The day that you obtain your license is certainly unforgettable; you are now footloose and flying free (once the CAA has managed to post your license to you!). Most newly minted PPLs will take their friends and family flying, and nearly all will fly to nearby airfields and explore the local area. But many don’t take the opportunity to fully realise one aspect of the potential that a private pilot’s license offers; there are some fantastic destinations within reach of a PPL in a PA28 that are often overlooked or simply not considered. In the first of a five part series on post-skills test flying, we take a look at some airfields visited by GoFly pilots & instructors, that offer worthwhile and fulfilling places to go; the list is by no means exhaustive!
Perranporth Airfield is situated seven miles southwest from Newquay, Cornwall, and two miles from Perranporth Beach itself. Its proximity to fantastic beaches and coastal towns make it an obvious choice for those wishing to escape to the seaside for a day, plus some spectacular views of the Cornish coasts as you arrive. It boasts three tarmac runways, a café, and is approximately a three minute taxi ride from the seaside resort of Perranporth Town, which features a widely renowned surfing beach. Navigation from Old Sarum is simplified due to the lack of significant controlled airspace en-route, and LARS coverage is extensive thanks to Yeovilton, Exeter and Newquay Radar. Pack your bucket and spade and head on down!
Le Touquet is a destination often favoured by UK PPLs flying across the English Channel for the first time. Situated in the Nord-Pas-De-Calais area of France, the airport is just 32 nm across the channel from the Kent coast, and the town of Le Touquet is rightly famous amongst UK flyers for its quintessentially French character and municipal beach. Whilst some extra paperwork is required (in the shape of a flight plan and customs form) don’t let that put you off; filing such forms is very simple and easy to do. From Old Sarum, navigation tends towards easy, as most routes roughly parallel the coast for the majority of the trip. There are certain procedures to be followed when you cross into French airspace, but a short chat with a friendly GoFly instructor will outline what needs to be done. Le Touquet town is reputed to be the most elegant Northern France holiday resort, and is well worth crossing the Channel for.
Located in North Wales, a flight to Caernarfon Airport from Old Sarum allows excellent views of the Snowdonia National Park & Menai Straits en route. The airfield hosts an onsite aviation museum, and is within walking distance of the local Blue Flag beach. The local town of Caernarfon also boasts a large and well preserved medieval castle! The airfield is easy to find given its coastal location and position relative to Anglesey and the North Wales coast, with radar services on the way in provided by RAF Valley. One of our instructors regularly commutes by air to Caernarfon for business meetings, and highly recommends it as a destination.
If you’d like to spread your wings and take a PA28 for the day to explore these destinations or others, talk to our Operations Manager Tom; whilst there may be a minimum hire per day applicable at times, during slack times this does not apply. Please feel free to enquire about arranging an all-day hire to visit some of these locations by air; we can highly recommend them.
Ben Koprowski, FI