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Airfield preference

Halibut

Student Pilot
#1
This is going to sound bonkers, but which do you prefer: having your own strip at the end of the garden/very nearby where there are no other aircraft - or keeping your aircraft at a club where there are other pilots to talk to, share with and learn from?
 

Aerial

Cross Country Pilot
#2
On the grounds of affordability, I have no choice - it's a local club for me.
If I could afford it, I'd have my fantasy airfield with my fantasy hangar stacked with many different types of aircraft at the end of my garden. In my garden, I would have a HUGE clubhouse with a well stocked bar and a proper restaurant for the club members I would invite to come and go as they please!
 

BobH

Student Pilot
#3
On the grounds of affordability, I have no choice - it's a local club for me.
If I could afford it, I'd have my fantasy airfield with my fantasy hangar stacked with many different types of aircraft at the end of my garden. In my garden, I would have a HUGE clubhouse with a well stocked bar and a proper restaurant for the club members I would invite to come and go as they please!
That sounds awfully like the setup Danny has at Sandown. The only trouble is that he has to charge a landing fee to help cover the costs of running it.
 

ginge

First Solo Pilot
#5
I must admit that I'm well satisfied with the airfield that I'm based at. A great well drained strip and a good bunch that fly from there, I also remember when I first started the tremendous amount of advice and help I received. Ok it was often disguised as micky taking, but I learned a huge amount and I like to think that I've been able to do the same for others since. Now when I go there I have the choice of just getting the aircraft ready or joining "the parliament" and putting the world to rights with the others.
Now if that was at the end of the garden, perfection!
 

Halibut

Student Pilot
#6
On the grounds of affordability, I have no choice - it's a local club for me.
If I could afford it, I'd have my fantasy airfield with my fantasy hangar stacked with many different types of aircraft at the end of my garden. In my garden, I would have a HUGE clubhouse with a well stocked bar and a proper restaurant for the club members I would invite to come and go as they please!
That's a beautiful thought. I think you need to need to be airfield operator. Have you thought of changing careers?
 

Halibut

Student Pilot
#7
Easiest question I've ever seen on a flying forum.

Deserted base from where you can fly to a place where there's conversation if you want it.
That's a very good plan. Mind you, you get all the cutting and rolling (and dealing with the moles.. how can I make mine die?)
 

Halibut

Student Pilot
#8
I must admit that I'm well satisfied with the airfield that I'm based at. A great well drained strip and a good bunch that fly from there, I also remember when I first started the tremendous amount of advice and help I received. Ok it was often disguised as micky taking, but I learned a huge amount and I like to think that I've been able to do the same for others since. Now when I go there I have the choice of just getting the aircraft ready or joining "the parliament" and putting the world to rights with the others.
Now if that was at the end of the garden, perfection!
Does sound like perfection. AND you have Made M, there, too. Very good to have one's other half on side
 
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Mike Calvert

Moderator
Staff member
#9
I must admit that I'm well satisfied with the airfield that I'm based at. A great well drained strip and a good bunch that fly from there, I also remember when I first started the tremendous amount of advice and help I received. Ok it was often disguised as micky taking, but I learned a huge amount and I like to think that I've been able to do the same for others since. Now when I go there I have the choice of just getting the aircraft ready or joining "the parliament" and putting the world to rights with the others.
Mirrors my feelings about East Fortune where I'm learning - would be a very lonely trip without the camaraderie and help offered there :)
 

Trev C

Cross Country Pilot
#11
I have been tempted to put my own strip in, would be a crosswind strip though as all fields seem to run North South, or have power cables in.
However having the plane at the local airfield means you can have a bit natter to others and ask advice, and also offer advice to others( not that anyone wants to be listening to me)
So, I might one day be tempted to land at home just to say i have, but think plane will stay in local hanger ( only 10 mins away anyway)
 
#12
It depends a bit on where you are in your flying career, I suppose. Old hands might like a strip at home, but newer pilots and those less mechanically minded (me) are likely to prefer to be based at a good club.
It's worth saying that in my experience all microlight clubs are really very friendly supportive places in contrast to many (but definitely not all) GA airfields where people seem to turn up and fly without interacting with each other.
I'm lucky where I am now. A good mix of micros and LAA permit aircraft with just one or two spam cans. Comfortable clubhouse and very knowledgeable members. Oh, and it's only 20 minutes from home!
 

PilotPete

Cross Country Pilot
#13
In short I prefer a “busy” airfield

The longer version:

Having moved from a busy active microlight airfield, with two schools and a microlight club it was also busy on the weekends, and rare to not stop in conversation either side of my flight. On the weekday evenings it was much quieter, and less public around so just those there to fly, but other than a school aircraft typically only one other aircraft about.
The club did have a handful of events throughout the year, although nothing fixed as these were all invites to flyouts, often with only a few days notice, and a Christmas meal (which was more fixed!)

I have since moved to a strip closer to home, with a quarter to a third of the aircraft of the previous location – all very different styles of aircraft, 4 are microlights, 2 flex and 2 fixed, the rest a mix of old and “new” two seater tourer “group A” aircraft, no school and although have a “club” setup in place, is much more for correspondence of changes (useful given the last 10 months) and similar updates than as a social or organised element to it. At most I now only see one other person flying when I am at the airstrip,

Which do I prefer? I miss the old place, primarily as I miss circuit traffic, it might sound crazy as that is added danger, pilot workload and effort with other aircraft in close proximity to deal with, but where I am at the airfield it might as well be a private strip, I have been there two years and yet to encounter anyone else in the circuit, the closest I have some is one of us taxiing in as the other taxis out.
Whenever I “fly out” I go to a “larger”/busy airfield as they have more appeal to me (both locations are farm strips I don’t need to test the skills those strips offer), if only as they have a café on site, but also typically have a good number of movements to watch during my stay and variety of aircraft with it too – Popham being an ideal example with Microlights, larger aircraft and Gyrocopters to be entertained by.
At these larger airfields circuit discipline is far more important obviously and a skill I don’t get to practise at my “home” airfield.

As the majority of my flights are “local” I miss using the radio, tuning in as I am approaching to hear who is about, and predicting what I’ll experience once in the circuit. Although I make all the necessary look outs and blind calls, know that I am approaching an airfield I’ll have to myself, and very little chance anyone in earshot is influenced by my position. I have seen other pilots based on site stick to straight-in approach from final, such is there attitude to the circuit at the airfield as the number of movements simply doesn’t require that formal flying.


Secondly I do miss the community, although at the previous site conversations were 99% about where someone has come back from or is going to, there was a feeling of community and often good recommendations of place to visit, or locations to fly over (crop circles etc).
With such little chance of seeing anyone where I am now, i don’t know anyone when I do see them, and names are forgotten by the time I see them again – if I even recognise them and so feel isolated as a pilot, more likely to see the farmer or his son to wave at across the yard than a pilot to discuss “pilot things”.

So you might ask why did I move? The previous location had been earmarked to close, and although it hadn’t bothered me for the three years I was there, when it was no longer more than 18 months away starting looking elsewhere and found somewhere closer to home and jumped at it before I was pushed – which incidentally was good timing as within 12 months it did close.
Why did I choose to move to quieter airfield rather than my preferred busier airfield? Proximity. I am now 20 minutes from the hanger (opposed to 45) and is a simpler journey to get to.
 
#14
Thanks for that PilotPete - lots to think about there.
I guess the take away message from all this is that although we mostly do the flying bit on our own, being a microlight flyer is actually a social activity.
 

Halibut

Student Pilot
#15
In short I prefer a “busy” airfield

The longer version:

Having moved from a busy active microlight airfield, with two schools and a microlight club it was also busy on the weekends, and rare to not stop in conversation either side of my flight. On the weekday evenings it was much quieter, and less public around so just those there to fly, but other than a school aircraft typically only one other aircraft about.
The club did have a handful of events throughout the year, although nothing fixed as these were all invites to flyouts, often with only a few days notice, and a Christmas meal (which was more fixed!)

I have since moved to a strip closer to home, with a quarter to a third of the aircraft of the previous location – all very different styles of aircraft, 4 are microlights, 2 flex and 2 fixed, the rest a mix of old and “new” two seater tourer “group A” aircraft, no school and although have a “club” setup in place, is much more for correspondence of changes (useful given the last 10 months) and similar updates than as a social or organised element to it. At most I now only see one other person flying when I am at the airstrip,

Which do I prefer? I miss the old place, primarily as I miss circuit traffic, it might sound crazy as that is added danger, pilot workload and effort with other aircraft in close proximity to deal with, but where I am at the airfield it might as well be a private strip, I have been there two years and yet to encounter anyone else in the circuit, the closest I have some is one of us taxiing in as the other taxis out.
Whenever I “fly out” I go to a “larger”/busy airfield as they have more appeal to me (both locations are farm strips I don’t need to test the skills those strips offer), if only as they have a café on site, but also typically have a good number of movements to watch during my stay and variety of aircraft with it too – Popham being an ideal example with Microlights, larger aircraft and Gyrocopters to be entertained by.
At these larger airfields circuit discipline is far more important obviously and a skill I don’t get to practise at my “home” airfield.

As the majority of my flights are “local” I miss using the radio, tuning in as I am approaching to hear who is about, and predicting what I’ll experience once in the circuit. Although I make all the necessary look outs and blind calls, know that I am approaching an airfield I’ll have to myself, and very little chance anyone in earshot is influenced by my position. I have seen other pilots based on site stick to straight-in approach from final, such is there attitude to the circuit at the airfield as the number of movements simply doesn’t require that formal flying.


Secondly I do miss the community, although at the previous site conversations were 99% about where someone has come back from or is going to, there was a feeling of community and often good recommendations of place to visit, or locations to fly over (crop circles etc).
With such little chance of seeing anyone where I am now, i don’t know anyone when I do see them, and names are forgotten by the time I see them again – if I even recognise them and so feel isolated as a pilot, more likely to see the farmer or his son to wave at across the yard than a pilot to discuss “pilot things”.

So you might ask why did I move? The previous location had been earmarked to close, and although it hadn’t bothered me for the three years I was there, when it was no longer more than 18 months away starting looking elsewhere and found somewhere closer to home and jumped at it before I was pushed – which incidentally was good timing as within 12 months it did close.
Why did I choose to move to quieter airfield rather than my preferred busier airfield? Proximity. I am now 20 minutes from the hanger (opposed to 45) and is a simpler journey to get to.
Lovely stuff, Pete. I really understand what you mean. Must be difficult not to relocate to the airfield 45 minutes away.
From what Martin W says, he seems to have the perfect field. Mike Calvert, too. And Ginge and Madame B have got it pretty well sorted, too. I am very envious. I have the option of using a well-maintained field 20 minutes away, but there is nobody there. Even the lovely owner has given up flying. Like most pilots (I guess) I am pretty well self-contained enough to plough my own furrow, but I do want the company of like-minded souls. I think we all do - that's why we're on this forum, isn't it?
 

frozendreamer

Cross Country Pilot
#16
I fly for three reasons...
  1. I've always wanted to fly since I was a kid - so this is a dream come true for me.
  2. I need something that's 'mine' and something that I can do away from 'being at home' with my other half, family, work etc.
  3. I like to share the passion of flying with other folk.
So... when you look at these three things, you'll not be surprised to know that flying for me is better as a club member. The benefits it brings from camaraderie, knowledge sharing and general help far outweigh the benefit of having my own strip where I could potter about on my own.
 

Halibut

Student Pilot
#17
I have been tempted to put my own strip in, would be a crosswind strip though as all fields seem to run North South, or have power cables in.
However having the plane at the local airfield means you can have a bit natter to others and ask advice, and also offer advice to others( not that anyone wants to be listening to me)
So, I might one day be tempted to land at home just to say i have, but think plane will stay in local hanger ( only 10 mins away anyway)
Trev, if you were really committed to this, you'd sell your farm and buy one with fields running East-West. Seeeemples!
 
#18
Thought about a sub 70 and always liked the idea of flying to the airfield which would take 5 mins but I've got no outbuildings to store it however there is a big club scene at Caunton so the flyouts and the social side is very active (normally) and it's only a 15min drive and can be there most days
 

frozendreamer

Cross Country Pilot
#20
Thought about a sub 70 and always liked the idea of flying to the airfield which would take 5 mins but I've got no outbuildings to store it however there is a big club scene at Caunton so the flyouts and the social side is very active (normally) and it's only a 15min drive and can be there most days
Unless you're someone from Scotland trying to GET to Caunton to pick up an aircraft... during lockdown... with tier 3 restrictions and 'don't go to England' over your head!!!! ARG!!!!
 

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