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Fly/Sail: An Action-Packed Fun Weekend

Posted By Clare Stead, 05 April 2019

Fly/Sail Weekend – 23/24 June 2018

Piece by Sally Pawson, originally published in September/October 2018 edition of Navigation News.

The weather had held! We awoke to brilliant sunshine and low winds – just what the aviators wanted but not necessarily the yachts! Four boats arrived in Hornets, Gosport consisting of two yachts - Mischief 2 and Darwin Star, a catamaran - Spirit of Scott Bader which is part of Sailability International and a motorboat - Charlie 2. John Cairns and Paul Bryans kindly ferried the mariners to Dedalius airfield at Lee on the Solent where four planes had arrived (a Piper Warrior, a Wassmer Europa, a Jodel and another plane flown by Graham Purchase). We all met up over lunch and then once the aviators decided who was taking whom, they took to the skies with their mariner passengers. The mariners had a fantastic time flying over the Solent across to Newport on the Isle of Wight where we enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the 50th Isle of Wight Festival that was taking place all weekend. Then we headed South towards St Catherine’s Point and out to sea bearing across Freshwater Bay, banking over the Needles to take photos before heading East across Hurst Castle, Beaulieu, Calshot and Southampton Water, back to Lee on the Solent.



Once everyone had enjoyed their flying adventure, John and Paul ferried us all back to Hornets for drinks and nibbles on Charlie 2 where everyone was pleased to see Mike Highwood joining us. With 17 aviators and mariners aboard Charlie 2 it was rather cosy, all getting to know each other extremely well! When there were no more nibbles left and the wine was running dry, we headed for the Hornets restaurant for supper and more drinks - after all it had been a very hot day. Having satiated our hunger and slated our thirst, berths were found on the boats for all the aviators and once all the bags had reached the right owners we all settled down for a well-earned sleep.

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny again with low winds. We were (mostly) up early bright eyed and bushy tailed despite the copious amounts of alcohol the previous evening. Obviously this lot have had plenty of practice! Mischief 2 and the Spirit of Scott Bader departed at 08:30 sailing to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Wootton Creek on the island for brunch. Unfortunately, Darwin Star unable to join us, had to return to his local mooring. There wasn’t a great deal of wind but the aviators enjoyed their sail. Charlie 2 left at 09:20 arriving to a welcoming committee just 20 minutes later. We were made very welcome at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and ate a hearty brunch outside in the sunshine, washed down with copious amounts of tea and coffee.



We were limited on time in Wootton Creek as it dries out so we all left around 11:30 bidding fond goodbyes to those heading home. The rest returned to Hornets to disgorge the aviators so that John could take them back to the Dedalius for their flights home.

It had been an absolutely fabulous weekend and certainly the best Fly/Sail weekend I had been on. There was never a dull moment and it was like meeting old friends for the first time. I met some really lovely people who I hope will become firm friends in the future. Lucy from the Spirit of Scott Bader subsequently emailed me saying it was possibly the best weekend of her life. Praise indeed to everyone who took part.

Roll on the next Solent Fly/Sail weekend!


Would you like to join us for the next Fly/Sail? Click here for more details about Fly/Sail 2019.

Click on the image below to download the poster for the event.



Tags:  fly/sail  fun  general aviation  small craft group  social  solent 

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An iPad Nightmare

Posted By David Broughton, 28 August 2018

 

Fly/Sail is always the most-fun weekend of the year, and this year it was going to be at Solent Airport and the Hornet Services Sailing Club, Gosport. A handful of fliers and sailors gather at Saturday lunchtime, with the sailors being flown around the local area in the afternoon and then, after a very sociable evening, the sailors accommodating the fliers overnight and taking them for a sail the next morning. All head homewards with huge grins after Sunday lunch.

But, flying from Conington, Peterborough, meant that I had a good hour’s flight to Solent, having to pass by Luton and Heathrow airports amongst a handful of other restricted areas. The aircraft I was to hire was a beautiful-looking and modernised Piper PA-28, with drooping wingtips. I had previously looked carefully at its navigation fit: it had a couple of VOR receivers and an elderly GPS with no graphics.

 


So I bit the bullet and decided that, as an almost-octogenarian, I would treat myself to an iPad and navigation software. I needed one with GPS, so checked with the experts at the Mac store in Cambridge – yes, all new iPads have GPS they confirmed. I decided to buy it on offer from the largest department store in Cambridge, whose expert also confirmed that the iPad 6th Generation 32GB for £319 ‘has GPS’.

I had also had an offer of free SkyDemon for a month, so I took that up; it works well on the iPad but, sadly, not on my Mac desk- or lap-tops. So I put the track (Conington-Cranfield-Woodley NDB-Solent) directly into the iPad; it was incredibly easy to do and let me play with height to avoid airspace infringements. As well as a very usable chart, it produced an excellent flight-plan, complete with many useful frequencies, for viewing or printing.

 


By now I had been to AeroExpo and bought a smart knee-pad from Pooley’s to hold the iPad. So, to convince myself that all was working, I tried it in the car, with my wife driving of course. But as soon as I went into SkyDemon navigate mode, I received a warning that I could only undertake a 30-minute flight under the free trial. Wow, thank goodness I had given it a try – had I only read the instructions with the trial I would have known that. But the navigation in the car seemed to work well; the aircraft symbol tracked us around and aligned itself with heading. So I paid £12 for a month of trial that would allow SkyDemon to work as a useful navigator.

On the Saturday morning, with the aircraft full of fuel and overnight kit, we taxied out at Conington. My co-pilot was a lapsed PPL who, between take-off and landing, was happy to hold height and heading, allowing me to devote time to the iPad strapped to my knee. As soon as we headed south, I opened-up the iPad on my knee – to be greeted with the message ‘Current Location Not Available’. The beast obviously had no intention of navigating, so I threw it onto the back seat and scrambled for my chart and printed pilot-log. Thankfully, I had prepared a 250k chart with the track and timing marks and the flight continued as an unexpected and sweaty map-reading exercise. Thankfully, we made it to Solent with no infringements, thanks in part to a very helpful Farnborough Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS).

It turns out that the iPad that I had bought, in spite of assurances from Mac and department store staff, has no GPS (or any other GNSS). I can only assume that it worked during my car trial by using the car’s Bluetooth and inbuilt navigation. I spoke to a handful of fliers at Solent, who confirmed what I had just discovered about my iPad; a couple showed me their small Bluetooth GNSS receivers which, at around £90, had resolved the problem for them completely by pairing with the iPad and allowing it to navigate.

So a lesson or two learnt: make sure that free software trials fully do what you need; don’t glibly believe what sales staff assure you about iPads; and, most importantly, ensure that you have a properly-prepared paper chart and hard-copy flight-plan at your fingertips... and brush-up by reading the Institute’s booklet on ‘Infringement Avoidance’.

Tags:  Aircraft  Fly/Sail  GPS  Navigation Software 

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