View Full Version : Anyone know a good flying club near London?

18th Sep 2001, 04:56
I'm moving to London next month and was wondering if anyone can recommend a good flying club that is easily accessible from the city centre? (I have no car...could be a problem?)

I'm a recently qualified PPL holder looking to go up at weekends and the like to get experience and do some flying down south.

Any assistance you could give would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks

18th Sep 2001, 11:00
You could try the Pilot Centre at Denham, trains stop at Denham from the centre of london and Central line tube goes to Ruislip and change to train there. They will pick you up if you you give them a ring. 01895-833838, it's a nice friendly club with a good fleet of a/c ranging from C152/172/PA28 and a Citrabia for aero's...

Best of luck


18th Sep 2001, 11:15
Denham is a very good bet. Also consider Biggin Hill - easily accessed by train.


New Bloke
18th Sep 2001, 12:57
I wouldn't describe Biggin as easy to get to. I know things have changed in the last couple of years but as far as I know the nearest stations are either Bromley South or Orpington and then a 20 minute bus ride. It used to be the 410 from Bromley would go every hour and at rush hour if they were full, they would sail past the Bromley South Bus stop. The regulars would get off the train and walk in the opposite direction to Biggin in the hope of getting the 410 before it filled up.

Redhill has a good train service, still a taxi ride from the station but fast regular trains. Elstree is quite good, again a taxi ride away from the station.

Hersham Boy
19th Sep 2001, 12:05
Agreed re. Redhill - there's also always lots of people driving either towards Redhill orCrawley so lifts are not out of the question.

Also, White Waltham has a good reputation (although I've not visited) and isn't far from Maidenhead so I guess the same goes...


Southern Cross
19th Sep 2001, 16:46
When I first arrived in the UK, living in Central London, I started flying with the Pilot Centre at Denham. It is (relatively)easy to get to as VP8 says - trains leave from Marylebone Station frequently and take about 35 minutes I think. They will indeed pick you up if you ask thme to, otherwise it is a 20 minute stroll to the airfield.

Denham School of Flying (Cabair) is on the easier side of the airfield and also very good, albeit more expensive by the hour. PFC actually has very competitve rates for hire/instruction.

Elstree is also pretty accessible I think, although I have never taken public transport there myself so I don't know the details.

Denham is a nice place to fly from although (as I recall - no doubt someone will correct me if I am wrong) since it is inside the Heathrow zone with a designated access route, it requires 10k vis to take off/land as you effectively are operating under a SVFR clearance.

Sleeve Wing
19th Sep 2001, 19:32
Hi Schooner Boy.
Welcome to the sunny South!
"Hersham's" got it right - White Waltham is a super Club with lots of friendly people and a helluva range of experience. Its all available from basic,IMC,tailwheel,aerobatics
in abundance, and dozens of "different" aeroplanes resident at the field.
Its also only 5-10 minutes from Maidenhead Station and there's always grub available.
Why not give it a visit? -one of the best grass airfields in the country.
Just go to Ops.- they'll be only too pleased to help. :) :) :)

Red Spitfire Driver
22nd Sep 2001, 01:24
Schoonerboy - take a look at the West London Aero Club Website at www.wlac.co.uk (http://www.wlac.co.uk) for details of White Waltham.
As to it being the best grass airfield - a bit bumpy I believe. Cheers

The man formerly known as
22nd Sep 2001, 13:33
Totally agree with WW being great. It has one of the best range of Aircraft to fly with shares being available anything from Baby Jobels (10/hour) through cherokees (yawn), pitts, dozens of yaks and an excellent bar. Its also a grass strip that does not get waterlogged over winter and they don't have a requirement for radio(hurrah).

The only other field I would rate is North Weald for its range of even more exotic machinery ( Jet provosts, Harvards Bigger yaks and some pups , cherokees cessnas)and it has an excellent bar.

Good luck

Final 3 Greens
22nd Sep 2001, 14:47

If you fancy flying from North Weald or Elstree, you could try Skysport if you like Pups and Dogs.
www.skysport.dial.pipex.com (http://www.skysport.dial.pipex.com)

Please note that Roger Hayes who runs the club is a mate of mine, so I am not impartial!

Hope the move goes well.

[ 22 September 2001: Message edited by: Final 3 Greens ]

23rd Sep 2001, 12:07
Biased about WW. Mainline to Maidenhead, then taxi or bus to a/d. Good grub, choice of runways means you're never more than 30 degrees off the wind, and if you're not flying, there's still plenty to see and the occasional chance of a ride when somebody needs ballast.
See www.gbrnu.co.uk (http://www.gbrnu.co.uk) -share available!!


The reason for the bumps on WW's runways are so that if you're not sure you've reached rotation, the bumps decide for you and...you're airborne. Not quite a ski jump, but it helps........

PPRuNe Dispatcher
23rd Sep 2001, 18:19
On the plus side WW's got a nice big flight planning room with everything you need, an Ops room with very friendly staff, A/G radio that act like A/G and not Heathrow Tower ;), three long/wide grass runways, lots of different aircraft, excellent grub & bar.

On the minus side the bumpy runway and taxiway means that you have to take care, and the taxi to/from the ruwway to parking can take several minutes. The circuits do require some care due to noise abatement, but an instructor will fly in your aircraft for no charge to make sure you know what the circuits are.

In any case it's worth a visit...


A and C
24th Sep 2001, 11:25
If you walk into a club that has instructors with more gold braid than a south american general ,a number of incentive packages that cost you money up front ,quote a rate that is not inclusive of landing fees ,VAT and more than 10 min of briefing then you are in the wrong place and are about to be ripped off.

You will NOT find this at the british airways flying club and the wycombe air centre at booker or the wlac at white waltham all three of these clubs i would recomend.

Red Spitfire Driver
25th Sep 2001, 00:59
Might I add a further plus for White Waltham. You will find the clubhouse is open all day (sometimes most of the night!). I have found that some places close at 5pm and there is little or no club socialising etc. Once flying is over, the instructors pack up, lock the doors and leave. This is not the case at Waltham.
Wherever you go to fly - enjoy it...

25th Sep 2001, 15:56
EDIT: In typical pprune style (well, Jet Blast, anyway) I posted the following without first properly reading through the thread, and so have repeated comments already made by others. I am not impartial about Skysport either: Roger Hayes sent me first solo on one of his lovely Pups, and I'm still a member, but I'm not commercially involved, so please take this as a satisfied punter's plug rather than an advert.

EDIT ends

I agree with all of the positive comments about White Waltham. I didn't learn there, but it's now my base airfield. The runways are indeed bumpy but it all adds to the fun (since I've started flying big-up tailwheelie stylee, I don't think that I've ever positively rotated from a Waltham runway: I just get kicked airborne at some suitable juncture).

I have rather negative views about Elstree as a place (grotty runway, EFATO nightmare, mad "circuit", grumpy FISOs, zero atmosphere), but, and it's a big but, you can rent a Beagle Pup and a Bulldog there, which is worth doing if you've only ever tried Cessnas/Pipers. You can also rent another Pup and the same Bulldog from North Weald (the Dog shuttles about). NW is a most frabajalistic airfield, but is maybe a bit more of a schlep by public transport (Tube to Epping, then taxi, whereas Elstree is train to Watford, then taxi).

Another plus point about Elstree is that it stays open until sunset and it even has lights if you fancy the courageous stunt of night flying over populous areas. During the summer months it is possible to do a full day's work in central London and still get a reasonable bit of flying in before Elstree closes. You can just about do this at Waltham also, depending on where you start from.

My only criticism of wonderful 'Weald is that it closes a bit early. This is not the fault of those who run the place: the local Council owns it and is a bit strict on operating times, as it is on using the secondary runway on Saturdays, even when the main runway is crosswinded up the wazoo. OK that's two criticisms, but otherwise it's great.

[ 25 September 2001: Message edited by: FNG ]

27th Sep 2001, 12:51
I am in a similar position to you schoonerboy but I live in East London. Anybody think that Southend is a viable/worthwhile option or am I better off at North Weald?

Small Pilot
27th Sep 2001, 13:47
Knowledge, I fly from Southend and can thoroughly reccommend it. 4 clubs on the field so plenty of types to choose from. Professional + helpful ATC, navaids (ILS, NDB) and close to the training area. If you want details of my club and instructor which I recommend (of course!) then let me know. They stay open late so no restrictions on late afternoon flying. (ATC is 24h). Good place.

27th Sep 2001, 14:10
Knowledge: depends on what you're looking for really. Hang out at North Weald and you may get a go in something exotic. There is no spamcan school or club there as it ain't licensed for training. There is one wheezy old C150 for rent from the Squadron, or for more money (and much more fun) the Bulldog and Pups already mentioned. The canteen and bar are very agreeable. Lots of fly ins, barbeques, talks etc.

A further point is that North Weald is a piece of living history: one of the oldest airfields in the UK, and one of the places upon which Churchill's "hinge of fate" hung and turned in the summer of 1940.

I've not flown out of Southend, just visited a few times (including first stop on my QXC: thanks kindly ATC bloke for writing up my dodgy landing as "good")so can't report on club, ambience etc. ATC service (now with LARS)always first class and an example to others.

Anyone mentioned Stapleford? Formerly a satellite station where the North Weald Hurricanes could take refuge whilst their Sector Station up the road was being pounded by the Heinkels, nowadays there's not
much in the way of interesting aeroplanes, and an irritating tendency of (some) local pilots (a) to fly circuits big enough to be seen from space and (b) to breeze through or near the North Weald overhead whilst positioning to join Stapleford, oblivious of North Weald traffic, but plus points are reasonable runways, a decent club house and a good pilot shop. Also the delights of Estuary English as she is spoke on the r/t.

[ 27 September 2001: Message edited by: FNG ]

27th Sep 2001, 14:31
I should have mentioned that my PPL has lapsed and therefore I guess that means that North Weald is not an option until I get it valid again. A shame as I have c.60hrs on Bulldog and it was great fun to fly. Back to the traumahawk until I'm current!
Smallpilot, any info on good clubs at southend would be greatly appreciated. Also is it relatively easy to get to the field from the train station?

27th Sep 2001, 16:19
Not sure that you need a licensed field if you have a licence and are renewing/revalidating it. You can do various sorts of training from unlicensed fields (eg IMC) so long as not training for grant of a licence. Not sure on which side of the line the process of regaining a lapsed licence lies.
Otherwise, the 'Dog spends approx half its time based at Elstree, which is licensed.

edit to remove gloomy face icon (finger trouble again)

[ 27 September 2001: Message edited by: FNG ]

8th Oct 2001, 21:56
Thanks for everyones help.

13th Oct 2001, 17:47
Knowledge, Southend easily accessible via PT - from Liverpool St-Southend/Victoria line, hop off at Rochford + catch a bus (fastish + frequent) to airport gates, or if using the Fenchurch St line, get off at Southend Central + catch a bus to airport from bus-station (a 2 min walk from train stn). 4 clubs on airport... Southend Flying Club (near 06 thld), Southend School of Flying, Seawing Flying Club and Willowair.
E-mail me if you'd like personal details/opinions on those clubs etc.
regds 2 all, Andy Mac.