Visiting Pilots

We welcome visiting pilots of all standards to come and fly with us. Our regular visitors include

  • Pre-solo pilots who are temporarily away from their home club
  • Students who divide their time between two parts of the country
  • Aerotow pilots learning or refreshing the skills of the winch launch
  • Cross-country pilots enjoying a change of scenery

You’ll need site checks whatever your standard, mainly because we are close to BHX airspace so you will need to know the landmarks – we have a good relationship with BHX ATC that we want to preserve.

We charge a nominal £5 daily reciprocal membership fee, but we have arrangements with most other BGA clubs to waive this, in which case you will just pay the same launch and flying fees as our members. If you are not a member of a BGA club, we can arrange short-term membership of Stratford GC on a monthly basis.

Contacts

The people you might need to contact, or who can help you, are listed on our Contacts page. You’re welcome to just turn up, but please contact the CFI if you want to bring your own aircraft to the site.

If you need to find us by road, we have directions and a road map that will help.

The Site and Surroundings

Snitterfield airfield is half of a WWII bomber training base. It’s grass, it’s as flat as you can expect from that, and there are the remains of the old concrete runways which we can use in cross winds. The field is about 1300m long EW (westerlies prevail) and varies between 400m and 200m wide, enough to land across if necessary,

The surrounding area is mostly flat, with no difficult wind conditions to catch the unwary. There are plenty of local hot spots, so our cross-country pilots rarely need a relight on a half decent day.

The Launch

We only have winch launches. We use a SkyLaunch as our primary system, with Dyneema as the cables. Our backup is a purpose-build diesel winch. The SkyLaunch will get a single seater up to about 1200′ in nil wind, and typical launch heights are around 1500′.

We don’t have planning permission for powered aircraft, so we can’t let a tug in to take you home, and we can’t let a self-launcher take off except on the winch.

Radio

The airfield does not have its own radio frequency. We use the gliding frequency 129.975 as Snitterfield Traffic for our downwind calls. This frequency may or may not be manned.

Motor Gliders

We have recently (2011) been granted planning permission to launch motor gliders, with conditions. The conditions include strict limitation of the number of movements, and strict compliance with our operating procedures, especially regarding climb-out paths.

Every motor glider launch must be approved by the CFI or his deputy, which means that we cannot accept casual motor glider visitors unless you’re prepared to land engine-off and derig for your trailer journey home.

Motor glider pilots wishing to be based temporarily at Snitterfield must agree terms with the CFI.

Controlled Airspace

The airspace around us is complex, since we are close to BHX, but it looks worse on the map than it actually is. To the N and NW is an area that we can use to get started if the wind pushes us that way. It’s under a BHX TMA, though, so we can’t go off in that direction. To the NE is the approach into BHX 33, 1500′ AMSL, and to all intents and purposes out of bounds.

To the E and SE, the approach into BHX is higher, and we have up to 3500′ AMSL under the airway that we can use if we’re going in that direction. Alternatively, it’s about a 10km SE detour to avoid that airspace entirely. Above us is the edge of Amber One, at 5500′ AMSL, which rarely comes into play.

To the SE, S, SW, and W, the airspace is pretty much uncontrolled, so that’s where most of our tasks are planned.

Turning Points

The hangar at Snitterfield is BGA Turning Point SNI, but it’s Class D and also very close to controlled airspace. We use the Dun Cow, BGA Turning Point SN2, a kilometre away, as our start and finish point. There’s a view of the airfield which shows SNI and SN2.

There is only one road bridge in the centre of Stratford, the Clopton Bridge where the A422 to Banbury crosses the river. It is adjacent to a pedestrian bridge. The Clopton Bridge is BGA Turning Point SOA. The most visible landmark in Stratford is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It is a large brick building on the North side of the Avon in the centre of Stratford, and is the only building there of any size. It is 200m West of the bridge. We have a SOA turning point photo taken looking West.

SNI is 52°14.136N 1°42.645W 375′ 110m AMSL.
SN2 is 52°13.374N 1°44.126W 375′ 110m AMSL.
SOA is 52°11.481N 1°42.004W 140′ 40m AMSL.
From SOA or the RSC Theatre to SNI is 5.0km at 350°.

Accommodation

We have no accommodation on site. If you like, you can bring a caravan or a tent and stay on the airfield at no charge. There’s a shower in the Clubhouse that you can use, once it’s been opened up. Alternatively, there are plenty of B&Bs in Stratford and the surrounding area. There’s a tourist guide to Shakespeare’s Stratford here which tells you about a lot of things going on in the area, local services, restaurants, and accommodation.