This week, a large number of horseracing fans will be heading to Cheltenham for the annual festival of jump racing, culminating with the Gold Cup race on Friday afternoon. The famous racecourse is just north of Cheltenham town nestling under the Cotswolds escarpment. Jockeys, stable staff and the richer punters will require air transport. Many will travel by private jet from Ireland, arriving into Gloucestershire airport for onward transfer.
The racecourse has a heliport alongside, which is licensed
for the duration of the festival with full ATC provided
by the licensee (callsign, Cheltenham Tower). We require
a number of light helicopters to provide shuttle flights
between Cheltenham (EGBC) and Gloucestershire (EGBJ)
as well as direct to EGBC from various locations around
the country. Fixed wing light aircraft will also be
required to carry "passengers" to Gloucestershire
airport from where they can make their way by helicopter
shuttle to the racecourse. The Irish contingent will
be looking for carriage across the Irish sea from Dublin,
Cork and Waterford.
|Start Time and Place||
The CIX event will take place the evening before the festival on Monday, 9 March 2020 from 1900z to 2100z. The airport and heliport will also be open every evening during the festival until Friday, 13 March for those who cannot make the Monday. Depart from any location of your choice to arrive at EGBJ or EGBC during the hours of the event and/or fly helicopter shuttles between the two.
|Flight Planning (Plan-G, Little NavMap)||
Use Plan-G or LittleNavMap as usual to plan a flight from your chosen origin to EGBC or EGBJ and estimate the flight time so that you can arrange to arrive within the event times if possible. Set the simulator time to daylight to enjoy the scenery and if necessary set the weather to ensure VMC.Routes to and from EGBJ <-> EGBC are shown in the CIX VFR data sheet for EGBC. From EGBJ, follow the M5 north to junction 10 then turn right to the East to stay well to the north of the Tewkesbury Road towards Cheltenham. Skirt round the town to the left and the racecourse will be straight ahead. If you update Plan-G or Little Navmap after loading the scenery, the heliport will be shown on the map. Leaving EGBC for return to EGBJ, head west to follow the Tewkesbury road.Turn south before reaching the M5 and follow the motorway to Junction 11. The airport is immediately west of this.
EGBC has a FATO (14/32) and ATZ available when licensed with a helicopter circuit usually on the NE side to avoid overflying the racecourse. Details are available on the NATS website under heliports: EGBC) Special ATC procedures are normally published as an AIP circular some time before the real event. A Tower ATC service will be provided for our CIX event - expect to join right hand downwind for 32 or left base for 14. Beware of the high ground rising to about 1000ft immediately to the East of the heliport. Keep the circuit tight and during busy spells it may be necessary to hover on downwind or base or proceed forward slowly. ATC will provide traffic information. The FATO is for alignment, do not land on it but air taxi to an available parking spot marked with an 'H'. Flying is not allowed at any time when horses are on the course so don't hang around - drop off or pick up your passengers and depart again as soon as possible. Parking is available at EGBJ only.
Obtain the local weather conditions for EGBJ from the Gloucestershire ATIS message and plan for the appropriate runway for arrival/departure. EGBJ has 3 active runways (09/27, 04/22 and 18/36). Helicopters can land and take off from anywhere on the airfield but will need a clearance from ATC to lift and cross any runway. The standard helicopter procedure is to arrive or depart the ATZ at right angles to the active runway at or below height 750ft.
|What Aircraft can I fly||Any single-engined aircraft can be flown in this event as long as it is within the EASA "Light" category (see Club Rules for details) This includes light helicopters - in real life Squirrels, Eurocopters and Jetrangers are quite common. At EGBC, the ground is not prepared at all and is not suitable for wheeled aircraft.|
Gloucestershire Approach will be online on VATSIM at least on the Monday night. When arriving into the area (whether to EGBJ or EGBC, contact EGBJ_APP in the first instance. A Basic Service can be provided outside controlled airspace within a radius of 30 nm from EGBJ. A Traffic Service may also be available subject to workload if radar is required. (Radar is not available real world at the moment). Outside controlled airspace, Air Traffic will provide information and advice as appropriate but no instructions. An Air Traffic Service may be available en-route to the area if required from Area or local airfield controllers subject to workload. Contact them if you require a service.
Hopefully a Tower service will be available both at EGBC and EGBJ; if so they should be contacted for departure.
Helicopter pilots may wish to simulate operating for Helicopter and Aviation Services Ltd who provide the transport service in conjunction with the Jockey Club. The ICAO code for the operator is JKY and radio call sign "jockey". Connect to VATSIM with the call sign JKYnn where nn is any two digit number that no one else is using.(For example JKY23 - call ATC with callsign "Jockey23". Of course if you prefer you can simulate a private contract and use your normal registration-based call sign.
|Airmanship||Remember to ANC (Aviate, Navigate & Communicate). This event should be fun for all, both pilots and controllers. Bear in mind that other traffic (not CIX members) may also be using the airspace and/or airfields but everyone has equal priority. There is no controlled airspace at low level in the vicinity. Outside of the ATZs Air Traffic Services are not mandatory.|
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.
|Club Star Award||File a PIREP as usual with EGBJ or EGBC as the destination for one of the event days. EGBC is not a default airport but you can add it manually to the CIX logger. Use the ICAO code "EGBC" to ensure the star is awarded. There will be half a star for EGBC and half for EGBJ.|
|Acknowledgements||Event Idea: Mike Pike
Event planning: Mike Pike
Briefing: Mike Pike