Welcome to the P.N.G.C Website
Regrettably, we are unable to take new bookings, as we are now fully booked
to the end of May. If you already have a pre paid voucher purchased after
October 2017, then please call our bookings secretary on (07403 805 805).
UPDATE 6 May 2018
Fareham Borough Council has invited PNGC back to discuss a possible future
at Daedalus, this time and at the crux of the financial issues, with Regional and
City Airports attending. RCA’s relentless choking of PNGC flight operations and
associated revenues, including removal of its ancillary income streams,
has singled out gliding in applying its flight restrictions at the airfield.
The Civil Aviation Authority considers that gliding could co-exist harmoniously
with the right local management. Professional pilots agree with the CAA.
The Council is quite reasonably concerned for fairness to all airfield tenants, but RCA has not adopted the same considerations at all and continues to single out gliding in its various flight and operating restrictions. This leaves PNGC unable to pay new hangar charges. These include those soon to be levied by RCA in PNGC’s current hangar that FBC had agreed could be under a new, direct lease with FBC for a smaller and more affordable area.
A recent official independent aviation authority report was received by PNGC this weekend in respect of gliding and power flying operations at Daedalus. It stated of local management by RCA: “Regulations, Processes, Procedures and Compliance were assessed as ineffective because of promulgated procedures at Lee …” RCA’s continues to block and restrict gliding and its ancillary revenue streams in lieu of finding ways to harmonise the different categories of aviation. PNGC Trustees said that its heavy financial losses of the last 3 years under RCA management at Daedalus simply cannot continue as a matter of financial fact.
RCA is understood to be contracted by FBC for management services at Daedalus, therefore the Council’s invitation to include them in talks is much welcomed by PNGC’s Trustees.
PORTSMOUTH NAVAL GLIDING CENTRE TO CLOSE AT DAEDALUS. Website updated 1st May 2018
PORTSMOUTH NAVAL GLIDING CENTRE AT SOLENT AIRFIELD DAEDALUS
INFORMATION RELEASE 01 MAY 18
Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre’s Board of Trustees and Directors met yesterday (Monday 30 Apr 18) to assess the viability of future operations at Daedalus airfield at Lee-on-the-Solent. It recently received Fareham Borough Council’s eviction order from its hangars; a new tenancy offer for land only; and sharply increased new tariffs and further flight restrictions imposed by the Daedalus airfield management, Regional and City Airports Ltd.
Facing increasing financial losses since FBC took ownership of the former Naval Air Station three years ago, PNGC’s Board decided that these latest demands no longer allow a viable, affordable future for gliding at the airfield. It will accordingly close later this month.
The club is an Armed Forces charity and able to continue sharing the running costs of the airfield and to remain cost-neutral to the local community, but RCA’s imposed restrictions on gliding reduce income substantially. This leaves sharply increased new charges for aircraft parking, hangars and flight operations well beyond the cub’s means. PNGC understands the needs of the Council and RCA to maximise their incomes, but the latest demands further increase PNGC’s business losses, despite many efforts to stem these over the past 3 years.
The flight restrictions to gliding are understood not to have been imposed by aviation regulators or Authorities, while formal requests to FBC and RCA senior leaders to disclose their reasons, have not met with any response.
The Navy has also used it extensively to develop essential leadership and teamwork skills for its serving personnel, as well as aircrew recruitment at minimal cost to the public purse. MOD(Navy) also confirmed in writing late on Friday that the Fareham Council had declined its historical annual financial contribution to PNGC operations at Daedalus for its use of the amenity. That funding was accordingly now no longer available.
Following recent public opposition to the threats of closure, FBC offered an outdoors area without hangars or covered storage, (Images), but it was deemed unfit for aircraft to stand on safely and lacked the security of tenure needed for new site or buildings investment.
The closure of this amenity ends more than sixty years of gliding at the popular coastal site, which is open to all, and comes at a harsh penalty especially to people seeking to develop flying skills for careers in aviation in line with the Council’s approved ‘Vision’ for Daedalus and the objectives of the Local Enterprise Zone.
PNGC has appreciated the high levels of public support, and immensely enjoyed meeting and serving so many of the local community as well as Royal Navy personnel in the area over sixty or more years of operating at Daedalus. Hundreds, into thousands, of young people have benefitted from the club and its volunteer instructors as an affordable means of entering successful military and civil aviation careers. Other regular users include youth groups, serving personnel of all three Armed Forces, City Livery Company charity beneficiaries and disabled or blind veterans whose remaining senses are stimulated by the feel of silent flight, even without the spectacular views. All PNGC members deeply regret the losses for these and the very many other people who would have benefitted in future.
No alternative site has yet been identified and the club will close at Daedalus on 31 May 18.
Please contact us for further information
Images of FBC's proposed area is here
UPDATE 24 APRIL 18
Ahead of next Monday’s Board meeting of PNGC Trustees, an offer has now received from Fareham Council for our consideration. It comprises rough and boggy scrub land behind the Coastguard hangar, probably unusable for storing aircraft and for a price that represents the full total reserve capacity of the club. No hangar offer has been made after our plans for utilising part of Bellman 4 hangar were suddenly withdrawn and an eviction order issued.
Photos are here and the FBC offer is here. PNGC’s response is here.
In addition to these charges, the RCA airside operating / landing fees need to be found as well and remain at about four times those of last year.
We have asked for replies from FBC Chief Finance Officer and Director, Mr Andrew Wannell, about PNGC’s earlier financial offer in context of full disclosure of our independent audit results; and from RCA Director, Mr Clive Coleman, about the scope for lifting at least some of the winching restrictions out of airfield operating hours. Neither have yet replied, but we will advise if they do.
17th April 2018 Update on PNGC’s future at Solent Airport Daedalus
The most recent meeting held between leaders of PNGC and airfield owners Fareham Borough Council was constructive and resulted in the following jointly agreed statement being released:
A meeting took place between Captain David Durston, Executive Chairman of the Board of Trustee Directors for Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre (PNGC) and Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council. Both agreed to continue to work closely together to explore avenues for PNGC to remain at Solent Airport at Daedalus in a way that works both for PNGC as a registered charity and for the Council as landowner seeking to create a sustainable airfield.
PNGC Trustees will decide on 30 Apr 18, based on specific information being provided by Fareham Borough Council and Daedalus airfield managers, Regional and City Airports Ltd, whether or not it is feasible for PNGC to continue operating at Solent Airport Daedalus after 31 May 18.
Members and visitors alike all love it here as sharing something unique for the community, heritage, military links and the spectacular views, just as the many thousands of people before from this area who have flown and trained with us since the dawn of aviation itself. We are keen to stay and to contribute to the airfield’s developing success, and are very grateful for the massive voice of public support.
PNGC has thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many people from the area, and helping many hundreds of young people on their way into successful aviation careers for generations. Although the assets are from Royal Navy charities; and its Trustees (Registered Armed Forces Charity No 1148381 ) are mainly serving military officers to ensure foremost that military efficiency is served, PNGC is an open, welcoming and friendly club that welcomes new members from the civilian community as well.
Many of our members, instructors and supporters started out in gliding and went on to become successful military and civilian pilots. They never forget where their opportunities came from and now try to ‘put something back’ for the next generation by giving their own time and offering a helping hand into their own many and various areas of the aviation industry.
There is a rapidly emerging shortage of both military and civil pilots in the next generation, and never has there been a better time for what PNGC provides. We offer affordable and well-recognised routes into many different aviation career streams for people of all backgrounds and means. We link with charities to fund training places through many organisations with which we have built enduring relationships over the years.
We are a formally approved and monitored gliding training centre; our safety is regulated under strict aviation laws and, with suitable training and supervision from here, people can fly on their own as young as 14 years of age. We believe this to be a fantastic, exciting and rewarding development opportunity that we strive to make affordable for all. We do welcome all age groups as well, and can offer trial flights to get started, or to mark a special occasion for yourself, or somebody special, or just because you might like to see this incredible coastal area from the skies and enjoy the silence of unpowered flight.
No decisions have yet been taken about our future at Daedalus, except that winch launching has been suspended, including for our popular Trial Flights. Consequently, we are making contingency plans for flying any remaining pre-paid Trial Flights by detaching a small number of aircraft and instructors for a limited period to Lasham, near Basingstoke.
Regrettably, we feel unable to take new bookings after the end of May, but expressions of interest and contact requests can be left with our bookings secretary (07403 805 805). If you are already a voucher holder, or wish to discuss future options, please get in touch on the same number to make suitable arrangements that best suit.
For those wishing to know more about PNGC opportunities, or to voice support for PNGC to stay at Daedalus, please follow the link. Comments are taken note of as well. Look out, too, for the short video made by a Junior member. Us older ones think it’s rather good.
Alternatively, you are welcome to email us by clicking here.
Thank you for your interest
If you would like to show your support for keeping the gliding club at Lee on the Solent, please add your name with any comments by clicking on the following link
SUPPORT PNGC to stay at Lee on the Solent Airfield
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