The Bustard Flying Club exists to stimulate air-mindedness and to encourage a practical interest in and knowledge of flying among the staff at MoD Boscombe Down and other eligible personnel linked to the MoD and QinetiQ.
The Club owns two aircraft (Robin DR400-140 – G-PVCV above and Slingsby T-67M MkII Firefly – G-BUUI) which are available for hire by Club members; the Club also provides training to the Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) standard. Some Club members operate their own aircraft under the auspice of the Club and this allows the Club to support significantly more flying than could be achieved with just the two aircraft. The Club has some eighty members, and is administered by a Committee which is elected annually.
Slingsby T-67 MkII Firefly G-BUUI introduced in 2006
Cessna F172M G-SKAN in Club service until 2007
DR1180 Aiglon G-ROBN in Club service until 2006
A HISTORY OF THE CLUB
The Bustard Flying Club was formed by Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment [A&AEE] staff in 1957. With the help of the Kelmsley Trust and some working capital from the RAF Unit, two ex-Ministry Tiger Moths were acquired. With one restored to the civil register and certificated, flying started in 1958, operating from Old Sarum. The aircraft was used for pleasure flying and flying training carried out by Service instructors, with costs kept to a minimum.
In 1976 the Tiger Moth was replaced by a “modern” cabin aircraft – although the choice was limited by the requirement that it should have a stick and a tail-wheel! Hence Jodel DR 1050-M1 G-AYYO was acquired and remained the mainstay of the club for many years.
In 1989, the Commandant was keen to see a club at the Establishment. At the same time the BFC’s tenure at Old Sarum was becoming less and less secure. The invitation to move to Boscombe Down was accepted, not without some reservations about the loss of some freedom and the use of a pleasant grass airfield with its own special ambience.
Flying training was started again in 1990, first on Victa Airtourer G-ASYZ, later replaced by Beagle Pup 100 G-AWKO. In December 1995 the Jodel (G-AYYO) was sold (to a group of Club members who continue to operate it at Boscombe under Club auspices) and Cessna F172M G-SKAN was purchased as a replacement. Eventually the Pup (G-AWKO) was sold and replaced by Robin DR1180 Aiglon [G-ROBN].
In 2006 it was decided that the Club would benefit by returning to its aerobatic origins. The Aiglon was sold and now lives at Old Sarum; it was replaced by Slingsby Firefly Mk2-160 [G-BUUI]. Members were now legally allowed to turn a club aeroplane upside down after a 30-year delay!
The modernisation of the fleet continued in 2007 when the Cessna 172M was sold [again to some Club members who still operate it within the Club] and replaced by Robin DR400-120 [G-OYIO]. In due course the Robin DR400-120 was replaced by Robin DR400-140 [G-PVCV] in order to benefit from the better performance with the 140HP engine. The current fleet therefore consists of the Firefly T67 and Robin DR400-140.
If the weather is suitable, there is usually some flying taking place every weekend and most summer evenings. PPL training takes place using the Robin most Saturdays and the Club maintains a training waiting list. Aerobatic training and practice is available in the Firefly. Whilst much of the Club flying comprises local flights or trips to nearby airfields in Southern England, longer flights within the UK and to the Continent are possible. Club aircraft have taken part in rallies as far as Wick in the north of Scotland, to Ireland and the Isle of Man. Individual flight through France, Germany, Spain, to Ibiza, Poland and to Sweden have been achieved. Both Club aircraft spent a week touring northern France and the Channel Islands in June 2008 with a group returning to northern France and the Channel Islands in 2009 and again in 2010.
To comply with MOD policy for use of MOD facilities, the Club operates two main levels of membership, FULL and ASSOCIATE. FULL membership is available to military personnel and MOD Civil Servants, Boscombe Down QinetiQ staff and other contractors’ staff based at Boscombe Down; other potential members may be able to join as ASSOCIATEs. In addition, pilot members of both categories may include immediate family as passenger members in their membership. “Day members” may be introduced at any time by a member who has been issued with an establishment pass.
The Club operates very much on a “self help” basis and in consequence the flying rates are extremely attractive. Annual membership subscriptions for pilots are £115 for Full Members and £140 for Associate Members. Pilots also pay a £100 “Contingency Fund” deposit on joining but this can be reclaimed on written notification of resignation from the Club. Passenger membership (and a combined family passenger membership for pilots’ immediate family) is £10 annually. Day membership costs £2.
Aircraft hire rates are £90 per hour (take-off to touchdown time) with the training rate £102 per hour (also take-off to touchdown time). However, to partially offset the combined costs of engine time/fuel consumption an additional £5 taxi charge is made for each sortie specifically flown out of the Boscombe Down airfield.
HOW TO JOIN
Further information and application forms may be obtained from the New Members Secretary who can be contacted as follows:
irvine358 At btinternet.com
The Club web site is at http://bustardflyingclub.co.uk with access to the main body of the site limited to Club membership.
Updated Oct 2017