Using the serious side of his brain, his wide experience in engineering and piloting light aircraft Martyn has written two Pilot Aircraft Guides. One for the Cessna C152, and the other for the Piper Warrior PA28. These were written with student and private pilot in mind and explains in basic terms the workings of the popular training aircraft. Both types are extensively used for flight training throughout the world. For aspiring pilots with a non-technical background, the workings of an aircraft can appear mysterious and challenging to understand. It is imperative though that a pilot understands the basic workings of his machine and Martyn uses plain language and common analogies to de-mystify the complex systems that an aircraft relies upon to function.
Unlike driving a motor car, flying an aeroplane requires more than just sitting in the driving seat and operating the controls. A pilot needs to be able to recognise when things don’t seem quite right mechanically and make a decision whether to fly or not – or if in the air already – how to handle the situation without panic. You can’t just pull over to the side of the road if things stop working or don’t sound quite right! Aircraft are normally maintained to a high standard and are therefore usually very reliable. However, they are still machines and occasionally things will not go quite according to plan – requiring decisions to be made by the pilot based on his technical knowledge. During his flying career Martyn has had his share of technical malfunctions from total engine failure (where one of the engine cylinders split apart) to rough running (where only three of the four cylinders were actually working) – all have ended happily with safe landings performed. There are many less serious problems that can occur than an engine failure and understanding the basic operation of the systems fitted to the aeroplane helps a pilot deal confidently with those issues should they arise. The guides are designed to do just that, in plain simple language.
The mantra Martyn follows in all his teaching is that found in an old book on aviation technicalities written by A.C. Kermode – Flight Without Formulae. His is an original edition features Zeppelins and bi-planes of the pre-second world war era, but the teaching philosophy of explaining the complicated in simple terms to enable the student to understand is fundamental and never loses its validity.