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7th November 2009

Saturday the 7th November was planned as our last daylight fly out for this year. Where has the year gone? The destinations were Nottingham for lunch and Peterborough Conington for tea on the way back and a further pilot change if required. After a rather gloomy Friday, amazingly the weather did as the TAFs predicted on the Saturday morning. We were welcomed by a bright blue sky, very light winds and just the occasional wisp of cloud.
The North Weald Flying Group members turned out in force for this one and saw KK crewed by Barrie North, Alex Khan and Andrew Calvert, FC had Julian Mitchell, showing the way to new member Karl Chapman and Stewart Braddon who is in the process of re-validating his licence with the group. Stewart was joining us to see what the fly outs are all about. FG was crewed by Malcolm Jarvis and George Tunks with Nick Allum and Axel Waldecker in MM after Helen Saunders was forced to pull out at the last minute due to a bad cold. Phil Fellows, myself, with daughter Suzie completed the line up in VB.


Routing was to be quite simple, up through the Luton/Stansted gap and north passing through the Cottesmore MATZ and direct to Nottingham. As we climbed out from R20 it was clear that this was one of those days that unfortunately is pretty rare. Totally smooth air and absolutely fantastic crystal clear viz. The routing up was a picture postcard of fields and with the trees catching the bright sun with their wonderful shades of autumn bronze, it reinforced one of the reasons we enjoy flying.

It was a pretty uneventful trip up and really allowed us to take in the lovely views. The only thing that disturbed the tranquillity was Farnborough radar. We were under a basic service in VB with Phil flying and Suzie navigating the outbound leg. Whilst nicely established at 2,200ft cruising up the gap with Stevenage out to our left, Farborough urgently called ‘G-Victor Bravo make an immediate left turn southwest and descend below 1,400ft to avoid controlled airspace’ Relaxing in the back I almost choked on my in flight coffee as Phil swung the nose left and started to rapidly descend with Suzie looking quizzically at the map. As an almost simultaneous ‘What’s he talking about’ from the three of us echoed in the headsets the controller called us back to apologise, we had been misidentified, it wasn’t us but another aircraft approaching the Stansted stub from the west that was about to do the bust. It’s nice to know they are looking out for us all but a little of bit of excitement we could do without!


With a clearance from East Midlands to cross their stub at not above 2,000ft we approached the familiar wartime airfield layout of Nottingham for an overhead join into R27, having due regard for the noise sensitive areas. With all the aircraft having slightly staggered arrivals we eventually met up in the large but simple cafe for lunch and totally overwhelmed the unfortunate elderly gentlemen who was serving as well as cooking.

Suitably refreshed we once again climbed into the bright blue sky to head down towards Conington. From 4,500ft it was possible to see the whole of the Wash and across the Norfolk coast towards Cromer, brilliant. The old American B17 base of Conington (formally RAF Glatton) and the airfield visited on our second ever fly out back in 2006 soon came into view. All were in except FC and were safely parked on the rather small apron area with the help of a marshaller. The crew of FC had decided to head straight back to North Weald given their late arrival of Nottingham due to extreme ‘faff’ factors. After a refreshing drink and further group ‘chin wag’ we departed south back towards North Weald. If you haven’t already been to Conington it is a nice airfield to visit, long hard runway, a good cafe with a conservatory, a £10 landing fee and if you are interested, lots of history and photographs on display.


With the sun getting low it turned slightly hazy to the west on the way back but was still a great afternoon to be flying. With all back comfortably with plenty of daylight remaining, the group consensus was of an all round very enjoyable day with two new airfields in the book for most of the group members.

As we left ‘The Squadron’ the light was fading, the temperature falling and the sun setting, not only bringing to an end that day, but also fittingly the ‘fly outs’ for 2009.

A pretty interesting year it’s been too. Let’s hope for continued success next season.


Everyone in the North Weald Flying Group would like to extend a huge thanks to Paul Bazire for organising another fantastic and imaginative season of fly-outs.

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Contact us

North Weald Flying Group operate out of the Squadron at North Weald Airfield.

The airfield is 10 miles south of Stansted and can be seen from the M11. Follow signs from the A414 and on entrance to the field, follow the perimeter track all the way around the field until you arrive at the distinctive Squadron building.

phone: 01992522090