THE WAXED BAT FLYING CLUB

 

2017 Tour Dates

BRA Meeting and Fly In at Old Warden

 

Friday 9th to Saturday 10th June 2017 BRA meeting and fly in at Old Warden. 

 

 

The Scottish Trip.

 

Tuesday 11th July returning 13th or 14th July 'The Scottish trip' to Oban.

 

Four waxed batters fly off to Cumbernauld, Oban, Glenforsa, Perth and then home.

47 Gyroplanes Fly Into Old Warden Airfield.

 

 

June the 9th saw the largest gathering of gyroplanes in the UK, this remarkable event was organised by The British Rotorcraft Association and with the Kind permission of Old Warden Airfield and the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire.

The Waxed Bat gyroplane flying club decided to make the 544 mile round trip from Kirkbride in Cumbria via Ashcroft and then onto Old Warden to show our support for the BRA, the only thing standing in our way was the British weather! Gyroplanes can fly in most conditions but it has to be VFR and with 3000 foot fells between Kirkbride and Ashcroft and the cloud base being 2000 ft this meant we had to plan our route carefully rather than just go through the fells and lakes of the beautiful Lake District.

My self and three recently qualified students, now fully fledged gyronauts, departed Kirkbride at 07.30 knowing that we had to arrive at the mass gathering well before mid- day as the radio- controlled model gyros would be displaying around that time. Gyroplanes used on this trip were G-CFCW my school aircraft which now has 3200 hours on the airframe but only 200 on the engine, this was the third engine on the airframe, the first dropped a hydraulic lifter into the camshaft at 1200 hours, the second reached its maximum permitted life at 2000 hours and is now on it’s third engine but if you consider a Rotax 912s engine only costs £16,500 to replace and that’s including VAT and fitting then it’s not quite so bad.

The second gyroplane leaving was G- CIRT, a recently acquired Rotor sport, Sport this was purchased second hand, having completed 120 hours and it came with the Rotax 914 turbo engine, the cost being £54,000 which for an almost new gyroplane was a rather good purchase.

Having departed and with a low cloud base and a 20 knot westerly we routed via the M6 down to Lancaster, around Warton MATZ before heading down the Manchester Low level corridor before joining overhead at Ashcroft and landing on 27. Having had an excellent service from London Information we went onto the Manchester listening squawk before calling Ashcroft radio five miles out. Distance flown 134 miles, time taken 2 hours, fuel used 40 litres.

At Ashcroft we were joined by an ex -student of mine, Rod in his bright yellow Mt03 G-KEAY, he had flown in from his base at Liverpool Airport. We were then joined by another ex- student Norman Surplus who with his gyroplane G-YROX had flown around the world! On this occasion he had ‘just’ hopped over from Ireland, his home base, to join us on this epic adventure.

Having refuelled at Ashcroft then the squadron departed towards Old Warden routing to the North of East Midlands before turning south between Leicester and Wittering finally joining overhead at Old Warden. Distance flown 145 miles, time taken 1 hour 45 minutes, fuel used 35 litres.

In the past navigation for students has always been something of a black art, it’s fine if you are in your local area but heading into unknown territory with a ¼ mil chart strapped to your leg in an open cockpit trying to work out if you are near Shawbury or Sleap causes a few interesting problems. This would deter even the bravest from venturing far from home ground, but now we have Sky Demon, Runway HD and a whole host of other apps to keep us safe. As a legal requirement I still carry a ½ mil chart of the area, just in case!

 

 

Having landed at Old Warden we were met by the sight of over 40 gyroplanes lined up, the biggest gathering ever heard of, fortunately we were not the last to arrive and three more arrived later in the afternoon.

Old Warden for those who have never ventured that way is a wonderful old airfield, it is how I’m sure many of the grass airfields were during the early days of flight and well worth a visit. The Shuttleworth collection itself is tremendous as is the restaurant and the staff are so friendly even the chap on the radio gave the impression that we had stepped back in time and we were as welcome as early pioneering aviators, a reception that is lacking at a lot of airfields these days!

A free lunch was kindly paid for by the BRA, it was a long way to go for a free lunch but well worth it once we had arrived. A chat amongst fellow gyronauts in the afternoon sunshine before heading off to our Pub for the night and a well earned beer or two! I should just mention The Green Man at Stanford which is a short taxi ride away from the airfield, we will certainly be using this pub in the future and it provides excellent overnight accommodation as well as evening meals.

The following morning, following a good breakfast, saw us back at the airfield and as the weather was looking poor over Cumbria for our return flight, but with the front clearing by early evening, it gave us a few hours to spare.

You could spend many, many hours looking around the Shuttleworth collection, to be honest I’ve never had much interest in fixed wing but to see the historical aircraft such as the 1909 Bleriot XI and the 1910 Bristol Box kite it is well worth the £15 entrance fee. A quick lunch then after a D.I and a briefing we were then ready to head off back ‘Up North’. On the return trip it was to be just three gyroplanes as G-CIRT had flown off to North Weald, it’s new home base.

Departure from runway 21 was uneventful but bearing in mind that we do need 150 to 300 metres to get off the ground as we have no collective and can’t change the pitch of our rotors then we have to perform a running take off more like a fixed wing, our advantage being that once we have rotor rpm we can land more like a helicopter.

Taking a more direct route home we avoided the air displays which were displayed on our Sky demon and NOTAMs and arrived safely at Ashcroft where we refuelled but had to wait it out whilst the rain passed. Having found the coffee and Mars bars, which we duly paid for, we were quite prepared to stay the night if need be. As an Instructor and Examiner I have often found pilots with that disease called get home itus in that no matter how bad the forecast is they need to be home that evening and so will risk their lives to get home! Everyone on a Waxed Bat Trip knows they may get home tonight, the next night or even the following night but at least they will make it home! Distance flown 124 miles, time taken 1 hour 50 minutes, fuel used 40 litres.

The rain passed, we all departed and made it home at 20.30. Distance flown 141 miles, time taken 1 hour 45 minutes, fuel used 35 litres. A great trip once again and the next planned for the Isle of Skye in July.

Now that you have you gyroplane licence it's time to go flying, not just around the circuit but Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the world (ok maybe not the world).

 

The Flying Club is open to all, Magnis, Rotorsports, single seaters, raf 2000s any gyro that is legal can join up and go flying with us.

 

If you have only just got your licence or have been flying for a lifetime you will be made more than welcome, it doesn't matter to us who you trained with or what you are flying, this is about going places in gyroplanes.

 

We are planning trips every month with a maximium of five gyros on each trip so first come first served (no exceptions) so you won't be expected to fly with ten other gyros in the same airspace.

Rev3 WB Booking Form Info.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [85.6 KB]

A £25 per person non returnable deposit will be required to reserve your place, all deposits collected will pay for the first evening meal including drinks. Only five gyroplanes per trip with two gyroplanes as reserves so contact me if you want to go.

Requirements are;

 

PPL(G), current medical, current aircraft insurance and permit to fly (if P1 with own aircraft, not required if non paying passenger) Sense of humour and adventure also required.

 

For Pilots the ability to land within 100 yards of a pre determined point and the ability to take off with max all up weight within 400 yards.

"The Waxed Bats Scottish Trip"   July 23 - 25, 2015

Having passed my GFT recently and joined the hallowed ranks of Pilots, I was offered a seat for this trip in Clif Collins' Calidus and as you can expect, was quick to accept.

Thursday - 23/07/2015

0930 in the clubhouse at Kirkbride for a pilot briefing (Ian and Jon in MTO GG, Ann and Rob in Cavalon HW, John and Chris in MTO CW and ourselves in Calidus JD) where the four day trip was - due to expected bad weather on the Sunday -
reduced to three days, with the return planned for late on Saturday.

We then gathered at the hangar, performed the pre-flight and - with bare necessities stuffed in- formed line astern on R28 and at 1135 local, commenced our adventure.

The first leg was Kirkbride to Campbeltown and was expected to take 1:45 to 2 hours as we had a headwind of about 15mph.  We headed NW for the Solwayand climbed to 2000ft, the air was smooth visibility was good with small showers of
light rain.  We passed over Annan at 1215 and Dumfries at 1220 descending to 1500ft to keep below the clouds.

We were travelling in a very loose line astern with us in the rear and GG inspecting every conceivable landmark at close range.

We passed Lough Doon at 1250, Maybole at 1300 and some ten minutes later flew out over the Firth of Clyde at Turnberry, ("going feet wet" as we aviators say) heading for the southern tip of Arran, thus breaking the over water journey to
Campbeltown roughly in half.  14 minutes to Arran racing a large bank of raincloud coming in from our left, hiding Ailsa Craig, made it quite interesting.  We traversed the Isle of Arran from Pladda Sound to Drumadoon point, where we flew another 15mins over the sea at Kilbrennan Sound to
Campbeltown on Kintyre, landing there at 1400.

Campbeltown is a fine tarmac strip with a parallel taxiway where, upon leaving the runway, we turned the wrong way and had to ignominiously dismount and lift the nose around 'cos we didn't make the 180 and were heading into the ditch.  

We retired to the terminal building for lunch to find that the wise virgins among us had laid in sandwiches, leaving those less wise bereft!  There was some sharing however  and coffee was available, so all was not lost.

After lunch, we decided to have a sightseeing flight around the southern part of the peninsula.  We took off to the north and circled left along the western coast with its sheer cliffs (and a castle with spires and such, at which Ian had stayed) with the Mull of Kintyre (sans mist, luckily) at the extreme southwesterly point.  The south coast is less sheer with some fine beaches and the island of Black Point on our right.  We carried on round to Campbeltown again and landed at about 1600.  

At that stage, a friend of Rob and Ann arrived with a vanload of jerrycans to refuel us.  A certain amount of negotiation with the authorities got the van close enough to unload the fuel and we all piled in then for the short trip into town. Is it politically correct to say that we all felt like refugees for a short while?

Dinner in the Royal Hotel, followed by a modest libation and then to the B&B, well before midnight.

Friday - 24/07/2015

On to Oban.  Took off at 1050 and headed north-ish. A lovely sunny day with light to moderate crosswind.  Some small rainclouds to the southeast but brilliant visibility.  As we flew further up the peninsula, the ground became more and more Nordic, with sharp fjordlike formations.  There seem to be caravan parks on every spare piece of ground. Every other inlet has a marina and there
was considerable yachting activity, truly a sailor's paradise.  The cloudbase was 1400ft as we flew along the west coast of Kintyre with Islay and Jura in the distance to our left.

We landed at Oban at 1213, refuelled and three of us took off again for a tour of Mull at 1317.  The wind was directly across the runway by now, so Rob and Ann sensibly decided to wait a while, to see if it would improve later.

A short hop over the briny took us to Mull and again we orbited counter clockwise about the island.  The weather started out dullish but brightened to brilliant sunshine for our passage up through the channel to the northeast of
the island.  It remained clear and bright across the top but ominous dark and ragged clouds were approaching from the west.  Predictably, as we turned south, a misty rain arrived so we cut the circuit short, hopped across the neck of the
island and landed at Glenforsa on a very soggy grass strip, beautifully situated on the edge of the sound.

A short stroll took us to the hotel for a lateish lunch and we re-grouped for the return to Oban at 1620.  We were first off so we lined up on the grass, pre-rotated and were rolling when we hit a particularly soggy patch and had to pull up and start again.  On our second run, we got off OK and turned out right over the sound for the return trip.  Ian and Jon had exactly the same experience
but sneaky Chris and John started their roll just past the soggy bit and had no problem.  We landed back at Oban in bright sunshine at 1700.  We bussed it to Oban town.  Rob and Ann walked.
Dinner in the Oyster Bar just up the road and another few scoops before retiring
at Lloyd's B&B.

Saturday - 25/07/2015  

Breakfast at 0900 and Lloyd drove us to the airport in his severely chipped and tuned Subaru WRX.  No speed limits were broken in the movement of these folk. Rob and Ann elected to walk again.

Arrived at airport 1030.  Refuelled, pre-flighted and assembled for route planning.  Again, due to bad weather forecast for our return to Kirkbride, we cancelled the proposed Inverness leg as being too long, Islay was closed and Glendoe was too wet so, we  elected to route to Perth for lunch then directly home to Kirkbride.

At 1144 then, we were lined up ready to follow our comrades into the sky.  We turned east and flew up to top of Loch Awe where we picked up the railway line along Glen Lochry and between two lines to Crianlarich then left all along Loch Tay to Aberfeldy then following the river Tay to where it turns south to join the railway line to Perth where we landed at 1309.

Lunch in Perth Flying Club cafe and 20L of fuel each (except for HW which had lots), a few pictures for our adoring fans and we were off again on the homeward leg at 1510.

It was brilliant sunshine as we lined up for departure but as we climbed out and turned left, we could see an enormous bank of rain ahead.  We tracked southwest as far as Dunblane, keeping the high ground to our left, in medium to heavy rain
all the way.  At Dunblane, we turned almost due south passing Stirling and Cumbernauld on our left in the low-level corridor between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

At 1610 we passed Strathaven and set course directly for Kirkbride.  The rain had eased by then and the sun appeared and we could see for miles. Bog, bog, bog, bog and even  more  bog.  A rolling landscape of boggy hills and valleys as far as the eye could see.  it made me quite nervous flying over such inhospitable terrain.  If we did have to land, it could be years before a passing explorer might come across our remains.  The wind turbines were all stationary, even the wind having departed the scene.

We passed between Dumfries and Lockerbie, keeping well wide of Spadeadam, at 1650, we noticed the aircraft museum below and did a couple of orbits to have a looksee.  A dozen or so aircraft sitting outside, a Sabre among them.  We plan a groundside visit there soon.

We crossed the Solway at 1710 and home was in sight.  Light rain came and went and we landed at 1720, just in time to witness Bob - in a 182 - snatching a banner from the grass outside the hangars.  A fitting end to a most exhilarating
few days.
regards,

    Philip