Gyrocopter Training Cost UK – Where to fly and train for a PPL(G)

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In this post I explain why you should go for a flight in a gyrocopter, where you’ll find some gyrocopter training in the UK, and what it costs to complete a course that leads to a licence.

My Gyrocopter flying Experience

So far I’ve only had two flights in a gyrocopter. The first was with gyro pilot Steve Boxall when he was based in Old Sarum, Wiltshire, and before he moved the operation to Popham Airfield in Hampshire. We took off on a cool June day in 2014 and enjoyed a very pleasant experience flying over Wiltshire, taking in some of the landmarks including Iron Age hillforts and Stonehenge.

The second was in the spring of 2019 when I was invited up by James Ketchell, who, a couple weeks after our flight, began his around the world trip in a Magni M16 autogyro.

I loved both experiences and if I could afford to then I would learn to fly these wonderful open cockpit machines. Meanwhile, why not treat yourself or someone special in your life to the same never to be forgotten thrills?

Gyrocopter Training UK

Gyrocopter flight training is available in several places around the UK. Start with a trial flight or two and see how you like it. If you intend to go all the way through a PPL G course then you might want to consider staying nearby for short intensive courses.

Whatever you eventually decide to do, make sure you get at gyrocopter experience in your log book and in your memory bank.

  1. Gyrocopter experiences from Exeter Airport and Faraway Common, Devon
  2. Fly from Beccles Airfield in Suffolk, East Anglia
  3. Gyrocopter flying from Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Essex
  4. Don a flying suit and take off from Popham Airfield Hampshire
  5. Fly open cockpit club aircraft from Rochester Airport Kent
  6. Gyro sightseeing tours out of City Airport Manchester in an open or closed cockpit autogyro
  7. Enjoy gyrocopter flying from Enstone Airfield, Chipping Norton Oxfordshire
  8. Open or closed cockpit flying from Perth Airport Scotland
  9. Try dual instruction at Clench Common Airfield near Marlborough Wiltshire
  10. View God’s Own Country from a gyrocopter based at Rufforth Airfield North Yorkire
  11. Start pilot training with a flying instructor based at Melbourne Airfield East Yorkshire

As with learning to fly any other type of aeroplane your flying instructor will guide you through each lesson in the training syllabus until you’re ready to fly solo for the first time.

Student training consists of gradually building up flight time by flying at circuit height and practicising landings (including cross wind) until the student is ready to navigate solo away from the home airfield and into unfamiliar skies and cross country flying. Safety is never compromised and the student’s ability is nurtured progressively.

Gyrocopter Training Cost UK

The CAA syllabus requires a minimum of 40 hours training total (dual instruction and solo flight). This can be reduced by 15 hours if you already have a PPL of some kind. Training rates per hour are about £150-160 at the moment, though check with your local flying school for the latest prices.

So the total cost for training for ab initio students will be about £6-7,000.

This figure is for the flight training only and doesn’t include any additional expenses such as flight gear (flying suit, flight bag, headset, etc), travel, exam fees, and so on.

During your first lesson you might be surprised by the smaller space within an autogyro’s cockpit but you’ll soon get used to it. As training progresses you’ll also become accustomed to the flight briefings which augment the lessons in the air and prepare you for the ground school subjects.

Gyrocopters, Autogyros, Gyroplanes

Gyrocopter flights are inexpensive when compared to other forms of flying in fixed wing aircraft. Gyrocopters are all autogyros (autogiros) and you may also see them called gyroplanes. Contrary to what you may think, they are not mini-helicopters. They are aircraft in their own right with a particular set of flying and handling characteristics.

The most obvious difference is the propeller at the back which pushes the gyro forward. As speed builds up the airflow over the horizontal rotor above generates lift.

Many people will recall ‘Little Nellie’ in the 1967 James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice‘. This was also my first encounter with a gyrocopter, but it was to be over 40 years before I had a ride in one. I did however, have a ride in a Bell47D helicopter that same year, but that’s another story.

‘Little Nellie’ was designed by a former Royal Air Force Wing Commander Ken Wallis and his legacy and influence lives on with the current generation of gyrocopter pilots.

Gyrocopters vs Helicopters

Unlike helicopters gyrocopters don’t take off and land vertically. They do need some room in which to perform a take off run and to land, but the they don’t need very much. Watch any gyrocopter land and you’ll see what I mean. They are definitely STOL – Short Take Off and Landing – aircraft!

As with any aircraft their range varies according to the number of people aboard, size and power of the engine, and the wind & weather conditions. If a trial flight gives you the taste for more then you can start considering the path to obtaining a PPL(G) i.e. Private Pilot’s Licence (Gyrocopter). As these aircraft are much less expensive to run you’ll find the cost of a training course substantially less than conventional fixed or rotary wing aircraft.

Most gyrocopters are tandem two seat aircraft with open cockpits but there are an increasing number of side by side two seat aircraft with closed cockpits. Open cockpit puts you right in the elements. You feel the wind and taste the air. It’s similar in a way to being on the back of a motorbike.

Closed cockpits are more cosy and there’s obviously less noise, and you can fly more comfortably in colder air. Each has its advantages so my advice is try both! The great thing is that you’ll be flying at fairly low level, at about 1,000 to 1,500 feet, although these aircraft are capable of climbing much higher.

There are gyrocopter flight experiences available in many UK counties; Devon, Doncaster, Essex, Kent, Hampshire, the Lake District, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Perthshire, Wiltshire, and Yorkshire. For prices and details use the links below. Check them out, make some enquiries, and give it some serious thought.

If it’s not for you but you know just the person who might like to have a go, please share this post with them. Your inspiration may one day lead to someone you know gaining a private pilot’s licence.

Clothing Advice For Your Gyrocopter Flight

Any reputable school will take all measures possible to not only minimise risks during your gyrocopter flight but also to make it as enjoyable as possible for you, whether you’ve signed up for a trial flight or a full pilot training syllabus. They have a vested interest in persuading you to take up lessons and do more flying at their establisment.

Flying is a low risk activity and you’re probably putting yourself in more danger during the drive to the airfield than in the aircraft itself, whatever its size. However, the amount of training that students require varies and only the instructor will be able to assess how much gyrocopter flying you’ll need to be proficient.

However, one thing I would advise is that you dress in layered clothing and ensure that you’re warm on the ground, because if you’re not warm when standing next to the aircraft then it’s almost certain that you’re going to be cold in the air and nothing ruins a flight more quickly than wishing it would end because you’re freezing.

You’ll probably be offered some clothing for the flight but these items alone may not be enough. My flights were in June (just about OK, temperature wise) and March (very cold, particularly at altitude). So wrap up warm and don’t let the cold ruin what would otherwise be a really enjoyable experience.

Obviously if your flight is in one of the gyrocopter types that have canopies, like the Cavalon, then the wind-chill factor will be minimal, so check before you fly.

There’s an old saying in aviation that the three most useless things to a pilot are:

  • The altitude above you
  • The runway behind you
  • The fuel in the truck

For gyrocopter pilots are anyone flying in an open cockpit in cooler climates you could also add the clothing you left behind.

Image by Günter Lohmeyer from Pixabay

Gaining a Private Pilot Licence PPL(G)

The UK CAA’s PPL(G) is the licence you need to fly UK registered autogyros within the UK’s airspace. To fly in the airspace of other countries you have to obtain permissions and agreements from the respective aviation authorities.

Full details about the gyrocopter pilot’s licence syllabus can be found in the CAA Publication Standards Document 44: Gyroplane Licensing. It’s 88 pages long so you’re probably better off going to speak to your nearest gyroplane flying instructor and having someone explain it to you in plain English.

You’ll find a list of all the gyroplane examiners and instructors here, along with their phone numbers and email addresses, so give one a call and start there.

This list is maintained by the International Association of Professional Gyroplane Training.

Their site is packed with information about learning to fly, flying, building, and maintaing gyrocopters. The IAPGT are the association that created the Gyropedia site which includes online training for student pilots and gyroplane pilots who want to be come instructors.

Final Thoughts

If you’re already a pilot then no matter what plane you’ve flown before you will find the whole gyrocopter experience to be quite unlike anything else, with perhaps the exception of a helicopter, but even that doesn’t do gyrocopter flying justice.

If you would like to learn to fly and obtain your private pilot’s licence in an open cockpit aircraft then gyrocopter flying is an affordable and fun choice. As you can see from the links above, schools and clubs offering a trial flight and gyrocopter pilot training should be within a few hours drive of wherever you are in the UK.

Image by Flug-ina from Pixabay
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Piper vs Cessna – Should you fly a PA-28 or a Cessna 172?

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One of the first decisions the aspiring pilot has to make is which aircraft to fly while training and it’s often a matter of Piper vs Cessna. Both aircraft are frequently found in the local flight school fleet. Thousands of examples of both remain in use all over the world.

The available aircraft will depend on those at the flying clubs and flight training schools within a reasonable driving distance of the student’s home. There may be other choices but since these aircraft are still very common I thought it would be interesting to make the comparison.

Piper Aircraft

PA-28-151 Cherokee Warrior
Photo by Abe Drzycimski on Unsplash

The Piper PA-28 (28th Piper design) is family of aircraft that began with the Cherokee. Then came the Warrior, Arrow, Tomahawk, Archer, and Cadet. The range includes those with the S for seaplane denominator and the R for retractable undercarriage.

In this comparison I’m thinking of those with fixed gear only like the Piper Warrior and Piper Archer III. Modern variants of the Archer remain in production.

Piper PA-28 Cherokee

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is a light aircraft that was first introduced in the 1960s. In its heyday it was popular among private pilots and flight training schools and many examples remain in use.

The Cherokee has a traditional cantilever low-wing design and is constructed of aluminum alloy. It is powered by a Lycoming piston engine and has room for four people in its cabin. The Cherokee is easy to fly and is known for its stability and short-field performance. It is an economical choice for flying schools and private pilots, and its popularity has resulted in over 32,000 aircraft being built to date.

Cessna Aircraft

The Cessna 172 also has some variants and we could include the Cessna 152/150 in this comparison. At one time Cessna aircraft are one of the commonest types to be found at flight schools all over the world but different airplanes have entered the market over the years. We now have the reality of electrically powered flying machines.

Both are single-engine light aircraft with a tricycle undercarriage. For some private pilots who rent aircraft by the hour the choice is a matter of personal preference only but if you’re a private pilot with your own plane you might be able to explain in more detail why you prefer one over the other.

Cessna 172

The Cessna 172 is a four-seat, single-engine airplane that first flew in 1955 and is still being produced today. More than 43,000 aircraft have been built, making it one of the most popular planes ever made. The172 is used for a variety of purposes, including personal flight, flight training, and light cargo transport.

The aircraft is relatively simple to fly and maintain, which has contributed to its popularity. It also has a good safety record, with only a handful of fatal accidents over the past few decades. The Cessna 172 is an iconic aircraft that has played a significant role in aviation history.

Other Airplanes

Some of the points one could make about the PA-28 would also apply to other low wing aircraft like the Grumman AA5 -A Cheetah, the aircraft that I first became accustomed with when I started flying.

I have flown in the Cessna aircraft mentioned here and a few of the Piper aircraft, including the Piper Tomahawk on one occasion. I recall thinking that there was more leg room and with the seat fully back I couldn’t reach the rudder pedals even though I’m quite tall.

Speaking of the Cheetah, it has a sliding bubble canopy which provides easy acess to the cockpit and the back seat. This contrasts greatly with the single door on the Piper.

The most obvious difference between the two aircraft is that the Piper aircraft are low wing and the Cessna aircraft are high wing, but what difference does that make? Let’s take a look.

Low Wing vs High Wing

Photo by Josiah Farrow on Unsplash

Some people prefer low wing aircraft because they feel more like the aircraft they’ve always imagined they would fly. Low wing airplanes provide better visibility of the sky above. Depending on the cockpit canopy type this can be exceptional, particularly with the bubble-like canopies of some aircraft.

High wing aircraft provide better ground visibility. In a high wing Cessna 172 you can see much more of the ground and for some students (and qualified PPL holders) this is preferable since it makes identifying navigational landmarks so much easier. It also presents more photo opportunities for passengers and makes sightseeing easier. A high wing aircraft is preferable for conducting surveys, aerial photography, and civil air patrols like Sky Watch.

The high wing Cessna aircraft provide shade from the sun when in the air and protection against the rain when entering or exiting the aircraft. With the wing above, you have enough time to put up an umbrella before walking across the apron. The wing can also act as additional protection if you’re camping with your aircraft at a fly-in, for example.

Fuel Drains & Refueling

Aircraft with low wings like all the Piper aircraft mentioned above are easier to refuel, but you have to bend down to access the drain points to check the fuel for water contamination.

With high wing airplanes the opposite is true. It’s easier to drain the tanks but you need a stepladder to refuel the tanks from above.

With the fuel tanks in the higher wing of the Cessna the fuel is gravity fed to the engine. The Piper aircraft require an electrically powered fuel pump to maintain flow to the engine. Some see this as a disadvantage as it’s one more thing that could fail.

Either way, the private pilot needs to pay close attention to fuel management and has to remember to switch tanks at the appropriate time. Forgetting to do so has been the cause of engine failure on a few occasions.

Preflight Checks

Preflight inspection of the undercarriage is easier on a high wing than a low wing plane. It’s also possible to check the status of the tires on the main wheels prior to landing.

However, removing the filler cap on the fuel tank for a visible check of the fuel level and then ensuring that it is tighly fastened is easier on the low wing plane. With a Cessna you need to get the stepladder out again.

One Door or Two?

The Cessna 172 has two doors
Photo by Nicolas Peyrol on Unsplash

The PA-28 has only one door on the starboard side. The Cessnas have two doors, one on each side, making them much easier to get in and out of. That could be a significant factor if your passengers require assistance entering and exiting the aircraft.

I assume there must be structural reason why a PA-28 doesn’t have two doors. It must have been the matter of some debate when it was first announced that it would only have one door.

Taxi

A high wing aircraft has more ground clearance so as the pilot taxis to or from the holding point it’s easier to see ground obstacles. This is particularly useful on grass airfields that may not have a clearly defined taxiway.

Stability

The Cessna 172 tends to be more stable in the air due to the pendulum effect of the design but is more sensitive to crosswinds when landing.

A low wing airplane can take advantage of the ground effect as it settles down to land and tends to cope better with crosswinds due to the lower centre of gravity and the fact that the gear is spread wider apart than aircraft with high wings.

Drag

The Cessna aircraft have a wing spar from the underside of the wing to the fuselage on either side. This creates additional drag. The Piper aircraft have no such struts. Again, I’m only assuming here but I suspect that’s mitigate the effect of structural changes caused by putting two doors in the fuselage.

Flaps

Generally speaking, Cessna aircraft have electric flaps while Piper aircraft have manual flaps. There are some exceptions but it’s another point to consider. So on the one hand it’s electric flaps and gravity fed fuel, or manual flaps and an electric fuel pump.

Conclusion

Choosing between these two airplanes is more to do with personal preference than anything else. As you can see, different airplanes are designed in ways that trade one advantage for another. There is no right or wrong answer the question, “Which is the better aircraft?” Both low wing Pipers and high wing Cessnas have their loyal fans who fly nothing else.

Try several variations of both low wing aircraft and high wing. The planes that you may find more easy to fly may surprise you.

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Harvard Flights UK – Take a Trial Lesson in this Legendary Aircraft

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There are several places in the UK where you can enjoy a flight experience in this fighter trainer. Harvard flights are available for everyone, no previous flying experience required. You can simply enjoy the flight experience or log it as time on type with an instructor. If you love flying then you’ll love the Harvard.

You may have seen a Harvard fly at airshows or on display in a museum. It’s a two-seat low wing aircraft used to train pilots for combat. It has a large radial engine and makes a disctinctive sound on take off when at full power the tips of the propeller reach a supersonic speed.

Where to book Harvard Flights UK

With so many still flying a Harvard flight is not the incredibly rare opportunity that it used to be, thanks to the dedicated owners, pilots, and mechanics who keep them flying.

What to expect during a Harvard Flight

As with any trial flying lesson the instructor will give you a thorough pre flight briefing during which you will be told what to expect and some essential details about the aircraft and the flight itself. It’s highly recommended that you pay close attention to this ground briefing as it will all make sense when you’re in the air.

Once in the air you’ll be given the opportunity to take the controls. If you’ve flown in light aircraft before you’ll be able to contrast and compare the lightness of touch needed to fly this iconic aircraft. it’s hard to put into words what a fantastic experience it is to have a trial flight in this fighter trainer.

If a flight in the legendary Spitfire is beyond your budget then a trial lesson in the mighty Harvard is the next best thing for authenticity when it comes to being airborne in a WW2 fighter.

My Harvard Flight Experiences

My two flights in the Harvard were a few years ago now but they are etched in my memory. The first flight was in July 2000 in G-BKRA based at Shoreham Airport and now in the hands of the Real Flying Company. I enjoyed 30 minutes flying over the Sussex countryside. I flew most of it myself under the careful supervision of the instructor pilot.

The second flight was in a G-AZSC, a Harvard Mk IIB based at Goodwood Airfield in West Sussex. This was ten years later in October 2010. This particular aircraft was once owned by the pop star Gary Numan. This particular plane is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 piston engine and was built in 1943.

One of the first things you might notice about this aircraft is that it still has a machine gun fitted to each wing. Once strapped in to the cockpit the first thing that struck me was how the cockpit was devoid of anything except the essential flying controls and dial. There were no frills or unnecessary decor. This is very much a military aircraft with a distinctive smell of what I assumed to be a mixture of the oils, grease, and leather of the interior.

On the first attempt at this flight the instructor took the sensible decision to abort the flight due to a rough running engine discovered during the power checks. Sure enough, a defective spark plug was later discovered and replaced. On the second attempt the flight went ahead and all was well. On this occasion I flew along the south coast from overhead Portsmouth, heading east. The flight lasted a full hour.

World War

The North American Harvard was used by various training units as a basic combat trainer including the Royal Air Force during and just after World War II. Pilots who has perhaps learned to fly on a smaller, lighter aircraft (like the Tiger Moth in the UK or a Boeing Stearman in the USA) would graudate to this advanced trainer. It is a much heavier aircraft and once mastered the pilot would be ready to graduate onto fighter aircraft like the Spitfire.

Armed aircraft were also used in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as well as by many other air forces around the world both as a basic trainer and as a combat aircraft.

North American T-6 Texan

The North American T-6 Texan was a single-engine trainer aircraft used by the United States military during World War II. The Texan was first manufactured in 1935 and quickly became one of the most popular training planes in history. More than 15,000 were produced during the war, and the plane remained in service until the 1950s.

The Texan was known for its ruggedness and versatility, and it served as the basis for a number of subsequent military aircraft. Today, the Texan is revered by aviation enthusiasts and continues to be flown by private pilots around the world.

Is it a Texan, Harvard, or SNJ?

The same AT-6 aircraft type was referred to by different military forces using different names:

  • North American Harvard – RAF and other British Commonwealth forces (also Yales)
  • North American Texan – US Army Air Corps (USAAC)
  • North American SNJ – US Navy. You can see an example of this at Compton Abbas Airfield where they have a 1946 SNJ-5 Harvard.

The aircraft was used in a variety of configurations for various purposes:

  • AT – Advanced trainer
  • BC – Basic combat trainer
  • BT – Basic trainer
  • SNJ – Scout trainer North American

Airworthy Harvards

There are many examples of the T6 Harvard flying today which means that you don’t have to go far to see one in flight or to enjoy a Harvard experience. As well as the USA and the UK there are aircraft of this type all over Europe and some in the Middle East.

North American Aviation Company

North American Aviation was an American aerospace manufacturer, founded in 1928 as a consolidation of several small companies. The company produced a wide variety of aircraft, including bombers, trainers, and fighters.

During World War II, it was one of the largest producers of aircraft for the Allied war effort. After the war, the company shifted its focus to the production of jet-powered aircraft. In 1961, the company merged with Rockwell Standard to form the North American Rockwell Corporation.

The new company continued to produce aircraft for both the civilian and military markets. However, changing market conditions and increasing competition led to financial difficulties, and North American Rockwell was acquired by Boeing in 1967.

Despite its relatively short history, North American Aviation left a lasting mark on the aerospace industry. The company’s innovative products helped to shape the course of aviation history.

Book your Harvard Flight today

Whether you’re already a pilot, a student pilot, or just someone looking for a unique experience, you should book a Harvard flight today. Flights get booked up in the summer months so you may have to wait a few weeks for your turn. Put it in the calendar now.

When the day arrives you’ll be able to take the controls of this fighter trainer and imagine what it must of have been like to train pilots or even go into combat. It’s a fantastic experience and I would recommend it to anyone without hesitation.

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The Learjet 35, 35a, 36, and 36a. Versatile Light Jets

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The Learjet 35 is one of a family of small, light jets that were produced by the Bombardier Aerospace company. The first jet in the Learjet line was the Learjet 23, which was introduced in 1963. The Learjet 35 was the first model to be certified for use in the United States. The Learjet 36 is the latest model in the Learjet line, and it features updated avionics, upgraded engines and fuel tanks, and a redesigned interior.

Each new model coming off the production line saw an increase in its fuel capacity, cruise speed, maximum range, and service ceiling. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the different models in the Learjet family.

Sadly, production of the Learjet ceased in February 2021 when Bomardier Learjet announced the cessation of production and with that 1,600 jobs were lost. By 2017, 3,000 Learjets had been produced.

Overview

The Learjet 35 is a twin-engine jet aircraft that was introduced in 1973. The Learjet 35a is an upgraded model of the Learjet 35, and it features a longer range and updated engines. The Learjet 36 is a stretched version of the Learjet 35, and it features an updated cockpit and a redesigned interior. The Learjet 36a is an upgraded version of the Learjet 36, and it features a longer range and updated engines.

Learjet 35

The Learjet 35 jet aircraft is a popular choice for private and corporate aviation. Its performance, range, and cabin size make it an excellent choice for short-haul flights. The jet is powered by two Garrett TFE731-2-2A turbofan engines, which give it a maximum speed of Mach 0.86.

The jet has a range of 2,410 miles, making it ideal for domestic flights. The cabin of this model of Learjet can accommodate up to eight passengers, making it perfect for small groups or families. The jet also has a spacious baggage compartment, making it easy to store luggage or other materials.

The Learjet 35 is an excellent choice for those who want a versatile and reliable light jet aircraft.

Learjet 35a

Learjet 35A
By Omoo, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23463458

The Learjet 35a is a midsize jet aircraft that was introduced in 1976. It is a development of the Learjet 35, with several significant improvements. The most notable changes were an increased range. Over 600 were built.

Other changes include an updated interior with greater cabin width, more powerful TFE731-2-2B engines, and new avionics. Together, these improvements made the Learjet 35a a more capable and comfortable aircraft than its predecessor.

Learjet 35a take off

Learjet 36

The Learjet 36 was first introduced in 1976, and it is based on the earlier Learjet 35 model. The main difference between the two models is that the 36 has a larger fuselage fuel tank giving it a longer range.

The 36 can seat up to eight passengers, and it has a typical range of 2,500 miles. It is a popular choice for private charter companies, and it has also been used by several high-profile individuals, including celebrities and heads of state. TheLearjet 36 is an iconic aircraft, and it is still in production today.

Learjet 36a

The Learjet 36a is a twin-engine business jet that was introduced in 1995. It is a stretched version of the Learjet 35 and can seat up to 8 passengers. The 36a has a cruising speed of 541 mph and a range of 2,405 miles. It is powered by two Garrett TFE731-2-2B engines, each of which produces 3,700 lbs of thrust.

The 36a also features an upgraded interior, with more legroom and storage space than the 35. The increased cabin size comes at the expense of range, however, as the 36a can only fly for 2,405 miles before needing to refuel. Nevertheless, the Learjet 36a is a popular choice for business and private travel, thanks to its comfortable cabin and impressive performance.

Learjet 36A take off

Learjets for Military Use

The United States military is always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve. In recent years, that has included incorporating cutting-edge technology into their operations. One example of this is the use of Learjets for military purposes. Although they were originally designed for civilian use, these planes have proven to be extremely versatile and have been adapted for a variety of military applications.

Today, they are used for everything from medical evacuations to airstrikes. It can also be deployed on a reconnaissance mission. Thanks to their speed and agility, Learjets give the military a significant advantage on the battlefield. With these planes in their arsenal, any military service is better equipped than ever to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Armed forces and police services with Learjets in their fleet:

  • The United States Air Force
  • The Italian Air Force
  • The Bulgarian Air Force
  • The Italian Army
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Learjets for Business Use

Learjets have long been a staple of the business world and for good reason. These jets offer a wide range of features that make them perfect for traveling executives. For starters, Learjets are fast, allowing businesspeople to get where they need to go quickly. They also offer a high degree of comfort and extravagance, with spacious interiors and plenty of amenities.

In addition, Learjets are extremely reliable, meaning that businesses can count on them to get their employees to their destination safely and on time. With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder that the Learjet remains one of the most popular choices for business travel.

Learjet for the Emergency Services

In today’s world, emergency services are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to help them respond to incidents quickly and efficiently. One area that has seen significant advances in recent years is air ambulance transport. Rapid response times are crucial in emergencies, and Learjets have emerged as a leading option for air ambulance transport. Thanks to their speed and maneuverability, Learjets can get to incident sites quickly, even in difficult terrain.

In addition, their size means they can land in a wide variety of locations, including smaller airstrips and rural areas. As a result, Learjets have become an invaluable tool for emergency services, providing a rapid and flexible way to get critical care to those who need it most.

Examples: Polish Medical Air Rescue

Learjet Manufacture

The company was headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, and has facilities in Montreal and Tucson. Learjets are built at the Wichita facility. The Montreal facility is responsible for engineering and design, while the Tucson facility assembles the wings and fuselage.

In total, around 1,600 employees worked at Learjet. The company produced over 3,000 aircraft since its inception, and its jets are used by a variety of customers including corporate executives, government officials, and celebrities.

Learjet 45
By MilborneOne at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2694208

Bill Lear

William Punnett Lear was born in 1902 in Hull, Massachusetts. An inventive mind from an early age, he dropped out of high school to start his own business repairing and installing car radios. In the 1930s, he began working on developing a new type of autopilot for small planes.

His design was eventually adopted by the U.S. military during World War II, and he went on to develop navigation systems for both radar and sonar. In the 1950s, Lear set his sights on the jet engine, and he designed and built the prototype of the Learjet in 1963. The Learjet quickly became a popular choice for both corporate and private travel, and it helped to revolutionize air travel.

Today, William Lear’s legacy continues to be felt in the aviation industry, and his name is synonymous with innovation and excellence.

John Lear

John Lear was Bill Lear’s son. John followed in his father’s footsteps and became a successful businessman in his own right. He was also an accomplished pilot and set several world records for aviation.

In addition to his business ventures, John was also an active philanthropist, supporting several causes including education and environmental conservation. He was a passionate advocate for aviation safety and worked tirelessly to promote awareness of aviation safety. 

John Lear and UFOs

In addition to being an accomplished pilot, he was also an avid ufologist and a friend of Bob Lazar. For years, Lear was fascinated by the possibility of extraterrestrial life and the governments’ alleged cover-ups of UFO sightings.

While some people might have dismissed Lear as a crackpot, there’s no denying that he was sincere in his beliefs. And who knows? Maybe one day he’ll be vindicated and we’ll all find out that the truth is out there.

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The Benefits of Very Light Jets – Versatile, Efficient, Time-Saving

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In the past 20 years very light jets (VLJ) have become a popular option, not just for corporate executives and VIPs, but anyone for whom time is more important than money. They’re perfect for short trips or those who need to travel quickly and efficiently. Their luxury cabins can accommodate up to six passengers and have amenities like WiFi, a private lavatory, and comfortable seating with plenty of legroom.

VLJs are also becoming more economical as the technology and design develop. In the past, corporate executives and VIPs have typically relied on larger jets for shorter trips, but aircraft in the very light jet category are now able to compete on price while still offering the same level of luxury and comfort.

Flying in private jets used to be preserve of the super rich but this new class of very light jets, with their unique design and low maximum take of weight, can be the personal jet of a single pilot. With excellent performance capabilities and all the frills of their larger cousins, an entry level jet can be highly economical to operate.

A Convenient Solution When Time Is Everything

Imagine you need to fly somewhere but you don’t have the time to waste. You are faced with the whole rigmarole of:

  • Getting to a major airport. This alone can be time consuming.
  • Going through the check-in, bag drop, and security procedures.
  • Waiting in the lounge or at the gate for boarding.
  • Waiting for push-back and taxi (assuming there are no delays and your aircraft doesn’t miss its slot).
  • On arrival, you might have access to fast track passport control but you still have to wait for your luggage.
  • Finally, you transit from the major airport to your destination.

If you’re looking for a quick and affordable way to get from point A to Point B, then a VLJ (or perhaps an empty leg flight) could be it. As well as saving time at larger and busier airports, small jets are able to operate from regional airports and airfields, even on grass runways if the conditions are right. This cuts down the transit time from arrival airport to eventual destination.

Private jets of this type are designed, built, maintained, and operated to the same high safety standards as all commercial aircraft. Some of them have a single engine and one pilot while other jets are twin engine models. Whatever the size of the aircraft and crew you can be sure of the same attention to detail.

As the aviation industry recovers from the 2020-2021 pandemic and the demand for VLJs grows, so does the need for qualified pilots. Operators of VLJs must have a commercial license as well as a type rating for the specific aircraft they’re flying. Instead of a crew consisting of a flight attendant, first officer, and captain, your VLJ might have just a single pilot, thus reducting operating costs, and with low MTOW (maximum take off weight) in comparison to larger jets they are able to operate from a wider range of airfields.

3 Benefits of using Very Light Jets

  1. They are more fuel-efficient and therefore less expensive to operate.
  2. They can operate from smaller regional airports and airfields.
  3. They also have a smaller carbon footprint.

FAQ About Very Light Jets

  1. What is the cost of a flight in a very light jet?
  2. Is flying a private plane cheaper than flying commercially?
  3. How much does it cost to charter a light jet by the hour?
  4. How long will it take to fly from London to New York in a very light jet?
  5. Does insurance cover all risks associated with flying a private jet?
  6. Is it more dangerous to fly in light jets than in a commercial airliner?

What is the cost of a flight in a very light jet?

The cost of flying in a very light jet will vary depending on the length of the flight, the destination, and the aircraft. Generally speaking, the cost of a flight in a very light jet is more expensive than flying on a standard commercial flight aboard an airliner. However, chartering a very light jet by the hour can be cheaper than flying a commercial.

How much does it cost to charter a very light jet by the hour?

The cost to charter a very light jet by the hour varies depending on the aircraft. However, on average, it costs between $1,200 and $2,000 per hour to charter a very light jet.

Does my travel insurance cover all risks associated with traveling in a very light jet?

Check with your provider. It may be necessary to add a supplement to your policy.

Is it more dangerous to fly in a very light jet than in a commercial airliner?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on several factors. However, in general, flying in a very light jet is slightly less safe than flying in a commercial airliner, but the differences are very minor. It’s still safer than being in a road vehicle on your way to the airfield!

Short History of Civilian Light Jets

Small jet-powered civil aircraft are a class of aircraft that typically have one or more jet engines and are used for transporting passengers or cargo. They typically have a range of about 1,000 to 3,000 miles. Small jet-powered civil aircraft have been in existence since the early 1950s but it wasn’t until the 21st Century that this market saw significant growth.

Today, small jet-powered civil aircraft are manufactured by several companies, including Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Aviation, Eclipse Aviation, and Gulfstream Aerospace. These aircraft are used by a variety of customers, including corporations, governments, and private individuals.

The light jet market is expected to grow in the coming years, driven by the increasing demand for air travel and the need for efficient and cost-effective transportation solutions. Air charter companies are already seeing the value of having small jet aircraft on their fleet.

Examples of VLJs and Personal Jet Aircraft

Embraer Phenom 100

The Embraer Phenom 100 is a light jet aircraft that can accommodate up to eight passengers. It has a cruising speed of 437 mph and a range of 1,196 miles. The Phenom 100 has been praised for its superior performance and fuel efficiency. Its spacious interior and state-of-the-art features make it a popular choice for business travelers and families alike.

The Phenom 100 is part of Embraer’s successful line of private jets, which also includes the Legacy 600 and the Lineage 1000. The Phenom 100 was introduced in 2007 and has since become one of the most popular private jets on the market. Its combination of performance, comfort, and value makes it an excellent choice for those who want the best of all worlds.

Embraer Phenom 100EV

Cessna Citation Mustang

The Cessna Citation Mustang is a light jet aircraft that seats up to six passengers. It’s perfect for short trips and offers a variety of features, including a pressurized cabin, air conditioning, and an onboard lavatory. The Citation Mustang is also fast, with a cruising speed of 439 mph, a top speed of 483 mph, and range of 1,381 miles. If you’re looking for a great way to travel in style, the Cessna Citation Mustang is a perfect choice. It’s comfortable, efficient, and affordable, making it the perfect option for business or leisure trips.

By Juergen Lehle – Own work (See also AlbSpotter Flugzeugbilder Aircraft Photos), CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2841956

Eclipse 500

The Eclipse 500 is a twin-engine, low-wing jet that can fly up to 430 mph and has a range of 1,294 miles. With its luxurious leather interior, the Eclipse 500 offers passengers a comfortable flying experience.

The Eclipse 500 can seat up to four passengers and features a pressurized cabin that is comfortable for flying at high altitudes. The aircraft is also equipped with a glass cockpit containing a state-of-the-art avionics suite that includes a GPS navigation system, traffic collision avoidance system, and digital flight control system.

Cessna Citation M2

The Cessna Citation M2 was first produced in 2013 and continues to be in production. It is a twin-engine aircraft that can carry up to six passengers, or four if configured for full comfort.

This Citation jet has a max range of 1,550 nm and a max speed of 404 ktas. It is a great aircraft for short to medium-length flights. The Citation Jet is a great aircraft for those looking for a little more performance than what a traditional light jet can offer.

Honda HA-420 HondaJet

The Honda HA-420 Honda Jet is a light business jet aircraft manufactured by Honda Aircraft Company since 2015. The Honda HA-420 Honda Jet was designed to provide performance and comfort superior to that of other small business jets, with a maximum speed of 423 mph and a range of 1,388 miles.

Cirrus Vision SF50

The Cirrus Vision SF50 is a luxurious single-engineed jet that can seat up to five passengers. First available for purchase in 2016, it has a maximum speed of nearly 311 ktas and a range of 1,200 nautical miles. The Cirrus Vision Jet is perfect for business or leisure travel and offers unparalleled comfort and convenience.

With its state-of-the-art design and amenities, the Vision SF50 is sure to make any trip a memorable one.

More Questions & Answers

How much does a light jet cost?

Generally, a light jet starts at about $1 million but can cost anywhere from $2 million to $40 million, depending on the model and features. A light jet is the cheapest option for a private business or personal charter, which typically costs between $1 and 2 million. A chartered single-engine turboprop aircraft can cost around $10 thousand an hour (without demanding any other amenities).

Which is the best light jet?

Best for whom? Some would argue that the best light jet is the Cirrus Vision SF50. It has a maximum speed of nearly 400 mph and a range of 1,200 miles. It is perfect for business or leisure travel and offers unparalleled comfort and convenience. With its state-of-the-art design and amenities, the Cirrus Vision Jet is sure to make any trip a memorable one.

Conclusion

Single pilot operation puts private jets in this range within the reach of businesses and individuals who want total autonomy to operate aircraft but if that scenario is out of reach for you ask your local air charter broker if they operate aircraft in the very light jet category.

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The Boeing B52 Stratofortress Strategic Bomber

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The B52 Stratofortress has been in service for over sixty years and is forecasted to remain so for many years to come. It is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons with a range of over 8,800 miles (without air to air refuelling).

Over the course of seven decades its electronic equipment, armaments, and defences have changed according to the various roles for which it has been designed. Today it is mostly used for the delivery of conventional bombs and air-to-ground missiles (AGM). Currently there are 58 of the B-52H variants in active service with the US Air Force and 18 others in reserve. A further 12 are in long term storage.

Seven months after the Boeing B-29 Superfortress named ‘Enola Gay’ dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing a final and deadly end to World War II, the US Air Force invited aircraft manufacturers to submit proposals for a new strategic bomber. Boeing, Consolidated Aircraft, and the Glenn L. Martin Company responded but it was Boeing that won the contract to build the new bomber.

Years of design, the production of various prototypes, and changes of requirements by the USAF followed. It wasn’t until 1951 that Boeing was awarded the contract to produce thirteen B-52A’s, the final design being based on the B-47 Stratojet. The B-52 is powered by eight Pratt & Whitney turbofans fitted in pairs in four pods attached by pylons to the leading edge of the wings.

Close encounters with a B52 Stratofortress

During the 1980s, while training for a Private Pilots Licence, I was flying with an instructor over Wiltshire, in southern England. We were on a navigation exercise during which I was to request permission to fly through military airspace – a procedure known as MATZ penetration (Military Aerodrome Traffic Zone).

While still a few miles outside the zone I gave my radio call requesting permission to pass through the airspace and the air traffic controller granted permission but warned us to be on the lookout for ‘traffic ahead passing west to east, low’. The instructor and I continued on track, maintaing heading and altitude, and kept a good lookout. Eventually, we spotted the traffic. It was a B-52 coming in to land at the military airfield.

I’ll never forget the sensation of being at about 2,000ft and looking down on a B-52 making its final approach to land. Of course, I could not hear it, I could only watch as the great leviathan of the skies touched down on the long runway.

The second time I saw a B-52 was at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in the late 1990s, after the Gulf War. Stories had appeared in the press at that time describing surgical strikes during which airborne cruise missiles launched from B-52s could find their way through a window of a building and demolish it along with its unfortunate occupants.

The aircraft was on static display and some of its crew were standing at ease behind the crowd barrier, ready to answer questions from the general public. These fit young men of the US Air Force in uniform and wearing sunglasses were drawing admiring glances from some of the female onlookers.

One approached the crew and asked with a giggle,”And what do you do with your aeroplane?”

Without hesitation one the crew replied,”Well ma’am, you could say we’re in the business of urban redevelopment.”

The B-52 has been deployed during the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars, and on operations over the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Add this giant of the skies to your collection. Click this link to view a 1/200 metal diecast scale model of a US Air Force Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Bomber.

USAF

The B-52 bomber has been a staple of the US Air Force since the 1950s. The aircraft was designed by Boeing to carry nuclear weapons during the Cold War, and it remains in service today as a long-range strategic bomber. The B-52 has undergone several major upgrades over the years, and it is currently being equipped with new precision-guided munitions.

Despite its aging design, the B-52 remains a capable and fearsome war machine, capable of delivering large payloads of bombs over vast distances. With its unique history and impressive capabilities, the B-52 bomber is truly a legendary aircraft.

Vietnam

The B-52 bomber has a long and distinguished history, dating back to the Second World War. However, it was during the Vietnam War that the B-52 really made its mark, becoming one of the most feared weapons in the US arsenal.

Although the B-52 was originally designed as a long-range bomber, it proved to be equally effective as a close air support aircraft, capable of delivering a massive amount of ordinance. In addition, the B-52 was able to operate at high altitudes, beyond the reach of most Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns.

As a result, the B-52 quickly became a vital part of US strategy in Vietnam, conducting thousands of bombing missions against North Vietnamese targets. Despite its effectiveness, the B-52 was not without its problems. The aircraft was vulnerable to ground fire, and several were shot down during the war. Nevertheless, the B-52 remains one of the most iconic weapons of the Vietnam War.

Operation Desert Storm

During the Gulf War, popularly known as Operation Desert Storm, B52 bombers were used extensively in order to target Iraqi military installations and troops. The bombers were effective in inflicting damage and helping to secure victory for the coalition forces.

In total, B52 bombers flew more than 6,000 sorties during the conflict, dropping more than 88,000 tons of explosives. While the use of the B52 bomber was controversial at the time, there is no doubt that it played a key role in the eventual success of Operation Desert Storm.

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Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II AKA The Warthog

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The A-10 Thunderbolt II, also affectionately known as The Warthog, the Hog, or the A-10 Warthog, was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) by Fairchild Republic Company’s OEM Team, which is now part of Northrop Grumman Corporation Aerospace Systems. The official name is based on the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, which is a World War II fighter-bomber that was effective at attacking ground targets.

The OEM Team started with a study contract in the 1960s to develop a new aircraft for Close Air Support to protect ground combat troops, which meant the A-10 Warthog had to be survivable and rugged. Following the initial study, they developed a prototype and won the final competition to develop the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The Thunderbolt II was selected due to its outstanding low altitude maneuverability, survivability, mission capable maintainability, and lethality. The design features a titanium area to protect the pilot, able to withstand direct hits from high-explosive and armour-piercing projectiles up to 23 mm in size, and includes redundant flight control systems so pilots can fly to safety even after experiencing severe damage in enemy territory.

The Warthog is a single-seat, twin turbofan, straight wing jet airplane. It is developed for attacking armoured vehicles, close air support (CAS) for ground troops, and quick action against enemy ground troops. The Warthog was tasked with improving on predecessor A-1 Skyraider’s lesser firepower, so it was designed from the ground up around its 30 mm Avenger rotary cannon. Some of its key features include capability for short takeoffs and landing, which allows it to operate close to the front lines.

The Warthog first entered service in 1976 and remains the only production-built USAF aircraft designed exclusively for CAS. Some of the key theatres where the Warthog has been used successfully include Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s and more recently in operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and the Global War on Terror. It has also supported other conflicts in the Balkans, Grenada, Afghanistan, and the Islamic State. The A-10 has been used only by the USAF, the Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard.

The Warthog is much loved by its pilots and ground troops, inspiring the saying “Go Ugly Early” because the A-10 is often called in early to support ground combat troops.

In 2016, the USAF froze plans to retire the A-10 due to Congressional opposition and the need to use the A-10 in several key deployments. The Air Force eventually announced that the beloved Warthog will remain in their inventory indefinitely.

Add this famous, admired, and versatile aircraft to your collection. Click this link to view a 1/100 diecast scale model of a US Air Force Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.

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Airbus A320 Family of Aircraft: A318, A319, A320, A321 and A320neo

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The Airbus A320 is a family of aircraft that includes the A318, A319, A320, and the A321. The most recent variants include the A319neo, A320neo, and the A321neo. The A320 family is one of the most versatile and therefore successful aircraft families in the history of commercial aviation.

The A320 variant was first entered into commercial service by Air France in 1988. The longer A321 was first delivered in 1994, while the shorter A319 followed in 1996, and the shortest of these three, the A318,  arrived in our skies in 2003.

The A320 is a low wing airliner with twin underwing high bypass turbofans, either CFM International CFM56s or IAE V2500s, or the Pratt & Whitney PW6000 in the A318.

Airbus A320neo

‘Neo’ stands for ‘new engine option’ and Lufthansa was the first airline to make use of the A320neo in 2016. With enhanced engine technology and Sharklets as standard, these aircraft are 15-20% more fuel efficient. The Sharklets or winglets make use of some of the energy generated in wing vortices.

As an aircraft flies through the air each wing tip generates an air vortex which contributes to induced drag. The cambered surface of the winglet converts this airflow into apparent thrust, a bit like the sail of a yacht when it’s sailing close hauled. During the course of the aircraft’s lifetime this small amount of recovered energy can have a significant impact on the overall performance.

The A320 was so successful during the first two decades of the 21st Century that by October 2019 sales had exceeded even those of the Boeing 737.

That trend looks set to continue given the setbacks with the 737 during the past year. Over 9,000 aircraft have been sold and it is in use with 330 operators around the world, with 414 in service with American Airlines alone. The A320 has the longest range of current single-aisle aircraft and this is another reason it has been so widely adopted by the world’s airlines.

The A320neo’s cabins include wider seats, improved lighting, and increased space in the overhead lockers.

Take a look at this LAN Airlines Airbus A320 1:150 resin scale model which has a wingspan width of 48cm and a nose-to-tail length of 47cm.

If that’s a little too big for your desk or shelf how about this 16cm metal diecast model of the original Airbus A320.

These aircraft models are also available in other liveries.

Let me know what you like about the A320 in the comment section below.

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