The Gremline Forum: Flight Safety news and correspondence

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The Gremline Forum & Letters to the Editor

Correspondence should be sent to The views expressed on this page are those of the correspondents only. All correspondence will be reviewed by the editors prior to publication. Time and space preclude publication of all correspondence, but we will do our utmost to publish items in the public interest and representative selections of correspondence where there is ongoing debate. The editors reserve the right to edit, condense or precis submitted material.


Gremline News

Please note that from April 2010 and for the foreseeable future we will be unable to continue monthly publication of Gremline. We will, however, do our utmost to post new content at two or three monthly intervals. In the meantime our archive of published articles will be maintained and can be viewed on the Cockpit page; and we will continue to circulate e-mail updates to our distribution list at no charge. We apologise if the revised schedule causes inconvenience to organisations that submit news releases for distribution via Gremline.

      Gremline has been published as a free resource for the GA community since December 2006. Our only sources of income have been commissions on Bookshop and Affiliate sales, and the occasional voluntary donations from visitors to the web site (for which we are extremely grateful). Income to date has been insufficient to cover our outgoings. Our commitments to other areas of GA Flight Safety (and the need to earn a living!) mean that we cannot sustain monthly publication of Gremline at the current level of return. We will make every effort to continue publication at less frequent intervals and will revert to monthly postings if circumstances allow. Watch this space.


Policy Change, Ex-Military Aircraft — From UK CAA, January 2011

Ex-military Permit to Fly aircraft will now be able to carry up to four occupants, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced. The CAA said the new policy would mean the maximum number of occupants in all ex-military aircraft would be limited to the number of seats fitted, or four persons, whichever is the more restrictive. In special circumstances, such as military versions of civil types, more passengers may be permitted. Owners of some ex-military aircraft may now need to be issued with a new Airworthiness Approval Note (AAN) and Permit to Fly reflecting the change in policy. Whilst the AANs, and associated exemption to the Air Navigation Order, can be issued within the next month to supersede any current limitations, permits will be re-issued at the time of annual re-validation. Also being introduced is a requirement for ex-military aircraft to display a more readily understandable placard warning. This identifies that the aircraft should not be used for commercial passenger flights.


Bristol Filton Joins Strasser Scheme — October 2010

Bristol Filton is the latest airport to waive landing fees for GA Emergency Diversions. There remain only seven UK airports yet to sign up to this potentially life-saving scheme. Our Tables have been updated at UK Emergency Diversions.



Gardan GY80-180 Horizon Operating Manual — Error

This warning has been posted permanently in the February 2009 issue of Gremline.



Gremline News

Our Production Editor, Barrie Foster, finally succumbed to the temptation of Facebook in July 2008. Through his membership, Gremline is now represented in several Facebook aviation Groups, including Facebook Pilots, Aviators/Just For Pilots, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and AOPA Members. We will be posting Gremline updates and news on Barrie’s Profile and, where these groups allow, on their Group Profile pages. If you would like to join Barrie’s friends, please add a personal message quoting ‘Gremline’.



To the Editors


From SATCO Exeter

Our article Orbits in the Visual Circuit, based on an incident at Exeter International Airport UK (posted December 2007) was forwarded to the Senior Air Traffic Control Officer, Exeter, for comment. We have received a constructive response, which is published in full in the body of the article. This article, and the previously posted To Extend Downwind or Not to Extend? seems to have generated some discussion in GA and ATC circles. We welcome further contributions to the debate.


From the UK Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety

Congratulations. I have just come across your site and thank you for the link to our work.

I think it’s very important to have a good supply of reliable information to assist the General Aviation community. Well done. Keep me posted on developments.

Best wishes

Robert Gifford

Executive Director


From the Editor of ‘Flight Safety’, the Bulletin of the General Aviation Safety Council (UK)

Dear John,
I have had a look at Gremline and am impressed. My personal view is that the more good quality flight safety material there is out there, the better, and I should welcome co-operation between Gremline and GASCo. We are setting up a link to your web site and I attach a note about GASCo for you to include in your information.
[The work of the UK General Aviation Safety Council and the UK Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme is summarised in our UK Links section.]

From Charles Strasser, Chairman, AOPA Channel Isles
Dear John,
I will mention your excellent web site in my next RR.
Kind regards

From the Chief Executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee
I have not seen you before but was impressed with your facilities. Keep up the good work.

Ed Paintin


From Martyn Pegg, Vehicle & Operators Safety Agency (UK)

Just reading through your note on aquaplaning and noticed you refer to ABS as Automatic Brake System. It is in fact Antilock Brake System. Hope this helps and thanks for the good site.

Thank you for your message about 'ABS' and for your kind comments about our web site. It's nice to know that someone is paying attention! I agree with your comment that ABS in road vehicles means 'Antilock Brake System' -- the design being developed from the original 'Maxaret' system introduced by Dunlop in the 1950s and fitted to some early British jet aircraft. However, most modern airliners have some sort of Automatic Braking System that may be selected by the pilot before landing or before beginning the takeoff run. So, 'ABS' can refer to either 'Antilock Brake System' or 'Automatic Brake System'. We are both right, but our aquaplaning article was written in the context of aircraft systems.



From Brett Jones, USA
I am a student at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio. My thesis project involves wind tunnel tests for ground effect. I found your article very helpful in my understanding of ground effect and I will be sure to cite it appropriately in my thesis. Your web site was not only useful for my current research, but I will be starting flight school with the Navy this summer, so I will be involved with aviation for a long time.
[The article
“Accidents on Takeoff — Ground Effect” was republished in October 2007.]
Glad we could be of help. There are two further references that may be of use to you: ‘The Anatomy of the Aeroplane’ by Darrol Stinton, and ‘Flying Qualities and Flight Testing of the Aeroplane’ by Darrel Stinton. Both are available from our Bookshop.



From the Editor


A Passing Thought …. On Life Jackets
I saw a pilot donning a life jacket before setting off on a flight and thought, “Wise chap.” Then I noticed that he was wearing a self-inflating life jacket that would inflate automatically as soon as it was immersed. That could have left him trapped by his inflated life jacket inside a sinking aircraft. When I mentioned this potential hazard he thanked me and said it had never occurred to him that a life jacket designed for sailors was unsuitable for use in an aircraft. Check yours!



Converting from Heavy Metal to Light Aircraft
The following is an extract from a letter from Gremline’s Managing Editor published in the February/March 2005 issue of The Log, the Journal of the British Air Line Pilots Association.
…. Most airline pilots begin their training on simple single–engined prop aircraft, progress to twin pistons and then, clutching their fresh ATPL, step up to heavy metal and gradually forget all they learnt during their few hours on light aircraft.
      My active interest in flight safety involves reviewing all accidents and incidents that involve UK registered General Aviation aircraft. I am becoming aware of accidents and incidents to GA aircraft being flown by pilots holding professional licences and with several thousand hours flying experience. My concern is that at least some of these pilots have few hours on the GA type involved and no real currency on type, despite many thousands of hours on heavy metal.
      Minding an Airbus while it trundles across the Atlantic does not qualify any pilot to safely operate a Pitts S-1C or a Rutan Long-Ez, to select two types featured in AAIB accident reports.
      I understand the attraction of purchasing a recreational aircraft to counter the flight deck atmosphere but recommend that professional pilots recognise the need for structured training and regular airborne time when converting back from heavy metal to light aircraft.




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