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New GA/Gliding Airfield in the Bicester Area?

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New GA/Gliding Airfield in the Bicester Area?

Old 1st Jan 2021, 14:59
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New GA/Gliding Airfield in the Bicester Area?

Bicester Gliding Club is looking to lease or purchase a site in the Bicester area for gliding, GA and community use. Could be useful if any GA groups wanted to join in a joint venture.

They are looking for at least 80 acres within 35 miles of Bicester.

Details and rationale are here:https://www.bicesteradvertiser.net/n...find-new-site/

"It is hoping to establish a new green, open and 'vibrant' facility that will not only serve gliding and other aviation sporting users, but also the local community."

A brave move and i wish them every good luck - I started my flying there in 1973.

DS
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 17:01
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If they moved south east about 15 miles, they'd find an airfield about to be disposed of (by 2025) by the MOD with hangars and services already in situ.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 17:16
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
If they moved south east about 15 miles, they'd find an airfield about to be disposed of (by 2025) by the MOD with hangars and services already in situ.
Actually, the GSA made this move "some time ago ".....however, lets be realistic here. Once Halton becomes available, there's an awful lot of acreage that will offer "scope for development " or, how many houses can developers cram into the land across the whole of the station.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 17:52
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Indeed. Any existing airfield qualifies as 'brownfield' (thank you John Prescott) and therefore easy for a developer to get planning for a few thousand little boxes at inflated prices, and so higher profit for MOD. Getting permission for change of use from agricultural to a community friendly grass airfield (and therefore no likelihood of commercial operation) is a big PR exercise, but a far lower cost per acre. With a friendly aviation minded landowner and a very long lease, even more affordable. Godd luck in their search.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 18:12
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
Actually, the GSA made this move "some time ago ".....however, lets be realistic here. Once Halton becomes available, there's an awful lot of acreage that will offer "scope for development " or, how many houses can developers cram into the land across the whole of the station.
It's not just the airfield but the whole of the 'camp' area to the south just outside Wendover too; this would be much more attractive to developers as the infrastructure ie sewers, water, electricity supplies already exists and a new estate would abut the area where Halton Hospital used to stand and which has already been built on.
Aylesbury Vale District Council (last I heard) had no plans for the airfield and it would need a lot of work to clear all the metalwork from the subsurface of the airfield to facilitate housebuilding; there's not only a PSP 'runway' parallel to the southern boundary but the wartime grass strips were re-inforced with steel rod tracking which as far as I know is still there; back in the '60s when I was a staff cadet with 613GS, we often turned up on a saturday to find an area of 'bad ground' markers cordoned off and closer inspection would reveal a piece of steel rod about half in inch in diameter sticking out of the ground.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 12:33
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Originally Posted by Fitter2 View Post
Indeed. Any existing airfield qualifies as 'brownfield' (thank you John Prescott) and therefore easy for a developer to get planning for a few thousand little boxes at inflated prices, and so higher profit for MOD. Getting permission for change of use from agricultural to a community friendly grass airfield (and therefore no likelihood of commercial operation) is a big PR exercise, but a far lower cost per acre. With a friendly aviation minded landowner and a very long lease, even more affordable. Godd luck in their search.
There was a short lived gliding operation at Westcott back in the '60s but the airfield has so many obstructions now it would not be possible to resurrect this and of course as we all know, Haddenham has just 'lost' it's gliding site to re-development.
Could Oakley be a possibility I wonder; there is established aviation use there in the form of microlighting.

Last edited by chevvron; 3rd Jan 2021 at 13:20.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 13:27
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
It's not just the airfield but the whole of the 'camp' area to the south just outside Wendover too; this would be much more attractive to developers as the infrastructure ie sewers, water, electricity supplies already exists and a new estate would abut the area where Halton Hospital used to stand and which has already been built on.
Aylesbury Vale District Council (last I heard) had no plans for the airfield and it would need a lot of work to clear all the metalwork from the subsurface of the airfield to facilitate housebuilding; there's not only a PSP 'runway' parallel to the southern boundary but the wartime grass strips were re-inforced with steel rod tracking which as far as I know is still there; back in the '60s when I was a staff cadet with 613GS, we often turned up on a saturday to find an area of 'bad ground' markers cordoned off and closer inspection would reveal a piece of steel rod about half in inch in diameter sticking out of the ground.
The airfield also gets more than a shade wet at times.....laying infrastructure wouldn't be a problem with today's construction techniques.....and then there's a certain very large building with gold leaf on the ceiling just waiting to be upgraded to a luxury spa retreat.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 14:02
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Realistically their only option is to buy a site, because no landlord is going to grant a lease long enough to make it worth developing a new gliding operation, subject to highways requirements there should be no real obstacle to winch launch only, its aerotow that would be difficult. Of course they could join up with existing clubs and ensure the strength of them for the future, but I guess that’s too easy.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 14:14
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I hear that Wycombe Gliding Club may soon be looking for a new site too.
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Old 3rd Jan 2021, 13:25
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Looking on ZoomEarth and UK Airports and Airfields - A Guide to the history of British flying sites within the United Kingdom , there apppear to be at least 2 private strips west of Oakley on Otmoor which might be big enough.

Last edited by chevvron; 4th Jan 2021 at 07:34.
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Old 3rd Jan 2021, 15:09
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Did Thame shut for housing?

Used to fly around/avoid back in the day near Princes Risborough. Always looked very quiet.

Is gliding still a thing? My impression is that the demographic is heading geriatric at a rapid pace, even worse than power flying.

TOO
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Old 4th Jan 2021, 13:29
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Is gliding still a thing?
Most clubs have active cadet or young pilot schemes and some Universities have very active clubs for example Loughborough. The UK fields teams in all classes of international gliding competitions. There is a demographic shift which will mean that the sport will be much smaller in years to come - Lasham where one tenth of UK glider pilots fly is best placed to survive.
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Old 4th Jan 2021, 19:35
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Originally Posted by Deltasierra010 View Post
Of course they could join up with existing clubs and ensure the strength of them for the future, but I guess thatís too easy.
I gather a couple of different options along these lines were explored. Reading between the lines, I suspect that Bicester was a victim of its own success and that some people may have feared an effective takeover by the larger club.

Originally Posted by 22/04 View Post
Most clubs have active cadet or young pilot schemes and some Universities have very active clubs for example Loughborough.
Ironically, Bicester was a front-runner in this regard, with a very successful Cadet scheme and also a very active Oxford Uni group (both now migrated to Weston).
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Old 5th Jan 2021, 22:57
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Originally Posted by TheOddOne View Post

Is gliding still a thing? My impression is that the demographic is heading geriatric at a rapid pace, even worse than power flying.

TOO
Some might think that, then again, look at Lasham, they were so busy they had a waiting list just a few years ago with now 700 members. 240 gliders and aircraft, new hangars everywhere and 45,000 movements in 2019. I do hope that Bicester find a new home though to keep a stronghold foot in Gliding but it was an area swamped with clubs in the M40 corridor. Abingdon would be great if it wasn't for Brize and Oxford!
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 08:02
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Originally Posted by TheOddOne View Post
Did Thame shut for housing?

Used to fly around/avoid back in the day near Princes Risborough. Always looked very quiet.

Is gliding still a thing? My impression is that the demographic is heading geriatric at a rapid pace, even worse than power flying.

TOO
Yes. Upward Bound Trust have I believe moved to W o t G temporarily.
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 10:47
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Originally Posted by TheOddOne View Post
<snip>
Is gliding still a thing? My impression is that the demographic is heading geriatric at a rapid pace, even worse than power flying.
TOO
Where I fly we have an active and keen set of Juniors, including an instructor (Junior in gliding = under 25) and some tuggies.
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