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Pilot reviews of Clacton Airfield

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Pilot reviews of Clacton Airfield

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23 Oct 17 - Stephen Nuttall - 0.5 NM North of HMS Nightjar

Flew into Clacton from Blackpool on 14 October and out again on 16 October via Earls Colne to take the greyhounds for a short holiday. The grass strip itself is very well maintained although it has a public footpath across the middle which has right of way. The telephone briefing with the PPR was very thorough including the need for wide circuits to avoid built up areas. With no overhead joins allowed, (my preferred arrival for a grass airfield not visited before), I had to do a go-around from our first approach as we were not properly aligned with the runway, but their briefing helped get the circuit right and we landed on our second approach. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. We had forgotten to bring our tie-downs, so one of the instructors suggested that we leave our keys with them and if the weather turned windy, they would take the aircraft across to the ‘based-aircraft’ side and tie it down there for us. We couldn’t have asked for more!

 

There was no fuel available on our visit, (hence the return via Earls Colne), but the clubhouse was very smart and had self-service tea and coffee and snacks plus an outside seating area overlooking the airfield. It was also only a short walk (5 minutes) to the sea front. We arranged a hire car from Enterprise in Clacton who collected us (and the greyhounds) from the airfield and dropped us off on the Saturday. Only £23/day for a Ford Focus – excellent value and highly recommended.

 

A lovely and friendly airfield which is well worth a visit. If you want a meal when you visit, the café at the seafront is a pleasant short stroll away.

  • Quality and value of food / drink: 3
  • Standard of runway: 3
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 5
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31 Oct 14 - paul mortlock - guildford

A little gem of an airfield. It was very quiet but a friendly welcome and only a 5 minute stroll to the beach. With cheap landing fees this makes this airfield a good place to visit.

The wind farm is a bit of a pain but other than that an easy approach.

  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 3
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 4
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6 Sep 13 - Phil Chapman - Coulsdon
Visited as part of my 2nd stop for my CPL QXC. Really good briefing given and made finding the aerodrome much easier as the half-mil chart puts the wind turbines on the wrong side! Challenging to land as the distance is much shorter than most I've visited, 600m if i recall and i'm based at redhill 900m. Just be wary of dog walkers. A/G service was friendly when given, although was very quiet when i visited, not another soul in the circuit. being used to full ATC at Redhill, this was something new. Will definitely be going back as it was really good value, very friendly, accepting card payments and a good test of your landing skills!
  • Standard of runway: 3
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 3
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 3
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31 May 13 - Sudhir Marathe - Wellingborough
My wife and I visited this very nice airfield; on a beautiful sunny May bank holiday weekend. On their web site they emphasise having a briefing for the first time visitor and I felt this was a good recommendation. The airfield is very close to sea shore. They use a very long circuit to avoid over-flying adjacent residential areas and the base leg for 36 goes well into the sea! There is a public footpath that goes right through the runway and pedestrians have a right of way. All usual amenities are available at the airfield. Apart from two training aircraft doing circuits the airfield was not particularly busy. They have excellent facilities for tie-down for overnight parking of your aircraft. Clacton beach with usual beach activities, pier with rides, hotels and Clacton town centre are all a very short walk from the airfield. We stayed overnight at a hotel in Clacton. We had a very nice flying experience and an enjoyable weekend in Clacton.
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 1
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
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5 Oct 12 - Luke Scambler - Cambourne
Visited Clacton twice in the summer. Lovely little airfield, however the recent addition of the land based wind turbines as you turn on finals for 18 - they're right under you! Friendly staff in the clubhouse and snacks available as well. Definitely worth a visit - preferably in the good weather!
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 4
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 3
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 4
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1 Oct 12 - Barry Lewis - London

Arrived on a clear Sunday afternoon in a Cessna with 3 pob. Its a short runway and the wind turbines at the end of 36 are a little intimidating but I suspect that was because it was my first visit. I did a low and go to check out the lay of the land and to ensure there was noone about to cross the public foot path which is mid runway. Very helpful and friendly radio service. Parked in the visitors area and made our way down to the beach which is just a short walk. Used the facilities on our return which were clean and tidy. Nice little airfield and worth a visit.

  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 4
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4 Sep 11 - Dave Remnant - Denham
Took the kids for an afternoon at the beach as it was just a 35 minute hop from Denham. Been in many times before but never with the kids. Don't know why but it always feels different when I fly with my kids. Anyway PPR on the phone straight forward and pleasant. Saouthend Radar coverage up to Bradwell bay and downwind join for Rwy 18R/H. Used to think it was very short and challenging landing at Clacton but find I'm down and taxing in 2/3 distance in my 172 even with 4 up and nil wind. Radio request for taxi which was ordered and waiting in the car park by the time we had locked up and paid a very reasonable landing fee. Nice Aldo Zilli restaurant along the front called Prezzo, nice alternative to fish and chips (which seem to be the only other choice other than the Toby Carvery at the Martello Tower just on the edge of town). They usually close at 17:30 but you can go out non-radio so there is no rush but they were still around when we left @ 18:00 with a grand total of 4 other aircraft parked (most I have ever seen there). Very under utilized (and under visited from my experience) airfield. Will definately visit again as it's so close and an alternative to the South coast for me.
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 4
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4 Jul 11 - Alexander Belonin - London

Went there yesterday in c172, full tanks, one passenger. Short runway 18, hot, calm, grassy. It was my first go there and the first approach went too fast and too high on final. Had to go around. The second approach made a good landing.

In the reception I found a chart that depicted a 120 degree approach into rw18, by-passing the built up area. It would be a challenge.

The take off happened in a 'soft field' way. In the heat, calm and grass Cessnal didn't accelerate well and the trees were approaching. After I lifted her early at 45 she instantly gained 15+ knots staying in the ground effect and then I started to climb with confidence.

The airfield is difficult to spot this time of year. However the sea cost with moustaches (see the photo) and the small lake are good pointers.

I will upload a video to youtube. Just Google it using "EGSQ clacton landing youtube".

  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 5
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19 Mar 11 - David Jackson - High Wycombe

Easy to find. £10 landing fee for a Warrior. Easy 10 minute walk for fish and chips etc. Best aerodrome for a family beach day trip.

  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 5
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9 Aug 09 - Sean McMurran - daventry
We have just had a wonderful trip to Clacton Airfield. ATC very friendly and runway in good condition and not too bumpy. As previous write -ups mention, there is a footpath across the runway and also there were some people walking along the side of runway 18, (wasn't sure if this was an approved footpath) though, so be aware of that! Short walk into Clacton (10 mins) and seems a very pleasant place to spend the day. You can get basic snacks at the airfield if it's a quick visit but if you are looking for a meal then a short walk into town is advised.
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 2
  • Standard of runway: 3
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 3
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
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21 Jun 09 - Simon Roe - South Hykeham
what a great friendly airfield very visible runways good atc. only a short walk to the beach and the pier. a nice quiet little seaside town thats realy worth a visit
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 5
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15 Feb 09 - Trevor Mitchell - Clacton-On-Sea
I moved to Clacton for one reason and that was Clacton Aero Club. It's a great airfeild to fly from, giving you all the sorts of challenges you just don't get from other larger flying clubs. From lots of cross wind takeoffs, short field landings, to the ever famous footpath. I have heard it said by visiting pilots, club members and the CFI that if you can get in and out of Clacton you can fly into any known airfield in the country.

I have started to work at the club at weekends and we give a full friendly brief when you PPR (which is a must). So for a great fun challenge and a friendly day out at the seaside give us a visit this season - you won't regret it.

  • Quality and value of food / drink: 5
  • Standard of runway: 5
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 5
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 5
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20 Sep 08 - Steven Bailey - London
Nicely kept grass strip. Very helpful briefing by telephone when booking in and a friendly reception. The public footpath across the runway is not a problem for landing or taking off but watch for traffic thereon and go around if you see any. Getting all the wheels on the ground before the footpath is a requirement so touch down on the numbers, particularly on runway 18 (the path is nearer the 18 threshold than it is to the 36 threshold). Only a few minutes walk from an expansive sandy beach and Clacton pier. A really good seaside venue!
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
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28 Aug 08 - George
Fly in for a day at the beach. Nice brief over the phone and warm reception. Having a footpath across the runway makes things "interesting". My wife loved our day out so a big +1 for clacton.
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 4
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 4
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8 Nov 07 - Adrian Ball - Felsted
What luck! A fantastically sunny and calm day in November, on a weekend - must be time to give Clacton a try. Despite having flown from an Essex airfield for the last four years, this was my first visit. I found it very difficult to spot, despite the excellent briefing I'd had (PPR is essential) from the A/G chap. After a somewhat unconventional approach (ahem!!!) I joined downwind and the landing on the grass strip was straightforward. You're recommended to get all wheels down before you get to the footpath that crosses midway down the runway, since the LDA is pretty short (590m ish), so some scarey braking, a little skidding, a bit of fretting we came to a halt about 100 ft short of the fence - phew! The airfield facilities (erm .. portacabins) were being renovated at the time. Checking in was friendly and easy and the fees are very low. Lunch by the sea was superb.
  • Standard of runway: 3
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 5
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 3
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11 Aug 07 - Paul Gandy - Heathfield
Took advantage of the good weather to fly up to Clacton from the south coast (did my tailwheel conversion there a few years ago). Friendly airfield with a decent grass runway and reasonable landing fees, however watch out for the well used footpath across the runway at aprox mid distance and the restricted / danger areas on the way in. Also call for telephone briefing as there are circuit / noise restrictions. Basic snacks available in the clubhouse but only a 5 minute walk to the beach with its facilties.
  • Quality and value of food / drink: 2
  • Standard of runway: 4
  • Landing fee / handling charges: 5
  • ATC / AFIS / A/G service: 4
  • Friendliness of welcome: 4
  • GA pilot briefing facilities: 3
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6 Apr 07 - Kevin Lewis - Royston
I flew in to Clacton today, landing from over the coast on runway 36. Its a lovely approach along the coast then descending over the beach for a short final on to the lovely grass runway. I obtained PPR by telephone, and the friendly lady informed me that I needed to be on the ground before the footpath that crosses the runway, and that walkers had the right of way. On my first approach there was indeed a dog walker sauntering across the runway, so I elected to go around, I wasn't too dissapointed, as I got to do that lovely approach again. It is quite informal, and there is a small club hut, with basic facilities, staff seem friendly. A/G radio was answered sometimes, and not others, but its not really a problem. Only a 5 minute walk from a lovely sandy beach. A Great place I will definitely be going back !!
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27 Jun 06 - Gurcharan Bhoday - Harrow
I agree with everyone's opinions! Clacton is a really beautiful aerodrome. I even got marshalled in! Food was really tasty.
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4 Sep 05 - Nigel
Flew in on a hot August day from Denham. Not easy to spot at first, and no overhead or deadside join in order to keep the noise down. Given the short length, and a cross wind of 10-12kts, we decided to have a long final to make sure everything was in order. When I'd phoned for the PPR, the chap in the TWR had said 'we like you to have your wheels down by the footpath' and I can see why. Landing on 18, with the (pedestrian priority) footpath on the crown half way along the 600m strip, landing later would see an aircraft through the hedge, and across the road into the sea if you were late. The scan of airfield, footpath, instruments was unusual, but thankfully we didn't have to go around, and the landing was on the numbers. A nice big friendly sign by the control hut tells you where Visitors Parking is, and then after signing in, its a ten minute walk left to the nearest cafe by the sea with an excellent egg & chips. Take off provided an opportunity to test the Vx. Definitely one to visit again.
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23 Nov 04 - Youngy - St Ives, Cambs. (where's Cardiff?)
Did my TWC at Clacton this summer. Lovely airfield, very friendly and helpful staff. In particular say hello to old John in the office, he's probably been there since silly oclock in the morning, mans the radios, takes the bookings for Clacton and Classic Wings at Duxford, sweeps up, goes and does the shopping, and doesn't stop until the last person goes home. Cracking chap. :)

Finding the airfield; it's just to the west of Clacton town, pretty much on the beach. Watch out for that sea breeze, makes the windsock do funny things during the day.

The runway - 600 metres of grass, but it's cut in half by a public footpath which has right of way, as I found out when an old biddy and her dog wandered across when I was on short final. Stay alert for that one!

There's a private strip about a mile to the northwest, the users there tend to join Clacton's circuit and then just drop off into their strip, so don't be too alarmed if you see that.

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5 Dec 03 - Brian
Flew into Clacton a little while ago. A *fairly* small airfield, and quite hard to spot from joining height. Departing was a heart stopping experience. The surface wind was very calm and the weather was very warm, making getting airborne a difficult task in the best of circumstances. The TINY runway was frighteningly short. We got airborne at the last possible minute, only just scraping the hedge at the end of the runway. Me, My Instructor and the passenger all let out the most ridiculously loud sigh of relief as we began the positive rate of climb... The look of shock on the passengers face was unforgetable. The feeling of shock I felt was uncomparable, even today... Nice place. One iffy thing though, the chap in the booking out office wasn't exactly friendly - hohum though, we all have our off days.
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11 Aug 03 - Alexander Potter - London
I did my PPL at Clacton and think it embodies most of what is good about GA! There's only an A/G station but it's manned most of the time and they're always helpful - there's quite often activity from air-sea rescue so always useful to have some prior warning. Facilities are limited but for £6 landing fee (last time I was there) you don't expect a lot - what you do get is a decent welcome.

Word of warning, the field's short (c.600m) and crowns in the centre where there is also a public footpath. Crucial to get down before this path and remember that walkers have right of way (and spotting an idling aircraft on finals ain't easy at the best of times)!

Good little gateway to some seaside!
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Pilot reviews of Clacton Airfield

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