Welcome to your flight in a Koliber 160A from North Weald Airfield. We shall be flying over Essex (and maybe Kent or Suffolk), probably at a height of 1500 to 3500 feet and a cruising speed of about 100 knots.
Light aircraft are a little different from the airliners you may be used to. The noise level is much higher, so you will be wearing an aviation headset during the trip, and the motion due to turbulence may be more noticeable. There are no on-board toilets, and there is no hard shoulder in the air, so please ensure that you are comfortable before setting off.
Please don't stray from the pilot while you are on the restricted areas of the airfield. Keep away from other aircraft, even if they are not moving, especially their propellers. If you hear anyone shout “Clear!” or “Clear prop!” it means one is about to start: be sure you are nowhere near it. A propeller turning at speed is almost invisible, and in any conflict it will win. It can also throw dirt in your face if you stand too close behind an aircraft. Take care when boarding the aircraft only to step where the pilot shows you – and use the handholds, especially if you have just walked across a muddy field. Always climb on and off from behind the wing.
Please do not smoke.
The pilot will show you how to open and close the door, adjust the seats and use the seat-belt. Keep the belt fastened whenever the aircraft is moving, and make sure it's tight during takeoff and landing. If you are sitting in front, check that your seat is far enough back to allow full movement of the controls. If you have any luggage, please stow it securely in the back. Please don't put anything on the floor, where it might interfere with the controls.
Once the power is switched on, you can talk to the pilot via your headset. Adjust the microphone so it's just in front of your top lip, and speak at a normal level. The intercom has a muting system which may take a fraction of a second to turn on when you speak. From time to time the pilot will need to use the radio to communicate with other stations – please don't talk when he does, or your voice will be transmitted too. Make a note of the aircraft's callsign, which is on a plate on the dashboard. If you hear anyone on the radio using it (for example, G-BZAJ would be spoken as “Golf Bravo Zulu Alpha Juliet” or “Golf Alpha Juliet”), stop talking so the pilot can hear them. This applies especially during takeoff and landing, but may happen at any time.
The pilot is in sole charge of the aircraft at all times: please do anything he asks you at once. Don't touch any of the controls, including the pedals in front of you, unless he asks you to. You can adjust the air vents if you wish. Please make sure your seat is securely locked. If it starts to slip back when the aircraft climbs, just let it go – it will only slide a few inches. Whatever you do, don't grab anything in front of you!
When the aircraft is climbing or descending, you may need to hold you nose and blow gently to equalise the pressure in your ears. Unlike a car, when an aircraft turns it leans over, and you may find this sensation unusual at first. Turbulence may cause the aircraft to bump around a little. This is quite normal – just relax.
If you have questions about anything, please feel free to ask. If you feel uneasy about anything, or too hot or cold, or unwell, please tell the pilot sooner rather than later.
But remember that the pilot's first priority at all times is to fly the aircraft safely, so he may not be able to give you his full attention immediately.
Before and during landing, there may be events that you were not expecting: a surprising number of changes of direction and engine speed, and sometimes you may feel you are leaning over, or notice that the runway is not where you expected to see it. Sometimes, just as you are expecting to touch down, the pilot will “go around” for another approach. And in the final stages of landing, you may hear a buzzer sounding. All these things are quite normal and nothing to worry about. However, it is the period when the pilot's workload is highest, so please don't distract him.
The flight is not over until the aircraft is parked and the engine stopped. Don't unfasten your seatbelt or open the door until then.
There are airsickness bags in the back of the seats, a fire extinguisher between the seats, and a first-aid kit in the back of the aircraft. Be sure you know where to find them.
If anything unexpected happens, remember that the pilot has been trained and tested in dealing with emergencies, so please remain calm and do whatever he tells you.
The flight plan includes allowances for diverting to a different airfield in the event of unexpected bad weather.
In the unlikely event of engine failure, the aircraft glides gently down, and can be safely landed in a small field. Make sure your seatbelt is tightly fastened. In the back seats, adopt the “brace” position: feet flat on the floor, bend forward as far as possible with arms close to your face, hands on top of the head, but fingers not interlocked. The emergency exit is the right-hand door. Unfasten the top latch first, then the front one, and once the aircraft has stopped, get well away from it as quickly as you can. If the door is unusable, there is a baggage hatch on the right at the back, or you can push the windows out with your feet.
If in doubt, ask the pilot. It's not a good idea to fly if you have a bad cold or sinus problems, as the changes in air pressure can be painful if you can't “pop” your ears.
Wear clothes that are comfortable, but not too bulky. Skirts and high heels are not advisable. Dress as you would for a long journey in a small car. Sunglasses or a peaked cap are a good idea, as it may sometimes be necessary to fly with the sun in your eyes.
Yes, but don't expect too much from the results, and please don't bring a lot of equipment. Aircraft windows are rarely of optical standard, and there will be a good deal of vibration from the engine. The pilot will try to help you to get a good view, but remember that his first priority is always to fly the aircraft safely. This may mean not going as close as you would like to places of interest, or approaching them from the ideal direction.
The most useful thing you can do to help is to keep a good lookout, and tell the pilot if you see other aircraft. Use the “clock code” - 9 o'clock is to your left, 12 straight ahead, 3 to your right.
Have you been told how to use:
Remember, it's a LEGAL requirement for the pilot to tell you!