"We never know exactly where we will be going because of the weather,
this is part of the adventure, the pleasures for this type of holiday."
The trip is run over a 9-10 day period, usually starting at some unearthly hour on Friday morning to get down to the ferry at Portsmouth for 7:30 am. We return on the Sunday afternoon, arriving back at Portsmouth late evening, Northampton at 11:00 - 12:00 pm and Huddersfield at 4:00 am Monday morning.
We arrive via ferry at Le Harve, France in the afternoon and make camp at a small airfield 6 km away. With weather conditions favourable, we set off on Saturday morning flying approximately 30 - 60 miles depending on the wind. The last airfield of the day becomes home for the night and repeat this the following day. We keep this up for at least 4 to 5 days before we take a day off and stay put at a friendly airfield for a day, 2 nights and a good rest.
Low time pilots are started straight away with coaching and local flights. We adopt a 'buddy' system so that you fly with another pilot, the 2 heads are better than one principle. Low time pilots are 'buddied' up with either Stewart or myself until they are more confident with the navigation. When this happens we try to team them with an experienced pilot. We camp at the airfield of the day, most French airfields have facilities such as club house, toilets, bar and camping areas, we cannot arrange hotel accommodation as we never know exactly where we will be going because of the wind and weather, this is part of the adventure and is one of the principal pleasures for this type of holiday.
We supply the breakfast and midday meal, pilots are expected to pay for the evening meal, this may take the form of a BBQ or at a local restaurant. If after a long day and we cannot get to a restaurant in time, we raid the tour larder which usually carries sufficient food to keep everyone happy. This is at the tours expense and is a last resort.
Maps and fuel are provided free, coaching and guiding is also given free along with assistance on mechanical repairs. Wet weather programmes usually consist of ground lectures (where possible), sight seeing, swimming (where possible) and the usual tourist activities. A lot of pilots tend to frequent bars and restaurants if it becomes unflyable however, in our 4 years of bivouac tours we have only lost a couple of days to rain and wind. The climate in Northern and central France is far more
favourable than Britain and Ireland. We carry a stock of Radne parts and these are sold at retail if they are needed, it is recommended that you bring spare control uprights (down tubes) for your wing and a spare propeller for your power unit .
You will need to bring a tent, sleeping bag and mat/camp bed. Clothing has to be kept to a reasonable limit along with other items as space is of a premium. All non flying gear (excluding tent and sleeping bag) should fit into a normal size sports bag. Medical and 'get me home' insurance is included in the price, we know it works very well as unfortunately one of our clients fell and broke his elbowlast year, he was treated like royalty and flown back to Britain after receiving medical treatment at a superb French hospital.
The cost for the 10 day trip is 795:00 GB pounds (approx $1,400 US), we will need a deposit of 300:00 GB Pounds to secure a place. It is a first come first serve basis.
Hosts: Ben Ashman
Flylight Airsports, Northampton. UK
telephone: +44 (0)1604 494 459
fax: +44 (0)1604 495 007