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Club Events - Back to Biggin
Southwest tour leg four - Exeter to Biggin Hill
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The CIX VFR Club
Club Events - Back to Biggin
Southwest tour leg four - Exeter to Biggin Hill Briefing by Tony Driver
 Briefing Thursday 4th May 2006
Start Time and Place 18:30 to 19:00 zulu - The Grass Parking Area at Exeter.
Departure and Duration We will depart in ones or twos when ready. The following times do not include time spent on the ground.
Cruising at 105 knots, it will take about 1 hr 55 mins.
Cruising at 170 knots, it will take about 1 hr 10 mins.
Weather ...or not Before starting we will check the weather en route. If it is unsuitable for our trip as planned, then we will fix it. Something we can do in the simulator - wouldn't it be nice if we could do it in real life!
FSInn has a "CAVOK" button. Click this and you get calm clear weather.
Those using SB3 will need to turn off the on-line weather updates, and select calm in the FS weather options.
Routing Overview The route will take us from Exeter over the Cullompton VRP then following the M5 motorway to Bristol. From Bristol we route east to Blackbushe, and then continue between Heathrow and Gatwick to Biggin Hill.

Flight Plan

Your flight plan from Exeter should show: departure = EGTE, destination = EGKB, alternate = EGLC, route = Cullompton - EGGD - Bath - Devizes - EGLK - EGLF - Guildford - M23/M25 Motorway Junction, and comments = /V/ DAYLIGHT / CIX VFR CLUB
All bearings and headings given in the briefing below are magnetic, and no allowance has been made for any cross wind.
Airfield charts and information are available from the AIS web site.

Exeter to Bristol

Before departure, file your flight plan, set your ADF radio to BRI 380.0, and NAV1 radio to I-ET/I-XR 109.90, NAV1 standby to I-BON/I-BTS 110.15 for the DME, and your transponder to 7000. Don't forget to set mode 'C' before taking the runway. Set the local QNH by pressing the 'B' key. You should familiarise yourself with the VRPs around Bristol airfield.

Contact ATC for taxi instructions and clearance for your departure as filed. Follow the instructions you are given to taxi to the active runway. You can expect your clearance to include reference to the noise abatement procedures:

  • From runway 26 climb to 1000 feet then turn right to about 030 degrees before reaching the city to follow the M5
  • From runway 08 climb to 1500 feet before turning left to about 340 degrees, then turn to follow the M5

The Cullompton VRP is close to the M5, 7nm from the airfield.  Follow the M5 motorway going over Taunton at 20nm from Exeter, and continue along the M5 towards Bridgewater.

To the east of Taunton is the Royal Navy Air Station HMS Yeovilton. I called in there once during my time in the RAF to refuel the RAF Mini which I was driving. I was told afterwards that it was a dangerous thing to do - apparently they were in the habit of treating the place like a ship, allowing entry and exit only at certain times, when tides allowed, and the "liberty boat" would be running. I might have been trapped there for hours! On another occasion, I arrived there in the back of an RAF Wessex helicopter - the pilot and all the passengers including myself, were members of a visiting hockey team. We hadn't been warned that we would be playing on a concrete pitch - so with some of us sliding around on studded boots, we lost the match.

Before reaching Bridgewater, swap your NAV1 to the preset standby channel for the Bristol DME, and descend to below 2000 feet to go under the Yeovilton North danger zone. Bridgewater is 18nm from Bristol. About 8 miles to the right is Glastonbury. Now best known for it's pop concerts, it is a place of considerable religious mystery.

After Bridgewater look for the railway line which merges with the motorway from the left, then goes off again to the left, and follow it towards Weston-Super-Mare. As you approach Weston-Super-Mare, you might see RAF Locking, where I spent three years as an apprentice learning the mysteries of radio and electronic communications. It has long been closed; the buildings have been demolished, and it is now a building site.

If you haven't already done so, before you reach the Weston-Super-Mare VRP, you should make contact with Bristol Approach to request joining instructions. Follow instructions to join and land at Bristol.

Bristol is one of few cities which has two airfields. EGGD Bristol is south west of the city, and EGTG Filton is within the northern boundary. Filton is famous for the British half of Concorde development and testing.

Bristol to Biggin Hill

Leave your radios ADF = BRI 380.0, and NAV1 = I-BON/I-BTS 110.15 for the DME. Set NAV1 standby = BLC 116.20.
Make the normal calls for departure from Bristol, and follow instructions to leave the zone and head east to Bath. The Bath VRP is in the valley in the centre of the city, about 13.5nm from Bristol at 095 degrees. At Bath we turn to 105 degrees for 14nm to reach Devizes VRP.

Set your ADF = BLK 328.0, swap NAV1 to BLC 116.20, and set NAV1 standby = BIG 115.10.
From Devizes, we head 095 degrees for 42nm to reach Blackbushe airfield. Farnborough airfield is 4nm from Blackbushe on 145 degrees. You could try a touch and go at one or each of these, but take care because there is a lot of restricted airspace around here.
The next Farnborough International Air Show takes place in July 2006. I went to one once, not long after the first time they broke through the sound barrier. We were treated to a couple of sonic bangs to prove the point.

After Blackbushe and Farnborough we need to be careful to avoid a couple of small prohibited zones, just to the east. There's a choice here - go between or go south:

Between: The railway line which crosses east-west between Blackbushe and Farnborough passes between the two prohibited zones. First we need to find the Farnborough Railway Station VRP. From Blackbushe it is 4nm on 120 degrees. From Farnborough it is 1.5nm on 042 degrees. We can follow the railway line from the VRP, heading 090 degrees, passing over the southern edge of Woking, then continue on the same heading until we see the M25 motorway ahead. Turn south east to follow the M25 to the M23/M25 junction, located just after passing north of Redhill.

South: From overhead Farnborough airfield, (not the VRP), head 113 degrees for 7nm to the Guildford VRP, then turn to 087 degrees for 17nm to reach the M23/M25 junction.

Alternatively, those familiar with tracking to/from VORs could get through the gap by tracking the 270 radial in towards OCK 115.30, and then switch to BIG 110.15. Biggin Hill is 7nm from the junction on heading 057 degrees. You should have made contact with Biggin Hill Approach before reaching the VRP to request joining instructions.

Divert to London City

If you have to divert to EGLC London City, head about 060 degrees from Biggin Hill towards Dartford on the river Thames. Thames Radar will provide cover for this, including joining and landing instructions if there is nobody at EGLC.
NDB Tracking The Instrument Flight document in the Training section of the club web site contains a section on NDBs and how to use them. If you are unsure how to track NDBs, download and have a look at this.

Radio Discipline

Take care not to let our Teamspeak chat cut across ATC. Stop any conversation immediately the R/T comes alive, then continue if "he wasn't talking to us". This is difficult because when transmitting on Teamspeak you can't hear the R/T. So be brief on Teamspeak, and be aware that ATC might be trying to get through. If anyone hears an R/T message which seems to be being ignored, just say "ATC is calling G-CIXN" if you have identified the callsign, or "ATC is calling us" which is a cue for everyone to be quiet on Teamspeak until ATC call again (which they will). Remember too that if asked to "Stand By" by ATC, you do not reply - not even "Roger", but simply wait until you are called again.
Remember also that there are several different ATC frequencies in use, and you may not be able to hear when communications are taking place. Make sure you have set and know how to use a Teamspeak mute switch.
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