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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Crunchin' numbers

I started this blog, because when I was trying to decide how and where I would goo try to get my PPL (Private Pilot's License), I could not find any information on how people decided on flight schools, shared ownership or not, flying clubs, and what not. That lack of information inspired me to write down my own considerations, to serve as a basis for others finding themselves in a similar situation. Of course, this is all specific to my situation, and every situation is different, so your choices will probably end up to be different ones, but it's the thought process that counts, along with some hard numbers.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Aquila means "Eagle"

I bet you didn't know that, did you? Neither did I, until I looked it op :) It is actually the statue on a stick that the Romans carried with them when they went to battle. At the time, it was considered a greater defeat when the legion would return without Aquila, then when only the Aquila bearer would return...
What's that all got to do with my flying adventures, you may ask yourselves. Not so much in itself, except that Aquila is the brand of the aircraft in which I had my second PPL lesson today (Wednesday, the 14th of December 2011). The A210 was recently delivered to KLM Aeroclub to train the Flight Instructors so that they can "check out" current pilots, and train new pilots (like yours truely) on the plane. And all that within the framework of the setup of a shared ownership construction within the KLM Aeroclub.

Despite the lousy weather the past week or so, and the impossible TAF of yesterday morning, this morning it started to look like at least marginal VMC. So, on our way to Lelystad!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Aquila Info evening

Last Thursday, KLM Aeroclub organised an Information evening on the Aquila A210 share construction they have in mind. I visited the evening, because, although I have not yet flown in this aircraft, it is slowly gaining my interest.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Almost Aquila

I seem to hold a patent for planning flights when there is bad weather. Today, I had planned a lesson in the KLM Aeroclub Aquila A210, but the weather would not cooperate. Fat too mch wind, some rain (not necessarily a problem), hail, and thunder (definitely a show-stopper). Plus a cloud base that would be too low from time to time...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Aquilla ferry flight

Besides flying the Diamond DA-20, I had another little adventure that Wednesday the 16th of November: I met the KLM Aeroclub Aquila A210 demonstrator! :)

The Aquila was supposed to be ferried in over the weekend before, but local weather grounded the plane. Two men (Emile and Melvin) had traveled to the south of Germany to collect the plane, and fly her back to Lelystad...

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Diamonds are forever

Wedenesdday, November 16th, the day was finally there. After having had to postpone it a couple of times for various reasons, I had an appointment with Wouter Nagel to go fly a Diamond DA-20 Katana. He has a share with Katana Flyers (and it's for sdale ;) ) just like I am considering. So this would be a nice opportunity to get to know both the airplane, and the organisation.

Wouter doing the paperwork of the PH-FLK
Wouter had booked the PH-FLK for the entire day, so the idea was to do an overland to a field just accross the border in Germany or Belgium. Unfortunately, the weathergods were (again) not very favourable...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Flying Miss SP-ACY

After a couple of cancellations due to the typical Dutch summer weather (either too much wind, or rain, or even thunderstorms), last wednesday I finally got to fly around the "polder" with Erwin in his AT-3, SP-ACY.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Man of the hour ...

The day before yesterday, it finally happened: I got to log my first official PPL hour!
I did not fly in one of the potential participation planes, but in a C172M, reg. PH-ACT. It had to be a 4-seater, because I wanted my wife to fly along, to see if she dreaded flying in such a small sardine can as much as she anticipated. Luckily, that was not the case.
The original appointment was at 10AM, so at 8AM I checked the METARs and TAFs of all surrounding airports (EHLE does not have METARs, let alone TAFs), and "buirenradar" (a Dutch site with current and extrapolated rainfall radar images). My conclusion was that it would be VMC from 1600LT onwards, but less than 10 minutes later, my instructor called to reschedule to 1300LT. He said he had all confidence that the weather would look better from then on.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

No luck so far

Yesterday, Wednesday the 10th: Got to ride my motorbike in full sunshine during the morning hours, but during the afternoon a rain front with low clouds and gusty  winds moved in from the North-West. Another no-go for SP-ACY :(
Next possibility Thursday (today) late afternoon / early evening. TAFs looking bad, though, with:
- 24015G33 at EHKD,
-24018G28 @ EHAM as a baseline with "TEMPO BKN015 -RADZ" and "PROB30 TEMPO 24023G33KT 4500RA BKN020".
- EHLW looks VMC (marginal until abot 1500Z, clearing up afterthat)

Let's just hope that this weatherfront clears the country more quickly than predicted...

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Too bad! The weather spoiled today's flight. 22015G27 was a touch too much for a small GA aircraft, and of cause the BKN022TCB did not help either. This means we'll have to pick another date. Lucky for me, I have the next two weeks off, so if Erwin finds a window in his calendar, I'll be happy to fill it for him.

Meanwhile I have also set a date to go fly with a DA-20, so this promises to be a very nice holiday (weather permitting)

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Going SP-ACY

I shared my experiences so far on Airwork (amongst others), and to my question "anybody got any flying experience with an AT-3?", I got an answer "better yet: I own one!". So of cause I contacted that owner, and now I have an appointment next Sunday to go fly with him a bit. :)

For an impression: Here is a short movie, starring the plane in question.
Can't wait 'till Sunday ...

Monday, 18 July 2011


Pffff.... all those abbreviations!

European legislation in the area of safety for civil aviation (requirements for Pilot's Licenses, amongs others...) is about to change. So far, JAA (Joint Aviation Authority) was the measure, but within the framework of free commercial traffic within the European Community, it was decided at EC level that all applicable law must be harmonised (equal for all member states). For that purpose, EASA (European Aviation Safety Authority) was founded, and mandated with the task to supply the European Counsil with legislative proposals on civil aviation. Of cause, the starting point was the JAA rules, amended to fit the current European situation and/or specific wishes of some member states.
Now, how does that affect my flying adventures?

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Share a Diamond?

Diamond Flyers is the overall name for a group of foundations which each own a different type of Diamond Aircraft aircraft.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Aquila A210 share?

In the mean time, I have heard that KLM Aeroclub is considering to acquire an Aquila A210, and set up a participation / share construction with that plane. I have seen all the numbers involved, but promised to sit on them until this is all out of the concept phase.
Just like the other participation constructions, there is an initial fee to get aboard, and a reduced hourly rate as a consequence. But because it is a participation construction within a club, a clever scheme has been implmented, where it is possible for other club members to rent the plane as well (at a higher rate, but cheaper than with any other renting agency). Adding it all up, the costs will end up slighly higher than with the DA-20 or AT-3 shares.
For that money you will get a bit "more plane" too. The A210 is a spacious two-seater. I've been told that after a flight in the A210, the DA-20 suddenly seems "cramped". Also, the model that the KLM Aeroclub has in mind, has a Garmin G500 glass cockpit, which I find very appealing.
I would love to sit in one...

Saturday, 4 June 2011

AT-3 Share

Last weekend, I payed a visit to "Zelf Vliegen", to find out more about this AT-3 share that seemed too good to be true. It appears that there actually is a "Stichting" (Association) behind it all, which has an agreeement with the company "Zelf Vliegen" for partial ownership of the airplane. Each time the association receives a share payment (the €7500,=), they buy another part of the plane. Up until there are 20 participants, at which time, the association completely owns the plane, and the company buys another plane. Then, the whole process repeats itself. Currently, the yearly fee for participants to cover fixed costs, are about €600,=. This amount gets less as more participants join the association (down to some €200,= with 20 participants). The hourly rate with the current fuel prices is slightly less than €50,=, and is adjusted quarterly to "the economic situation" (read: fuel prices). The amount includes a reservation for engine overhaul and replacement, as well as prop replacement.

With that, this participation puts itself at a comparable position as the DA-20 participation of Diamond flyers. The DA-20 has a considerably lower step-in fee of €4000,=, a for now slightly lower yearly contibution of €500,=, and a €10,= higher hourly rate.

Looking at my post-PPL future, there is not much financial difference between the AT-3 and the DA-20 participation, if I fly between 12 and 30 hours a year. This is what I expect to be doing, because 12 hours is the minimum required in the last year of the SEP rating validity, and I think 30 hours is optimistic already.
So in this case it is purely the airplane, and the click I get with the association, and the FLight Instructor, that count for this decision.

Next on my ToDo list: compare airplanes, and contact Diamond Flyers.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The ways to Rome

This summer, I want to go for a test flight. Assuming I only have the money for one flight, I want to make the most of it. So, if possible, I would like to make that flight with the school of which I now think I will join to follow my PPL course.

In general, I have three options:
1) Rent a plane and Flight Instructor directly from a flight school
2) Join a flying club that also provides PPL courses
3) Enter into a shared ownership construction that allows PPL training

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Breitling photo competition (2)

Too bad ... None of the 20 photo's (out of the 5000+) that are now presented to the jury, is mine.
I guess I'll have to go save for it myself, then.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Take off

A first message, as a kick-off for my blog.
This is just so that I can play around with themes and layouts, before I start posting more serious messages about my experiences during preparation and education to obtain my Private Pilot's License (PPL)