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!