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Christmas at Compton

Gifts: We have a lovely selection of gifts from local award winning Honeycomb, to stocking fillers of balsawood gliders, and of course our fantastic selection of flights. Have a look at the Experience Flights section of our website for more information. 

Food & Drink: Come up and enjoy a festive treat whilst watching the aircraft. We have a delicious Christmas Pudding Latte, Hazlenut Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, Scottish Fruit Tart with whisky & cream, and our Christmas Baguette amongst other treats. And of course - some mulled wine and mince pies! 

Opening hours: We will be closing at 5pm on the 21st December and reopening at 9am on the 28th December. Don't forget our New Years Day fly in on the 1st January!

October Special Offer!

With every Experience Flight Voucher purchased in October we will be including a Lunch Voucher absolutely free! Its our Christmas gift to you. In order to claim your voucher just give us a call on 01747 811767. We look forward to speaking to you. Emma. 

Olivia Clarke is Living the Dream

Fresh off the back of her recent Skills Test success, student member Olivia Clarke is off to fly the 'big stuff'...

Please take a look at her incredible story here:

https://www.pilotcareernews.com/olivias-living-the-dream-to-become-an-airline-pilot/

Our Win A Flight in the Harvard Competition Aircraft was in Catch-22

Last night's episode of the Channel 4 George Clooney series 'Catch-22' featured our Harvard Warbird in a pivotal role.  

Painted up to look like a grinning shark of the skies, our vintage Warbird with a growl like a tiger and flown by Head of Training, Andrew Dixon, was seen tearing up the screen and being used as a major plot device.

Catch up with the series on All 4: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/catch-22/on-demand/68357-003

And don't forget you can win a chance to fly in our television star.  Make your way to the DH Flights website competition page at: https://www.dhflights.co.uk/harvardcompetition

and follow @dhflights on facebook, twitter and instagram suggesting a suitably cool NAME FOR OUR PLANE in the Comments section and you could be taking off with Gordon for a thrilling flight around the Dorset countryside.

We wish you luck!

 

Photography courtesy of Mike Nelson www.mikenelsonphotography.co.uk

 

A Very Successful Vintage Day 2019

We were delighted to welcome in the region of 120 aircraft on Sunday, 12th May for our Vintage Fly-in Day 2019.

Weather conditions were perfect and the capacity crowd enjoyed spectacle after spectacle of a bygone age of flying - landing and taking off into brilliant blue skies.

Joining them were a great variety of vintage vehicles, motorbikes and military machinery of various shapes and sizes.

Our students and members were treated to the experience of a very busy circuit and fantastic bird’s eye views of the colourful crowd including: Austers; Tiger Moths; Fox Moths & Hornet Moths; Stearmans; Chipmunks and a replica Spitfire to name but a few.

The bunting was flying and the old-time music was playing on the terrace with a very patient queue of customers for food and drink.  So we’d like to say a big, big thank our café bar and kitchen staff for keeping pace with the hordes of hungry visitors so well and everyone’s patience for the time it took to get served.

Finally a massive thank you to absolutely everyone who came along to make it one of the best Fly-in Days we have had at the airfield – especially with your tolerance of the road closures which had been considerably prolonged.

We very much hope to welcome you all back again next year.

 

Here is a selection of comments on Social Media from our wonderful attendees:

‘Wow love this place and today just showed what a wonderful place Compton Abbas is lovely seeing all the old planes well done to you all.’  Emma Ward

‘Harvard did some nice passes today!’  Jules McGowan

‘Fab day!  So glad we got there early and avoided the traffic.  Hoping to get back soon for an experience flight!’ Gina Hallett

‘Well done to all the staff.’  Fiona Clemitson

‘What a day’ Pilot World Shop

‘My son and I had a wonderful few hours with you.  Thanks to all for a friendly visit, met some lovely people, especially some Morgan car owners and of course a big thank to everyone involved in organising this event and the aircraft owners for bringing in such lovely classic aeroplanes.’ Dave Cooper

‘Amazing day and wonderful weather’ Lisa Bailey

‘I took my 3-year old son who loves planes... He had the best day.  Was wonderful thank you.’ Rhian Laura Morris

‘Such a beautiful airfield wish I could have made the 200-mile round trip lol.’ Bradley Rogers

‘What a great turnout really enjoyed the day’ Kevin Bartlett

‘Brilliant weather, great aircraft and friendly staff.  Well done all at Compton Abbas.’ Patrick Hardyman-Richards

 

 

Another star role for Compton!

Those of you who know the airfield will be familiar with the beautiful Harvard Warbird that regularly flies from the hilltop spot. From 20th June you will be able to see (and hear!) this iconic warbird on your TV screens in its film debut. Two of the Compton pilots, including our Head of Training Andrew Dixon who regularly flies for the James Bond movies, travelled to Sardinia to take part in the filming.  The remake of Catch-22 starring George Clooney is gaining rave reviews both from over the pond and in the UK, and we’re so excited to see the second blockbuster with one of the Compton Abbas aircraft, having been featured in Monuments Men in 2017.

To tie in with the film release we will soon be starting a competition in which you can win a flight in the star itself…keep your eyes peeled on Compton and DH Heritages social media for a chance to win!

Have a look at the trailer here...

Northampton Sywell Fly Out

Given the cancellations last year due to bad weather, we approached the first Fly Out for 2019 with some nervousness. However, cometh the day, the winds blew only a little bit and the sun was almost shining, so we were on for our Fly Out to Northampton Sywell.

All four club PA28s and the C42, along with a couple of resident aircraft were ready, and after a lot of planning and a bit of breakfast….we all set off. 

The great thing about Fly Outs is that the crews vary from those with lots of experience to students with less than 5hrs. We each decided to fly slightly different routes up to Sywell, some electing to head North via Frome, around to the North of Brize Norton. Others headed East, flying South of Boscombe and then heading North up towards Oxford, and on to Sywell.

Sywell has both tarmac and grass landing strips and we were all routed on to R05, a beautifully manicured piece of grass that reminded me of a lawn, rather than airfield. It was a quiet day at Sywell and the Compton contingent were all soon parked up line abreast, looking most splendid, with a backdrop being the ‘Blades’, a resident aerobatic team. 

After some tea and cake, some of the crews visited the local museum, only to find it closed with the grand opening taking place the following week!

Suitably fuelled (the crews that is) we all departed and subsequently arrived safely back at Compton around 4pm in time to share stories and put the aircraft to bed.

A great start to the Fly Out season, and thanks to everyone for their participation.

The next Fly Out is on Saturday 29th June to Stow Maries, which coincides with Forces Day at this WW1 airfield. This will be an amazing trip, so watch this space for the subsequent update.

GASCo Safety Evening

The Club hosted the annual GA Safety Council (GASCo) safety meeting last night with around 65 members and visiting pilots enjoying a presentation by Mike Benson.The GASCo Safety Evenings are designed to provide an opportunity for pilots to reflect on General Aviation safety matters as it affects them, and the people we fly with. 

This was a really interesting and enjoyable evening and an essential annual event for all pilots. The discussion brought out a range of topical safety issues affecting GA pilots and is already the main topic of discussion this morning as folk arrive to fly. 

Thanks also to our Chef Wes in the kitchen who prepared a lovely meal ahead of the presentation and to Emily who valiantly ran the bar until late in the evening.  

 

New Year's Fly In

If our New Year’s Day Fly In is a sign of the year to come, then we are going to have a fantastic year here at Compton Abbas Airfield! Apart from the normal busy Club flying programme, we had some 96 visiting aircraft from all over the UK throughout the day. Amazing for this time of the year.

The day started with glorious sunshine and lots of nervous anticipation in our flying operations office as, judging by the number of Prior Permission Requests (PPR) that we had received from visiting pilots, it certainly promised to be a busy Fly In. Our Fly In days are not just about flying of course and our restaurant team were soon working very hard looking after the large numbers of visiting pilots and the general public. This Editor thought that the term ‘standing room only’ applied only to his weekly commute on the London bound rail network, but I now know it also applies to Compton on a New Year’s Day Fly In!

Our thanks go to everyone for attending and making this such a fantastic event, whether flying or just visiting by road. We also need to thank our small band of volunteers that helped all day in the cold with marshalling of our many visitors, and to our hard working staff, especially in the kitchen and restaurant area.

What a great Day, let’s hope it is a sign of things to come in 2019!

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.





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