Protocol for the use of North Luffenham by Free Flight Permit Holders

The British Model Flying Association (BMFA) has been authorised to manage and control the use of North Luffenham Airfield (the Airfield) for trimming free-flight model aircraft.

This note concerns Fee Flight trimming on non-contest days.  A separate agreement covers competition days.  A season ticket does not cover airfield fees on competition days.  Free Flight Competition days are open to any BMFA Free flight flier. The use of the Airfield for flying radio controlled models is managed by the Rutland Radio Flyers Club.

The principal aim is the safe and responsible use of the Airfield by season ticket holders. Particular care is required if the Airfield is being used simultaneously by free flight season ticket holders, The paragliding club – Rutland Air Sports and the Rutland Radio Flyers Club.  All season ticket holders must observe field discipline and comply with the Air Navigation Order, all BMFA safety codes as contained in the BMFA Members’ Handbook and Civil Aviation publication (CAP) 658.

Access to the Airfield is at all times by permission of the Army stationed at St George’s Barracks and will only be available to those holding a free flight season ticket card issued by the BMFA.. Members are to present the card as required to the Guardroom and any Army security staff. If you are not in possession of this card then you cannot fly!

No season ticket card holder is allowed to invite a guest to use the Airfield for trimming purposes.

Field Availability

The Airfield is available to card holders on weekends, national holidays from 08.00, Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings after 17:00 and Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 12.00  if the airfield is not being used by the Army.  The Army has made it clear that it cannot guarantee field availability and they may have to restrict access at short notice.

The current system giving notice of field availability is via an Email sent to card holders in advance of each two week period. The dates and times of access will be given in that Email as approved by the training wing officer for St Georges Barracks. It is likely that the Guardroom at the Barracks will need to see this approval when the gate key is sought. The field will normally be available at weekends and on bank holidays and on selected midweek days.

Field Entry Procedures:

Entry is only by the barrier on the north side of the Airfield – known as the “Ellis” barrier/gate – after the transport company that occupies the hangers close to it.

If on discovering that the barrier is locked down, go to the Guardroom, show your season ticket card to the Guardroom staff and ask for the Ellis Gate key and sign for it.  As noted above you may be asked to show a copy (paper or on an electronic device) of the Email showing approval for that day.

After you have unlocked the padlock fasten the padlock under the clasp. The barrier must be down at all times but not locked down if a key holder is already on the Airfield.  When the barrier is down, but not locked, the hinged strap that clamps over the barrier arm must be left over the barrier arm to appear as though the barrier is locked.

If the barrier is unlocked then simply go to a suitable place to fly that ensures that models don’t overfly the radio models flight path or the Paragliding Area (if either ae there).  However note that if the radio flyers have the key it will be necessary to ensure that they know that FF flyers are on the field so that they don’t leave and lock the FF flyers on the field. Similarly if one of the FF flyers has the key they must ensure that they don’t lock in any other flyers.  It is accepted by the Army that the key need not be signed back in by the same person as signed it out.

As at August 2020 the Army now lock the barrier at the entrance to the field (ie just before what used to the golf fairway) at weekends and at dusk. On going to the guardroom to get the Ellis Barrier key the Security team will come out and unlock this outer gate and then leave it unlocked but (probably down). If you find this barrier down check to see if it’s unlocked before you go to the guardroom. I am sure you will know that the Army are quite likely to change the rules whenever they see fit so be patient with them!

If something goes wrong eg you get locked onto the field then ring the guardroom (01780 727781).

The last FF flyer to leave the Airfield is to ensure any debris resulting from free flight trimming activities is collected for disposal off the field.

The last to leave the Airfield locks the Ellis Gate barrier and takes the key back to the Guardroom and signs it back in.

It is essential that the Ellis barrier ends up locked at the end of activities and the key is taken back to the guard room.


Flying Rules:

The key requirements are as follows:-

  • No deliberate overflying of the Rutland Radio Flyers’ flight line.
  • No deliberate overflying of the paragliding club space if they are present on the field. They use the southwest quarter of the field bounded by the two runways and the southerly peritrack. You may need to talk with the paragliding club to ensure safe flying. Do not worry they are a friendly bunch and they are well aware of our use of the field. Do not harbour any ideas of their moving. They can only use that quarter. Their rules call for them to not overfly the rest of the field – they occasionally break that rule at altitude so be aware.
  • No flying off the Airfield and especially into the St. George’s Barracks camp.
  • No model retrieving by car.
  • No cars are to be parked on the runway within the section used by the R/C flyers as their flight line –  that is, the main runway from the eastern end up to the cross runway or, if the R/C flyers are using the cross runway (unusual), no cars to be parked on the cross runway. No cars may be driven on the section of runway being used as a flight line by the R/C fliers.
  • All cars driven on the Airfield must observe the 20mph speed limit.
  • No entry to the Airfield before 08:00.
  • No flying of ic engined planes before 09:00.
  • If two or more members are trimming models powered by an ic engine they must avoid having two or more models flying simultaneously in the power phase.
  • No excessive ground running of engines this is not the place to run in engines noise is an issue here.
  • Although not yet mandatory, it is recommended that all models being trimmed carry radio activated dethermalising equipment.