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They say it’s important to continuously practice flying in IMC, as without doing so, a pilot can become rusty.  To that end, I took a reasonably short local IFR flight from Biggin Hill in the PA28.

On the afternoon of this flight, there was a 30% probability of cumulonimbus clouds, thunderstorms and hail.  For this reason, I stayed reasonably local, touring the Isle of Wight before heading back.  However, the plan had to constantly adapt to avoid the developing bad weather.

Jon flew his first cross-channel trip over the Easter weekend, to have lunch in Le Touquet with his friend and colleague, Alastair.  

Light aircraft flying is all about making decisions.  Be it about the weather, which route to fly, how much fuel to carry etc etc.  Viewers from my YouTube channel have told me that they really enjoy watching me make those decisions in my videos, so this film explores that process in more detail.

Dodging a moderate rain shower when you’re flying is usually no big deal.  But when the shower is parked right on your route, and there’s restricted airspace to your left, right and below you, and controlled airspace above you, things can get a little tricky.  This was the scenario faced during my return flight from Gloucestershire to Biggin Hill.

Jon and Alastair fly from Biggin Hill to Gloucestershire in India Zulu for brunch, and end up diverting around showers and discovering an unexpected guest on board.

I had to abort my local flight from Biggin Hill, after entering potentially freezing IMC weather shortly after take off.

I have been curious for some time, about several mysterious landmarks in the Thames Estuary, that feature on my Southern England aeronautical chart.  It turns out they are a network of former World War Two, Army and Navy sea forts.  

On 11th January, I took a short IFR flight from Biggin Hill, to keep the skills fresh.  I was in cloud for the majority of the flight and it tested my IMC rating to the max.  

Flying above the clouds

This is my first solo IFR flight after obtaining my UK restricted instrument rating.  I was keen to get the rating, so that there were more opportunities for me to fly in the UK, despite it’s pesky, rotten weather.  

Today I collected my UK IR(R) restricted instrument rating from the CAA at Gatwick.  I’m pleased to say I achieved 100% in the theoretical knowledge test, and performed well during my instrument skills test.  

I have started training for my UK restricted instrument rating, which will allow me to fly (subject to conditions) in cloud and poor visibility in certain UK airspace.  After about five or so lessons from Headcorn Aerodrome, I’m starting to train how to fly holding patterns and procedures.

Once again, I tackled a flight through Gatwick Class D controlled airspace in a PA28.  I took this route, as it was the most direct course from Biggin Hill where I’m based, to Shoreham where I intended to land.

When flying light aircraft, in uncontrolled airspace, mid-air collisions are primarily not avoided by instructions from radar controllers, or by using sophisticated cockpit equipment. Instead, pilots avoid collisions by using their eyes..a concept called ‘see and avoid’.  

Aerial view of Hastings from 3700ft

  Jon Hunt takes the return trip from Lydd Airport to Biggin Hill in the PA28.  Climbing above a layer of few clouds as we pass over Hastings and Bexhill, before descending to see good aerial views of Tonbridge and Sevenoaks before landing.