Some friends and I had a great day out yesterday at Duxford. Arriving by air beating the traffic, with a convenient arrival slot, and good ground transport. The day was spoilt by the archaic departure procedures, which will probably prevent me visiting again. (And a loss of more than £150 into their coffers, we spent on the day,in landing and entrance fees, and catering )
On a clear VMC day it took nearly an hour from start to getting airborne, with a number of others behind me in the queue still waiting. Only the hard runway was allowed for departures with acres of grass being used for pleasure flights. (Some with very poor VHF radios) Departing aircraft were prevented from lining up and waiting on the hard, until the Tiger Moths etc. had cleared the grass, further prolonging the delays.
Periodically allowing both runways for vistor departures with a flagman system for example, would have allowed at least four depatures a minute using stream takeoffs, as used at other UK venues, clearing the visitor departures in less than half the time. (And allowing more unhindered pleasure flights !!)
A great day, superb displays by wonderful aircraft/pilots (slightly marred by commentary that was akin to the BBC's coverage of the Jubilee Pageant).
Flying in was a easy and well organised.
Departing was a shambles.
There was a 20 minute scrum to get on minibuses to go back to ones aircraft and as stated above the departure process was grossly inefficient. I am glad I was only using 3LPH queuing for 40 minutes to get airborne and not paying an hourly rental rate!
Surely this could be done better?
It's a good job it was one of the longest days of the year and the sun stayed out otherwise it could have been a night flight home!
I landed back at WW at 19.55 and the display finished at about 17.45
I suppose commercial pressures dictate the pleasure flight operators getting their "own" runway to cram in as many flights as possible.
I believe several runway incursions resulted in the requirement that the two runways be treated as one for separation. Once this is in the ops manual it must be adhered to. You can be sure there are CAA personel watching operations at such a high profile event.
Remember there is no ATC at Duxford. It is manned by FISOs who are caught between a rock and a hard place when confronted by undiciplined pilots.
I agree that the parallel departures at PFA rallys in the past were pretty slick. Is it still permitted now that the health and safety police run the country?
I would still rather fly in than drive.
D.O. Edited to say it takes all types. I think Bernard is superb.
Last edited by dont overfil; 2nd Jul 2012 at 12:05.
I went to Duxford, and we too flew in. I think it was a great day. It's easy to poke holes in the procedures but on the whole, I think the staff were plainly working hard to look after everyone and it certainly didn't spoil our day.
As for the comment about the French commentator, I will happily listen to any nationality if the speaker is clear, knowledgeable and enthusiastic - and he was.
My wife bought me a gold pass for my birthday, so didn't try to fly in this weekend. Car bypassed the queues and was parked in 2 minutes right by the shop. Inside the gold zone there was a nice marquee (into which we could have retreated to if it rained), great seats with a view bang in the middle of the display line, cup of tea, free flightline access and a program (and we made the most of our 15% discount in the shop). Then when we left at the end, we were directed straight out and onto the M11 within a minute of getting into the car. Highly recommended. Gold pass is about 70 quid - which seems pricey - but I for one will do it again. With all the goodies, I reckon you are paying about 20 quid for the convenience of seats and parking etc.
..and the French chap wasn't THAT bad! It was a particularly special moment when it became clear that he was the only one of the 30,000 odd people there who didn't understand why all wing-walkers tend to be beautiful women, even after his mate pointed out that it really isn't quite the same with men posing in lycra. Though I have to admit that those ladies clearly have plenty of cojones after watching the barrel rolls (which make me sick even when I'm the pilot). Hat's off to Sarah and Stella. Breitling Wingwalkers - THE WINGWALKERS
I was passing Duxford yesterday afternoon and had an hour or so to spare, so went to lurk on the far side of the runway to catch a bit of the show.
Can I just say hats off to the P47 Thunderbolt driver who, when presented with a nice straight line of people perpendicular to the runway on the live side, decided it was appropriate to dive in for a low pass straight down the line at full chat at what must easily have been under 100ft.
I have never seen or heard anything quite so awe inspiring, so a massive from me!
I went to Duxford on Saturday. It was a great display and the fact that it was non stop flying throughout the day was impressive. I will consider flying there next year just to try it out for myself. After paying the entrance fee between me and my friends which came too £93, it would have been cheaper to fly to the event. That is the only criticism I have is the entrance fee. It was a bit pricey and we never even got a brochure included in the price.
But, I want to go to the event so I still pay just im gonna fly next time c24