View Full Version : Hard or Soft, Busy or Quiet???
30th Dec 2002, 10:17
Firstly, I hope everyone had a great Christmas !
Secondly I am currently in the process of locating a flying school, I live in the SE of England and have narrowed down to the following
Now obviously they all have their particular characteristics , however what would people recommend.?
Does it make much difference training wise between grass and tarmac?
Would it makse sense to be thrown in at the deep end and go for Biggin Hill or soemthing a bit quieter such as Lydd?
I intend to visit all four, however I'm curious as to pro's and cons between the different choices?
I realise the landing fees will be greater at Biggin Hill !!
Happy New Year
30th Dec 2002, 10:34
The most important consideration is where the best flying school is! Once you've got your PPL you can move to a strip that suits your needs, but for the training itself finding a good school and instructor which suits you is more important.
After that, it depends on what kind of flying you want to do. Some people like jumping into their aircraft, and hopping between farm strips, not having to talk to anyone. Others would prefer being able to fly into the bigger airports with more facilities. And I suppose this is linked to which aircraft you want to fly...
For example, I found a great flying group at Coventry to do my PPL with. Coventry is a fairly big, busy airport, with full ATC, beacons, ILS etc. A lot of our training landaways were to grass strips, including Wellesbourne, Sywell, Leicester etc... and then the Q x/c to Bristol Filton (a tarmac strip so wide you could land sideways, but quiet), and Wycombe Air Park (extremely busy grass strip). Now I have my PPL I am doing a taildragger sign off in a Chipmunk at a gliding field. There isn't a strip marked on it, you just head off in the right direction. And flat it ain't :D
There are so many considerations it is very difficult to simplify it to "should I fly from a long tarmac strip or a short grass strip"
More info please ;)
30th Dec 2002, 10:59
Agree with everything AerBabe says. But variety is the spice of life, and in the ideal world you'll do a bit of everything. If you train at a field with ATC, you'll want to visit a few busy un-controlled airfields to make sure your look-out is up to scratch without help from ATC. Likewise, if you train at an uncontrolled field, you'll want to visit a few fields with ATC to ensure you're happy with the radio. The same with hard/grass runways - whichever you learn on, try to get plenty of practice at the other. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
My training was out of a very busy but un-controlled grass airfield. Very good practice at looking out the window and fitting in with other traffic. I have no problems on grass fields. But before I got my PPL, I'd been to only one airfield with ATC (Bournemouth), and two with hard runways (Bournemouth and Thruxton). The lack of variety was one thing which I'd change if I could do it again. But I fixed that by going out to the States and spending two months flying from a field with full ATC and two parallel hard runways. After a few hours in this different environment, I was a much more rounded pilot.
The most important thing, though, is to have fun!
30th Dec 2002, 11:32
A major consideration must be how the weather will destroy your chances of flying from a grass strip, due to waterlogging. I understand that Redhill is more than a little waterlogged at the moment. So bear in mind that undertaking your training from a tarmac strip may well lead to less cancelled lessons.... and there will be plenty of them!!
30th Dec 2002, 11:52
Find a good school and most importantly an instructor you get on with. You can sort out the rest after you get your PPL, and to be honest, the type of surface and the presence/absence of ATC is just not that big a deal.
16th Jan 2003, 15:00
Aerbabe said, "A lot of our training landaways were to grass strips, including Wellesbourne"
How many times? :eek: :D :D
Wellesbourne (EGBW) doesn't have any grass runways! :rolleyes:
16th Jan 2003, 21:41
ARGH... *hits head repeatedly against desk*
That's not what I meant though. Leicester is tarmac too. :p (isn't it?)
Can I blame it on too much work and not enough sleep/money/food? :o
:D :D :D
17th Jan 2003, 19:09
I noticed that Manston is missing from your list of prospective airfields.
Although I've only just started my NPPL , I have been very impressed by the folks at Manston all are very helpful and the facilities are great.
I live in Gravesend and it's a cheaper for me to learn there rather than Rochester or Biggin Hill.
Have a look for yourself @<hidden>