The CIX VFR Club Night Flight
Club Events - Lofty's Lessons
Night Flight from Denham to Shoreham with a Gatwick transit.
Home > Monthly Events 2019 > Lofty's Lessons
Briefing OCTOBER 2019
Overview For October, we shall practice and hone all of the skills we have learnt throughout the year, test ourselves to prove ourselves to the CFI… and to add a twist…it will be at night! We all know that as long as VMC conditions are met, we are perfectly legal to fly VFR at night so, we will, but lets add a CFI slant…you must remain out of Class A London airspace and transit Gatwick on VATSIM! You never know, get the shot right and it could also prove to be a winner for the CIX monthly screenshot event!!! A double whammy.

Your best friend is a keen photographer who has successfully progressed to the final of an international aviation photography competition. The issued task is to achieve a night photograph of London Gatwick’s Runway 08, during the eighth Roman month of October. Your C172 is sat at Denham (EGLD) and you agree to pick your friend up at Fairoaks Airfield (EGTF). Leave Denham around 19:30UTC (i.e after the end of official "day" and fly anticlockwise avoiding the Class A London airspace to Fairoaks.  At Fairoaks, pick up your mate then transit Gatwick at the western end, to allow your friend to get "The shot" before departing south and finally landing at our Shoreham base.

Start Time and Place

This event may be flown on two alternative dates to allow the maximum number of members to participate: - Monday 28th or Tuesday 29th October 2019, starting at 1930UTC real time. You are to ensure that the end of evening civil twilight is achieved in your simulator before departing Denham (EGLD). This event WILL be on VATSIM owing to the frequent controllers available for the South, particularly Heathrow and Gatwick. Note the time carefully, as British Summer Time ends the day before this event.

Flight Planning Before the event you will need to carefully plan your route. Note all UK class A airspace restrictions, including Denham exit rules, and Fairoaks entry and exit rules set out in our Airfield Data Sheets on the website. Consider how night conditions will effect the ability to confirm your location. Choose waypoints such as High Wycombe and Reading with large areas of street lighting, and so are readily visible at night. NOTAM: for the purposes of this flight, both Ash and Pirbright Ranges Danger Areas are active. An anticlockwise route will allow good separation to be achieved and the Ockenden VOR (OCK 115.3MHz) is a good reference point for starting a Gatwick transit. Note the different possible entry and exit points Gatwick could give and finally, prepare your onward journey to Shoreham in the event of a Gatwick transit refusal.
You will require 2 separate flight plans for the event to be awarded a full star:
  • EGLD – EGTF ½ star on either the 28th or 29th October.
  • EGTF – EGKA ½ star on either the 28th or 29th October
As this is a CFI style event, flight Planning is purely the pilots responsibility. However, note that learning and fun are always the key buzzwords for Club events. The total distance is roughly 80nm and with no traffic or restrictions should take no longer than an hour...!
What Aircraft can I fly Any aircraft can be flown in this event as long as it is within the EASA "Light" category (see Club Rules for details) and has full exterior lighting fitted.
Weather... or Not We will be flying Night VFR in VMC. Before starting we will check the weather. If it is unsuitable for our trip as planned, then we will fix it. Something we can do in the simulator - wouldn't it be nice if we could do it in real life! FSInn has a "CAVOK" button. Click this and you get calm clear weather. Those using SquawkboxB or XSquawkbox will need to turn off the on-line weather updates, and select calm in the FS weather options.
ATC It is hoped due to the date and time of the event that ATC will be “manned” both at club level (Denham / Fairoaks / Shoreham) and with the common VATSIM controllers (Heathrow / Gatwick / London). Key will be early and accurate communication to all stations. All ATC will be on VATSIM (unless technical difficulties overrule).
Airmanship Good separation, situational awareness and early communication is key. Remember to ANC (Aviate, Navigate & Communicate). Make sure your aircraft has full exterior night lighting. Make sure you know where you are at all times. Remember...this should be fun for all. Should your enjoyment become impaired due to “unsportsmanlike” ATC, let someone know to allow club senior pilots to pass on your concerns to the controller! By the same token, accept any refusal or admonishment lightly if you get something wrong, such as straying into Controlled Airspace without clearance, and use it as a learning point if required. If you get lost, make a Pan call to Gatwick for radar vectors, or, if you know you are south of Reading, abort the mission and track Midhurst VOR to land at Shoreham. You may not get a star, but you will be safe!
Radio Discipline Take care not to let our Teamspeak chat cut across ATC. Stop any conversation immediately the R/T comes alive, then continue if "he wasn't talking to us". This is difficult because when transmitting on Teamspeak you can't hear the R/T. So be brief on Teamspeak, and be aware that ATC might be trying to get through. If anyone hears an R/T message which seems to be being ignored, just say "ATC is calling G-CIXN" if you have identified the callsign, or "ATC is calling us" which is a cue for everyone to be quiet on Teamspeak until ATC call again (which they will). Remember too that if asked to "Stand By" by ATC, you do not reply - not even "Roger", but simply wait until you are called again.
Remember also that there are several different ATC frequencies in use, and you may not be able to hear when communications are taking place. Make sure you have set and know how to use a Teamspeak mute switch.
Club Star Award
  • EGLD – EGTF ½ star on either the 28th or 29th October.
  • EGTF – EGKA ½ star on either the 28th or 29th October
Acknowledgements Event Idea: The late Len Henning
Event planning: Dan Cooper
Briefing: Dan Cooper
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