The Skye Flying Club was started in the late 1990s, in the wake of the heady days of the microlight revolution of the preceding decade.
The leading lights at that stage were the late Tom and Elizabeth Westman (Tom had been a World War II fighter-pilot, whilst his wife Elizabeth had been a Silver 'C' * glider pilot and artist-in-residence, London Gliding Club), David Faulkner-Bryant (life-long flier, Tiger Club member, former PFL Chairman) and Alistair Ferguson (Raven flex-wing pilot).
A hangar was built, evening classes took place and the occasional fly-in flew in. However, with no flying instruction on offer and only one Skye-based pilot and in-permit microlight, interest and activity fell away and the club lay dormant for some 15 years. However, things changed in 2013. Meetings were held to re-activate the club. The BMAA re-listed our registration (see Links page) and a small but select band of people formed to promote the interests of the club and to commit to aviation.
The club reformed initially as a microlight flying club with Mike Westman (son of the founder Tom) investing in an Ikarus C42 and becoming a flying instructor. A small but enthusiastic group began to learn to fly once more in Skye. In 2016 Mike decided to move down South for family reasons and headed off with the C42 leaving the club with no aircraft and initially facing an uncertain future.
Skye Flying Club Reborn
The club has been very fortunate however to have been joined by James Brown, a very experienced group A flying instructor who had recently moved onto Skye, having worked with the charity Aerobility for many years at their main base in Blackbush in Surrey. Aerobility is a major charity who's aim is to enable the disabled to experience the joy of flying and gain flying qualifications if they wish. Through James's contacts the club has been given access to a Scottish Aviation Bulldog G-DISA, by its owner Ian who’s is a very strong supporter of Aerobility.
The Bulldog is a well equipped 2 seat, advanced single engine piston aircraft capable of aerobatics, with a constant speed propellor and it is equipped for IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). It is a type used by the RAF for initial flying training in the past.
The club has further invested in the hanger at Ashaig by improving the exterior surface and installing a new concrete taxiway to join the hanger apron to the main apron so our aircraft can taxi safely on a paved surface all the way.
To be able to offer flying facilities for the disabled we needed a disabled toilet facility. This has been realised due to the very generous support of Scottish and Southern Electricity who have supplied and connected a fantastic new unit for our use.
The owners of Ashaig Airstrip at Broadford are the Highland Council. They are very pro-aviation and keen to see our efforts flourish and have been very generous in the support given to us to enable us to proceed with these developments. We now have renegotiated a rolling contract with them that covers our use of the airfield and all landing fees for the club. This means that the club has access to over 800 yards of lovely, flat asphalt (the runway is 25 or 07) to land on and all in extremely good condition, thanks to the sterling efforts of the Council's TEC Services.
We have now also become approved by the Civil Aviation Authority to become the main Scottish base for Aerobility under their RTO and are now in a position to offer flying to both disabled flyers through our Aerobility connections and also to local flyers through the Skye Flying Club.
This has all taken much longer than we had initially hoped, but through the efforts of our members and their generous financial investment in the club, we are now ready to take to the skies once more.
The current executive committee comprises: Chairman: Dr Geoff Boyes Secretary & Treasurer: John Nichols Flying Instructor: James Brown Executive Officers: Anita Larson, John Warner and co-opted member Mark Entwistle.
If you would like to visit, just give us a call - we'd be delighted to meet you.