Compton Abbas Latest News


British Aerobatics Weekend at Compton

In July Compton played host to this years’ Aerobatics Competition. Members of the British Aerobatic Association were competing for the Don Henry and Air Squadron Trophies. The arrival on Friday saw an impressive and colourful array of aircraft from as far afield as Ireland and Durham. 25 immaculate high performance aircraft visited the airfield. They included Pitts Special, Cap 231, Edge, Extra, RV-8, a DR107 and Aero Sport. The weather was favourable, with a cloud base above 2700 feet, kind winds and an appreciable crowd.

The competition saw three categories; Sport, Intermediate and Advanced and the competitors certainly gave a fabulous display of skill, teamwork and good spirits, flying late into the evening and enjoying the last of the sunshine.

Sadly, it was the last of the sunshine, for Saturdays event was a day spent watching the weather forecast and planning alternative routes home . A medal presentation from Fridays competition awarded golds to David Thomson (Advanced category in a CAP 232, OH-SKA), Matt Morris (Intermediate in an Extra 200, G-TWOO) and Chris Waddington (Sports class in a Pitts S-ISE G-BOXV) Well done to those guys, and also to all who took part.  We’re already looking forward to next years’ competition which will be held in July 2018. 

Thanks as always to Mike Nelson for the picture. 

You can see the full write up on the teams website here: https://www.aerobatics.org.uk/contest/result/127

A new aircraft on the fleet

On the 12th June we welcomed the arrival of our new Chipmunk, G-BZGA. Having been a much loved aircraft of the Real Flying Company for several years, the aircraft was ferried down to us, along with four other aircraft in tow to hand her over in style. 

We are really excited to now be able to offer, as well as flying experiences in her, full tailwheel conversion training, aerobatics training, full Private Pilots Licences, stall and spin awareness, or just an hour of fun in this popular trainer which is such a delight to fly. 

Keep your eyes peeled on the website and social media for information on when we will be launching flights! 

Pooleys Day 2017

We arrived at the airfield early on 14th May, ready and raring to go. The sun was shining, the clouds were lifting and the wind was as calm as can be expected when you’re on the top of a hill! Everything was set for a brilliant day and the weather didn’t let us down!

Pooleys are a company which sell flight equipment. Once a year they collaborate with us at Compton Abbas Airfield to run an event for all their customers to come and show off their planes and chat with other pilots. Pooleys set up their tent down by the Harvard, selling their products and running a Bose and Garmin competition.

Over 100 aircraft visited us on the day and with the help of our lovely volunteers who marshalled and fuelled like there was no tomorrow, the day ran smoothly. Fast track baguettes and drinks were being offered on the terrace meaning that everyone was fed and watered without any issues and we saw smiles from everyone.

To make the day a little more special we had a Channel 4 film crew on site all day to capture the whole thing. Although we can’t say much more than that, we hope to see it on TV soon!

After such a smooth event day, we would like to give a huge thank you to all our lovely volunteers, organisers, Pooleys and the weather men for such an amazing effort!

If you would like to attend another of our event days then grab some more information, talk to us at reception or visit our website – www.comptonabbasairfield.co.uk. To keep up-to-date with everything happening at the airfield follow us on twitter @abbsair or like our Facebook page.

Compton Abbas Fly Out to Duxford, 28 April

Five members flew in 2 two aircraft from Compton to Duxford in a Chipmunk and a PA-28. The weather wasn't especially kind but it didn't hamper the enjoyment of the flight which included flying over Oxford. Air Traffic Control was excellent on both legs of the journey which made for a thoroughly good day. Steve flew from Compton to Duxford as "I wanted to land on a big runway!" ably assisted by student Gary who helped with navigation. Raymond flew home by a different route and executed a fabulous landing back at Compton. Bob made the trip in his Chipmunk with Tom in the back seat.

Duxford airfield dates to 1918 when many of the buildings were constructed by German prisoner-of-war labour. The airfield housed 8 Squadron in 1919–1920 which was equipped with Bristol Fighters.

In 1968 Duxford was used as one of the locations for the shooting of the film Battle of Britain. On 21 June and 22 June, one of the original World War I hangars was blown up in stages for the filming (without the concurrence of the Ministry of Defence) and the airfield was spectacularly filmed from the air in a realistic bombing sequence. Ironically this was the nearest Duxford came to being destroyed as no significant wartime German raids were carried out on the aerodrome.

Duxford is a brilliant location for a fly out as for the aviation enthusiast there is so much to see. Not only are there the best aircraft museums in the country there is a lot of activity in the air too. Spitfire's, Harvard, Dragon Rapide... plus military Apache helicopters plus the usual gaggle of GA aeroplanes.

By Steve Beale

Fly-by friday

On Friday 17th March four Lynx helicopters took a farewell flight across the south of the UK, marking the end of the operational service for it’s type. Compton Abbas was the penultimate place on their tour before they landed in Yeovilton for the last time. Plenty of people turned out to say farewell, and a few others thought they would make the most of the crowds!

We had a fly past from the Wildcat which is replacing the Lynx, who gave a little bow to the crowd before departing, a Gazelle from the Royal Navy Sharks display team did a bit of showing off and an Apache whizzed along the runway too.

After a little longer waiting the formation of four Lynx arrived, flying along the runway to the waves of the crowd, departing off to Yeovilton. Pictures by Mike Nelson Photography. To keep up-to-date with what’s happening at the airfield follow us on twitter @abbasair or like our Facebook page.

Solo buddies flying meet

On Saturday 5th February we held a flying buddies meet for our solo hirers. As the members arrived they grabbed a drink and started to get to know each other.  Gemma then came in and gave the flying buddies an update to everything happening at the airfield, including upcoming events, potential fly outs and some ideas of what to get up to with your licence.

Then ideas were discussed amongst the group as to how to encourage more flying and things that they would like to do. This included flight orienteering, visiting le Touquet and overnight bookings. The flying buddies got to know each other a little more and a plan was made to keep them flying together as much as possible.

If you would like more information or would like to join the flying buddies then have a chat with us in reception or send an email to fly@abbasair.com.

Student Flying Buddies Meet

On Saturday 12th February we held a flying buddies meet for our students. As the members arrived they grabbed a drink and started to get to know each other. Cara then went in and gave the flying buddies an update about everything happening at the airfield, including upcoming events, potential fly outs and spoke about going in the back seat of each others flights to gain more experience.

Then ideas were discussed amongst the group as to how to encourage more flying and different things that they would like to do. This included group revision sessions, planned fly-outs to assist navigation skills, a visit to an air traffic control tower and a talk from Sky Demon. A forum has been created so that the student buddies can stay in touch and get to know each other a bit better.  

If you would like more information or would like to join the student buddies (you just need to be a current member of the club) then have a chat with us in reception or send an email to fly@abbasair.com.

Compton is recruiting

We are looking for an Operations Team Member. If you are interested in finding out more about the role then please email emma@abbasair.com in order to obtain a job description. The job is part time which will most likely be every other weekend plus one or two weekdays - this can be flexible depending on the candidate. Look forward to hearing from you! 

Three first solos in January

When learning to fly you spend a lot of time with a Flying Instructor, but at some point after lots of practice at taking off and landing, they will jump out and tell you to go for it on your own. This is called a first solo flight. Here at Compton Abbas Airfield the first week in January saw three first time solo flights in three consecutive days. On the 3rd we saw Harry Dodd take the controls of our PA28 Piper Warrior with a successful take-off and landing. Aged 16 this is a huge achievement for Harry who hasn’t even learned to drive yet! On the 4th we saw our very own operations team member, Cara Bennett, take her next big step into aviation. And on the 5th Hector Gibson-Flemming took to the air for this milestone in his training. Nothing quite beats seeing the grin on the faces of those first time solo-ers as they manage to take to the air on their own for the first time. Congratulations are in order for all three and we are excited to see them pass the rest of their exams and gain their wings in 2017.

Compton Members Christmas Party

We wanted to celebrate Christmas in style so this year we held our Christmas Meal at The Museum of Army Flying in Middle Wallop. The Museum holds an extensive collection charting over 100 years of the British Army in the air, with over 35 fixed wing and rotary aircraft on display.

We sat surrounded by a myriad of planes, helicopters and other flying devices we had never seen before. After a few drinks and a look round the museum, a three-course meal was served and crackers were pulled. It was wonderful to see our members being festive and getting to know each other a little better.

With some lovely food, lots of planes and brilliant company a great night was had by all!

Compton Team Christmas Party

Monday 12th of December saw our Staff Christmas Party. The theme was Pop Idols and we were not disappointed, with outfits ranging from Elvis to the Wurzels. The evening started off with a few drinks and a natter and then we sat down to a delicious lasagne made by Margaret. The food went down a storm and then we had some interesting games planned by Michelle! The first involved a tennis ball, tights and some water bottles… Whoever came up with this game was a genius. The tennis ball was put into the bottom of the tights and then the top was put over the head of the victims (I mean volunteers!), they then had to use the tennis ball to knock over a series of water bottles, the winner was the first to knock all of the bottles over. With lots of laughter Tom managed to knock the bottles over quicker than Rose, which bagged a win for the DH team. We then moved on to Human Hungry Hippos which involved skateboards, washing baskets and plenty of balls! Nick and Andrew bagged another win for the DH team leaving them as the overall winners, although Compton won the costume competition at the end of the night!

We finished the night off with some karaoke and dancing. We had some interesting versions of Grease, Winter Wonderland, Like A Virgin and many others. Graham surprised us all with his wonderful electric guitar playing and we even had some playing the spoons! A great night was had by all and a huge thank you to the Hughes’, Michelle and Graham.

Compton's Harvard visits the Goodwood Revival

Our beautiful Harvard was invited to be in the static display at the 2016 Revival - and had pole position by the pilot's tent and a beautiful DC-3. We had a fantastic time chatting to the many pilots and non pilots who were there - and it was great to see all our competition winners enjoying themselves too. Eight people, including members of the flying club and social media followers, won tickets through Compton in the lead up to the event. We also had a great time flying our Bournemouth Echo competition winner to Goodwood in the T6 Texan. Describing it as one of the best experiences of his life he was treated not only to a flight along the South coast in to the aerodrome but also had a trip back in one of our warriors. 

We look forward to next years event! 

The Red Devils Visit Compton

The Red Devils have had a great season displaying at lots of UK events including the Bournemouth Airshow. Today, the 4th September, they popped in to us for breakfast and their briefing before heading off to display in Dorchester at the County fair. The aircraft that they were jumping out of is one of the biggest we have had at Compton - and the worlds largest single engine bi-plane. A Soviet mass produced aircraft it was designed for very short take off and landings - and popping down with just a 200m landing roll it certainly proved its capabilities! 

Win a flight to Goodwood in our Harvard!

Win a flight to the Goodwood Revival venue in a DH Heritage Flight North American SNJ-5 (Harvard) Warbird. Enjoy the unique experience of flying in this pristine example of an aircraft that played a significant role in the worlds aviation heritage both in war and peacetime. 

The flight departs Compton on the 8th September at a time to be decided. 

To enter the competition just answer this question;

What town is closest to the SNJ-5's home base at Compton Abbas Airfield? Then, simply post, or bring, your answer on a plain piece of paper to include your name and telephone number. 

Competition Rules;

a) Entry to the revival is not included - we suggest you contact them for tickets if you would like to go!

b) Applicant must be able to access the aircraft unaided and be over 16 years of age at the time of the flight. The must also be under 18stone. 

c) Flight is subject to weather conditions and any unforeseen operational delays. 

d) Winners are responsible for their own ground transport arrangements to and from both Compton Abbas Airfield and Goodwood (Chichester) Airfield. 

e) Winners ticker is not transferable and has no surrender cash value. 

f) Draw will take place at Compton Abbas Airfield one week before the flight is due to take place and the winner will be notified by telephone. 

Compton's Vintage Fly In

We couldn't have had better weather if we'd have ordered it! With beautiful blue skies, a few fluffy white clouds and light westerly winds it was perfect conditions for the lovely vintage aircraft who had booked to come in. We had a fantastic selection of pre 1969 aircraft including a 1937 Swallow which had just had a complete restoration and visited us for its first flight out.

We also had a selection of de Havilland Moths, Austers, Jodels, Stampes and Yaks - a total of 148 aircraft flew from the airfield. Our own vintage fleet were also flying, with the Harvard, Tiger Moth and Chipmunk all earning their keep flying the lucky people who had been brought an experience flight voucher. 

A special enclosure enabled the many vintage cars including some lovely Morgans and Jaguars - thank you to everyone who brought their vehicle up to join in. Over 1500 people enjoyed wandering around them whilst soaking up the atmosphere and watching all the aircraft activity. With a selection of "vintage" specials on the menu we had Jam Sponge & Custard, Cream Teas and Sausage & Mash as well as our normal locally produced fare. 

You can find pictures of the day on our Facebook Page (Compton Abbas Airfield), Instagram Page (Compton Abbas Airfield) and Twitter (@abbasair). Like or follow us to see more! 

Royal Aero Club Air Race

On the 9th and 10th July Compton played host to the Royal Aero Club Records, Racing and Rally Association. Unfortunately the weather got the better of us on the Saturday with only a brief clearance in the weather to enable the competing pilots to carry out a practice route of the course. However Sunday brought beautiful weather and the start of summer! The team managed to complete the course with 12 aircraft competing ranging from a powerful Extra 330 and a very rare amphibious aircraft.

Air racing and the setting of records came to the fore from the earliest of times, although it was not until the 1920s that it took on a formalised and more spectacular form. In Britain, royal patronage for air racing came with the annual King's Cup, first awarded by George V in 1922 and hotly contested to this day.

Races are held at venues mainly in UK with the season culminating with the determination of the British Air Racing Champion. Generally, the races comprise four or five laps of a course of 25 miles centred on an airfield, with a staggered start on handicap, designed to produce a simultaneous finish. Spectators therefore are usually able to see both the start and the finish. Races are occasionally held from point to point and from country to country.

Recent examples battling for honours range from military pilots to airline captains, businessmen, writers, travel agents, policemen and many more. The aircraft that they fly are just as varied. In speed they range from 100mph to nearly 250mph encompassing trainers through to executive twins, single seat racers to classic tourers, and homebuilts to warbirds.

If you would like to find out more please visit the website: http://www.britishairracing.com  

Thank you very much to Martin Woolmington for the photograph. Please have a look on his page if you are ever looking for a friendly and professional photographer: http://mwphotoz.co.uk/ 

Vintage aircraft at Compton

We had a great impromptu vintage day on the 21st June with the arrival of the Cambridge Flying Group on their annual fly out. Flying in from White Waltham they visited us for lunch on our runway terrace on their way to stay overnight at Oaksey Park Airfield. They brought three beautiful Tiger Moths, two Chipmunks and a Hornet Moth as well as some lovely support aircraft.

With our Tiger Mot G-ADXT, our Chipmunk G-AOTR, and our resident Tiger Moth G-ANKZ flying as well, we had a combined age of 687 years of aircraft sitting out on the grass. 

If you fancy a taste of 1930's and 1940's flying then have a look on our website for a list of experiences. Choose from the 1930's Tiger Moth, 1940's Harvard Warbird and 1940's Chipmunk - all flying over the beautiful local countryside - and if you are lucky enough to have an hours flight - over the stunning Jurassic coast. Click here for more information. 

A visit from the Civil Aviation Authority

On Monday 13th June Compton Abbas played host to Rob Gratton, the principle Airspace Regulator from the CAA, for a presentation on the forthcoming Solent Collaborative Trial. Considering that that it was a wet Monday morning we had a good turnout of both club members and instructors. Rob flew in for the presentation in his Grumman AA5, luckily landing just before the weather closed in on the airfield.

The aim of the trial, which will run for 3 months from the 16th July, is to try and reduce the large number of airspace infringements of the controlled airspace around Southampton. Every year there are over 1,000 infringements throughout the UK and the airspace around Southampton tops the list for the most infringements, with 125 in 2015.

The trial will build on the current listening squawk procedure already in force in the Southampton area by defining a “buffer zone area” around the controlled airspace. Aircraft flying in the buffer zone are requested to squawk 0011 and monitor 120.225.

Final details of the area concerned and full procedures will be released by the CAA in early July prior to the start of the trial.

A final quote from the CAA; “Whilst the use of listening squawks has played a key role in helping to mitigate some of the risks from such infractions the rising trend in numbers is unacceptable and further measures are required to ensure that through a proportionate regulatory approach, a reduction of the numbers of infringements is secured.”

Compton Abbas Airfield American Fly In

On Saturday 11th of June we hosted our first ‘American Fly-In’. The idea for the day came from the arrival of our stunning Harvard Warbird (or T6 Texan as the Americans call it) last year. The aircraft is one of the best examples of its kind in the world and it earns its keep by doing Experience Flights at the airfield – a real crowd pleaser from the outside and an incredible experience from the inside if you are lucky enough to have a go! The start of our day brought low cloud and some drizzle, but no sooner did the first of our Aviator Burgers and Chocolate Sundaes begin to make an appearance on the ‘Runway Terrace’, so called up the first of our visiting American aircraft.

In came a stunning example of a Texan Warbird with its distinctive sound followed shortly by a Beech Staggerwing (an American aircraft with an American pilot!) and a Stinson Gullwing. Throughout the day we continued to see some beautiful aircraft take to the sky, including both the Travel Air and the Stearman which are both based here at Compton Abbas Airfield. We were also treated to a fly past by the Navy Swordfish from the Royal Navy Historic Flight thanks to Lt Simon Wilson from Yeovilton. 

At 14.30 as promised the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight called from Biggin Hill Airfield to say all being well they would arrive at 16.15 local for their Flypast. We actually had little doubt they wouldn’t arrive as earlier in the afternoon they were the second of seven elements for the Queens 90th Birthday Flypast over Buckingham Palace. So of all days to call us to say “We are tech!” it wasn’t going to be this day.

By 16.00 all Compton based aircraft were on the ground and our airspace was clear ready for the BBMF Flypast. The Runway Terrace was packed to full capacity but all was quiet in anticipation and at 16.15 through they came.  BBMF Spitfire XVIe TE311 (memorial) and BBMF Hurricane IIc PZ865 (memorial) flew over with both grace and elegance.  There was silence as everyone took in that ever-recognisable roar of the Merlin engine from the Spitfire, which is like nothing else. They headed north before coming through again to huge cheers and a round of applause at an angle that made them ever pleasing on the eye and gave our resident photographers the ideal opportunity for some great shots.

If you missed out on the day then please take a look on our website www.comptonabbasairfield.co.uk or like us on our Facebook page.

Student Success at Compton

After what can only be described as the worst winter in recent history; we're very proud of our fantastic students for their recent spate of achievements. The weather precluded the vast majority of flights over the long winter period, but our flying club members kept up their studying and enthusiasm, and picked up where they left off once the decent flying weather came back to greet us. 

April and May were great months with four people gaining their wings and a very exciting day where we had three "first solos" before lunch! Well done to Julian, Ralf and Victoria - three in one day is a first in the history of Compton! Thanks to Victoria for her lovely summing up of the experience;

"I'm still pinching myself about my solo flight - a dream realised! I'm not sure I can thank you all enough; it was so lovely to do it at Compton Abbas and to feel the real excitement of everyone else sharing my happiness. Thank you again :)". 

If you are interested in learning then it might be easier and cheaper than you think. Please feel free to email us or come up and have a chat. The best way forward is to have one of our experience flights which you can purchase online or over the phone, we can then give you a really good idea of whats involved, and how the courses work. We have everyone from 12 year old boys to 84 year old girls flying with us - and there is no experience necessary at all to get started. We look forward to seeing you! 





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