Club Profile: Bristol Flying
A stream of innovations allows Bristol Flying to offset the Airport’s high landing fees
Lulsgate’s other flying club has a lot to offer its members
When I wrote a profile of Bristol Airport ( Pilot, January 2016), I failed to realise that it has not one, but two resident fixed-wing flying clubs. The premises of Bristol Flying are off-airport; I missed its signage and because no one mentioned the second club, it got left out−which is a shame, because it is unusual and innovative. (It can be found on the other side of the A38, off the airfield roundabout.)
Being based at Bristol (Lulsgate) Airport has two built-in handicaps: the £80-plus landing fee (around £50 or below to resident pilots) and the presence of passenger jets, with attendant delays. It’s in an excellent catchment area and for some pilots ‘mixing it with the big boys’ is an attraction, not a disadvantage, but still, a club at Bristol has to work hard to prosper.
Bristol Flying advertises in Pilot in the Group Flying classifieds, rather than under Flight Training−even though it offers PPL, IMC, tailwheel, aerobatic and multi-engine courses. (Since it doesn’t currently have tailwheel, twin or aerobatic aircraft, those courses are on hired aircraft, at least at present.) Recently formation flying has been added to the list.
The club’s founder and managing director, Richard Nightingale explains the inspiration behind it: “Our membership fee is high: £720 a year, but that’s deliberate. After years of instructing and operating aircraft, I thought the key was to have committed members with a stake in the club.” A high annual fee enables Bristol Flying to keep its self-fly-hire and training rates competitive. Also, membership includes some unusual extras, like free coffee and snacks, free differences training, and−most importantly−landing fees at Bristol. Members also get free use
”The key is to have committed members” — Bristol Flying founder and MD Richard Nightingale “We felt we could offer better equipped aircraft at more attractive prices” — co-founder Nick Huff