Alouette news

Next Club Meeting - Wednesday 7th of November

Why not come along and support YOUR club  - the food is free to all members and their guests and the bar will be open, as usual.

 


Two new aircraft arrive at Alouette, more to come!

We are pleased to announce we have updated our fleet of aircraft and now have two very nice C172's parked outside of the clubhouse.


Alouette Merchandise direct from the supplier!

At Alouette we have always held our own stock of sweatshirts, polo shirts, hats etc. but this leads to holding quite a lot of stock as not only do we have to keep a reasonable range, we also have to stock a variety of sizes. This also ties up valuable funds and, for a club such as ours, this is less than ideal.

Now all that is changing as we have setup a method whereby you can buy direct from the supplier and this allows us to offer a much greater range and removes the need to hold any stock at the club. All items will have the Alouette logo embroidered on them and will be sent to your home address.

Alouette will still make a small profit on each sale so everybody wins!

Take a look at the new range here: Alouette Merchandise

Why not give it a try now?


What's at the end of the Yellow Line

Recently our Warrior had a scrape around the back of the maintenance hangar. Read flying instructor Bruno's interesting and informative report - and the conclusions he draws from the incident.

Read the report


Waterford - or bust!

An account of a trip to Waterford, finally completed in August 2011 but attempted many, many times before!

Read the report


Mid-week Club BBQ

On Wednesday 4th July Alouette invited our friends at 'Into The Blue' and at the 'Heritage Hangar to join us for a social gathering.

In the continuing heatwave of the evening we all enjoyed some free (expertly cooked) food and washed it down with a new selection of beers and drinks.

Due to the heat, the bar was busy and many took the opportunity to swap stories and ideas.  It was especially interesting to hear different points of view from others on the airfield.

Our partners and children were kept happy.  We hope these keen social gatherings continue and look forward to a possible repeat event.

Thanks to Josh who organised this and cooked the food.

Bruno


Facebook

You may not be aware of it but the club does have a Facebook page so for those of you who use this medium, please take a look at https://www.facebook.com/groups/alouettefc

This page is regularly updated and shows similar information to that found on our website.


Flying to Solent Airport, and back, on a cold and snowy winters day.

It was one of those days when we weren't sure, as we left home, whether we would be able to fly, or not, but in the event it all turned out well.

Originally we had intended to go to Kemble but a quick look at their website told us that was a no-go as their webcam showed a full covering of snow and the airport information simply said "Airport closed".

But conditions at Biggin were favourable so where could we go? Further to the north was Elstree but a quick call revealed that too was a no-go as they had ice on the runway and, as the controller told us, unless you have a helicopter, you won't be coming.

Wellesbourne was another option and all looked good but by now the time was getting on and we had yet to clean the plane and re-fuel, as well as plotting our route so, sadly as it’s a great place to visit, we decided that was a little too far in the circumstances.

Wherever we went we needed to have tarmac under our wheels. Further south things looked better weather-wise so the next call was to Lee-on-Solent and this time it was much more encouraging as they not only had a nice tarmac runway, it was clear of any snow or ice and the weather was good. They helpfully allowed us to book PPR over the phone so that was it, decision made.

Our aircraft was covered in snow so the first job was to brush all of that off and de-ice it, as necessary. A quick check of the fuel revealed it did need topping up so that was another task to complete, as well as the planning of course.

The oil needed a top-up too but it was so cold it took a full 5 mins for the oil to drain through the funnel!

Would the engine start in these freezing conditions? We were about to find out.

Giving it a good prime was a good idea as on the first turn of the key it coughed, then ran for a short time before stopping again. But a few more pumps of the primer had it running smoothly, now off to the pumps.

So, an hour and a half later than planned, we taxied out to the run up area to do our power checks, then onwards to the 03 runway for departure.

Our routing outbound was to the north of Gatwick and as we climbed away we could see the hills were all covered with a layer of snow. Kenley didn’t appear to be active but we gave it a wide berth anyway, habit I suppose and not a bad one at that.

Calling Farnborough West it was obvious our Transponder was U/S as they were not picking up our Squawk code. Likewise, we tried to use the VOR/DME to give them a bearing in order to identify us – that didn’t work either. So both were going to need looking at on our return. But the GPS was working as well as the Mk1 eyeball, map and compass so we carried on.

We then routed via Guildford, Midhurst and onward to Portsmouth changing over from Farnborough West to Lee Radio as we approached the Solent. By now, there was no sign of any snow on the fields, or anywhere else for that matter, and the sky was blue and cloudless and the sun was shining.

As Solent Airport, as it is now known, were using runway 05 we routed towards the Isle of Wight and requested a straight in approach from Cowes which was granted.

There was a bit of a crosswind but we arrived safely, parked on the grass and headed for the café that we didn’t know existed! There has been a big improvement in facilities at this airport since our first visit a few years back and the new café is the icing on the cake, no pun intended.

Suitably refreshed, it was time to start our journey back to Biggin. This time we were going to route to the South of Gatwick, avoiding both Goodwood and Shoreham’s airspace in the process. As we neared the Kent and East Sussex border, we suddenly realised that to the left of us the fields were green, to the right they were white. Quite by accident, we were flying along the line of where the snow started, or finished depending on your perspective.

Our arrival back at Biggin was without incident and we parked the aircraft, tied it down and put in the chocks just as the sun started to disappear below the horizon, as can be seen the accompanying photo.

A fitting end to a perfect day’s flying.


Video diary

Want to know what it is like to fly one of our aircraft? The video diary page shows some videos provided by our members in our Cessna 172 and Piper Warrior PA28 aircraft.

View the video diary

Trial flights

We offer trial flights of one hour duration with a qualified instructor. The recipient will spend most of this time at the controls of the aircraft. The flight will be from our club house at Biggin Hill and will return to Biggin Hill.

More about trial flights

Learning to fly

We have four resident instructors and an examiner and offer flight training including JAA PPL, NPPL, IMC, Night Ratings, Safety Pilot courses and check-outs.

More about learning to fly

How to find us

You can find the Alouette club house on Churchill Way, just off the A233. Although travelling by car is easier, you can access the club by bus. Bromley South and Orpington train stations are a 20 minute drive.

How to find Alouette