Vapour Trail…

New members…
Welcome back as a club member, Marc Kuster.

First Solo Flight congratulations to:
James van Vuuren who went solo in the C172 on 5/2/14,
Stuart McClelland who solo’d in C150 on 27/2/14 and
Courtney Sharp who solo’d in C150 on 3/3/14.
Well done!!!

Solo party– Friday 11 April 2014.
Spot landing Competition May 11th or 18th.

Aero Club Pub
Open every Friday from 5pm.                                                                                                    Parking available behind PAC hangar – boom gate is left open.
*Closed on public holidays*

Chairperson – Gary Keyser
President – Michele Cameron
Treasurer – Martin Hellberg
Members –Clint Frost, Mark Dixon, Cameron MacKenzie & Luke Volans

Chief Flying Instructor
Anton Rousseau – 082 562 5060
Club Manager
Mark Meter – 083 454 0612                                                                                                          A/hrs refuelling
Prince Nyandeni – 082 808 2393

w.e.f 26/02/2014
A/C…….. SOLO                   DUAL                  Landing fee
C150          R1200.00             R1542.00            R70.70
C172           R1550.00             R1892.00            R90.60

AVGAS:  R18.50/l                   JET A1:  R14.90/l





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Instructor’s Corner: Unable to Comply

Air Traffic Control is a very valuable and useful tool for pilots.

And a pilot should make every effort to comply with the requests of ATC.
Except sometimes….
Air Traffic Controllers are human too, and some are under training, or inexperienced, and so sometimes give an inappropriate or unsafe command, such as telling a pilot to orbit on final approach.

This is a BIG NO-NO !

Your response as a pilot, should be a polite “Unable to comply, going around” in such a situation.

“Unable to comply” is a phrase for pilots to use when necessary, but not lightly. Another scenario may be if a VFR pilot is asked to climb, but the cloud within 5nm covers more than half the sky, which would make the climb illegal, but ATC might not be aware of the conditions at that specific location.

Another scenario may be when a pilot is asked to land with a light tail wind in a C150 when doing touch-and-go’s. The pilot may know the aircraft climb out will be underwhelming, and climbing towards rising ground in this instance would be scary at least, and possibly fatal at worst. “Unable to comply” would be one response. Another might be todo a full stop and re-position into the wind for take-off.

The point is, the safety of the aircraft remains the pilot’s responsibility, even if he has to “disobey” the ethereal voice over the radio in order to fly the aircraft within the safe, or even legal limits. If ATC has radar, they may have knowledge the pilot doesn’t, but the pilot may also have knowledge that ATC doesn’t.

It all comes down to effective communication.

In a situation where for purposes of safety, e.g. weather is closing in and the field is already IMC but it is essential to land as no alternate exists, ATC cannot clear an aircraft inbound as this would be illegal as weather may be below VFR or even SVFR minima. If they were to issue clearance they would accept responsibility for the outcome, something which they understandably will not do. In this situation the pilot should do what is required to bring the flight to a safe conclusion. Should this occur, the pilot can advise that they will route in at their own discretion, thereby relieving the controller of responsibility. Remember that the pilot now takes responsibility and must be able to justify the reason for their action and essentially violating a controlled airspace.

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“from the desk of our President”

Hi Everyone,
The end of last year got off to a fantastic start with our 75th Anniversary lunch and everyone was abuzz with excitement and enthusiasm. Then, suddenly our world was turned upside down with the untimely loss of two very respected pilots’ and friends Dave Grosvenor and Alick Rennie the clubs CFI.

Alick we miss you every day at the airfield, almost expecting to turn a corner and bump into you. Your enthusiasm, no nonsense approach, ability to encourage younger pilots, instructors and committee members as well as your unselfish attitude with regard to sharing your knowledge (especially your Latin lessons) will be always remembered.

Our chairman Gary and the committee made sure that the club remained compliant with Civil Aviation regulations and have appointed a temporary CFI Anton Roussaeu. Anton is a very experienced pilot and instructor and we are very grateful that he was so willing to help the club.

Telani who replaced Dave Bond as our full time flying instructor has introduced an online booking system for the club. This is proving to be a great success which saves students and pilots having to either phone or drive to the Club to make a booking. If anyone is not sure how the on line booking works, please give Julie a ring and she will happily talk you through it.

Telani is arranging permission to hold a Spot Landing competition in May. These competitions are great fun and both student and pilots are welcome to enter. Privately owned aircraft will also be welcome to take part. More info will be given on this as soon as a date has been secured.

Oh, and by the way, we are having a new answering service installed on the phone so if you call in over a weekend you will now be able to leave a message.

Flying hours in December was pretty poor and whether this was due to poor weather, holidays or people feeling somber over the tragic event that had taken place, only 26.1 hours were flown by our entire fleet. January has seen an improvement with 57.4 hour. Our C150 havingflown 27.7 hours and our two C172’s 29.7 hours.

It was encouraging to see many new members’ applications being approved at a committee meeting and hope this will mean higher flying hours for our fleet.

The committee would like to re introduce the annualawarding of our trophies to students and pilots’. This would be done on the recommendation of flying instructorsand the committee and it is so nice to be recognized by your colleagues. There are trophies for the following catagories:
Best Student Pilot; Best Lady Pilot; Best Private Pilot; Most Safety Conscious Pilot; Natal Air Navigation Rally. If anyone would like to recommend awards to be made in other categories, please let us know.

Dave Bond has just completed his twin rating up in Johannesburg and we wish him lots of safe flying.

Damian Budd an old (not old in age) club and committee member has returned to live in South Africa and we are delighted to have him flying at the club again.

Thank you Cameron for arranging the installation of the “huge” Pietermaritzburg Aero Club neon sign which is on the street side of the hangar and cannot be missed as you drive up to the club.

With the committee’s enthusiasm and wonderful ideas, the year ahead at the Club promises to be the new“in” place to be seen by everyone interested in aviation.

“Come and be a part of it – after all, this is your Club “


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Vapour Trail….

New Members

Welcome and happy flyingto Kirsten Wing, Christopher Austin, Gordon Gray, Telani Lithgow, Rory Mackenzie and welcome back to Damian Budd and Richard Carter.

Congratulations to:
Karyn Hill who obtained her PPL on 15 January 2014.  Well done!!!

Aero Club Pub
Open every Friday from 5pm. Parking available behind PAC hangar – boom gate is left open.
*Closed on public holidays*

Chairperson – Gary Keyser
President – Michele Cameron
Treasurer – Martin Hellberg
Members –Clint Frost, Mark Dixon, Cameron MacKenzie & Luke Volans

Chief Flying Instructor
Anton Rousseau – 082 562 5060
Club Manager
Mark Meter – 083 454 0612

A/hrs refuelling
Prince Nyandeni – 082 808 2393

Spot landing Competition sometime in May. Dates will be confirmed at a later stage.

w.e.f 26/07/2013
SOLO          DUAL                    Landing fee
C150    R1200.00   R1519.20              R70.70
C172    R1550.00    R1869.20              R90.60

AVGAS:  R18.10/lJET A1:  R14.80/l


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Make a Mini Staple Cessna-172

For the kid in you


To make this cute little FLYABLE model, click the picture on the left, or visit


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Alick Rennie’s memorial service

There will be a memorial service for Alick on Friday the 13 December at 11.00am in Oribi Flying Services hangar – Pietermaritzburg.

Teas will be served afterwards in the Pmb Aero Club hangar.

Parking will be available in the grassed area on the left hand side as you turn into the airfield road (Pharazyn Way).

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Memorial Service for Dave Grosvenor

Fellow Aviators,

A memorial service is being held at 14h00 for Dave Grosvenor on Thursday, 12th December 2013 at Dave Emond’s Hangar, Virginia Airport, Durban.

Grant Beattie is collating all tributes to Dave Grosvenor and Alick Rennie for the memorial service as well as an article by one of the aviation magazines.  Kindly email tributes to Grant at before close of business on Wednesday.

Kindest regards

Craig Ralphs

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Story Musgrave’s impression of Pmb, SA

Here is an excerpt from an email sent to Luke Volans after Story Musgrave, with his wife, Amanda and son Scott visited us to talk at our 75th Aero Club Anniversary in November 2013 :

“This is one spectacular note; I really think it is for us to thank you–the best host I have ever had in 46 years of travel.” Story

Looks like not only did we enjoy him, but he enjoyed us too!

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Aircraft Electronics

By Telani Lithgow

Our Club aircraft are handled by many pilots. Here are a few tips on treating them right.


Electronics by their nature tend to be, somewhat robust, and yet, somewhat fragile. Little irritations from mystery problems can start making erratic appearances, the

kinds of little issues that the Electronic Instrument Aircraft Specialists just never seem to manage to find.  The insidious little crackles, silences, issues that just don’t replicate themselves to the experts but come wandering out like crafty little gremlins when in flight.

One thing we can do as pilots to minimise this sort of mini trauma is to start up with only the battery switch on, do our dead-cut check, then, without further delay, switch on the avionics portion of the Master Switch.

At this point, your Voltage Light will extinguish and your Ammeter will show a charge… that is, if everything is operating as it should… and you will have proven yourself a slightly more knowledgeable and proficient pilot.

(Why else would aircraft designers bother with a split switch that only works one way?!)


Why oh why is there an Avionics Master Switch?  Is it just another thing in a long list of checks to remember?

Actually its purpose is to make life easier, not harder!

It is there so that we as pilots may leave ALL the radios ON (but please switch the Transponder to STBY – as a Secondary Surveillance Radar System it needs to warm up before, and cool down after each use.)

Everything else?

Just leave it on!

That way, after you have switched on the alternator, you may flip the Avionics Master Switch on, and in one dexterous movement switch on 4 to 5 systems. Nice.


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