Group flying opportunities & questions
By KarlS
Hi, I am about to move very close to Fairoaks and am looking at the various flying group / club options there.
I tend to split my relatively small amount of SE flying between UK and USA so an equity share is not cost effective for me.
I know Blackbushe and WW have many options but I am particularly looking at Fairoaks as it is so close.
Does anybody have experience of LTFC and Synergy? LTFC looks to be good value if the website is correct at £155 / hour for PA28 / C172 Incl.
However also interested in availability for night stops ( Im often available midweek).
Any other groups I gave overlooked?
Any input appreciated.
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By timjenner
I learned then rented with LTFC from 2012 until moving house a couple of years ago (Fairoaks now a bit too far away, sadly). LTFC is an actual club, I used to live quite close and would often pop up for a cup of tea and natter even if not flying. Great instructors and Fairoaks is a lovely airfield to operate from (especially compared to my current local - Biggin Hill...). No home landing fees but rental is on the Hobbs meter rather than tacho so a bit more pricey than it could be. On the other hand, you're not generally sitting on the ground taxiing for ages unlike Biggin.

Things may have changed since I was last there, but the Warriors were "well used" though perfectly serviceable. Had a fair few cancellations due to tech issues, and in winter it's a bit of a pain as they're not hangared and are usually parked in the mud! On the plus side, very easy going and able to fly out of hours without a problem. Availability at weekends in summer was not brilliant and needed forward planning. Rental rates were kept lowish by keeping utilisation high, bookings were usually an hour or two at a time - taking an aircraft away overnight is probably fine in the week but even an all-day booking on a summer weekend was often tricky.

Lovely place, miss it a lot!

The other main option at Fairoaks is Synergy - no experience of them myself, but seem to be quite a bit more expensive and more focussed on training (definitely a company rather than a club). There are sometimes a few shares including non-equity available - check the noticeboard in the café. Would also recommend the blue cheese and bacon panini.

By KarlS
Thanks Tim, that was just the sort of @ in the know” info I was looking for. Helps a lot.
Sounds like my weekday availability may work well for the odd longer trip.
I think LTFC may well work well for me especially being so close.
Thanks again and safe flying.
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By timjenner
If you want any more info feel free to drop me a private message, more than happy to have a chat by phone if I can be of any help.
By Fairflyer5
I did my PPL at Synergy. At the time I was there they were very busy with students. I rented as a PPL from them for a while afterwards, but you definitely are not their top priority and I would often get bumped around from plane to plane depending on the needs of various lessons. They are also fairly expensive for what the planes are. I think it was about 150p/h for a 152. For comparison, I went and joined Blackbushe Flying Group and their 150's rent for 89p/h, and their 172 rents for 125p/h. I have to drive a bit further to get to EGLK, but the rates are well worth it.

I considered staying with LTFC at Fairoaks, but the broader aircraft selection at BFG and having an airport that is attempting to expand and build new facilities is nice.

On the UKGA classifieds there is a group that advertises a C152 and a C172 that might be worth checking out. The website seemed kind of sterile to me which initially felt like a red flag, but it could be a good opportunity?

This is the ad:
By KarlS
Thanks for all that info.
I visited Synergy and the lady on reception was very open and honest that their priority is the school. That said the availability looked ok but I agree the prices are high.
I like the airfield being so close , I might end up mixing and matching a little.
Il check out the group also, thanks for the info !
Safe landings