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A rather wonderful afternoon plus good PPG PR


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As it was a rather nice day yesterday I went up to my usual field and happened upon a van and some chaps on another field owned by the same landowner.

This other field is used on some/all  Sundays for car booting and has padlocks on the gates. I had a friendly word with one of the chaps that rents the field for the car boots and he expressed no objection to me using it, but not on Sundays, providing the landowner was OK with that. So after my flight I visited said landowner and he said OK :D

This solves a problem that was looming as the usual field is going to be ploughed and planted in the spring.

So I prepped and took off from the usual field, this is just outside the Halfpenny Green ATZ. I always go equipped with an airband radio so I know what is going on in the vicinity, plus the helicopter circuit at 800 feet was active and a heli had passed withing the ATZ on a couple of occasions.

Very shortly after T/O I heard someone announce that a paraglider had taken off, presumably as a warning as normally the intentions wouldn't be known. I replied on the Halfpenny Green frequency but as I was facing away from the tower I don't think I was picked up well. The heli pilot came back to ask what my intentions were so I replied I was avoiding entering the ATZ and would keep a listening and watching brief.

The tower then came on and I repeated my message , to be followed by a suggestion to get an FRTOL (airband license) and to give the controller a ring later. I'm assuming he thought as I was merely a PPG'er I wouldn't have a license.

I had a good flight bimbling around for 50 minutes then as I was close to the airport I called in after my flight, thinking it more personable to go and have a chat face to face. Turned out the chap on the RT only stood in about once a month and was employed by the CAA. He was unaware of the fact that I have flown from Halfpenny Green on 14 occasions so was known to the usual controller.

He wasn't knowledgeable about PPG even though he is a very experienced aviator so we ended up having a very good chat about usual PPG activities (well mine anyway). I felt it was a rather good result to be filling in the gap in his knowledge, plus I'm booking to sit the FRTOL course and exams.

All good stuff.



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I obtained my FRTOL In 1980 and spoke with CAA last year to see if it was still valid.  The qualification is 'for life' but the certificate needed to be renewed in order to comply with SERA etc.  It is free of charge, just use the right form from the CAA website.  There was one 'gotcha' - for an older qualification, you now have to prove that you can speak English (despite having served in the RAF for over 30 years)!  This can be certified by an English language school, or an RT examiner - the CFI of my local flying school had a chat and signed me off free of charge, although I made a donation to the local air ambulance appeal.  I now have the current certificate - a bit of an admin faff but no real costs apart from a bit of time and effort.

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