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Story of HW and AY

VAC Fly-ins 

Devon Strut

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15 September 2011 - Bembridge, Isle of Wight


We had not visited Bembridge for quite a long time and for some of this period the airfield was closed to visiting aircraft. However, now that the Gliding Club were in charge of flight movements it was definitely time for a re-visit. After a telephone call to the Gliding Club and armed with a print out from the website on use of the airfield we set off. 

The weather was really pleasant with a light wind and good visibility. We flew our usual track for the South, initially passing South of Popham and giving them a call to make sure they had fuel, as we would be stopping off on the return journey. From Alton it was South to Butser Hill then passing to the East of Portsmouth. The Solent looked lovely with blue seas and white sails, listening out on the Bembridge frequency there was one about to join and with traffic behind us, we positioned for a left hand circuit on 12 and parked up in the usual area. Luckily there was someone also walking across the airfield (not on the runway) to pay landing fees as locating the posting slot for the first time is not that obvious. 

Now we had a slightly longer walk along the road until we reached the path through the woods and then up the hill past the National Trust Windmill. Then it's another short section along the road before descending into Bembridge Harbour and lunch at the small café with the outside tables. Bembridge has changed over the years with more housing being built on every small parcel of land but it’s still a lovely location. After lunch and a visit to the ships chandlers we set off up the hill and back through the wood again, stopping for an ice cream at the Windmill’s National Trust shop. Eventually we made it back to the aeroplane and then it was the short hop to Popham for fuel before continuing on to base. 

For us Bembridge Airfield was relatively unchanged. The lack of the previous more formal radio facility was not an issue as we have a preference for the current type of operation and for other fields that use safety com for pilot position reporting. However, we did miss the airfield café as it was always a nice place for a coffee and a piece of cake and had other very useful facilities such as toilets. The other missing facility (also not available at the other place) is fuel. Since we have no fuel where we are based, then visiting another airfield also without fuel requires a bit more thought and another landing, somewhere else.