are a loon and I like them! The kick in the kidneys is almost painful and things go very blurry!

jay-wckd

Sadly all good things come to an end so it was soon time to fly Mr Leno back to Battersea. I’m pleased to report a very nice and interesting guy. I was even more impressed when he knew my car a 1927 Angus Sanderson. A true petrol head, nobody ever knows what it is. The flying’s great but the best bit of my job is the weird and wonderful people you meet along the way. It turns out I was the second person outside of McLaren to even sit in a P1, an incredible day that I don’t think I’ll ever forget!

 Captain Nick Cox

Four Go Mad! at Silverstone Grand Prix 2013

As I positioned on final approach for the helistrip I counted four helicopters ahead of me, one by only a couple of hundred metres. We were all at 80kts so the spacing remained safe but it heightened the senses a little. My call of, “Black Black One Eight final…” was met with, “Black Black One Eight, pad three”. Clearly this was no ordinary day in the Redhill circuit, so let’s rewind a little…

Nick Cox had phoned me a few weeks before: “Hi Dave. How do you feel about flying into Silverstone for the Grand Prix?”. Well ok, as the new boy on the EBG commercial scene it was a bit of a daunting prospect for my first charter, having cut my teeth on the London sightseeing and local buzz trips, but was I really going to say no?

So on Monday 24th June Ken, Nick, David and I set off for Silverstone for the mandatory pilots’ briefing. Or we would have done, had the M23 not had other ideas. A serious accident just north of Gatwick had closed it so that both Ken and David got stuck in the horrendous knock-on M25 traffic. A quick phone call to Heliair at Silverstone resulted in a later private briefing for us, and a flame-grilled Whopper en route.

We came away with a rain-forest worth of briefing papers and a head full of information. During the Grand Prix weekend a Restricted Area (Temporary) or RA(T) is implemented around the Silverstone area. Strict slot times are allocated to arriving helicopters to the incredibly busy helistrip. There’s no parking at the pad so it’s a case of land, ditch the passengers, lift and go. Clearly the emphasis is on safety, but with the sheer volume of helicopters and passengers involved there is no time for dawdling.

It was clear that we needed to get our heads around the routes and procedures, especially given that out of the four of us only Ken had flown in before, so once back at base we started to get to grips with the entry and exit procedures to for the Silverstone helistrip, with David almost causing smoke to pour from the computer while he plotted the routes and holds on Google Earth. Over the next few days we read, re-read and attempted to digest the information contained within, mindful that non-compliance last year almost resulted in a collision between the same two helicopters twice.

After a busy Saturday’s flying we all landed to find that Linda had kindly cranked up the barbecue and so, with a bellyful of burgers, sausages and pork, we set about drawing lines on charts (yes – it should still be the basis of all your cross-country trips and the batteries never go flat on a paper chart…). We compared routes and drew the holds in place to give us an extra clue, noting tracks and planned times. Nick had given us a massive helping hand with a frequency list and crib notes – hugely useful to have to hand as getting into the helistrip involved no less than four frequency changes within just a mile or two. It was rather late when we left the airfield…

That night I sat up in bed with my new iPad Mini, drawing my route and the holds on the quarter mil chart on Memory Map, taking Ken’s advice to draw the holds in as a separate route for extra clarity. I wasn’t the only one who had a poor night’s sleep, dreaming of approaches and holds and a sky full of helicopters.

When I arrived at the airfield at just before 7am on Sunday morning I found a rather shell-shocked Linda asking why she’d been told to be there from 6am. I couldn’t answer as I thought she only needed to be there from 7, so I just smiled and made her a coffee – I thought it was safest. The weather was stunning at Redhill with bright blue skies and limitless visibility. Which is why it was particularly galling to hear that Silverstone was fog-bound and that Farnborough, right on our route, had broken cloud at 400′. The passengers arriving for Ken’s first EC120 trip were equally bemused, but remained in good spirits once bribed with coffee and doughnuts. My first passengers for PGGY arrived in good time and were equally understanding, while Ken, Nick and I pored over the METARs (and that, folks, is why it’s so vital to always check your destination weather before leaving, notwithstanding what it’s doing at Redhill). Finally the sky started to appear both en route and at the racetrack, so as Ken lifted in G-OTFL I strapped my chaps into PGGY and called for start. Having just got used to being Redhill 09, remembering I was “Black Black 18” for the day was going to be a challenge…

With a full load of fuel and three sizeable gents on board, it was something of a skid-scraping departure to the north from the 18 numbers, but we were soon up over Nutfield Priory and heading west along the ridge of the North Downs, with a basic service from Farnborough LARS West. Already Silverstone helicopter call signs were filling the airwaves and we skirted beneath a wispy layer of cloud at 1400′ as we took the ‘British Rail’ routing to Frimley just outside Farnborough’s ATZ, then headed north. We passed a glorious Henley-on-Thames with its marquees set up in preparation for the upcoming regatta then as Stokenchurch Mast on the M40 appeared we were handed to Farnborough LARS North with a change of squawk.

Then as I bade them farewell the fun started as I listened in on the Silverstone ATIS, selected the initial frequency and was quickly QSY’d (funny – I thought we didn’t use that term anymore…) to the Tower frequency. I was expecting a tricky and lengthy hold but was cleared straight in to East Point, which sounds really easy to see but was merely a position just north of some woodland, for an approach to the 21 helistrip. I was very glad of our meticulous planning, especially as I was now being joined by helicopters from all directions. Once into the RA(T) the rules were all lights on and 80kts so nobody was too close for comfort as I slotted into my place. As I started to line up behind a Squirrel there were two others ahead approaching the helistrip. I called “Final,” in turn and was allocated my one of the nine pads.

There was no time for hesitation as there would be somebody else hot on my tail so I quickly hover-taxied to my spot and put her down. With a thumbs-up to the swarm of ground handlers my passengers Martin and Adam were helped from the helicopter and disappeared towards the terminal. As soon as I got the thumbs-up from the marshaller, I lifted into the hover, spot turned to the left and called, “Black Black 18 ready.” I looked to my left at a line of helicopters approaching the FATO (Final Approach & Take Off area) but with a, “Black Black 18 lift and go,” it was nose down and get the hell out! Max angle of climb was required, avoid the campsites either side of the departure route and leave the RA(T) at 1000 before setting off en route back to Redhill in ever improving weather.

After a quick refuel was about an hour late lifting with my second passenger, Richard, due to the weather delay, but he was understanding and good company as I repeated the route. Yet again there were no delays and no hold required as we headed towards the FATO. Given my spot I taxied towards it to see a Twin Squirrel lifting to my left. “This is going to be bumpy,” I said to Richard, as we were downwind of the bigger twin. Sure as eggs is eggs, as I came to the hover his rotor wash hit us. It wasn’t my prettiest landing ever, but a rather firm ‘coming together’ with the ground as I lowered the lever quickly to get us down through the turbulent air. It’s one to remember when manoeuvring on the pad at Hangar 1 when one of the bigger helicopters is lifting or landing upwind of you – if possible delay your approach or departure until the disturbed air has passed.

My day had gone very smoothly thus far, although time was now getting tight. The Red Arrows were due to display over the racetrack in ten minutes and the airspace would be closed to everybody else while they did so, so I had to exit the RA(T) double-quick and get into Turweston Airfield, just west of Silverstone, for our lunchtime layover before the Reds appeared. With some enthusiastic waving from the marshallers on final approach I made it and shut down with minutes to spare.

Nick had already made it there in the 130, with G-WCKD parked in amongst one hundred or so other machines. He’d picked up his passengers from Goodwood earlier that morning and all had gone well. Ken was on the ground at Oxford having had a more complicated day. After Silverstone he’d gone via Elstree to Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, back to Redhill then to Glastonbury. David’s day had gone less smoothly – Redhill to Elstree then Silverstone then back to Battersea Heliport where a very limited power departure made him concentrate somewhat, only to get to the outskirts of the RA(T) just as it closed. Every cloud has a silver lining, so as he held south of Buckingham he and his passengers had a lovely view of the Red Arrows’ display. It was to be 30mins before he was able to land and drop off, then meet Nick and I at Turweston for lunch and a chat.

Less lucky was the poor fool in a fixed-wing spamcan who blundered through the RA(T) just as the Reds were about to display. One of the RAF Hawks broke off to have a look and get the registration number. Somebody will most likely be waving goodbye to their licence and a lot of money. There’s a lesson here: read the NOTAMS and phone the AIS information line EVERY time you fly. It takes minutes and saves lives and licences.

All on the ground at Turweston, we met up for a debrief on the morning’s events, caught up with a few old friends and filled our faces with a rather nice lunch. There was a big screen showing the Grand Prix but after watching Lewis Hamilton’s tyre shred itself to bits we decided to find a bit of peace and quiet instead and plan our return legs. Nick had been ramp-checked by a CAA inspector, as many others were, but of course all his and WCKD’s paperwork were in good order. There was a an important reapplication of the factor 50 sunscreen as we’d all been cooking in the cockpit (apart from Nick, who complained that the air conditioning was a tad cold…) and a game of dodge-the-helicopter-spotter as we waited by the aircraft.

There were slot times to make for the return trips, so PGGY was fuelled and checked with me strapped in and requesting rotor start at 1700 ready to lift at five past. There were some, ‘interesting’ departure profiles from the airfield, particularly by those who had found themselves parked in the middle of the many helicopters. I’d planned to position back from my parking spot onto the runway and use that, but in the event there was a fixed-wing turboprop waiting to line up, so I found a clear strip ahead of my line of parked aircraft, turned right and transitioned away into some fairly clear space, giving myself more options in the event of an emergency. I left a rather forlorn-looking David Milton sat in PAMY as all those around him left. His departure was not scheduled for another hour.

The route back into Silverstone wasn’t straightforward as you had to exit the Turweston ATZ via a notified ‘gate’ before requesting permission to re-enter the RA(T), but this was in fact achieved with minimum fuss as everybody seemed to be adhering to their slot times and were behaving in terms of altitude and speed. I soon found myself on finals for the now more familiar FATO and plopped myself down on Pad 3, oblivious to the fact that our ground contact Charlie from Phoenix Aviation had been texting me not to rush from Turweston as the passengers hadn’t arrived. Fortunately by the time my skids touched the concrete they were there, quickly loaded in and it was, “Black Black 18 lift and go,” all over again. Martin and Adam seemed to enjoy the more spirited departure and we were soon chatting about their day on the return route. Farnborough remained helpful and accommodating despite their high workload including a gaggle of fixed-wings returning from a fly-out to Alderney, and before long I was settling PGGY onto the pad at EBG with an hour’s chill and refuel before my return to the racetrack. Ken had already landed having delivered his Silverstone passengers back and was completing his tech log before heading home.

Nick’s thorough planning came to the fore again and I touched down back at Silverstone on the dot of the allocated slot time. Things were quieter now and ATC had moved to a single frequency. Richard my passenger was punctual so with him strapped in it was, “lift and go,” for the last time and a, “see you next year,” from ATC, and we enjoyed a pleasant chat en route back to Redhill. He’d taken ten hours of helicopter instruction some years ago so he was a good companion, and as a sponsor of a Suzuki motorcycle racing team had been schmoozed by one of the F1 teams to try to get him on board. He had been unimpressed, citing the flying as the best part of the day – a big thumbs-up for Team EBG.

I was last to return to Redhill so it was coffees, tech logs and a debrief on the day’s events all round for David, Nick and I. As three Silverstone first-timers it was fair to say we were all buzzing as a result of the experience, so we swiftly bedded the helicopters down for the night then three cars headed off in convoy for Nick’s local Indian restaurant for a light supper and a lager. The success of the day was down to a lot of people but not least due to some excellent behind-the-scenes planning and organising by the team at EBG, including a fleet of faultless helicopters. I’d love to report that we all emerged from the experience unscathed, but that would be an untruth. It was only later that I noticed I’d blobbed some of my lunchtime gravy on my previously immaculate tie. I remain philosophical about it though. It’s a kind of medal to denote the successful completion of my first British Grand Prix.

Captain Dave Buck

Le Touquet Club Trip 2013

Club members ventured forth this July to invade the culinary delights and sights of Le Touquet enjoying an excellent day out. However, you can only have so much of a good thing and the old die hards’ fancy a change of scenery.
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Consideration is being given to a trip to Stratford upon Avon where you can enjoy Shakespeare’s England, partake of the very fine hostelry of the area or just enjoy the scenery.
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