Life after lockdown : Amidst all the face coverings and hand sanitiser there is still nothing on earth gives you the feeling of freedom that flying does

Life after lockdown : Amidst all the face coverings and hand sanitiser there is still nothing on earth gives you the feeling of freedom that flying does

And we’re back! After 14 long weeks of flight training lockdown, we are finally back in the flying school and the cockpit.

Before we commenced flight training, we spent some time prepping the flying school for the new normal. But what does the ‘new normal’ mean for us?

Using government guidelines and working on ways to overcome the obvious issue of how we can social distance in the cockpit we have put together our COVID SAFE strategy to ensure all our flight instructors, staff, students and everyone visiting the flying school are kept as safe as possible.

With regards to joining us in the flying school we have introduced Covid-free declarations, temperature checks, a one way system, hand washing/sanitising procedures, social distancing during briefings plus of course plenty of signage, face coverings and gloves where appropriate.

But what about in the aircraft? As keeping people safe in the helicopter is (as ever) our priority, this has been our main focus when looking at ways to reduce the risk, particularly as there is no room for social distancing in the cockpit. So, we sanitise the helis after every flight (instruments, handles etc.), face coverings are mandatory, keeping both you and our flight instructors safe. Advice on positioning your glasses/sunglasses to avoid steaming whilst wearing a face covering will be given. We are also giving all students and self-fly hirers their own set of headset protection; protecting both the microphone and the ears pieces. Gloves are available but are not essential

See link for the Government Guidelines General Aviation https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-general-aviation/coronavirus-covid-19-general-aviation

On July 4th we were given the go ahead to resume training so now that we were COVID ready, the first job for Head of Training Capt. White was to fly with all our flight instructors and run through our new procedures and getting everyone used to our new cockpit look! We made the decision to devote July to our students, self-fly hirers and our longer One-to-One trial lessons to minimise traffic through the flying school. This has allowed us to be confident that our COVID safe strategy is working.

Since then it has been GO GO GO… As you can imagine everyone has been champing at the bit to get back in the air, so it has been a busy first post lockdown and safety measures we have put in place have become, very much the norm for us. Refresher training for our students and 28-day checks for our self fly hirers have been a priority and I’m pleased to say with very little skills fade across the board. We have also been lucky enough since re-opening to have had more budding pilots make the decision to learn to fly with us which is fantastic news and we look forward to watching their progress in the coming weeks and months.

What’s next for the flying school?

Firstly, great news our FREE Ground School on a Tuesday will continue online to ensure as many of you as possible can attend during this time.  It will, however, be reverting to bi-weekly sessions so join us on Tuesday 21st July 2020.

As many of you already know the new date for our PPL(H) Open Day is 22nd August 2020 more details will be released next week so keep a look out for that. One thing for sure the star of the show will be our B206 Jet Ranger! G-NORK made its first appearance since lockdown over the weekend and is already popular among our students and self-fly hirers.

“I would like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who has been so supportive during lockdown. It is SO good to be back and wonderful to see our flying family old and new joining us too and seeing those smiles in the cockpit again even if they are behind a mask. Nothing on earth gives you the feeling of freedom that flying does” – Capt. White

If you would like any further information about our COVID safe strategy, book a discounted trial lesson on the open day or if you’re interested in finding out more about our Jet Ranger email info@elstreehelicopters.co.uk or call us on 0207 118 8998!

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