Information for Visiting Pilots
Welcome to Feshie. We want you to have both safe and enjoyable flying during your visit. The nature and location of the site can give problems to the unwary or inexperienced pilot so please take time to study the following information
Feshie Airfield Information
Location: N57 06.113 W003 53.588 2.5 miles SE of Kincraig.
BGA Trigraph: FES Old Club Hangar 6nm SSW Aviemore.
Runway: 03-21 1000 metres
Elevation: 860ft AMSL
|Name||Hdg (T)/Dist (nm)||Elevation (ft)||Lat.||Long.||Radio||Operator|
|Inverness||348/27||31||N57 32.0||W004 03.0||122.6||Civil|
|Kinloss||019/35||22||N57 39.0||W003 34.0||119.35||RAF|
|Lossiemouth||026/41||42||N57 42.0||W003 20.0||119.35||RAF|
|Easterton||033/35||400||N57 35.0||W003 18.0||130.1||Gliding|
|Aboyne||092/34||460||N57 04.0||W002 50.0||130.1||Gliding|
Feshie can be the most exciting and challenging gliding site in the UK, situated as it is in the centre of the Scottish Highlands.
The club is open at weekends all year round, and 7 days a week during the Mayfest and Octoberfest events.
For the less experienced, the Spey Valley offers a wide corridor 100km long with good outlanding fields, ideal for a first 50km.
Soaring the 30 kilometres of west-facing ridge, only one kilometre from the airfield, is an ideal launch pad to enter the superb wave often found along the Spey Valley.
An instructor will brief you on the peculiarities of the area and where to look for the best conditions. If you have not previously flown at Feshie we recommend you have a dual flight to familiarise you with the area. (Pilots below Silver C must have a site check).
If you fly east of the airfield you will be in an area of 800 square miles of mountains with no roads, telephones (your mobile may not work in the mountains) or habitation. Therefore the following rules must be adhered to:
- There is a large photo-map showing the airfield layout on a wall in the hangar. Please rig and park well away from the runway. A large glider's wing will overhang the runway edge / track.
- Due to restricted space, for safety reasons we do not allow 1-man tow outs whilst the airfield is active (first launch - last landing). You must have a wingtip holder and maintain a good lookout. If towing along the runway axis, you must drive on the grass to the East of the r/w. This allows you to quickly move the glider to the track on the hill side to avoid impeding launching/landing.
- Do not accept the rope until ready to launch. The wingtip holder should then check "all clear above and behind" and if safe to do so will level the wings. This signals "up slack" to the tug. There is no need for radio calls at this stage, if your wings are level the tug will launch you.
- The landing area is very restricted, therefore a downwind call must be made on 130.1 to Feshie Base. You may be asked to land long or short. On landing and just before coming to rest, roll off to the hill side of the runway. You should immediately pull your glider to the track on the hill side to give maximum clearance for launching/landing aircraft and await your retrieve crew.
- Please do not drive any vehicles on or across the runway. The soil is very poor and if the grass is damaged it takes a long time to recover. If you are going to retrieve a landed glider, you must use the East track (on the hill side). Whilst towing back maintain a good lookout and be prepared to pull off to the hill side track to allow launching/landing. You will have to move the glider across the runway by hand to reach your trailer. It is OK to drive carefully on grass that does not form part of the runway.
- All pilots flying in wave must call Feshie Base on 130.1 at regular intervals with a position and height report. If you wish to fly cross-country in wave, please advise Feshie Base that you will possibly go outside radio range.
- At some stage during your flight, you may be forced to land out. The Spey Valley from Laggan to the Moray coast offers good outlanding fields. A comprehensive folder with outlanding areas is situated in the office. Call Feshie Base and advise you are landing out. If we have not heard from you for some time, and are unable to contact you on the radio, the tug will be launched to search for you. Shortly after this we will initiate Search and Rescue procedures.
- If you are forced to land out in the mountains well away from habitation, you must stay with your glider. This will make it easier for the tug or SAR helicopter to locate you. The weather can change very quickly in the mountains. If you attempt to walk out and get lost, it will be extremely difficult to find you and you may be left out overnight.
- Because of the above, it is advisable to carry a small survival pack. If the weather turns and rescue services are unable to continue, you may be forced to spend one or more nights in the mountains.
- If you are unable to contact anyone on 130.1 (having landed out as above), and your situation is worsening, then a call on 121.5 may be advisable.
- In early October, sunset is at approximately 18:45 and reducing by 3 minutes daily. When the clocks change in late October, sunset moves to 16:45. You must be on the ground half an hour after sunset, or earlier if conditions dictate. If you are at 20,000ft, it will take 20 minutes to descend if an average of 10kts (1000 ft/min) is maintained. You should make yourself aware of local sunset time before flight.
- Great care must be taken when ridge / hill soaring. The mountains are often snow-covered. A white glider against a snow covered background can be very difficult to see. If you are not familiar with ridge / hill soaring, talk to an instructor before you fly.
- Laws and Rules demand that a serviceable oxygen supply system should be carried for flights above 12,000ft AMSL and its use is recommended above 10,000ft. As Feshie is at 860ft AMSL, we recommend you to go onto oxygen at 9000ft above the airfield level. No badge claims will be allowed if the 12,000ft rule is ignored.
- If you have been caught out above cloud during a wave climb, call Feshie Base and advise of your intended actions. If you use your GPS to assist your let down, then consider using our attached leaflet (Use of GPS to assist in a safe descent). Please make sure that you have read this before take-off. If you suspect that the cloud cover may become total below you, try to get down quickly before it does. Bear in mind that GPS is not infallible and there are high mountains in close proximity to the airfield, so any time you make a cloud descent you are risking your life!
- During the wave season the weather can change very quickly with rain and snow showers severely reducing visibility, making the airfield difficult to find. Keep a close eye on the weather and land if you see an approaching storm. Even modest snow can give zero visibility.
- When flying in wave conditions, you can expect conditions that you would not normally meet on a flat site, i.e. wind shear, wind gradient, rotor turbulence, changes in wind direction etc. Always look at the wind sock when you return to the airfield, or call Feshie Base for a report of conditions on the ground.
USE OF GPS TO ASSIST IN A SAFE DESCENT
A GPS is not a primary navigation aid. Extreme care should be taken to avoid being caught above cloud cover during a wave flight.
Should you have the misfortune to find yourself above complete cover, or in poor visibility, then the following advice is offered for a GPS -assisted descent to Feshie Airfield.
The descent is based on two waypoints in the Spey Valley 5.6nm apart. Tracking from one waypoint to the other will keep you clear of the mountains and over good outlanding fields. The Insh waypoint is 1.2 nm from Feshie, Ruthven in 6nm from Feshie.
- Enter the waypoints in your GPS before take-off. Some GPS's have a route facility and will track from waypoint to waypoint.
- To start the descent, GOTO the nearest waypoint. You should arrive at or above 5000' on Feshie QFE. This will keep you clear of the surrounding mountains.
- GOTO the second waypoint. Use airbrake to maintain a good rate of descent. During the leg, be sure to apply enough drift towards the into-wind direction to track direct to the waypoint (keep the CDI centred), or you may drift into the mountains. If there is a large crosswind component, it will be best to fly faster than usual to reduce the drift angle.
- At the second waypoint, turn (through the into-wind direction) to track back to the first waypoint. Remember any drift required must now be applied in the opposite direction. Repeat until clear of cloud.
- Keep in contact with Feshie Base for cloud base, wind and weather reports.
- When clear of cloud, close your airbrakes and if possible return to the airfield, or land out. Call Feshie once you break cloud.
- All turns in cloud should be rate one turns upwind.
Ruthven (RVN) N57 04.32 W004 02.36
Insh Watersport (IWS) N57 07.00 W003 55.00
View Safe GPS Descent in a larger map