July 2016

  • FASVIG Co-ordinator handover
  • PilotAware, the budget conspicuity device – brief review
  • From Dave Websdale’s Archive
  • Deanland Breakfast Fly-In
  • Auster, Beagle & Miles Fly-in now at Redhill

FASVIG Co-ordinator handover

At the end of the month, Southern Strut member Steve Hutt will be handing over the role of  Future Airspace Strategy VFR Implementation Group (FASVIG) Programme Coordinator after a two year stint. Steve is the first co-ordinator and has put in a fantastic amount of work to get the organisation up and running.  It was obvious that his professional experience in project management found excellent application here.  So much for retirement!

The new coordinator is Steve Green.  We wish him every success.

Big thanks to Steve Hutt.  Those two years have made a substantial contribution to keeping our hobby viable in this increasingly regulated world.  Perhaps you can get that RV-7 of yours in the air now Steve!

For more information on FASVIG see their website (set up by Steve).


As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, I’ve just bought the recently available PilotAware conspicuity device. It’s  an affordable alternative to installing an ADS-B transponder to let other aircraft know just where you are (and if you have a mode-S transponder it may even enable you to upgrade it to ADS-B).  At the same time it enables you to detect other aircraft in the vicinity with a similar unit (via P3I), ADS-B or mode-S transponders.  All this for 200 quid!

PilotAware components

Above are all the bits that come in the box (the 50p is just there for scale). It would be easy to chuck out the packet of screws and wi-fi dongle with in the polystyrene chips that it is packed in.  Previous version of this kit required a bit of expertise with a soldering iron, but no more.  Assembly takes about 2 minutes.  The screws close the casing for the Rasberry-Pi, the wi-fi, GPS and receiver dongles are plugged in to the USB sockets, the ‘pigtail’ aerial is screwed on, the power cable plugged in, and it’s good to go!  The result is shown below.

PilotAware assembled

Now to try it out.  It needs a 5 volt supply which could be from a mobile phone power-pack, or perhaps a USB power supply plugged in to a ‘cigar-lighter’ socket.

To ‘talk’ to it, you need a wi-fi enabled tablet;  I’ve got a Nexus 7.  Power up the PilotAware and wait for about a minute.  You’ll see some red and green lights flashing inside.  Then connect the tablet and PilotAware by wi-fi.  Once connected you can access the PilotAware’s control panel through a web-browser to configure it.  Turn on your navigation software of choice (mine is Sky Demon), tell it to talk to the PilotAware and go flying!  Anything near you that is transmitting (ADS-B, Mode-S or P3I) will show up on the display map.  You will also show up to anyone else running PilotAware.  If any of that sounded like a black-magic incantation, there is plenty of instruction available on the PilotAware web-site, and it really is very straightforward.  However, there are some gotyas (of which more below).

It really does work!  Setting the height proximity warning to 35,000 feet, the screen is covered in EasyJets. Dialled back down to 1,000 feet I put it on top of the dashboard of a C172 for a trial flight.  As I sat on the apron at Shoreham the system issued a warning.  I looked up to see the Coastguard helicopter heading straight for me!

My second flight with it revealed the gotya though.  As I set up the system before engine start, I was unable to connect the PilotAware to SkyDemon.  There is a four digit key that has to be entered to allow them to talk.  The tablet had ‘forgotten’ it (don’t know why) and I couldn’t remember it either to re-enter it.  So, you need to have a record of these details with you.  In the event, I left it on without connecting; it would have been broadcasting my position and giving audio alerts (if connected in to headset) even if it wasn’t showing targets on the tablet.

That you have to set parameters in both the PilotAware software and the navigation software running on your tablet does give plenty of scope for confusion, so you do need to give yourself time to get fully familiar with it before using it in earnest.

The PilotAware fan-club has arranged to make speakers available to evangelise at Struts and clubs.  We might get someone to give a demonstration to us.  If you would like to see the kit beforehand, I’m happy to demo mine.

Richard Griffiths

From Dave Websdale’s Archive

The following piece is from a Strut Newsletter written by Chris Foss in November 1996 entitled “A local flight to the south”.
We ought to climb up into the overhead until we are happy with the engine” Simon agreed as he started pulling his straps tight in the rear cockpit.
The Jungmann had just emerged from the hangar after an extended Permit renewal.
No. 2 cylinder was found to be leaking.  Our PFA inspector and engineer had fitted a new one. The engine had been ground run and found to be fit.
Simon Janvrin elected to be P1 for the Permit test flight. I was demoted to prop swinger and put in charge of the paperwork.
Ten minutes of coughing and spitting, the Tigre engine finally came to life. I placed my arm back into its socket, snuggled into the front seat and sat with the flight test forms and pen poised for action.
Taxi to 25 hold, A long pause whilst 21 traffic arrived and departed.
Finally “line up 25”.
We lined up. “Clear to take-off with immediate left to avoid conflict with 21”.
Immediate turn after take-off – oh how I wished I was P1.
I waved to Alan Clark who was painting something in the middle of the airfield. He waved back, I think, or were they large brush strokes?.
Round to the left over the railway line and heading for the coast. “We could just make it if the engine stopped now” I thought to myself, contemplating the green fields off our right wing tip.
17 years gliding makes one think that way, I looked over the side of the cockpit at the built up area ahead and suddenly felt uneasy.
Then there was silence. I felt very uneasy. “Is that you, Simon” I called stupidly over the intercom. “Mayday, Mayday came the answer.
“Oh blow, or similar I thought “I don’t really want to die today, I haven’t sent off my VAT returns.” I stared at the motionless propeller in utter belief.
The nose pitched down, airspeed increased, full right aileron.
Simon cranked the stricken biplane round towards the open fields I’d been contemplating only a second before.
Still clutching paper and pencil I thought “I won’t be needing these”.
I was desperately trying not to take control.  Simon was P1.
My hands and feet were within a couple of thou of the stick and pedals,
maybe Three thou, we didn’t have time to measure.
Green started to fill my vision. The grass was rushing by, Whoops, there goes a fence.
Get it round, we’re heading for the railway embankment.
Left wing almost touching the ground. Levelling up. Wheels made contact.
We’re down. A perfect three pointer. “Fence coming up”. I felt the brakes bite.
We stopped, alive and undamaged.
I carefully clipped the pen in my top pocket, folded the flight test forms and stowed it behind the Quadrant, and got out, pleased to be alive. I thanked Simon.
The rest was an anti-climax. The airport fire crew arrived.
 A herd of (mad) cattle descended on the silent craft eager to sample its grey fabric.
The police helicopter appeared noisily , landing only yards away causing the cattle to stampede. Trying to dodge the angry herd I imagined the headline “Pilots land safely, killed in stampede”.
Have you done any gliding before? “ I asked Simon later “No he replied.
“I think you ought to join our club-you’re a natural”
The Jungmann was dismantled by PFA inspectors and transported the next day to Shoreham Airport.
The reason for the seizure – first oversized piston inside standard size cylinder.
It could he been worse. A seized engine a few seconds later and we could have been part of someone’s loft conversion.
Chris Foss
[They don’t write ’em like that any more.  Ed.]

Deanland Breakfast Fly-In

This year – like last, we are doing a breakfast fly-in.  Sat August 6th is the date for your diary.  So you can come in, have a chinwag, slurp and munch, then take advantage of the long summer days and head off elsewhere – what could be better?! We know that there are  some other fly in-ins on the same day.Full info is on the Deanland Website, click fly in at the top  http://www.deanland-airfield.co.uk/ or via this direct link to the fly in page   Send an email if you want to pop in – I need:

  • Your Name
  • Aircraft Reg
  • Type
  • email address
  • POB (for food qty planning)
  • Phone number (so we can ring you up if the weather is a bit iffy and we cancel/reschedule)

Check you’re happy with Deanlands runway of approx 450m of sloping grass, further details on website.

We are charging £10 per aircraft as previous years, which is our usual landing fee. We plan to donate to local area charity (First Responders) as well as towards a heart defibrillator for the airfield.

Drop me an email or call me for PPR.  ridders@outlook.com, Phone: 07923 582 433

We look forward to seeing you on the day if you can make it!

Dave Ridley & Deanland Airfield (David Brook, Gerry Price and Families)

Auster, Beagle & Miles Fly-in now at Redhill

Auster Logo

The fly-in previously scheduled for Shoreham has been relocated to Redhill on Saturday 30th July.  The programme is:

  • 10am onward –  Aircraft and cars arrive
  • 10.30 am – Open exhibition room
  • Mini-talks programme
    • 11.30 – 11.40  Miles  (Peter Amos)
    • 12.00 – 12.10  Beagle  (Mike Miles)
    • 12.30 – 12.40  Auster (Charles Sunter)
    • 13.30 – 13.40  Miles   (Peter Amos)
    • 14.00 – 14.10  Auster (Charles Sunter)
  • 15.30 onwards – Aircraft depart

Pilots sign in and pay landing fee at the Pilots’ Hub

Lunch at Pilots’ Hub

Upcoming Events

For the latest list of events, go to the Events page on the Strut website.

Please suggest/volunteer to organize some more. :-)