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Project Propeller 2016

Joining instructions for Scampton-bound pilots are currently chugging out of my Outbox….if you’ve not received them by Saturday AM, please let me know.

Wickenby instructions are in progress – they will be sent to the Airfield Management this weekend for approval, and will then require a final sign-off from Waddington Radar. I hope this process won’t take too long.

Thanks to everyone who has responded to the release of the Scampton instructions.

A few queries have been raised, concerning timings and the holds. I can confirm the following:

1. All timings are LOCAL;
2. Your slot – Lancaster (North) or Spitfire (South) are pre-assigned. If you have a look at the landing slot document I released, you will see which hold you have been allocated. If anyone is unsure, please let me know;
3. Your departure slot equals your landing slot. Departures work on the “early in, early out” principle. Departure slots will be announced over the PA, but won’t be policed; it’s a loose framework to try to prevent the queues we’ve had in previous years.

I am meeting SATCO Scampton on Thursday, and will try to resolve the following points:

1. Obtaining an airfield plate for RAF Scampton, so pilots can familiarise themselves in advance;
2. Clarify the precise weather minima that will be applied on the day

If there are any other issues that you’d like me to raise with SATCO, please post them here or drop me an e-mail.

Please see below the text of an e-mail that is leaving my outbox at the present time.

“Dear pilot

It is with much regret that I must report, with less than 12 days to go, the Royal Air Force have cancelled the Project Propeller event on 4th June, which they had invited us to hold at Scampton.

The reasons for this decision are still opaque, and more detail will no doubt emerge in the coming days. However, for time being, the PP organisers must simply address themselves to the possibility of shifting this event to another venue.

At the time of writing, Wickenby Airfield have given an initial indication that they would be willing to step into the breach.

I should be grateful if you could please, as a matter of urgency, give me your response to the following questions:

1. Whether you are still willing to fly on 4th June in the light of this news

2. Whether your aircraft is capable of operating out of Wickenby safely; I will be examining options for aircraft for whom the runway length is too short.

It would be appreciated if you limit your responses to answering the above questions. There will be a time to debrief on how we have found ourselves in this position, but all our energies must now be turned to salvaging an event for our esteemed guests.

I can think of no group of people that I would trust more to pull this out of the fire



quick update as of close of play 23/5

1. Response from pilots has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Only 2 have dropped out. I’ve had responses from >60% of the pilots that were due to land at Scampton

2. Early indications are that Wickenby might be willing to accept 140 aircraft over 3.5 hours, but this is very much a tentative number at present

3. Once their capacity is confirmed, we can consider options for a field for any excess and those pilots who are not happy to operate out of Wickenby, and deploy the resource that was going to be used Wickenby=> Scampton there. Humberside / Gamston are being considered as possible fields to approach; Gamston is now looking favourite as it is more GA orientated (e.g. no cumbersome security checks), albeit 10 minutes further away by road.

4. I will speak to the RAF tomorrow to establish whether Waddington Radar will be able to support the event, notwithstanding that it is not at Scampton any more.

Will keep you informed as best I can.

Last Edited by Grim_Reaper at 23 May 23:05

For Piper Cubs and similar low-life, there are nice grass runways at Bucknall and Brookfield, both within 10 miles of Wickenby, if the owners will accept.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

The following e-mail is chugging out of my outbox:

“Dear pilot

I am delighted to advise that Project Propeller will now be hosted at Leeds East (formerly RAF Church Fenton), on 4th June.

The option of Wickenby was fully explored, but owing to the short time available, they didn’t feel able to accept the number of aircraft inbound that was necessary to deliver the event there. Their support throughout this process has been magnificent.

The good news is that Church Fenton have indicated that they can accept all participating aircraft, the runway lengths are sufficient, and we can be accommodated in a hangar.

The Airfield Manager has confirmed that owing to the extra staff and logistical support that they will need to put in place, landing fees will have to be charged. However, these will be at a discounted rate.

I am awaiting confirmation, but it is expected that the fees will be £10 for singles, £15 for twins, very large aircraft to be confirmed. I hope everyone will appreciate their reasoning for this.

I would ask any pilot who cannot or will not fly to Leeds East to let me know as soon as possible. I will start looking at the landing slots shortly – I suspect there will not need too much in the way of alteration, but do alert me to any issues that you may face. Please begin communication with your guests to alert them to the change of venue.

I am absolutely delighted that we have this option, and I will keep you up to date on joining instructions etc. once these are available.



At this point, I would like to formally record my thanks to the following:

The management at White Waltham and Popham who made an offer to host the event if we couldn’t find anything geographically close.

Everybody at Wickenby, for all the support they offered as a secondary base for Scampton. I have nothing but the highest regard for them, and completely understand why they could not scale up to the critical mass that we needed.

Lots of work to be done, but at least now we have a target.

Graham, good news. The landing fee differentiated by size is an interesting approach at a charity event and I don’t love the very large aircraft to be advised bit. I think they would be better to ask everyone to buy fuel.

Last Edited by JasonC at 24 May 17:07
EGTK Oxford

Hi Jason

Understand completely. We are at a very early stage, and I hope that a rapport will be developing, such that we can broach such issues. Their appetite to make this work has been extraordinary – it’s a huge undertaking to take on at such short notice. I’ll keep you posted. If this is the only bump that needs to be smoothed out, I’ll be very content.


Last Edited by Grim_Reaper at 24 May 18:19

Fantastic, well done all.

I have no problem with Church Fenton and no problem with the fees which are an insignificant proportion of the costs of the day and well worth spending. Happy to pay more if the airfield needs it to avoid losses at what must be a delicate stage for the business.

strip near EGGW

Sitrep for tonight:

The RAF admin order for Scampton has been stripped down and sent to LEA, in readiness for their Ops meeting tomorrow. This will identify the logistics that need to be put in place.

One of my “wise men” is going to have a go at the first draft of joining instructions, which we’ll then forward to LEA for blessing.

I’ve had a first stab at drafting the landing slots. The following is apparent – some of you may be challenged, because the airfield is (say) 20m flying time further. The majority of aircraft are coming in from the South, but if you are inbound from the North, you are likely to find I’ve moved you earlier where possible.

In addition, I’ve had to carve out two landing slots for “Fast Aircraft” – I don’t want a PA46/or a twin riding up the rear end of a Taylorcraft; I’ve tried to bracket these slots with C172s, PA28s and the like, so whilst not exactly “fast”, they aren’t slow, either.

The effect is that some pilots might find their slot has moved a fair amount later than the original allocation.

I will listen to any requests as sympathetically as I can, and would be interested to hear from any pilots who can hit an earlier landing slot than the one I assign them.

LEA have advised that they will employ the “land after” procedure that worked well at RAF Cosford.

Last Edited by Grim_Reaper at 24 May 20:43
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