Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#1801630
It's been a year or so since I was last in Blackpool, and my recent visits have all consisted of parking on the main apron and filtering through the glorified Portakabin out to the carpark at the back of the Premier Inn at Squires Gate.

On Sunday, I plan to pop up for a short trip to stretch my IFR legs, and give number 1 son, going through his ATPLs at the moment, the chance to practise his IFR Comms skills.

In the back of my mind is the idea that there is/was a handling firm with a hangar and a caff providing a nice alternative to the Squires Gate experience. Am I hallucinating, and/or is this alternative still available? All hints and tips gratefully received - I'd ideally like to avoid leaving the airfield and schlepping into town.
#1801727
Thanks @AndyR

In digging around, it appears that there was, very briefly, a cafe offered by Hangar3, who remain handlers at the airfield - but the cafe has gone. There is a pub, the Air Balloon landslide at Squires Gate, but otherwise, you need to head into town.

As a matter of curiosity Andy, where would you suggest as a decent IFR airways run from Cambridge if you have no intention of leaving the airfield at the other end - but ideally with a cafe or similar available. With Europe essentially closed, the choices are fairly limited. Many obvious candidates like Gloucester don't really make sense as an airways destination.
#1801758
As a matter of curiosity Andy, where would you suggest as a decent IFR airways run from Cambridge if you have no intention of leaving the airfield at the other end - but ideally with a cafe or similar available.


I'd suggest Hawarden (EGNR) as I've flown this route myself. There's a popular on-airfield cafe close by landside.

(Do check the current situation because I understand that there may be restrictions on visiting due to Covid.)
#1801765
2Donkeys wrote:.. Many obvious candidates like Gloucester don't really make sense as an airways destination.


why not ? (in genuine curiosity) .. Nearish 2 Airways with their own reporting points for joining/leaving (eg BADIM/MALBY or via BCN), used operationally and for IR training by IFR movements all the time. I gather The Aviator is back in good business. Oh, and JAM open (1300-1600) at weekends :wink:
#1801815
What I'm really after is a destination that meets the following criteria

1) Instrument Approach Procedures available

2) Well connected to the airways system - although not necessarily directly connected

3) With an airways routing from Cambridge that doesn't involve a massive overhead compared to an OCAS routing.

4) That doesn't cost an insane amount to land and park

5) That has food of some sort available within easy reach

It turns out that there aren't many that fit the bill - but Blackpool is one that does.

Gloucester fall foul of (3) @kanga. The channel islands are all great, but under COVID are not particularly welcoming without COVID tests and similar. Bournemouth and Southampton fall foul of 5 and perhaps a little bit 4. Southend is an option, but not very useful coming from nearby Cambridge. Biggin is not bad. Lydd falls foul of 5 as I understand it. Robin Hood, East Mids, Leeds, Teesside and Newcastle all fall foul of 5 and some have tendencies towards 4 too. Haverfordwest fall foul of 1 and 2.

What have I missed?
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#1801825
2Donkeys wrote:What have I missed?


A flight to somewhere that fulfills items 1) to 4), where you just do an approach or two without landing and then a return to Cambridge for something to eat or make yourself up a gourmet packed lunch to eat enroute? That's what autopilots are for.
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#1801846
Prestwick gives you 1-4 - not the closest, but reasonably direct routings, with some pleasant (for training) complexities enroute with variable base airways. Very quiet, pretty reasonable charges for SEP, various approaches available. Catering onsite is limited to tea/biscuits and an honesty box in the flying club on who's apron you would be parked for a turnaround, but bring your own sandwiches and it makes a pretty good training run. Just wish they were equally reasonable for MEP, I'd be there a lot more!
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#1801876
Try Hangar 3 at Blackpool. They offer exec jet handling and have a VIP lounge.

https://www.hangar3blackpool.com/handling-department

Sadly being based at Hawarden I can tell you that it fits your bill entirely but is situated in Flintshire which is under lock down. On top of that Airbus have decreed that there will be no leisure flying allowed (although training is so you can practise your IR there). Once on the ground though you will not be allowed landside if you've landed from outside the county.

The cafe is excellent and there are other options easily reached by taxi if required.

For happier times in the future...... :)