Time flies - it’s already been two weeks since our second fly-in and BBQ. Thank you all for coming over and taking part.
We had over 200 people visit with just shy of 40 aircraft flying in. We’d hoped for more but alas wind conditions in the west of the UK meant that a lot of our aviation buddies couldn't depart their home fields.
It was great to see so many helicopters buzzing about (albeit beating the air into submission as some of our fixed wing kin might say!)
We are really grateful for all the help and support we get from our residents and friends of Kittyhawk - a big part of what makes our airfield so special.
We’ve already received several cracking pictures of the day’s events. I’d like to give you the opportunity to upload your favourite pictures and/or videos here. (It’s a secure link to our server). By doing so you agree to let us use or modify said images for the promotion of the airfield and related businesses on a free basis - we plan to produce a video in the future.
We'll choose a winner (or two) and will have some specially produced merch for you!
Thanks to those who tagged, liked and posted content up on Insta and Facebook - this really helps get our name out there and connect with AvGeeks and aviation appreciators in the UK and around the world.
It’s still relatively early days in the transformation of our airfield. We have a keen eye on sustainable & harmonious technologies as they become viable. You can do your bit supporting GA as it is a UK strategic asset. Many airfields are under threat and we have an opportunity to buck the trend. Aviation is a great entry point into STEM subjects and we are keen to encourage and foster those who are interested. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience within the GA community and they are only too happy to share with anyone interested!
Follow us on Instagram: @kittyaero
Follow us on Facebook: @KittyhawkAerodromeRipe
If you are interested in volunteering at Kittyhawk please do get in touch with a covering email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you can bring to the table!
There’s an adage that for an airfield to make a million, you need to invest five! We are always open to complimentary business opportunities.
We are also looking to put on more events including more regular fly-ins and BBQs.
We also realise that we are learning on the job. The BBQ wasn’t without hitch - while we sold all our amazing chicken and burgers (and had some great feedback - the food was prepared with a lot of love) - some of the servings weren’t up to the high standard we strive for. We have plans in place to raise the bar for the next fly-in.
It was a real pleasure to have you over.
Johnny Carr, 72, has claimed top spot at the Great British Aerotow Revival 2022. Congratulations from all of us at Kittyhawk!
Read the full article in the Argus here.
We recently announced the date of our next fly-in to Kittyhawk Aerodrome after the success of our somewhat last minute fly-in last September.
We are busy for the moment improving our runways and taxiways for the start of this season so more details and an RSVP form will be published in due course - at least a month before our fly-in.
Alex Edwards, our hangar helper and video editor extraordinaire is putting together a clip of last year's fly-in, so those who joined us will probably see thier aircraft in the clip.
More news soon. Looking forward to seeing more GA here at Kittyhawk.
(Destination Kittyhawk. Written for LAA Magazine, Sep 2021).
When I first landed at Kittyhawk Farm, it was a mistake. I had been passing by aloft on a beautifully sunny day when the radio, tuned to Safetycom and silence, burst into life. “Luscombe overhead…come down and have a cuppa…”
Hard to refuse such a warm, unsolicited invitation, so I landed and met Jack. It was quiet; a handful of aircraft in the hanger, including another Luscombe, and we drank tea, listened to the birds and enjoyed the stunning view of the South Downs. I went on my way but some years on, given notice to leave our single occupancy strip (beaten earth floor with a layer of macadam, no power and no water) we were lucky enough to find a friendly welcome at Kittyhawk. It was only quite recently that Jack confessed to me that he had mistakenly thought that the passing Luscombe had been a friend of his.
“Luscombe overhead…come down and have a cuppa…”Jack Grayer
In the time that has passed since we took up residency, the strip has improved step by step. Nothing too flash, but the painted concrete floor, electricity and water have been supplemented by toilet and washroom facilities and our hangar has pupped, a smaller “soft-top” unit being installed alongside and housing a Vari-eze and an as yet unfilled space for another occupant. Work is ongoing on surface improvement, runway enlargement, ditching and drainage, and there are even some beehives on the campus. All this, and the friendly welcome still sustains.
I’m not sure when the idea of some sort of fly-in/barbecue/musical event was first posited but it was certainly long before Olly, our airport manager, took the reins a year ago. Somehow, it never really took wings until, under his oversight, it popped up again in mid August. A date was set and planning then proceeded at the speed of light. Not long before the decision to go ahead was reached, we’d had our own frequency, 118.265, approved, and, as none of our residents had yet been trained to operate a Ground to Air service, Olly had arranged with John “The Haff” Haffenden to provide the service on the day. There was much to do. Olly would be the first to admit that, though his enthusiasm for aviation is unbounded, his knowledge and experience are limited and, to his credit, he embraced the experience of residents. Martin and Roy busied themselves running the gang mowers and roller up and down the runways, giving 16/34, recently widened to double its previous width, particular attention. Paving slabs were set in the ground and whitened to mark the runway edges and, because it was not unknown for even regular users to call the runway numbers wrong, they were painted on the thresholds in the ICAO approved font to aid identification from the air.
Olly arranged for a fire and rescue presence, an ice cream van to attend, Maddy from Cafe 8 to come over from Shoreham to run a coffee and cake stall and for Elliot and Valet-Pro to demonstrate what thorough cleaning and detailing can do for an aeroplane. Phil had exercised his tin cutting skills to recycle an empty fifty gallon drum into a stunningly efficient barbecue.
One of the more difficult issues we had faced in planning the event was, taking account of each of the four possible runways, where would the aeroplanes park, and how would they get there and out again without entering into conflict? In the event, the wind did as forecast and clearly favoured runway 28, with a 15-20 degree crosswind over the trees from the left. This gave us the possibility of using the full length of 16/34 to safely park our visitors. It also simplified the marshalling envisaged. On the morning of the fly-in, we had received positive responses from the pilots of over sixty aircraft. All that remained was to hope that the weather would remain fine. It did and all day long, whatever the clouds did around us, we sat in a pool of sunshine.
By any measure, the day was a great success. Early arrivals shortly after 9am were followed by a steady stream of vintage aircraft, homebuilts, microlights, flexwings, autogiros and helicopters (given a separate paddock to land in, far away from any light taildraggers) all in all, a pretty broad cross-section of LAA permit types. Kevin, Alex, Jack and I shared marshalling duties. The main hangar had been all but cleared to allow shelter if it rained and unencumbered access to the toilet at the far end, and the concrete apron and grass manoeuvring area were furnished with tables and chairs for our guests. The neighbouring paddock became a temporary car park for the estimated thirty who arrived by road. Phil, flaunting his versatility, took the controls on the barbecue and produced magnificently succulent spicy Lebanese kebabs which pilots, families, enthusiasts, spotters and neighbours consumed enthusiastically; children rode around on the miniature powered jeep that now lives in the hangar, intended to perhaps double as a tug, and James, erstwhile aviator and affable owner of the land upon which the airfield sits, surveyed the proceedings with a big smile before disappearing into his man cave and emerging to drive his enormous radio-controlled model of a Tiger Tank, complete with realistic sound effects, through the crowd. My ten year old granddaughter was captivated.
We can only estimate the number of visiting aircraft to be around seventy five, because we stopped counting after that and I am delighted to say that the event enabled us to make a donation of £150 to the Air Ambulance. We all learned a lot putting on the event. We were lucky with the weather and we know that, for future events (for we hope that this will happen) we will need to think through extending aircraft parking, access for road vehicles and ground communication. Feedback from those who visited us has been very encouraging and we welcome and appreciate it.
Thank you all who came and, please don’t wait for our next fly-in to visit. You’ll find a PPR form on our website. We can’t guarantee there will be miniature jeeps and tanks to greet you, but we can assure you a very warm welcome.