More by accident than design…
Well, pulling in great content sometimes does happen this way — especially when we enjoy such a fine set of contributors as we do. On this theme, I was going to get my head down and start trawling through yet another set of airspace change proposals (ACPS) — the combined RAF Brize Norton/londonOxford one that is threatening to balls-up power flying and gliding close to my own farm strip and across a huge swathe of central England — when columnist and LAA CEO Steve Slater kindly made available the piece that appears on p.12.
If you read nothing else in this edition of Pilot, read Steve’s article. It seems that in an effort to grab as much airspace as possible before any bright light of scrutiny is shone upon them, consultants and businesses around the country have gone into overdrive in submitting to the CAA hastily prepared proposals that, if they are accepted, pose the biggest threat to private flying and the freedom to fly private aircraft we have seen in decades. I stress the word freedom, because it is the lack of this that distinguishes totalitarian states. It is also the habit of totalitarian authorities to invent transgressions to justify onerous rules and legislation. In this case it is an unholy alliance of the military and, ironically, big GA business seeking to lay down the law — but the effect is the same. And please: once you’ve read Steve’s exposition, file your objections to this appalling ACP now!
Returning to the theme of accidents, one happy one is that unknown to me columnist Pat Malone chose to write about German WWI ace Ernst Udet (p.32) as I was reviewing the new Stuka ‘manual’ from Haynes (‘Books & Gear’, p.58). Udet was revered in the USA for his aerobatic displays and he was the model for The Great Waldo Pepper’s ‘Ernst Kessler’ (by the way, that superb 1975 aviation movie is now available from Amazon in its full HD glory). Udet was also infamous for being the man who promoted the dive-bomber in Nazi Germany. Oh, but now we are back on to totalitarianism.
Talking of which, the wonderful Luñák glider flight-tested by Dave Unwin (p.68) was built in Communist Czechoslovakia and conceived as a military trainer — but this should in no way detract from the appeal of what is a very pretty and capable aircraft, way more sporty than the average club aeroplane. Seriously people: you ought to give gliding a go!
Finally, expatriate American Garrett Fisher makes a return to these pages to describe his latest flying adventures in Spain (p.40). As you will see, while Garrett avoids any accident — an experienced mountain pilot, he takes a far more serious approach to his flying than his tongue-incheek account may suggest — he finds rather less sensible design in the local rules and practices than he’d like. However, he does have fun, and that’s what we all ought to be pursuing in our flying. So time to shut down the computer and get aloft in the Cub… while I still can.
Philip Whiteman, Editor