Information for Local Residents: FAQs

I sometimes have aircraft flying low over my house. Is that allowed?

We try to avoid overflight of built up areas at low altitudes whenever possible, but this may be necessary when aircraft are taking off or landing, particularly if your property is close to our airfield. This is perfectly legal and permitted under the Air Navigation Order (ANO) which regulates flight by civil operated aircraft.

Why do you have to aerotow at all? Why can’t you just use winch launching?

Although far preferable in terms of cost, winch launching has some disadvantages in that it launches a sailplane to a certain height (determined by the wind strength and direction) at the end of the airfield, directly over the winch.  Aerotowing allows a sailplane to be towed to a given height and a particular location, which may be necessary to find thermals (rising air currents to allow sustained flight) or to permit some training exercises to be completed safely. Certain sailplanes cannot be winch launched. Aerotowing is the mandatory method for formal competitions.

How do you avoid other local air traffic?

We have formal agreements with the airfield at Fullers Hill Farm designed to keep our flying operations safely separated.  CAA air maps mandated for air navigation show Gransden Lodge as a winching site and an area of Intense Gliding Activity, designed to inform other air users and allow them to navigate clear of our operations. We also have formal agreements with major local operators such as Cambridge Airport.

Do you liaise formally with the local Parishes?

Yes. There are twice annual meetings with appointed representatives of the 12 local parishes and planners to jointly review plans and any issues arising in the preceding period.

How do we know you are not going to develop into another power flying operations?

This is specifically excluded in our planning permissions. We are permitted to operate as a gliding operation only. This is to everyone’s advantage.

Do you expect your operation to expand significantly?

No.  The number of launches and membership numbers in general have been largely static over the past 20 years. What has changed are weather patterns so ‘good’ flying days are fewer and far between, so we see a few more peak demand days in the year.

Why do you sometimes take off in different directions?

We always aim to take off into wind as much as possible. The prevailing wind is between South and West so we will usually launch on our main runway (‘runway 22’) towards the SSW.  About 15% of the time the wind comes from an East or North Easterly direction and we launch on our NNE runway (‘runway 04’). Very occasionally with strong Northerly or Southerly winds, we will use our shorter North-South runway.

Do you track your Tugs and Club Gliders?

Yes. Both of our tugs, all Club gliders and almost all privately-owned gliders are fitted with GPS tracking devices that allow us to monitor their track and altitude with great accuracy. This allows us to monitor adherence to tow out corridors etc. and aids investigations where a complaint may be received.

Should I be concerned about privacy if you are flying close to my property?

Certainly not.  Any pilot even close to an altitude that would allow them a close view of your property will be 100% focussed on landing or taking off.  If you aren’t convinced come and try a flight for yourself!

If I have a special occasion like a wedding can I ask you to try and avoid the event?

Of course! With enough notice, we will always try to accommodate this sort of request if it is safe and practical to do so.

Just contact us as far in advance as possible at

Does CGC contribute to the local economy?

Although the majority of our operations are managed by volunteers, we have several employees, the majority of whom live locally. We attract visiting pilots who often stay on-site or locally, shop, and eat in neighbouring villages. We also employ local services such as cleaners, mechanical engineers, hedge and tree trimmers and similar service providers. Our overall spend within Huntingdonshire DC and South Cambridgeshire DC is in excess of £150,000 a year.