Information for members
If you have any questions about OUGC, please contact a committee member on the 'How to Join' page, as the airfield will be unable to help.
Main office: 01869 252493
Automatic gate: 07938 776284. You must already be a member for this to work. Otherwise call the office on the number above.
Gliding frequency: 129.975 MHz (not operated to ICAO standards; advisory only)
There are three unmarked grass runways:
- 24 - 06
- 31 - 13
- 36 - 18
These are the six main takeoff and landing directions, but gliders may be winched and (especially) land in any direction.
Any area inside the perimeter track is landable, but not necessarily smooth. Areas outside the perimeter track are not landable.
An imaginary line between the bus at the launch point and the winch marks the active runway.
The airfield operates with a ceiling of 5500 ft QNH. Its elevation is 270 ft ASL.
GPS Position: N51º54.91' W01º08.11'
BGA turnpoint designator: BIC
From Oxford, take the X5 bus service to Cambridge. (The 0800 service is ideal for a morning slot. Student tickets are available.) Get off at Caversfield roundabout, where a short walk down Skimmingdish Lane will take you to the airfield gate.
For travel by train, Bicester North station is a 20 minute walk from the airfield.
A few of our members may travel by car from Oxford. It is sometimes possible to get a lift.
If you're not in Oxford or nearby, you can still fly at Bicester on consecutive days and stay over at the airfield. This is particularly useful for training during vacations, completing tasks, or if you just want to fly.
Bunk-room accommodation and shower facilities are available at the airfield. You will need to take a sleeping bag and washroom necessities. Contact the office to book your stay.
Check the units for speed and height. Some sites may allow you to change to knots and feet.
Metcheck aviation forecast for Bicester - gives cloud base and visibility.
XCWeather forecast for Bicester - gives gust forecast.
RASP - Regional Atmospheric Soaring Prediction. A tool specifically for soaring forecasts. Useful for planning cross-country flights.
The club uses a volunteer booking system adminstered through DutyMan. Contact OJ (email@example.com) to set up an account. You may book up to three slots in advance. If you later decide you cannot attend the slot, it is possible to request a 'swap' but unless your slot is taken you should attend.
For pre-solo training, book an ab-initio slot on DutyMan. There are four slots available for morning and afternoon flying (it is possible to book both morning and afternoon on the same day). This is the only way to guarantee a flight (given adequate weather conditions).
An ad-hoc flying list also operates at the weekend, where gliders and instructors (if needed) are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Bicester airfield also operates on weekdays throughout the year.
Solo pilots may fly whenever the weather permits, however pre-solo pilots need to organise an instructor. Instructors can be booked through the office at a charge of £10 for a half-day session, which will be charged to your flying account. It is also possible to informally organise an instructor by asking around.
Costs and payment
Your flying account is kept with Bicester Gliding Centre. It is the club's policy that members' accounts should be at zero balance or in credit at all times. Payment may be made through cash, card and cheque at the office or direct bank transfer (easiest).
Flying accounts may be monitored through the members' area on the Windrushers website. Be aware that there is typically up to 1 week lag-time before flights are logged here. Contact John Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) to setup your online account.
Many colleges are able to assist with the costs associated with participating in sport at the University level. Ask your college for further guidance.
After 30 flights, an ab initio pilot may apply for an OUGC Bursary currently worth up to £200. This lasts until you fly solo, for one year, or until you've used up the value of the bursary - whichever comes first.
Additionally, the BGA maintain a webpage listing other funding sources for pilots of varying ability and experience members.gliding.co.uk/junior-gliding/funding-opportunities/.
The BGA published updated medical guidance in March 2015. Pilots under 25 are now able to self-declare fitness to fly. For pilots over 25, a driving licence from an EU nation is also now sufficient evidence of fitness to fly. For full guidance, see members.gliding.co.uk/library/bga-requirements-guidance/pilot-medical-requirements/.
OUGC safety tips
- If you bring a car we recommend that you leave it by the hanger. If you should choose to bring a car out to the launch point always drive round via the perimeter track and remember to leave the keys in the ignition when it is parked. Beware of airfield dangers and note that aircraft/ centre vehicles always have priority. Be aware that your insurance may not cover you on the airfield and that no cover for vehicles is provided by the centre, it is at your own risk.
- The hanger doors weigh several tonnes each. Only open/close them with the handles provided, never push them, and only manoeuvre them when you have been shown what to do.
- Care must be taken when walking in the hanger. Do not walk over any aircraft or other objects and do not touch propellers.
- Don’t step over the wings or fuselage of a glider, always walk around.
- When crossing the airfield, by car or in a vehicle, make sure you keep a good lookout for gliders approaching, as you will not hear them until it is too late! If you do see a glider heading towards you, stop where you are – the pilot will fly around you.
- Try to stay near to the launch point with the other members – i.e. don’t go wandering all over the airfield as there are dangers such as aircraft, cables and vehicles which you may not be fully aware of until you are used to the airfield.
- Don’t fly if you have drunk alcohol in the last 12 hours or are still under the influence of alcohol. The co-ordination needed for flying is harder than driving a car for example - so be sensible and only fly if you are fit to do so!
- Take care when manoeuvring gliders, only do so when you have been shown what to do. Except in special circumstances (e.g. manoeuvring in hanger) only one wing tip is held at one time and this must be the upwind tip.
- Canopies should be left locked or held when open to prevent a gust of wind from ripping them off. Never put your hand through the direct vision panel when the glider is moving of for any other reason than to open the canopy catch.
- Never put parachutes on the ground, as a damp parachute may not deploy. All efforts should be made to keep parachutes out of the rain.
- Do not leave a glider unattended unless it has been secured, you will be shown how this is done.
- Do not attempt to launch a glider unless you have been cleared to do so.
- Do not drive any of the tractors, land rovers or other centre vehicles unless you have been cleared to do so. Only those with a driving licence may drive the centre vehicles.
- Stand well clear of the cables at all times unless you have been asked to move it or are launching a glider, as they may move at high speed without warning. Never hold a cable whilst a launch is taking place on the other cable.
- In summary – the airfield can be a hazardous place for the unwary. If you have any questions or are at all unhappy about something then ask.
gliding.co.uk - The British Gliding Association (BGA).
windrushers.org.uk - Bicester Gliding Centre and Windrushers Gliding Club.
This page was last updated 14th June 2015.