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My hobby is flying.  I got my Private Pilot's Licence in 2001, IMC rating in 2002 and full instrument rating in 2004.  I now have nearly 800 hours and I mainly fly a Cirrus SR-22 out of Blackbushe and a Diamond DA-20 out of White Waltham.


I have written some guidance notes for friends and family who might go flying with me.   I keep an email mailing list of people of people who have expressed an interest in going on a trip and whenever I have spare seats I send out an email to them all - first come, first flown.  If you would like to go flying with me some time, contact me and I will add you to my list (friends and family only please).


Check out my flying blog Golf Hotel Whiskey and my aviation column for Forbes.


During my IMC training I used Microsoft Flight Sim 2004 to rehearse some instrument procedures.  I also have X-Plane which has a better flight model but is harder to get into.  Transair are a good online supplier for maps and aviation related equipment.  There are two different sets of books about learning to fly.  I used Trevor Trevor Thom's book for my IMC course but Jeremy Pratt's for the rest of my PPL course.  Both sets of books are good and widely used. For flight planning, I use RocketRoute for IFR trips and SkyDemon for VFR trips.


I passed my FAA instrument rating in 2004 and I have written some notes, with tips and advice, for other people who are taking this rating.


Up to 2004, I mainly flew Piper PA-28s.  In March 2004, I converted to the Cirrus SR-20 and SR-22. I mainly fly an SR-22 from Blackbushe and a Diamond DA-20 from White Waltham.I have also flown: Diamond DA-42 Twin Star, Pilatus PC-12, Cessna 172 and NASA's Space Shuttle simulator.


I learned with Cabair at Denham, near London and took my test with Orlando Flight Training in Kissimmee, Florida (now both defunct). I practiced for my FAA instrument rating with John Page of  TAA UK and took the test at Air Orlando, Florida. Different schools and different instructors suit different people and you should definitely look around and make sure you find an instructor that suits you.


"I was on frequency with New York Centre.  There was a long, long silence.  I called 'Mooney ZZZ, just checking you're there,' the reply came back 'yeah, we're still here, but don't tell anyone.'" Thanks to Lou Betti for that true story.  An old favourite is the saying "if God had meant man to fly, he would have given him more money."  You need to fly a Cirrus to truly appreciate this joke.