Club Pro­file: Bris­tol Fly­ing

A stream of in­no­va­tions al­lows Bris­tol Fly­ing to off­set the Air­port’s high land­ing fees

Pilot - - CONTENTS - By Nick Bloom

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

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