Cel­e­brat­ing fifty years of Bri­tain’s best-sell­ing GA mag­a­zine

Pilot - - PILOT - By Philip White­man

In Pi­lot fifty years ago

Fifty years ago, the De­cem­ber 1967 is­sue of Pi­lot & ligh­taero­plane (yes – I read that as lie-tear-o-plane too) had as its cover fea­ture an ar­ti­cle on the Brit­ten-nor­man Is­lan­der, fo­cussing on the new pur­pose-built fac­tory at Bem­bridge on the Isle of Wight – ‘the most mod­ern light air­craft pro­duc­tion unit in Europe’. A shot of the fac­tory floor shows one Is­lan­der, G-AVCN in the pre-flight test area (we know this from the de­tailed cut­away draw­ing of the fac­tory also re­pro­duced in the ar­ti­cle) one in the paint shop and three more tak­ing shape on the pro­duc­tion line be­hind — salad days for B-N. De-reg­is­tered in 2015, ‘Char­lie Novem­ber’ is no longer fly­ing but re­mains in the care of the Brit­ten-nor­man Air­craft Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety.

Edi­tor Brian Healy was welcoming the new IMC rat­ing: ‘it is al­most im­per­a­tive that the pri­vate pi­lot who wants to fully utilise his li­cence must be pro­fi­cient in in­stru­ment fly­ing’.

Else­where, in an ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled ‘Fly­ing Club Fly­ing’ (hmm) Dag­mar Heller pre­sented a com­pre­hen­sive list of the fly­ing train­ing on of­fer and the costs for a se­lec­tion of clubs around Lon­don and in the south-east of Eng­land. Rates var­ied be­tween £6 and £9/hr for pis­ton sin­gles – the equiv­a­lent of £100 to £150 to­day, ac­cord­ing to my Bank of Eng­land in­fla­tion cal­cu­la­tor – and £20 and £30/hr (£330 to £500) for twins. You could com­plete a PPL in 35 hours and do it on the fa­mil­iar Pipers or aero­planes now rare in 2017 like the Cham­pion Tri-trav­eller or Was­samer IV Bal­adoux (both then at the Flairavia Fly­ing Club, Big­gin Hill. As an ar­ti­cle later in the mag­a­zine by A J Welch ex­plains, clubs were of­fer­ing in­stru­ment train­ing on sims in 1967 in the form of WWII era Link trainer.

Fi­nally, in the ‘gen­eral avi­a­tion review’ sec­tion – the pro­to­type for ‘Pi­lot Notes’ – there was news of the Bea­gle Pup, upon which great hopes were pinned, and con­grat­u­la­tions were of­fered to

Sheila Scott, who had just crossed the At­lantic solo the hard way, from east to west. Now there was an ad­mirable lady pi­lot…

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