A Walk Around the Airfield
This is very useful preparation for flying at Skelling Farm, and could make dealing with "eventualities" that bit easier.
Please walk around the field when flying is not taking place. The field is 900m long, divided roughly into two 450m fields. The dividing wall has a comfortable 50m wide gap in it. The field width varies between 150m and 250m.
Aerial view of the airfield from the south
Plan view of the airfield
Walk Around The Airfield
1. Start at the portacabin and walk northwest along the western edge of field
Note the rutted track crossing the field to your right. It was levelled in preparation for the 2010 season so should not be a problem driving vehicles, or launching/landing gliders now. You can take a closer look on your way back.
Note the gulley on your left. Note that it encroaches into the field as you walk northwards.
On your right note the gentle but pronounced dip on the landing run. Mild by Dunstable standards, but a glider can hide in it and be invisible to you if landing from the south. Check your landing area carefully before landing.
In a westerly the weathercocking action of the wind may try to take you into the gulley on your landing run. Make sure you are not the first to achieve this, by turning eastwards and up the gentle slope towards the eastern boundary before you lose rudder authority as you slow down.
By clearing the landing run eastwards ( like at Sisteron) and also "landing long" ( as at Aboyne) we can accomodate 10-15 gliders landing in quick succession.
2. At the wall
Note the gap in the wall; it is 50m wide which is twice the span of the largest glider we have seen at Skelling!
Examine the ground surface in the gap, it is a bit rougher than the field (which is quite smooth). You may choose to avoid landing or rolling across it, especially in a southerly direction (There is a slight rise this way). Assess for yourself.
3. Continue on the western edge in the northern field
Note the gulley on your left and the trees further on. These do cause turbulence across the field in a westerly wind, less noticeable at the eastern side of the field if you are landing from the north.
4. At the northern boundary fence
Note the field, to the north of the fence, which you should regard as unlandable. It slopes down from the fence towards the north - Beware of the optical illusion as one approaches from the north - many experienced pilots can be seen doing too shallow approaches, with their airbrakes gradually shutting! Even after being warned.
5.Return along the track on the western boundary
Note the occasional large trees along this boundary. Note the slope of the gentle slope down to the gully to the west, and the gentle upslope along the strip towards the south which makes for easy landings in this direction.
Again we try to turn gently upslope towards the eastern boundary fence to clear the landing run for others.
Check the adjacent fields over the fence.
These large trees on the eatern boundary and the gulley on the western boundary contribute to the general advice at Skelling to avoid unthinkingly turning downwind after a launch failure. (IF a turn is to be made at all after obtaining a safe attitude and airspeed.) See "eventualities" in the briefing notes.
6. At the southern end
Note the rutted track and where it is safe/smooth for a launch or landing run. This should be no problem this year after levelling operations, but check it out yourself
Note the adjacent fields to the east and also beyond the belt of conifers to the south (gate in the southeast corner).
Most pilots use the track across the field as their reference point, as this enables safe clearance of the conifers and associated turbulence.
Please do not fly low over gliders awaiting launch. This is poor airmanship, so please stay higher and land longer.
More information is available under "Site Information".
John Castle 2015