Monday, August 29, 2005

More waiting

Today I received mail from the Police. Wow! That was fast, I thought. But on opening it, I realized it was more like the other way around.

When I filled in the form, I filled in all the obvious fields, and asked the person if that was all. "Yes, that's fine", she told me and grabbed the form. However, today I got a new set of forms with a sticky note that told me to fill in *all* the forms. On closer inspection I noted that there should have been a carbon paper between the three sheets. Maybe I should blame myself a little for not inspecting the forms thoroughly enough. But on the other hand, whou would have thought that the police don't have access to copy machines?

I will post the new set of forms tomorrow, which probably means that they will be at the right place on Thursday at the earliest. Great. My application process just got delayed for another two weeks :-(

Saturday, August 27, 2005

First flight

Today I went to Norrköping to have a look at the flying club, see some people and sign up for the course. But first I started with a trip in the club's ultralight aircraft (that's the one in the picture). This aircraft, called Zephyr 200 C, is a quite modern version of an ultralight. The basic requirements of an ultralight aircraft is that it has at most two seats, has a low weight and a low stall speed.

The aircraft felt like a hybrid of a glider and a conventional light aircraft. You fly it with a control stick, which is similar to gliders (and fighter jets), but unlike most other conventional planes. What got me a little surprised is that you should use your left hand to grab the stick, and use the right hand for the throttle. This is the other way around compared to both gliders and fighters (my flying experience consists of a lot of gliding, some fighter jets (Simulated. We build those simulators at work.) and a couple of hours in Piper PA-28s.) It felt a bit awkward, but I got used to it after a short while.

Today's flights were more aimed to show people what it's like to fly. So it wasn't really any introductory flight lessons or anything. I may however log the time as part of my training. I did nevertheless got to do almost all flying and taxiing by myself. The flight instructor performed the take-off, and then handed back the controls to me. Obviously I still remembered how to fly a real aircraft.

I really enjoyed the trip. We were in the air for about 20 minutes and flew over the bay of Bråviken, which is really beautiful from the air (well, from the ground also). The weather was a bit windy today, with a lot of cumulus clouds which made the ride quite bumpy. This also meant that we had to keep the speed down a bit.

These aircraft have unexpectedly good performance. The maximum speed of this one is just a little more than 140 knots (260 km/h). And it's very fuel efficient, so you may go more than 1500 km away without landing. It takes off in something like 200 meters, and has a stall speed of just 35 knots.

The flight instructor was impressed by my flying (or at least that's what he told me). He believed that I could get the license in just a couple of months. We'll see about that. I suppose the ground classes will go on for more than that time, and I won't be able to take flying lessons every day.

The ground classes will start the next monday. I look forward to that, and i really look forward to commence with the flying lessons. I certainly hope that the authorities won't cause any problems. Formally, I am not allowed to start taking any flying lessons until I've got the "elevtillstånd" (flying lessons license, or whatever you may call it).

Total logged time: 0.5 hours (accumulated: 0.5 hours)
Total cost: SEK 300 (accumulated: SEK 300)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

This weekend

My plans for this Saturday was to go to Stockholm and participate in a combined chili-cooking competition, dinner and wine-tasting. Unfortunately this event was cancelled :-(

However, there will be some aviation related event at the flying club in Norrköping this weekend. I don't know exactly what will happen there. But what I know is that it's partly a recruiting event. So this will be a nice opportunity to have a look at the flying club and their equipment. And of course also a good opportunity to speak with the flight instructors and other members of the flying club before signing up for flying lessons.

One thing I should remember to ask about is if it would be useful to re-activate my glider pilot licence, and how this can be accomplished. Maybe it might save me some flight training hours?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

No news is good news?

As I promised, I posted my application for the "Elevtillstånd" last Friday. And I also went to the police office to request the personal investigation. This request was obviously not an everyday thing. First they couldn't find the form. And when they found it and gave it to me, I asked if I should mail it somewhere or just give the form back for them. To this, they didn't have an answer. But after some telephone calls they managed to find out that they should take it, and even where they should send it. So I feel rather confident that it will be processed correctly.

I don't really know why this investigation is needed. But I suppose it's like some kind of check that I don't appear in too many criminal records. This shouldn't pose any problems. As far as I know there shouldn't be any negative data at all in their records. Not even a speeding ticket!

The worst thing about this investigation is that it will take a couple of weeks. I hope that the aviation authorities will start processing my application before receiving the papers from the police. But they probably won't...

Friday, August 19, 2005


Today I have discussed my possibilities with two ladies at the Swedish Aviation Authorities. The first one was an administrator at the medical department. She was optimistic, and as far as she could see, I wouldn't meet any particular problems in getting an exemption for my nearsightedness. My old medical protocols, including the one from a special eye examination, seemed to still be valid. This will save me some money and time.

The second adminstrator told me that I could post my application for "Elevtillstånd" (i.e. permission to take flying lessons) today, but that I should request a new personal investigation from the police authorities, since the previous one could be outdated. I will go to the police office at lunchtime today to fill out that form.

I won't count any chickens before they've hatched, but things does actually seems quite bright right now.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Initial contact

Well, this is my first post to this blog. I don't really know where to start.

However, this blog is supposed to focus on my efforts in achieving a ultralight pilot license. I will probably provide more information about ultralight aviation, my background and why I have chosen to go for ultralight at a later point of time.

Unfortunately there are no flying clubs with UL sections in Linköping. This is a bit strange, as Linköping can be regarded as the aviation center of Sweden. My job is located next to the airport (well, actually my company owns the airport) where the flying club of Linköping is located. But as I've already mentioned, they don't do ultralight.

So my next option is Norrköping. Not a bad option, since Linghem (where I live) is located almost between Linköping and Norrköping. Today I talked with a colleague about my plans. He suggested that I should talk to an instructor at the flying club of Norrköping who he knew.

So later in the afternoon I telephoned this instructor and had a little chat (well, first I had a small chat with some nice old lady whose telephone number was published on the flying club's website by mistake). The outcome of this chat was basically that I first should check the possibilities with the aviation authorities and/or a aviation doctor.

This is not at all surprising. One of the reasons behind looking into ultralight is that I tried to achieve a regular private pilot license (PPL) some years ago, but was denied the necessary medical certificate due to my nearsightedness (my vision is perfect with corrective lenses, so you don't have to be afraid about half-blind pilots if I get my license). The visual requirements for ultralight aviation are however not the same as for PPL. But i do still need some kind of exemption.

I will call the aviation authorities (and maybe an aviation doctor at our company) first thing in the morning tomorrow. I'm a bit optimistic about getting this exemption since the regulations are the same as for glider pilots, and I do have a (now expired) glider pilots license. If everything seems alright and I am a bit lucky, I won't even need to redo the medical assessment...