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Club Events - Tricky Destination Again
We seem to return to this delightful grass airfield year after year...
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The CIX VFR Club
Club Events - Tricky Destination Again
We seem to return to this delightful grass airfield year after year...
 Briefing Friday 2nd February 2007  
Updated version of the 2006 briefing document.
Start Time 19:00 Zulu.
Start Location The General Aviation Apron at Biggin Hill.
Airmanship This will be a challenging flight as Popham is small airfield with grass runways and no navaids to assist with locating it on the final leg. Good visual navigation is needed to ensure that one reaches the overhead for landing. Once at the airfield there are a lot of trees around so the approaches to Runway 08/26 are both not along the centre line and involve a turn when on very short final.
Flight Plan Our route will be Biggin, Tunbridge, Lewes, The A3 north of Havant then direct to Popham. As a change two options are given for a couple of the legs so that pilots can either fly visually or practice using Radio Navaids en route while still remaining flying under Visual Flight Rules.
Radio Discipline We sometimes have problems with ATC dialogue being cut across by club Teamspeak dialogue. Keep the Teamspeak chat short and listen out for ATC instructions. Listening to ATC can give good situational awareness of other aircraft in your vicinity, even if there is no offical info passed to you. When you are handed off by Biggin to your en-route controller, remember to give them the standard CEPHACER Routine.
Flying the route Biggin - Tonbridge.
After departing Biggin head 135 deg to Bewl Water. As the departure is close to the edge of the Gatwick CTA it is worth maintaining 1400' until you are sure that you are not going to enter Gatwicks Airspace about 8 miles from Biggin. Note the high ground of the North Downs so flying below 1400' on the QNH is not allowed (Rules of The Air No. 5 - Low Flying Rule.) Passing Sevenoaks is a good time to climb to 2400 feet, but no higher, as the "glass ceiling" of the London TMA (Terminal Manouevring Area) is still above us.
The leg passes just nicely between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells at about 13 miles so heading corrections can be made to get to Bewl Water. Two miles south-east of Tonbridge, the TMA is at 3500 feet, so you can climb again if you wish.

Alternatively, for those who fancy a bit of more advanced Navaid training on the way out, the 210 degree radial from the Mayfield VOR (MAY 117.90) will take you from near Tunbridge Wells to Lewes directly, missing out the turn at Bewl Water. First fly TO the beacon (set 210 degrees on the OBS with the To/From flag (the little white arrow) pointing upwards and fly keeping the needle centred) then when you get to about 2 DME (nautical miles) before it, fly the HEADING not the needle, until the To/From flag changes to FROM. Do not change the OBS setting of 210 degrees. Continue to fly the HEADING and let the needle come in. When you are about 3 - 4 miles DME it should be roughly centred. If not correct as required. Lewes is 10DME after flying over (i.e. FROM) the VOR. Once at Lewes fly along the South Downs (see below Lewes - A3 Crossing.)

Note that when flying towards the beacon, with the TO flag set you follow the needle. Needle to the right, turn right. When flying away from the beacon, with the FROM flag set, you also follow the needle (Needle to the right, turn right etc.). Heading adjustments should be about 10 degrees unless the needle is right against the stops, indicating that you are some way off the 210 radial. In that case, make a 45 degree turn until the needle centres. One day, for practice, we will do some flying TO a beacon with the FROM flag set - not intuitive, and best (and easily) avoided!

Bewl Water - Lewes
Turn to a Heading of 235 degrees and head towards Lewes. If the visibility is good enough, Brighton should be visible on the coast beyond Lewes giving course confirmation. Lewes is nestled at the end of the South Downs abreast Constable's Sussex Ouse (as opposed to the Bedfordshire Ouse) which make it an easily findable feature.

Lewes -A3 Crossing
This is the easy leg. The North edge of the South Downs make a easy feature to follow all the way between Lewes and the A3 crossing. As this range of hills is a linear feature the general rule is to fly along it keeping it on your left (known in flying as "The Left Hand Rule".) We will cross two other significant rivers on this leg, the Adur and the Arun, which make good "I am here" markers. The lowest controlled airspace above this leg is 3500 just W of Lewes so a cruise altitude of 3400' can be used if wanted. If you do choose to fly at that altitude, be careful not to head too far north towards Burgess Hill, as the London TMA is down at 2500 feet here. Also be careful not to fly overhead Shoreham and Chichester/Goodwood Aerodromes below 2000 feet. The A3 should be clear enough as it is a dual carriageway at the crossing point. As you pass Chicester/Goodwood Aerodrome, it is a good time to call Solent Approach (120.22) and give them the standard CEPHACER Routine.

A3 Crossing - Popham
Two Options here.
a) Just before you cross the A3, when Portsmouth is off the port wing, intercept the 325 radial from the Goodwood VOR (GWC 114.75). This should lead directly to Popham at 27DME from GWC (that's jargon for 27 nautical miles from Goodwood VOR) just avoiding the Solent Control Zone.
b) After crossing the A3 about 3nm south of Petersfield, head 300° to find the M3 just north of Winchester. This will take you round the northern end of the Southampton controlled airspace. The steps in the Southampton CTA give a max altitude of 2000' near Winchester so descend to 1900'. Once the M3 is found fly along it until you find the A303 junction and Popham Airfield close to the junction.

Return Flight The return flight takes us round the north of Gatwick. From Popham head 45° towards the WOD (352.0) NDB or follow the M3 (keep it on your left). This will take you either over, or just south of Basingstoke and past Farnborough and Odiham Miltary Airfields. If Farnborough is manned, you can request a "MATZ Penetration", and they should allow you to fly direct from Basingstoke to Blackbushe (NDB 328.0). The London TMA floor is 3500 and to avoid entering Blackbushe Airspace one needs to be above 2400'. At Blackbushe turn towards Ockham VOR (115.30).If you are above 2400 feet, descend to 2400 feet as the London TMA floor descends to 2500 feet from just west of Woking onwards. From Ockham to Biggin is straightforward. Land , Park, Cup of tea, Easy.
Charts If anyone hasn't got access to official CAA charts, if they let us know, we can try and address it.
Training If anyone wants to learn how to fly by VOR/DME pairs, you can download the VOR Tracking tutorial from the club web site Training section.
Popham (EGBP)

Cix VFR Club approved Download the Scenery. Scenery files by David Humble. Updated version 1.2 includes taxiways and textures and corrections for magnetic variation.) Popham Silos (version 1.2) is now a separate file for those who are using the UK2000 Airports scenery. The scenery files version 1.2 have been tested and approved, with our thanks, by our resident quality control member.

Latitude North 51 degrees,11.63 minutes. Longitude West 001 degrees, 14.08 minutes. Airfield elevation is 550 ft above sea level. There are obstacles around the Airfield.
Download sketch plan of Airfield.

The Approach to Runway 26 is marked with an arrow about 100 yds from the runway. Fly over the arrow (Approx heading 240) to avoid the trees and the filling station on Short Final.
The approach to Runway 08 is made over a set of grain Silos about 1000 metres away from the runway. The turn to final is gentler than on 26.
03/21 appears not to have any major problems.

Circuits are at 800' to the north. At 800 feet, this is lower than we have been used to in recent trips. "Circuits to the north" means, of course right-hand for 26 and left hand for 08.

The default Scenery in FS9 is not the best, so David has provided some scenery to make it look more like the real Popham Airfield. It works in FS9 and should be OK in FS2002. Thanks to Tony for supplying screenshots to allow it to be put together.

Radio We are expecting an Air/Ground service on Popham Radio (129.8). This is very similar to an AFIS, providing information rather than control. Each pilot is responsible for his own safety in the circuit and on the ground at Popham. If that doesn't happen, we will be released to approach and land at Popham on the unicom frequency. If all else fails, one of our more experienced members will attempt to keep control on our club TeamSpeak. Whilst we should have a preference for runway 26, the local wind will be the deciding factor. Unless wind speed is less than 5 knots, we will want to land into wind, or with the minimum crosswind.
Note The original plan was put together by David Humble from the CAA chart of Southern England. The headings and notes are based on what I could get from the charts and Pooleys Flight Guide. The notes are based on what I would be looking for if I was to do the flight for real.
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