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We’ve been asked to remind everyone of the protocol for flying circuits at Belrose, so here, first, are a couple of diagrams that were published in our newsletter in October 2008 and are worth repeating:


The general protocols are (using the internationally accepted ICAO terminology):

You take off and land into wind, so that if you take off towards the sea then you’ll be flying right hand circuits (all turns made to the right), and if you take off up the hill then you’ll be flying left hand circuits (all turns made to the left)

  1. You should be flying down the centre of the runway each time you fly into wind east-west or west-east (ie each time you fly the same leg as take-off and landing)
  2. The down wind leg (where the wind behind your model) should be flown WELL OVER the bush – that means somewhere between a good distance over the trees for a small model, and up towards the ridge for larger models, but certainly not over the short grass or at the edge of it. If in doubt, if you lost power and went straight down, the model should be landing in trees, not over grass
  3. If the wind is changing, or is coming across the field, pilots may have already chosen left or right hand circuits, and you’ll need to find out which direction they are flying as part of obtaining your clearance for takeoff
  4. There should be no flying over the long grass in front of the pilots. The closest line runs parallel to the pilot’s fence, comfortably over the short grass (the centre line of the runway is a good guide). The only exceptions to this are:
    1. Helicopters using the hovering area east of the pilot area and
    2. Aircraft (generally gliders) that are well west of the carpark or well east of the east end of the field, high enough, and not in danger of interfering with normal circuits
  5. Launches of everything, including electrics, gliders, helicopters, must be made from the edge of the short grass (spot marked in red on the diagrams) and AWAY from the pilot line, over the runway (note that nobody should be outside of the pilot area, near this spot, if anyone is taking off, landing, or taxiing out)
  6. Landings should be on the short grass of the runway except for very light/slow aircraft without landing gear that can be landed on the FAR EDGE of the long grass in front of the pilot’s area as long as the landing is called and as long as they are coming in under full control, slowly, and will not interfere with the pilots or pits or put anyone at any risk whatsoever
  7. Unless you are the only pilot in the air, you should fly all aerobatic manoeuvres on the leg over the bush/ridge and should call, in advance, to ensure that any change of direction from the agreed circuit is acceptable to all other pilots on the line. As with takeoff clearance, it’s acceptable if you get a clear and positive confirmation from each of the other pilots
  8. If your aircraft is not under your full control, let the other pilots know and then make sure it is kept well away from the pilot line. Don’t be tempted to try a “controlled ditch” in the long grass on the north side of the runway to save damage to the model – there are plenty of soft trees on the other side of the runway

In the end, it is important to keep the fun element, and the above list, whilst lengthy, is there to avoid collisions, disputes and to minimise the risk of accident and, particularly injury. Nobody is exempt from these rules (this includes CFIs and instructors). Even the most experienced pilot should not be getting away with a little rule-bending.

It is every member's right and responsibility to protect our love of this hobby. Nobody should object to a friendly reminder from any other club member. After all, not everyone reads the website (YET).

Safe and happy flying

Clive and Dean

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