Special feature

One month left to complete the #FLY2023 Challenge

How is your #FLY2023 Challenge going? With only one month to go, find out just how close some of the FLYER Club members are to the target…


With only one month left of FLYER’s #FLY2023 Challenge – yes, one month – several club members have already reached their totals, many are close and some have, well, a way to go. November has been a bit of a mixed bag, weather-wise, and of course the days are noticeably shorter. But, don’t panic, there is still time to tot up your total!

The Challenge is, remember: fly 2,023 minutes and land at 23 airfields (they don’t have to be brand new to you, that’s just an extra self-imposed twist by ‘Iceman’ – Mark Saunders).

There are prizes at the end of the year, thanks to our industry supporters, Bose, Continental Aerospace and uAvionix.

You can follow what club members (and others) are doing on a special forum thread here: https://forums.flyer.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=122837

flying in the Sierra Nevada mountains USA
Annabel flying in the Sierra Nevada mountains

‘Aerbabe’, otherwise known as Annabel Cook, has been to the US on an extended trip, fitting in a visit to the final Reno Air Races as well as flying.

“Just back from 3.5 weeks in the US where I managed to squeeze in a couple of flights, taking me to: 1,130 minutes; 16 airfields; 9 different aircraft.

“The first flight was an introduction to mountain flying in a PA28-236 out of Bishop, climbing to 14,000ft around the Sierra Nevada.

“The second was an R44 out of Echo Bay into Las Vegas, via the Valley of Fire. Here is photographic evidence of the instructor being totally relaxed about my flying.”

R44 flying
Another type of flying by Annabel: R44 helicopter (with a relaxed instructor)

Another member, 10W (or is that Isle of Wight), hasn’t been so lucky: “Not been the best of years for availability so far. The aircraft was out of commission for nearly two months with a radio fault and then I was away for over a month on a couple of trips to Oshkosh and then Reno.

“Add in a three-week wait for a Permit renewal and I’m surprised I’ve managed to get much flying done at all!”

Mind you, 10W’s figures suggest otherwise:

  • Total number of minutes flown to date – 3,665
  • Total number of flights – 68
  • Total airfields visited – 21
  • Individual passengers flown – 21
  • Charity fund raising – £1,352

“Just a couple of more airfields to pop in to and a couple of more Vans Grin ‘victims’ and all targets are pretty much met.”

A nice valley (dale?) on the southern edge of the North York Moors & Wrench Green:
A nice valley (dale?) on the southern edge of the North York Moors & Wrench Green

Melanie Moxon is a prolific poster to the forum (thanks Melanie!) with photos and videos as well.

Melanie said, “I added another airfield to my tally on Saturday the 30th – Full Sutton. It was on my list for this year but wasn’t my original plan. I had planned to add two airfields to this years tally. Finningley Village, a farm strip (that happens to be 1,200m long) and then pop over to Netherthorpe.

“Unfortunately when I phoned Finningley I was informed that there was a game bird shoot happening that day so the runway was closed. Given I was planning on going to that area I thought I’d swing by Gamston. As they now test cars on the runway, PPR is essential. I tried to phone them but two attempts at phoning them, the first didn’t connect and the second rang off, scuppered that idea.

“Based on that I decided to head over to Full Sutton, and after a cuppa in their aero club head out to the East Yorkshire and North Yorkshire coast. I phoned Full Sutton to make sure they were open (PPR for noise abatement and avoiding overflight of the prison).

“I departed Breighton and climbed to 1,500ft for the short flight over to Full Sutton. Despite the morning weather being good and the forecast for the rest of the weekend being decidedly ‘meh’, there were very few people flying. I joined downwind for runway 20 and landed, not quite getting slow enough to make the turn onto the disused runway used for parking and a taxyway. Interestingly there are some new hangars on what the AIP shows as visitor parking, you can see those in the video (below).”

Melanie’s totals for the year so far:

  • Time logged: 2,355 minutes
  • Airfields visited: 21
  • Flights: 50
Brooklands fly-in
Brooklands fly-in

Flying into an iconic location such as Brooklands is dream come true for many people, and Martin Leusby joined others at the invite-only Brooklands Fly-in. It’s fair to say Martin had a good August and September:

“Managed almost 15 hours (in August) of which a large part was first ever attempt at Dawn to Dusk. Can’t tell you what we did, because I’d have to kill you…

“Other highlights were Oaksey Park (not been for 20-ish years and it’s so nice!), and the Stoke Golding ‘STIFI’, plus a rare visit to Sywell which is a bit strange these days – high speed cars and bikes on the hard, and aircraft only on the grass?

“September started with an excellent fly-in at Kittyhawk, the breakfast fly-in at Deanland was good too. Two new fields, Old East Haxted Farm and Yarmouth Heliport – where David Taylor (of this parish) had arrived before me but gone off to the beach with wife and dog. (See video below)

“So numbers are looking like 4,938 minutes flown, 42 airfields visited including 12 for first time and still several hours before my 50h/6mth check. Whoopee!”

UncleT: “My brief status report with three-quarters of the year gone. Minutes target achieved. Need to up the airfield rate somewhat for the remainder of the year.”

  • 2,262 minutes logged (2,136 P.1 + 126 P.u/t)
  • 17 aerodromes (home base + 15 new to me in 2023 + 1 visited in previous years)
  • 35 flights (4 A-to-A + 31 A-to-B)
  • 6 aircraft (5 Cessna 152 + 1 PA-28)

StratoTramp: 1,370 minutes. Only five airfields (Sackville, Deenethorpe, Conington, Old Warden, Sulby). But a great video! (Above)

flying over coast

RussP: “Challenge completed 22nd August. Had the minutes in the bag mid May but it’s taken me till now to get to 23 airfields (not including home base).

“Le Touquet was the destination for number 23. I didn’t realise that at the time, as I was focused on the trip with Jen who I’d been promising a trip over the channel ever since I got the aircraft nearly five years ago. My first foreign trip without a fellow pilot in P2.

“Uneventful flight, low cloud all the way to the coast on the way there but 5500ft both ways over the water. Jen went a bit quiet the first half of the water crossing but soon got used to it. Superb weather and food in town was had and Le Touquet is such a lovely place.

“These last two weeks haven’t been too bad with 16+ hours flown after an awful 8 weeks prior to that with only 3.5 hrs. Stats to end of August: 3,900 minutes – 26 airfields with 11 of those first visits.”

airfield in Puglia
African Eagle on his trip to Puglia

AfricanEagle likes to wind us up with photos and accounts of his flight around Italy but this takes the biscotti:

“Highlight is a trip to Sicily. Two-hour flight direct from Sabaudia to Palermo, and then another 1h20 to Marina di Modica on the southern coast,

“Flight back was magic. Take off at 05:41lt, overflying Sicily and seeing the sun rise with the Etna volcano on the horizon. A couple of hours over the sea followed by another hour past Capri Naples and Ischia. Landed at Sabaudia at 09.41. Exactly 4 hours stick to stick and I still had 20 litres left (40 minutes reserve).

“Then this weekend, a quick 1h20 flight to the east in Puglia, landing on a new to me airstrip, return take off with 39°C and 20 knot frontal wind from the 650mt grass runway.”

AfricanEagle’s stats so far:

  • 2,111 minutes
  • 12 airports (one brand new)
  • 36 flights
  • 6 sunrise flights
On approach to Palermo, Sicily
On approach to Palermo, Sicily

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