Ariel view cranfeldCRANFIELD AERODROME

This of course if my home territory. The wonderful place where I learnt to fly! Mick enjoyed visiting the Cafe Pacific during my training on the occasions he came with me. It was a very opportune discovery as it is so close to where we live. The aerodrome itself has a number of flying schools, but I chose the one which bore the name of the place itself, Cranfield Flying School. And the rest as they say, is history!It was a great place to learn, as it is quite a substantial airfield, and the drills are very useful when you head off to other larger airfields. The runway orientation is 21 and 03. Circuits are left hand for 21 and right hand for 03, and height of circuits is 1000 feet on the QFE. Recently overhead joins are considered here subject to ATC control. There is now PAPI lighting on both runways. All VFR traffic should join via the VRPs Woburn and Stewartby, and if 03 is in operation Olney can also be used. The instructors at Cranfield are second to none and have always been very helpful to me. Of course I am still enjoying my advanced training here, and hope that the business carries on thriving!

ariel view of sibsonSIBSON AERODROME

This was a strange place to come for my first land away from Cranfield. I flew with my Instructor Christian Archer to Sibson. It was a cold and snowy day, we had spent hours cleaning the aircraft so we could do a navigation exercise. It is quite a daunting place to go for the first time, as there is parachuting there , and also pylons on the approach to 24 and trees the other end to the 06 approach! Quite a hazardous package for a fledgeling aviator! However, when we arrived the staff were very helpful and kind, and we observed the maintenance facility from the clubhouse. This was where I learnt about short field take offs! We also had full fuel on board, so it was a great test to attempt! I was glad I had come with someone for that first time!

ariel view of coningtonCONINGTON AERODROME

Conington was the first place I flew to and landed solo. The cafe/bar is very homely here, and the staff are excellent. At one time, I went with the intention of doing my long solo navigation trip, but the weather closed in on the second destination, which was Gamston, and the very kind man who took the landing fee even wrote me a note saying the weather at Gamston was not conducive for a student to fly to. So I took off and went via Towcester back to Cranfield. Everyone thinks this place is hard to spot, but I just look for the big main road and Sawtry, and it is just east of that. I never had a problem finding this airfield! I prefer landing on 10, because on 28 you have to backtrack to return to the taxi way area to park (on 10 you can get there for a cup of tea more swiftly!).

gamsgtone aerodrome ariel viewRETFORD (GAMSTON)

I did finally make it to Gamston, eventually, on my long solo navigation, successfully negotiating Conington once more. There is such a fresh feel to this aerodrome, spacious, clean, the cafe called 'The Apron' is wonderful,l with outside terrace seating and great staff. There seems to be acres to park in, and the runway orientation is the same as Cranfield, 03 and 21. There are only two exits from the runway, Taxiway A and B, and so some backtracking for take off is necessary. There is also an unlicensed runway, orientation 14 and 32, just in case crosswind is an issue! Also, the airfield nestles in the corner of Doncaster's air traffic zone, but as long as you stay below 2000 on the approach to the place, you won't bust their airspace. If you are not sure exactly where you are, then radio Doncaster! This is also the place which is closest to where my Mum lives, and Eddy, my Brother, has kindly ferried her to meet us there. Had a great day then and the pictures from this trip tell the story of the fun we had. Eddy came in the plane with me for a circuit as well, the tower kindly allowed us to take to the air for a brief sortie. Sadly, his memory card ran out otherwise we would have had video footage of the circuit! The photos of the day we travelled in the handsome PA 28 G-BPAF, the Night Rider are included in the photograph section, to go to this page, click here.

wellesbourne ariel viewWELLESBOURNE AERODROME

I flew over here without landing with Goaty who did a video piece on me after I gained my PPL licence, and the returned with Mick so he could assess the cafe, named the Touchdown Cafe. He gave it the thumbs up, and indeed it is a very popular place not only with aviators but with passing trade from the road. Wellesbourne is not far from Startford-Upon-Avon, and there are numerous bikers who utilise the breakfast facilities also. Needless to say we have been back there quite a few times. The runway orientation is 18 or 36, and there are noise abatement procedures to be followed, particularly avoiding the surrounding village, and following take off from 36 you have to turn right almost immediately, (head for the green roof!) before you return to your chosen track. There is also a smaller runway orientation 05 and 23, which is not available from 1600h Friday to 8000h Sunday due to the market. Coming from Cranfield, the disused Gaydon field which now has automobiles on it is a good landmark to look out for.

Leicester from the airLEICESTER AERODROME

This was always on the agenda, as it had a renowned cafe. Indeed, the first time we came, we arrived on the runway 10, having to make a circuit over the outskirts of Leicester, Mick managed to spot the football ground. The main runway is 940 metres the other orientation being 28 which we have also arrived at. There are other shorter strips, but 15 and 33 usually are used for aircraft parking, and taxiways, and I have always taxied along the 04 and 22 runway. There are also grass strips which you can just see in the picture to the left. Climbing out on 28 you have to reach 1000 feet on the QFE before turning, and as the aerodrome is 469 feet above mean sea level, if you are on QNH, allow at least 1500 feet before your turn. This is a very friendly place, and has some great old pictures on the walls, a fantastic viewing gallery where you can eat your breakfast and watch the planes fly in and out, and the chips they make are always worth a return visit (as recommended by Mick!).

Duxford aerodrome from the airDUXFORD AERODROME

This is close to Cranfield, and I was very keen to go an visit this iconic Imperial War Museum, by flying in! We have passe dit so many times in the car, and never actually visited it, so the first time I went I thought you could just radio in and we got told off, but they kindly let us land! We went up to the tower to have a briefing and we have always done the right thing since! You get two hours free time in the museums, along with your landing fee. I had to return there very soon, and in fact the next time I went was with Ed and Rob who were instructors at Cranfield, the weather was poor, and I had arranged prior permission to get into Duxford with the tower (you need to have prior permission), but the weather was delaying our start. Finally I decided to set off and Ed decided to come along as nothing was going on at Cranfield, and we walked through the door and met Rob who also came along for the ride! Had a great two hours at the museums, and the weather never improved! We cloud scudded all the way back to Cranfield. eventually, Mick and returned to Duxford and we have been there a couple of times since. Great place, but you need a lot more than two hours to look through the hangers and their contents. This is a favourite place! The runway orientation is 24 or 06 and when flying into 24, join downwind for a left hand circuit, avoid Duxford and the gas venting site, and position yourself at the BP roundabout for final approach. For 06 join downwind for right hand circuit. Departures from 24 no right turn until passed Royston due to Fowlmere traffic. Departures from 06 maintain heading until 2 nautical miles (the BP roundabout). There are often air shows and displays at Duxford, so do check before departing what is occurring there!

Northampton Sywell from the airNORTHAMPTON SYWELL AERODROME

This is a very convenient place to go for a good breakfast not far from Cranfield, for hunger driven trips. There is also a Hotel in art deco style as well as a cafe which serves breakfast and other meals. The Hotel has a licenced bar and also a nice restaurant. The circuits are left hand for 03, 15 and 23, right hand for 05, 21 and 33. There are two runways orientation 03 and 21, one hard and one grass. This is a favourite to visit if you only have a short period put aside for your flight from Cranfield, and the food is excellent, and the viewing from the cafe is also very good. There are a number of air shows that go one here so it pays to check what is happening before departing for Sywell. Save petrol! Visit Sywell! The hard runway is excellent and great to fly into on 21. I have been here a few times mainly because of it's proximity to Cranfield. Don't lose your receipt for the landing fee as it has the codes for the gates to enter and leave the airfield.

Turweston from the airTURWESTON AERODROME

You have to read up your information about this friendly little aerodrome. There are noise abatement procedures in place, that need to be adhered to. Circuits are at 1300 feet QFE to the north of the aerodrome. For arrivals to 09 and 27 you have to offset 20 degrees north of the centre line. Departures are similar, after take off offset north 20 degrees before navigating to your destination. The Flying Pig Cafe is very homely and has good honest food available for your delight. The first time I came to Turweston, I was busily trying to do my noise abatement, but the weather was closing in, and all of a sudden there was a massive downpour of Biblical proportions. I remember the runway being very skiddy, and I actually had to sit in the aeroplane for about fifteen minutes until it died down before I could go and pay my landing fee! All the while, the weather at Cranfield was glorious, and I am sure the boys thought I made the story up when I returned!

Earls Colne from the airEARLS COLNE AERODROME

At last I made it to visit my former instructor Christian who worked at Earls Colne following his stint at Cranfield. This is really pretty from the air as it adjoins the golf course and looks like a glorious green triangle! There is a small cafe outside, which serves snacks, and the place is very homely. I thought I had missed Christian but I was just about to leave when I heard his voice on the radio saying, "Is that the Flying TIgress?" and so I shut the engine down and we had a catch up! Great fun. The runway orientation is right hand circuit for 06 and left hand circuit for 24, with parallel grass and asphalt strips. Christian advised landing on the grass and taking off on the hard runway. Leaving from 06 turn right abeam the mast to 120 degrees heading to avoid Earls Colne village and from 24 climb to 500 ft QFE before turning left into the circuit.

shobdon sirfield from the airSHOBDON AERODROME

The first time we flew here it was on a recmmendation from Terry at Cranfield. He said there was a great cafe and it was a lovely picturesque flight. So off we set, in Mack the Blac, but poor Mick became very clod on the flight, as I was unsure if the heater was operational! I found out later it was ok, so he need not have froze! However, the flight was worth it and it was a wonderful place nestled near the hills, six miles west of Leominster. The runway orientation is left hand cicuit for 09 and right hand for 27, and there are unlicensed grass strips also. Overhead joins are used, but do not descend below 1500 QFE on deadside, pass the south side of the runway before further descent to join downwind. The cafe was fabulous and there was such a friendly charm about this place. Have to make sure the heater works next time!

elstree from the airELSTREE AERODROME

I was itching to go here as it was very close to where we used to live in London Colney, and I was curious to see how the places round there had changed. I went just before the massive restrictions on airspace for the Olympic Games. So I have a fabulous leisurely flight via Halton, who were extremely friendly on the radio as I passed nearby their ATZ. The runway orientation is 08 and 26. There are no overhead, downwind or deadside joins, you have to make straight in approaches calling at 4 and 2 nautical miles, using the golf course as the VRP for 26 and the canal bend VRP for 08. There is an uphill incline on 26 upon landing beware of this. There are two restaurants, 3 greens and Elstree Aerodrome Cafe. I had a great time revisiting the mass of sprawling motorway roads, and leaving the traffic behind me!

enstone ariel shot ENSTONE AERODROME

I went to Enstone by chance as I found out there was a project underway of Spitfires being newly built. I was curious enough to go and have a look, and luckily on the day I went a demonstration was being given about the project. Sadly it was too much money for me to buy a share in owning one of the home built Spitfires, but it was a great adventure anyway. The runway orientation is left hand for 08 and right hand for 26 as all circuits are to the north of the airfield. There is a separate grass strip with the same orientation, but maintained by 'The maintenance facility'. Avoid overflying the sensitive villages of Great Tew, Little Tew, Ledwell, Sandford, St Martin, Enstone and Church Enstone. The place was extremely friendly, and there was a small cafe for tea coffee and cakes. There was no landing fee when I went! Hooray!

kemble from the airKEMBLE AERODROME

Ah! Kemble! It took a while for us to visit this wonderful aerodrome, but it was well worth it! The visibility was a bit poor the day we arrived in the early morning but the twer kindly allowed us to approach from the west where visibility was better! Left hand circuits at 1000ft are advised for both 08 and 26. Check out the noise abatement procedures, generally avoid the villages! Avoid the gliding at Aston Down, and parachuting at South Cerney, and the circuit traffic at Oaksey Park. The restaurant 'AV8' is second to none! The breakfast was superb, and the staff were all very friendly. We had the added bonus of meeting the daughter of our fuel bowser man Nigel at Cranfield! His daughter Jayne works in the administration area of Kemble. We were also lucky enough to meet David Gearing who kindly took some great photos of us taking off in the lovely G- AVWU. You will find those in the Aeroplane photographs section in the main aviation index.

fenalnd from the airFENLAND AERODROME

The first time I saw Fenland, I was on a trip with David Coulson, chief flying instrcutor at Cranfield, who took me on a cloud based trip to boost my confidence for the IMC test. We found Fenland and over flew this, and then took a fun ride to Skegness. So, I vowed I would visit Fenland. Mick came along too as there was a good restaurant there. There are two grass strips, and I was non plussed when we arrived because I expected to land on the 18/36 orientation, but they were using the shorter strip that day, 08/26. We landed on 26. Circuits are left handed on 26 and 36 and right handed on 08 and 18. All aircraft should avoid overflying the village of Holbeach St Johns (1 nm east of the aerodrome). Departing from 36 track 5 degrees right after take off to avoid the riding centre. Similarly arriving for 18, fly to the north of the electricity cables until established on the centre line. This is not a place to go to after heavy rain! It can flood!

overhead nottingham airfieldNOTTINGHAM AERODROME

This is on the edge of the East Midlands CTA so contact East Midlands approach on 134.175 for transit and information. This aerodrome caters for Executive and Private aircraft fixed and rotary wing. The circuits are at 800 feet on the QFE. There is a section between the two runways which is used for parking and is also a taxiway. The runways are both asphalt 03 and 21, and 09 and 27. Overhead and deadside joins are preferred, and pilots are asked to avoid if possible overflying built up areas. However, in the circuit coming into 09 the left base leg takes you over the edge of Nottingham. The chaps in the tower are very helpful and friendly, and the restaurant has a nice viewing area to watch the take off and landing of the aeroplanes. The food was fresh and excellent, the faciklitues are open every day, and they even have their own website! The cafe is called Chocks Away! Highly recommended, as is the sirport itself, which we really enjoyed visiting.


We had to come to Halfpennygreen because of the name! What a splendid name for an airfield! Talked to Birmingham Radar on the way to this place. It is quite close to Dudley, famous birthplace of the one and only 'Dudley' he who just is the one! There are a few runways here! It is a proper triangle, like Leicester airfield. The biggest runway is 34 and 16 (with PAPI). There are also runways 10 and 28 and 04 and 22. Mostly left hand circuits. Do not descend below 1300 feet on QFE on deadside as helicopters operate at 800 feet QFE right hand circuits. AVoid overflying Highgate Farm left of the extended centre line on departure on runway 16. No EFATOS on runway 34 until past Whittimere Farm 1DME beyond WOL. Despite all that, onto the more serious stuff, the Cafe is absolutely excellent! The chaps on the tower are also of great calibre. Sensible and helpful, it was a joy to come to visit this exceptionally friendly aerodrome.

coventry aeriodrome from the airCOVENTRY AERODROME

It took a long while to be brave enough to go to Coventry, as this is a large aerodrome with radar and a reputation of serious aviation, and woebetide anyone who does something amiss! However, the only way to learn is to do it! So off we went to visit the Coventry Aviation museum which was near the site. Circuit height is 1000 feet, and usually, the icuits are left hand for 23 and right hand for 05. The first landing I made there was excellent and we exited very swiftly at Juliet, the first exit after the 23 threshold! This was ideal as the Flying School was situated just to the right of the Juliet taxiway. It was a little like Fort Knox to get in and out of, and the first time we went there we wandered aimlessly around the 2008 meters of runway trying to find where to pay! A fireman took pity on us an rescued us taking us to the South Apron where Commercial operations took place, then kindly drove us back ot the Flying School. The people in the Flying School saw us land and wondered where we had gone, as we could have paid the landing fee there! Ho hum! You live and learn! The Hangar Bar was our first port of call, and there we met James who made such a fabulous breakfast for us. By the time all that was done, it was too late to go to the museum, but we are regular visitors to Coventry now, and Mick loves flying in over the massive roundabout just before the threshold of 23! We are good friends with James the proprietor of the Hanger Bar now, who always manages to be late whenever we arrive to eat there! Luckily, we have his mobile number there days! We also have visited the museum a couple of times as well!

Bourn aerodrome from the airBOURN AERODROME

I flew to this aerodrome during my Piper Super Cub training for tailwheel operations from Duxford. The sessions at Duxford were thwarted twice because of terrible crosswinds on both of the days I had to attend. The owner of the aircraft was getting annoyed at having to bring the aircraft from Clacton where it was based, so I never completed the tailwheel trining in this aircraft, but did make it to Bourn to do a few circuits! Circuits were 1000 feet left hand on runways 06 and 18 and right hand on runway 24 and 36. We used 18 on the day we went, and I did a few circuits then landed and had a cup of tea with the very nice people in the flying school. It was very friendly depite being small and there was no formal food area, so I knew Mick would not have like it! But it was a new place to go, and interesting. I kept landing short of the threshold of 18, where it was quite rough just to ensure we could take off again, but it was fine! I was quite sad to fly back to Duxford as I knew there was a bit of consternation about the aircraft. Needless to say I gave up with Classic Wings at Duxford due to the lack of desire on their part to help me finish the course (even though I had paid in full which I was quite annoyed about). Moved on to the Chipmunk in Turweston instead!

Wycombe air park from the airWYCOMBE AIR PARK (Booker) AERODROME

Wycombe was an aerodrome I did a low approach and go around once when I was training, but my instructor Christian told me they were a bit fussy about the circuits and noise abatement, so again I had to muster up enough courage to go there on my own. As with Coventry, I thought no way I will learn unless I try these things, so I read up carefully about the cicrcuits, the rules about noise abatement until I had it all in my head and had learnt it almost off by heart. When I called them to visit, they could not have been nmore helpful, and even laughed when I said wil I be disappointed with the Golden Ball reporting point. (It was not that exciting I have to say!) Anyway, I reported at Princes Risborough as per the website instructions and not long after that, the lady in the tower said she could actually see me! I could see the aerodrome and was amazed by the blackness of the runway! It must have been resurfaced because it stood out so boldly against the green of the surrounding grass! I landed on runway 24 (right hand circuit) and they also use runway 06 with a left hand circuit. I even got my own parking spacce number 12! All very impressive, and the people ionside were great and so helpful. The Pad restaurant was very homely, and will take Mick there next time after my initial reccy! Just remember to turn left about ten degrees after take off from 24 and go well beyond Frith before turning on track. If you take off from the 06 runway, head 020 after take off and then 360 at 600 feet!


I first encountered Goodwood/Chichester aerodrome when I did the Spitfire course in 2014. I have recently returned there to do a structured Chipmunk conversion course. Although I have flown the Chipmunk before, the excellent instruction by Tim Granshaw helped me to progress rather well with a view to going solo on this particular aircraft, which will enable me to hire the same plane from Chichester! Unfortuntaely we lost a day of training due to the weather and I was sooooo close to going solo, but it will give me another excuse to visit this 'Glorious Goodwood' aerodrome. The surroundings are fabulous, but there are a number of noise abatement procedures which I was lucky enough to have full briefings on, thanks to Tim. There are a vast array of runways, left handed 06, 10 and 14, and right handed 24, 28 and 32. During the training I managed to use the 14, 24 and 32 runways which gave me a good insight into the standard procedures. Did some fabulous flying over the harbour and over the sea, and although the clouds were a little low and we did not get round to doing stalls etc, I can't wait to return! There are two cafes, one in the flying club and one just beyond the road (access via a tunnel) for the racing track.

Wickenby from the airWICKENBY AERODROME

Mick and I picked a glorious day to travel to Wickenby, nipping between the MATZ of Cranwell North and Connigsby. Had to do blind calls to Waddington Radar until 10 am when they finally surfaced just in time for us to penetrate their MATZ stubs! What a lovely homey place it was too! The runway we used was 03 left hand although direction is vraiable, for noise abatement. The other runways were 21, 16 and 34, and circuits were 1000 feet. The restaurant was really homely and had full club facilities and we were lucky to witness some aerobatics while we sat outside in the sunshine! Above the restaurant in the tower, is housed a very special museum, with many interesting artefacts of war. We contributed to their efforts and also joined their newsletter for information about forthcoming events. One event that was due was a fly past by TWO Lancasters! We knew it would be very busy on that day! We await another glorious sunny day to return one day!

Old Buckenham from the airOLD BUCKENHAM AERODROME

It took a while to pluck up courage to go to Old Buckenham, but we managed it in 2015 in June, I always thought it was unlicenced but turned out it is only unlicenced part of the time, Saturdays are fine! Whooppee! And boy! Was I glad we went to this fabulous little freindly aerodrome! We were the first arrivals and I managed to miss the turn for the parking thinking the taxiway I vacated carried on around the grass, but in fact you had to go ONTO the grass! Ho hum! Anyway the lovely Fire and Rescue team pushed us back the two feet we needed to get back on course! Apparently many new arrivals make the same error! It was well worth it, as Mick found that Jimmy's Cafe was second to none! All that we had read about it was true and the staff could not do enough for you. We spent a good few happy hours with a very fortunate beautiful day which allowed us to sit outside and enjoy the food and the sunshine! We arrived onto runway 25 on a right hand circuit (the alternate hard runway being 07 left hand). Great day here and another one worthy of a second visit! Landing fees very reasonable too!

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