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.