Flyer Forum fly-ins
On the Flyer magazine website, there's a lively discussion forum, where I am a fairly regular contributor. In the last few months, fly-ins have been organised by a couple of the good people on the forums, and this page contains accounts of the one's that I've attended.
This page has reports about the following Forum fly-in's that I've attended:
Fly-in to Leicester airport, 17th August 2002
This is the fly-in that nearly didn't happen. Back in the early summer we started playing with the idea of having a forum fly-in, and eventually we settled on Leicester as a destination because it's fairly central and easy for everyone to get to. Unfortunately, the Flyer website had a major crash - probably in the second half of July - and it was offline for three weeks or so. So the forum was silenced, and only came back online a week or so before the date we had agreed for our Leicester fly-in.
I'm sure many people were still unaware that the forum was back, and had forgotten about the plan for the fly-in. When it did come back all the previous discussions had been lost, but somebody quickly rekindled the idea. In fact it was only the day before the fly-in that I decided to go - I had assumed that it was going to be too late for me to hire an aircraft, but on the off-chance I phoned Cabair and luckily G-BHDU (their Cessna 152) was available, so I snapped it up.
On the day of the fly-in the weather was good, although the visibility was a bit below par. Not enough to put me off attempting the trip, though. At the time it was the longest solo flight I had undertaken.
Here's a group photo of those who managed to turn up, standing in front of G-PHAA. Considering the circumstances of the forum crash, the turn-out was very good...
I had given Sarah Symons - a friend of mine from university who lives in Leicester - a call to arrange to meet her at the airfield, and after we'd all had a bite to eat she showed us G-BZIB - the recently-completed Kitfox that she and her husband Pete have been building for as long as I can remember!
When the first departees started drifting away, Sarah and I went off to visit another friend in Leicester, eventually to return to the airfield for my departure at about six o'clock. She took this picture of me - with a windsock and a couple of tractors - leaving at the end of an enjoyable day...
Fly-out to Le Touquet airport, 5th October 2002
After the great success of the Leicester fly-in, it was inevitable that somebody on the forum would be rash enough to say something like "That was great - what shall we do next?". It was "Pilot Pete" who made the blunder, and hence volunteered himself to organise the next expedition!
We wanted to do something a little more adventurous this time, and eventually we decided on a fly-out to Le Touquet. The options were left flexible to suit as many people as possible. Some people were going to make a weekend of it and stay overnight, whereas others (myself included) decided to just fly out for the day on Saturday. Some of us decided to meet up at Rochester and fly from there, whereas others decided to fly direct.
There were doubting Thomas's who said we were being over adventurous hoping to get suitable weather for a cross-channel flight in October, but actually the weather smiled on us in fairly spectacular fashion on the Saturday. A group of about twelve of us met at Rochester for late morning, and with flight plans filed we set off in dribs and drabs. I think I was the first to set off in Echo-Papa, the Cessna 172 that I had decided to buy a share in only a week previously.
We discovered later that the "direct" flyers had got to Le Touquet much earlier in the morning, and most of them seemed to have left by the time we got there. This was a pity, but it meant that one of Ian Judge's passengers managed to snap this picture of me descending into Le Touquet as they were leaving. Many thanks to the photographer Narelle Spooner for kindly allowing me to use the picture on the site.
Sheffield fly-in, 12th July 2003
Sheffield has recently opened its doors to single-engine light aircraft, so I'm going to rally the troops for a fly-in to show our support.
At the moment, the date is going to be 12th July, but this might possibly change - no doubt we'll be discussing it over the next few days, so check back here!
To join the fly-in, you can visit TheHangar.co.uk and register your details. Simply click on the "Who's going" link, then click on "Join the fly-in" near the bottom of the page.
The PPR requirements are slightly more complex than for most airfields, but shouldn't be too onerous. Everyone must sign a PPR form, and also you must read and sign a set of instructions that Sheffield will send you by fax.
The landing fee is amazingly cheap for a "serious" airport. For fixed wingers it's £5 per ton (or part ton), and for helicopters it's £6 per ton. Can't say much fairer than that, can you?
Sheffield has a single asphalt runway, 10/28, which is about 1200m long. Long enough for everyone!
For more information about how to fly into Sheffield, you can send an email to email@example.com, or you can phone Lynn on 0114 201 1998.