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.
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.
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.
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.