Following positive progress from the main contractor the National Centre will be open for business on the 8th of May (as opposed to the 1st as previously advertised) This slight delay is to permit a small number of additional tasks to be completed that render the site safe for public access (these are outside of the original contract works).
The construction works representing Phase 1 of the project have completed on time and within budget and the contractors have completed all works to a high standard. This has delivered an office/reception and meeting room facility (formerly the main dwelling) an events building measuring 18m x 22m, fully insulated with heat, light and power (formerly the indoor riding arena) and a support building for the events facility providing catering, meeting, storage and toilet facilities (formerly the groom’s quarters) All of this is supported by extensive ‘hard’ parking and additional toilet facilities and flyers parking area.
The other aspect of Phase 1 is of course the provision of the flying site and runway facilities. This process has been rather more challenging and having carried out the required earthworks in December followed by deep ploughing in order for the soil to break down over the winter, we were blighted with a burst water pipe (which nobody knew existed) followed by a substantial amount of rainfall which led to delays in getting the necessary equipment in place to prepare the runway for seeding. This work has now been carried out and how quickly the grass grows of course depends on the weather over the next few weeks. As an interim measure we have prepared a temporary grass surface to the south of the main east/west runway which will be used until the new grass is sufficiently established to use.
Season Tickets and bookings
A season ticket is a great way of supporting the national centre project as it represents guaranteed income at the start of the year and we have already sold a reasonable number which is great news. The cost of a season ticket is the equivalent cost of 10 midweek day visits so represents good value for those who intend to visit regularly. Bookings are coming in well and the calendar already features a range of events including competitions and fly-ins as well as an airshow and trade show in July. We also have a few clubs that have booked a flightline for a day or two as a members’ day out and change of flying experience and scenery. Have a look at the events calendar for further information
A few thoughts for May
There is no doubt the National Centre represents ‘new territory’ and despite the previous work of the feasibility study there are many aspects that are still unknowns. Of course the primary aim is to ensure that the centre generates sufficient revenue to cover the operating costs and ultimately provide a surplus to further develop the facilities and move on to Phase 2 of the project. It will take time to establish use of the initial facilities and time to develop activity and practices, I would ask that you bear with us through this initial phase, I am of course always happy to receive input and feedback. By far the best way that members can support the project is to get involved, visit the site, make use of the facilities and attend events.
Thank you to all those who have taken the step of purchasing a season ticket at this early stage.
Coming Soon, events
The National Centre calendar is starting to fill up and the best way to find out about events is to take a look at the events section elsewhere on website. However, I have listed a few of the events below as a taster, why not come along and support the National Centre.
Remember, camping is pre book only, check the website status box to see what is going on for the next three days and keep in mind that early season events will take place on a temporary runway.
• 20th/21st May – Early Season Visit and Fly – be amongst the first to come along to the centre for a look at the facilities and have an informal fly, refreshments provided and camping is available for those who wish to make a weekend of it.
• 3rd/4th June – BMFA University and Schools Payload Challenge – the first opportunity to spectate at this interesting and exciting event, teams of students have designed and built payload carrying airframes and will be demonstrating that they are fit for purpose at BMFA Buckminster.
• 10th/11th June – Early summer fly-in – informal fly in with camping available.
• 29th/30th July – BMFA Buckminster Summer Airshow, the first big event at the National Centre two-day airshow with trade, camping, swap-meet and evening sport flying.
• 2nd/3rd August – SAM35 Vintage Fly-In a two-day midweek celebration of all things vintage, come and enjoy some relaxed vintage free flight or a bit of radio assist.
It is possible that we may move to a structured fairly fixed programme of activity i.e. free flight Monday, R/C Tuesday, I/C Wednesday etc. but this is yet to be established. Of course the aim is to arrive at maximum utilisation of the site and a spread of activity that is fair to all users.
Also coming soon will be a live weather feed to the website so you can see exactly what the weather is doing at BMFA Buckminster before setting off, the anemometer should be going up on the roof any day now.