Compton Abbas Latest News


G-WOWI Trip to Alderney

One of our resident owners recently had a trip to Alderney, here is their story:

We (Peter & Becky Wood) decided to have a little jaunt to the Channel Islands back in August of this year as the weather was so fab and we had not yet made it across the Channel despite talking about it for a while. Peter was to be P1 for the outbound journey.

We had filed our GAR(general aviation report which is the custom declaration )the day before and the outward flight plan on the morning of the flight, both with Skydemon. Incidentally, the GAR has to be filed for the return trip only, this must be 12 hours in advance. It was not necessary to file a GAR for the outward journey.

It was a straightforward crossing, we had been able to fly straight through the danger area EGD026 as it was the weekend, having checked it was inactive, and we headed out for Alderney. We decided we would enter Channel Islands CTR at Ortac (approx 34 nm south of coast) and then turn towards Alderney.  Establishing Radio contact with Jersey Control can be a bit difficult we have discovered on our few times crossing the Channel but does eventually happen. Several times we have had a relay with another aircraft so were able to communicate eventually.

Landing at Alderney proved pretty straightforward, just taking care to keep enough height on final as the threshold is not too far from the cliffs and any possible wind shear/down drafts. Once down the ground crew are all very friendly and laid back. Indeed, they seem very pleased to see visitors. Making use of the non- VAT Avgas is a bonus of course!

We stayed overnight at the only registered camp site on Alderney, which is at the opposite end of the Island but that encouraged us to pretty much walk the entire Island- give or take- in 24 hours. Eating and drinking isn't a problem, there is a very small but friendly cafe at the airport and St Anne, the only town about one mile from the airport, has quite a few options. There seemed to be quite a few accommodation options although we went very last moment and so took a tent. We just happened to turn up at 'Alderney Week' so there was not as much accommodation to be had in any case!  The return journey was again straightforward, having filed our return flight plan via Skydemon an hour before we flew. Once again, encountering some difficulty with radio contact with Jersey Control as we flew towards the Dorset coast. This seems to be quite a common occurrence apparently.

Having done this trip a few times now I would say I would wait until I get closer to the CI CTR to establish contact with Jersey Control and, in reverse, when leaving, request a change of frequency from Jersey Control to onward station sooner so that I can then concentrate on aviating !!

Flying time in our little machine (RV7) is approximately 36-38 mins to Alderney at 125 knots, closer to an hour if you have to circumnavigate the danger area as we did on our recent trip. Its well worth the trip, especially if you can spend a little time there as Alderney is a pretty little Island and you can easily see quite a bit on foot if you are mobile. Bikes are also available to hire by all accounts. While there in August I asked a local taxi driver the cost of circumnavigating the Island and he quoted approx £20., and it would take approx one hour without stops.

I am still a relatively inexperienced pilot, but I am so glad that I have had the chance to fly somewhere a little different. There is a little bit more paperwork involved but it actually is less onerous once you get started than you might think. If you can get a pilot’s license you can definitely do what's needed to get to the Channel Islands!

Christmas fly-in

The end of the year is nearly with us, don't forget our Xmas fly-in on the 8th December, it would be great to see as many as you as possible and start to share the festival season.

We will give a small prize for the best Christmas jumper, also a Free Mince Pie and Coffee in exchange for landing fee.   

Compton ops will of course will be doing their best Christmas jumpers as well, you can decide who's the best!! smiley

 

What a Summer!

What a Summer!

Where do I start in regard to coverage of the summer so far, and what a summer it has been for flying with the gorgeous long hot sunny days and light winds, perfect flying weather.

Our instructors have been kept very busy as have our students, and their labours have been rewarded with numerous first solo, skills test and ground exam success stories. Well done to all concerned!! We also welcomed several new instructors this summer including Greg, Harry and Pete. Their arrival boosts our existing team and means that students have much better opportunity to book lessons. Welcome!

Events in June included visits by our Wing Walking friends along with their Stearman aircraft. This crowd pleaser is always popular, and we will be welcoming them back to Compton again in September. One of these brave walkers was our very own Graham Bowen who raised over £1000 for charity, amazing! Several of our intrepid pilots tried to fly to Alderney in late June but the winds at the destination airport were too high for our light aircraft. Not to be defeated the crews elected to fly out to Goodwood instead and had a fabulous afternoon watching Supercars. The last Friday of the month late night flying/curry nights have continued to be a very popular event with dozens of visiting crews calling in at the end of June.

July started as June had finished, busy! More solos and skills tests, visits by Scout groups and we even survived a full day operation on a busy Sunday without any electricity! On the weekend of 13/14 July we welcomed back the UK Aerobatics organisation and many competing aircraft for an exciting few days that kept the crowds entertained. The sharp-eyed Harvard fans may have also noticed our beautiful aircraft has changed its colour scheme. This is temporary and due to her being used in a film being shot in Sardinia. We are assured that the Harvard will be returned to her normal colours in September.

Finally, and speaking of stardom, did you see the first episode of ‘Flying Across Britain’ with Arthur Williams on C4 on Sunday 5th August? The opening episode included a fantastic piece on our own Compton airfield and interviews with our owner (Clive) and one of our resident pilots (Gordon). If you missed it then we suggest you try to catch up and watch the remaining episodes on Sunday evening at 7pm.

Watch this space for more news and let’s keep our fingers crossed for continued good flying weather.

Goodwood Fly Out

With GARs and flight plans submitted and life jackets bought and borrowed, five crews and a social member passenger arrived the morning of Friday 29th June in anticipation of the great adventure! However, the weather gods were not with us and having telephoned Alderney that morning, they confirmed what the Met Man had predicted…..strong winds from the West, gusting 25kts. Time for Plan B.
 
Plan B was hastily agreed which was to fly to Chichester Goodwood as many of the crews had not been there before. PPRs submitted we departed around 1300hrs local, and headed off to chance our arm at a transit through Solent CTA.  It was immediately clear on contacting Solent Radar that a transit was unlikely, and so it proved, with all five aircraft then routing overhead Cowes before turning in for Goodwood. If you have never been to Goodwood, they have a lovely (long) grass airstrip in the middle of a huge grass airfield (think Battle of Britain film). Goodwood was of course a very busy RAF fighter airfield during WWII and you could just imagine multiple aircraft scrambling across the grass to intercept enemy aircraft. Amongst a range of heritage aircraft, Goodwood have a beautiful two seater Spitfire that was very busy the day we visited giving experience flights.
 
Once we had checked in (no landing fees for Compton members) we were directed to take the ‘car park full of supercars’ and then under the racetrack to get to the café! What a stroke of luck, not only was it beautiful and sunny, but there was a series of supercars running around the race track with superb spectator viewing points at the café. After about an hour or so watching cars that we could not afford, we all returned to our aircraft and set off for an uneventful return flight back to Compton. 
 
Overall, this was a great flyout. True it was disappointing not to be able to fly to Alderney (again) and it was probably a little overkill for us all to wear our lifejackets to Goodwood at Gemma’s insistence, but Plan B turned out to be most enjoyable. In fact, we will be looking at a combined Fly/Drive (Supercar) day out to Goodwood in 2019, so watch this space ….!

New Years Day Fly in

Happy New Year everyone!

2018 started both windy (gusting 30 knots) and wet, but despite the weather Compton still opened the restaurant to welcome members, guests and passers by with new year greetings and delicious food.

Unfortunately the Fly in was cancelled, but our Ops staff were busy planning exciting events and training opportunities. All aircraft are undergoing annual maintenance checks and the restaurant is thinking up new seasonal menus. Its a busy month ahead here at the Airfield.

*Members Only* Breakfast

Saturday 6th January saw our first *Members Only* Breakfast. With the weather not being in our favour over the last couple of months, it was great to see our members meeting up and having a chat. And what could bring people together better than a delicious breakfast for only £5.50!? Our members chatted about flying and aircraft and tried out a flight simulator.

As a club, we love getting our members together for a good chinwag and some flying fun (weather permitting), so we will be making our *Members Only* Breakfast a monthly event, along with many other exciting events we have planned.

Upcoming Dates: 3rd February, 3rd March, 7th April, 5th May, 2nd June

Members Christmas Meal

Here at Compton we like to celebrate Christmas early, so on the 24th November we made our way over to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton. We had some drinks and a chat before taking a seat underneath the wings of Concorde for a three-course meal. With soup or salmon and prawns for starters, Christmas dinner, lentil dahl or salmon for mains and Christmas pudding or fruit salad for pudding we were well fed with good quality food. Some mince pies and coffee topped it off with a walk around hangars 1 and 4 to look at the amazing aircraft on display. 

A huge thank you to the Fleet Air Arm Museum for providing a brilliant evening and another thank you to everyone who attended and made it such a special event.

 

Drones at Compton

With the increasing number of drones in use in the UK, and the risk of collisions growing, the CAA launched an initiative called " Drone Safe " designed to help ensure drone users in the UK can access the information they need about how to fly their drones safely and legally, without endangering others. During November we hosted the first of a series of CAA roadshows promoting " Dronesafe ". Nearly 100 attendees were given presentations by Clive, NATS, a drone school and the CAA  followed by a practical demonstration outside. Despite it being a cold, wet and windy day it was well received by all and everybody went away wiser about drone operation and as hopefully safer pilots too. 

You can watch some of the footage from the event here and can read more about it here

Work with vintage aircraft at Compton

Volunteer ground crew are required for the vintage fleet at Compton Abbas Airfield, to join our enthusiastic and happy team. Duties include meeting clients and arranging completion of documentation prior to flight, escorting clients to the aircraft, giving safety briefings, overseeing the entry and exit of the aircraft and securing them into the flight harness. Ground positioning of aircraft out of and into hangars, fuelling and cleaning aircraft are also duties to be undertaken. Keen and physically fit persons over the age of 18 would suited to this role best. If this interests you please sent your details by email to emma@abbasair.com.

Olivia's first flight

Its not often that we have female students, or flight instructors, but today we had one of each in the same aircraft! The lovely Janice instructors for us a few days a month and Olivia had the privilege of having her first "official" flight with her which sets her off on the course to gain her private pilots licence. We have over 50 students at Compton with five aircraft to choose from and several different licences. Boy or girl, young or old, if you have always dreamed of flying then pop in and pay us a visit and we can chat about all the options available to you. 

Boeing Stearman added to the Compton Fleet

Compton is pleased to announce that we will, from the 1st November, have a classic American biplane to add to our experiences. The Boeing Stearman was born in American in 1940 and served in the US Navy as a military trainer. With top speeds of up to 220km/h this striking aircraft with its blue and yellow colour scheme is a delight to fly. If you would like to buy a voucher for yourself or someone else then you can do so on our website - just click here! We will be flying every weekend from the 4th November. 

Compton's Caribbean Night

The recent bad weather did nothing to dampen the party atmosphere at   Compton’s Caribbean Night. Amid blow up flamingos, palm trees and twinkly lights the Compton Café was beautifully transformed for both members and staff to enjoy a summers evening of fine food, rum punch and dancing.

There was a colourful selection of flowery fancy dress costumes; a couple of Bob Marleys, a bevy of grass skirted young ladies and a very dapper Plantation owner (Peter Upshall).  Bob Kinch won ‘best dressed’ with his excellent Reggae star impression, including dodgy walk and overly relaxed demeanour.

We enjoyed some Jerk Chicken with coleslaw and jacket potatoes with some delicious chocolate cake (courtesy of Mike Nelsons birthday!) which went down very well and fuelled (possibility in addition to the rum punch) the festivities.

Graham Bowen’s mobile disco kept the crowd dancing to his excellent mix of music, even when the café girls decided to compete in an impromptu Limbo competition…well done Chloe, a bright future in the art of limbo awaits.

Who needs blue skies, 30 degrees and golden beaches? …a great evening was had by all at Compton. 

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.





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