A big thank you to our Commercial Pilots, Instructors, Ground Crew (Emma), Engineers and Admin Staff (Omi) for another successful summer season and we have managed it without the help of the weather in August! It has not quietened down – September so far has not shown any sign for slowing up and, with a new influx of students, is keeping Joe, Jeff, Ken and the team fully occupied.
On that note, I must mention a big ‘Welcome’ to all the BIH students and Self-Fly Hirers who are making their way to us since BIH closed its doors on the 31st July.
Hope you enjoy our Newsletter – there are two opportunities coming up to join us and meet the EBG Team and fellow members. Our BBQ which is on 27th September and our Fireworks Evening on 7th November.
For those of you who are new to EBG we have attached the previous newsletter so you can see what else we have been up to recently. (Spring Newsletter 2015). Looking forward, we hope you will enjoy being an active member of the EBG Club!
We’ve had a number of interesting jobs to complete over the flying season. From urgent deliveries of Nissan car parts to a factory all the way in Sunderland to action films (Age of Kill 2014 & We Still Kill the Old Way 2015).
But our most interesting yet has to be the Promo work we did with Random House for the new 50 Shades of Grey book “Grey”.
The day started bright and early for Ken who was flying this job. But earlier still for Omi who was meeting the gentleman who was adding the special ‘GREY Enterprises’ decal prior to the flight. The early departure was requested by the customers as the aircraft was due to feature on the ‘This Morning’ show that very day. Once g-WCKD was all stickered up she was flown the short journey to the London Heliport where filming would begin…
Don’t forget to keep your finger on the pulse and follow EBG helicopters by tweeting @ebgheli or liking us on facebook!
Le Touquet was our destination in July and as it was summer we got the Met Office to lay on some sun for us, which is always nice of them and was a pleasant surprise.
Our plan was to leave Redhill, head down towards Lydd then take the shortest route across the channel and follow the French coast down to Le Touquet. Our plans were soon changed as a quick look at the NOTAM revealed the first ever electric-powered cross-channel flight was taking place from Lydd to Calais… thanks Airbus – Pilot Didier Esteyne in the E-Fan did however make a successful flight, so congratulations Didier and the Airbus team.
We were now routing via Hastings and first to leave was the Cabri G2 followed by the two R44’s (PGGY and PAMY). We could not have asked for a better day with clear blue skies as far as your eye could see and a calm channel below with the occasional wake from a passing ship.
Golden sands welcomed us as we approached the French coast, I’d forgotten how nice it really was as we headed south along the coastline. Le Touquet airport is located just inland from an estuary so it was relatively easy to spot. One thing you do notice on the approach are the huge number of ponds that carpet the land below, this is actually the remnants of World War II and bomb craters have now filled with water.
Landing at Le Touquet was quite straightforward and was just a case of paying our landing fees. There was is a kiosk for customs / border control but no one was in attendance so we walked straight through.
Le Touquet is only a short drive away from the airport but the taxi’s seemed to be on strike on the day we arrived so we decided to walk, there is however the option to hire a push bike at the airport if you preferred.
It was time for lunch so we made our way to Perard’s a very nice seafood restaurant that I would recommend. I think Ken has visited this place a few times and he went straight for the sea food platter with lobster claws towering in front of him. It was a really nice lunch enjoyed by all so thank you very much Ken and Nic.
Lunch was finished off with a wander down to the seafront to take in the views followed by ice creams all round … thanks again Ken… they really do look after us at EBG.
It was now time to head back to the airport… TAXI… TAXI… seeming like there was only one taxi in Le Touquet we split up from the rest and myself, Ken and Nic decided to take the short walk back… Short Walk… one hour later we arrived back, yes we had got lost, it could have been worse but the GPS smartphones saved the day J
After a slight delay and admin fix to the flight plan we were away and heading back across the channel back to England. Fifty minutes later we were back on the pads at Redhill and it was the close to a fantastic day out with friends.
If you get the chance to fly into Le Touquet then I would recommend you go, it’s a great place to visit with golden beaches, nice restaurants but above all a fabulous little adventure to experience in a helicopter.
We all gathered at 08:30 at the EBG office, studied the NOTAMs, weather forecast, etc, then trooped out to the pads to ready the aircraft – the R22, G2 and two R44s. On this outward leg I was flying G-EERY with Ken. The slower two-seaters took off first, followed by the four-seaters.
En route we were quite busy on the radio, requesting to transit the Boscombe Down CMATZ, then skirting Southampton airport zone. As we approached Yeovilton, we could hear the R44s ahead of us on the radio, but the controller seemed unused to dealing with GA traffic, repeatedly asking the pilots to state their full call sign. The resulting confusion slowed us down a bit, and with G-EERY running tight on fuel, we diverted to Compton Abbas while the others struggled on to land at Yeovilton.
Having refuelled, on returning to Yeovilton we were warned to steer clear of a large military helicopter that was conducting a recovery exercise in line with the main runway. However we were cleared to land at the threshold of Runway 22, and made our approach. On the apron, four marshallers stood ready to bring us in, and the skill and precision of their movements was something to behold – almost like a dancer!
Into a truck that drove us out of the secure area so we could join the others, and then we all entered the RNAS museum.
In the first hangar we were met by a line of helicopters, from a the rather striking-looking Westland Dragonfly (built 1949) through to a Westland Wessex and a Sea King (1970).
I’m sure each member of the party had their own favourite exhibit at the museum – perhaps the Concorde prototype, or the very early Navy aircraft, but for me it was the “Carrier Experience” – recreating the sights and sounds of an aircraft carrier through video projection and lighting effects.
After a couple of hours, it was time to walk back out to the apron, where we were instructed to contact three different ATCs – Ground to start engines, Tower to depart and Approach to fly out. At this point I swapped into the back seat of an R44 for the return journey.
First, we made the short hop to Compton Abbas for refuelling of aircraft and people. Refuelling the aircraft was complicated by the fact we could only fit two at a time beside the pump, and while manoeuvring we had to avoid over-flying the fixed-wing aircraft parked nearby, in case their wings bent down.
The day was rounded off by an excellent pub-style lunch at the airfield restaurant, followed by an uneventful flight home. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
or…. ‘EXERCISE CORTIJO CAPER 2015’ 17-22 September 2015.
Thank you for your interest in coming on this jaunt through France and Spain – it is a chance to point the nose of the helicopter south……. fly to the horizon…..and keep on going….for two days!
The simple outline is to fly to a villa in southern Spain near the famous white pueblo of Mojacar, taking two days to fly down, spend two days in the villa and then fly back over two days. The round trip takes around 25 hours flying time and we divide it up into legs of roughly two hours. Assuming three pilots in a helicopter, you can see that each pilot should fly for 4 hours on the outbound and inbound sectors. If you want to do the whole trip, great! If you want to fly outbound or inbound, we can do a crew change at Almeria (approx a .3 from the villa) on the down days.
The ethos of the trip is fun, but along the way you will learn about Flight Planning, GAR Forms, French and Spanish airspace, operating as a ‘two ship’ (maybe even a three ship…..) formation and enjoy tapas and coffee in some fabulous little out-of-the-way airstrips. We will break the journey in San Sebastian on the way down and Carcassonne on the way back (or perhaps vice-versa). All the participants will be responsible for the planning and navigation, the instructors will be there to make sure that no major faux pas are committed.
If you are commanding the helicopter, you will fly and operate the radio. One of the ‘passengers’ will be the nominated Navigator for the leg and the second ‘passenger’ will be the ‘Check Nav’. Thus, each participant will gain 12 hours experience whilst paying for 4…….
If you are interested, I’d like to invite you to an informal pre-pre-pre-pre-pre planning BBQ on Saturday 30th May from 1700 at Hangar 1, Redhill. Bring something to cook, something to drink and we’ll supply the BBQ and a ‘chef’. We can all natter about the plan and have a look at the charts.
By the way……the landing site in Spain is a little pinnacle at a riding stables, so there is a challenge there too……..
I’ll dig out some pictures from the last trip and post them out in the next few days.
We’ve already had our first Club Trip of the season with a visit to RNAS Yeovilton on Friday 15th May 2015. PPL(H) club members, students and staff explored the Fleet Air Arm Museum with its four exhibition halls, over ninety aircraft and over 2 million records and 30 thousand artefacts. (The Museum is the world’s second largest naval aviation Museum). Before setting off to the delightful Compton Abbas Airfield and the equally delightful Compton Abbas Restaurant. Once everyone had their fill (and left Ken dealing with the bill) it was back to the helis to fly home.
Future Planned Club Trips.
Monday 8th June 2015 moved to Friday 12th June. – Lydd Go Karting. Lydd Kart Circuit is one of the fastest for Go Karting in Kent and one of the fastest in the country. The track is 1040m and worth the challenge!
Friday 10th July 2015 – La Belle France. One of the Club’s most popular trips is the annual fly away to ‘La Belle France’ – not sure if it’s the sand, sea or gourmet food but whichever it is. ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED.
16th – 22nd September 2015 – Spanish Fiesta! Having conquered France the Club is now venturing further afield for an extended trip to Spain to experience the wines, food and late summer sun. ADVANCE BOOKING REQUIRED.
Sunday, 27th September 2015 – EBG End of Season BBQ. We wrap the summer festivities up with the EBG BBQ. As ever, a great time to catch up with the Club gossip and go flying!
For trips to France and Spain would you please get your names down early as we need to know numbers before attempting the logistical organisation!
YOUR BOOKINGS HOTLINE IS: info @ ebghelicopters.co.uk & joe @ ebghelicopters.co.uk, or Phone Linda or Joe on: 01737 821 282.
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.
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!!!