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Bute Airstrip

Old 24th Nov 2010, 13:28
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Botswana
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Bute Airstrip

I'm considering landing at Bute, but I'm struggling to find out much about the airstrip. In particular, how long is it and is it in use? If so, where can I find out more about it or who can I contact? I flew over it last week and it looked quite short but in a reasonable condition.

flyingscotsman86 is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 16:28
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Don't have a Pooleys Guide then? It's in there. I'd tell you but my copy isn't readily available...
Floppy Link is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 16:36
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Hi, Bute airfield is a grass strip and about 500m long. 09/27 runs slightly uphill if your using 09.

There is a local freq. 135.475 call sign Bute Traffic.

There will be an honesty box somewhere to pay for your landing.

The contact of PPR is 01700 502 627 .

Enjoy your trip.

Scottishflyer182 is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 18:12
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09/27 runs slightly uphill if your using 09
or to put it the other way round, be VERY careful landing on 27. You have to fly through the gap in the trees across the road and get yourself down as close to the threshold as possible because you're then going downhill on what can be quite a wet strip with very poor braking action. And it's 480m, not 500. PPR from the Bute Estate Office on 01700 502627 or [email protected]
NorthSouth is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 18:43
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I've been there. The strip is very short, has no facilities at all (apart from a picnic table) and as stated has obstructions at the Eastern end. It's well looked after, mown grass not billiard table smooth but not too bad and no waterlogging or other problems when I was there.

You will need a suitable aircraft and suitable skills to get in there. I went around from my first approach arriving at Bute, when I found one of the undulations and bounced. With the end hedge only about 400m away there's not much margin, so I threw it away. Landed fine on the second approach, but using the westerly runway (because of the prevailing wind) you have to consider obstruction on the undershoot which could force you to stay high and land deep with the obvious LDA problems. The obstructions consist of coniferous woodland probably a good 30ft tall right up to the road on the field boundary.

Top tip - on your recce, or circuit cast your eyes up and down the road running North-South at the 27 threshold and look for traffic. The road is completely obscured by the woodland when on finals. You may be suckered into the gap in the woodland where trees have been felled to try to cross the threshold lower and avoid landing deep. If you do this there is potential to be surprised by traffic that appears from behind the tress when you are on very, very short finals. I nearly had a midair with a removal van - I don't know who was more surprised!

Once you've made it in there, you can walk east through the woods, past the creepy ancient stone circle, to Kilchatten Bay, then head south along the waterfront into the village. Takes about twenty minutes. At the Hotel you can get a good meal and a pint (if you're staying overnight). You'll want proper walking boots or wellies, because this bit is waterlogged!

Thoroughly recommend a visit. When the weather is good it's a stunningly beautiful place and it's far more interesting flying into places like Bute than into normal GA airports.
Torque Tonight is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 19:15
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Yep concur with all that has been stated, but would add that frequently,due to the hill on he west side,landing on 27 can be very tricky with 'local wind' conditions.I would suggest that whereever possible land on 09 (in over the water/golf course). You can judge the approach better, you are going uphill, the wind generally favours, and if it all goes pear shaped there is no ditch to go into
I have landed there a lot of times, and have witnessed a lotincluding one in the ditch, which I watched in disbelief as it happened.
Great place to fly into and you also have he Kingarth Hotel for pub grub, plus the beaches etc.

Happy flying
maxred is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 19:49
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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One to watch - I took off from 09 once with a Southerly wind, which I'm sure must have been causing a downdraught(ft?) due to the high ground to the SE, as my climb performance was about half of what I normally get. The ground was wet too, which slowed the takeoff roll - thankfully no incident, but many lessons learned that day!
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Old 24th Nov 2010, 20:03
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Know a couple of folks who've been there. I hear its a wee bit short
Best get some short/soft-field practice before attempting it I think.

Captain Smithy is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 20:38
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Location: Botswana
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Wow, thanks everyone for all these great responses! This is probably much better than whatever Pooleys has to say on the matter and is a great example of how useful PPRuNe can be. I found the strip on Google Earth so I can see the hazards that you have all described.

I'm keen to get some short/soft field landing experience, which is what prompted me to consider Bute. I've just had a look at the performance charts and with temperatures of 5-10, no wind and MTOW, I'm within limits with a little to spare, so with a good short field technique, a bit of headwind and more conservative fuel uplift I'm good to go on paper. However, I think I'll tackle the longer and more straightforward Glenforsa first before I graduate onto Bute.
flyingscotsman86 is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 20:40
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There is also a "witch" who lives in Kingarth (right base for 27). She will complain at anything that uses the strip except the "air ambulance" - The old islander I presume. That is why the strip got planning permission years ago.

She has complained to the local council/councillor on several occasions, including about the navy SAR guys using it! Hope she never needs to get off the island some stormy night the ferry is off!

However, things could have changed since becoming "Baird Int Airstrip", watch out for the trees and road on short final 27.
pasptoo is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2010, 22:42
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I went there last year once, I do believe the trees are a little shorter since I took off "over" them. Lovely place, very nice pub.
Crash one is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2010, 08:20
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Try google earth street view, you can look right up the strip from the road at the threshold of 27
bingofuel is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2010, 09:17
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Agree 100% with posts 4 and 5. Took a Chipmunk in there a number of years ago and it does require care and experience of 'interesting' airstrips to mitigate risk. Watch out for the edge lights as well (if they're still there).

It's a regular destination for our club guys who go in a Eurostar without problems. I'd think hard about the Chipmunk again though.

Good luck!
Old 25th Nov 2010, 11:51
  #14 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Botswana
Posts: 18
I found a little more information here: BUTE Airfield : FLIGHTNAV.CO.UK
According to this it is 500m long and circuits should be to the north, which makes sense given the higher ground to the south. I measured the strip using Google Earth and got about 497m. I suppose the best thing to do would be to call and get the official information.
flyingscotsman86 is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2010, 12:19
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Originally Posted by pasptoo
...except the "air ambulance" - The old islander I presume....
The EC135 ambulance helicopter uses it at night. Rothesay isn't a night landing site (yet).
Floppy Link is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2010, 12:40
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Watch out for the marauding owl on 27 if you go in late, nearly got it once at about 2 in the morning!
On a lighter note, probably the best stargazing site I've been to on a clear night, amazing
CyclicRick is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2010, 14:11
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Some pics from a mate who went to Bute. I wouldn't fancy trying it in a Chipmunk, Cessna, modern Piper etc. The road and the gap in the trees that I mentioned is clear in the first pic. Traffic on the road is completely hidden by the trees when on approach for 27. There is potential for a nasty surprise as you go through the gap on short finals - a good recce up and down the road is essential. If you approach high and cross the road above treetop and removal van height, ie about 40ft AGL, then you'll land so deep that you reduce your landing distance available to about 250m!

In this respect, RW09 would be a better prospect, but of course the wind was straight down 27 when I went.

Torque Tonight is offline  

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