Netherthorpe Airfield

ICAO Code – EGNF

Elevation –  254 ft AMSL

AFIS –123.275 – Call sign – Netherthorpe Radio

Runways – 2 – Grass

Navigation Aids on aerodrome – None

Fuel –100LL

Telephone Number (For PPR) – 01909 475233

Operating hours, hangarage, parking, landing fees and landing cards – Please see website.

History

DH60 Moth

The land on which the current airfield is located has been utilised for aviation activities since 1933, many of the early pilots flying the de Havilland DH.60 Moth. They approached Sheffield City Council on Friday 5 April 1935 with the intention of taking advantage of the growing trend in airfield development and forming the Sheffield Aero Club (SAC). Following protracted negotiations funding was found for a clubhouse which was originally located to the right of the existing runway 24 threshold and to upgrade an existing hangar, located to the left of the existing runway 24 threshold, this was extant until 1996 when it was destroyed by high winds. The landing ground also received an upgrade.

The convention at the time was to take off and land using the whole mown field with no designated runways, a white circle was whitewashed to identify the centre of the field where take off and landing was conducted through the circle, the identification letters ‘NT’ were enclosed in the circle. After initial hesitation, mitigated by hedge removal to reveal a larger landing area the Air Ministry (AM) approval was granted to allow flying training, operating the De Havilland Moth which was loaned to the club by the Chairman Mr Jakeman with operations starting on 31 July 1935.

BA Swallow

BA Swallow G-AEIC moved to Netherthorpe in 1939 owned by club director Mr Horrox though it is unclear if this was used by the wider club membership but would be commandeered by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a communication aircraft on their arrival at Netherthorpe in 1940. On the declaration of war with Germany on 3 September 1939 an AM telegram was signalled to all flying clubs to cease operations immediately, the airfield was closed and studded with wooden spikes to deter landing German aircraft and paratroopers.

Westland Lysander

The first RAF personnel arrived at Netherthorpe on 28 June 1940, the airfield anti-landing spikes being removed covertly during the night. The advanced air movement of a flight of Westland Lysander Mk II aircraft of No. 613 Squadron RAF of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force arriving from RAF Odiham, landed shortly afterwards.

Miles Magister

Once up to strength utilising their Lysanders along with their Miles Magister (L8056) and de Havilland Tiger Moth (N9279) communications aircraft together with the aforementioned civilian BA Swallow, 613 were detailed to patrol the east coast up to 5 miles inland and up to 5 miles out to sea in two areas. Area ‘A’ patrolled from the river Humber to the Wash and Area ‘B’ from the Humber to Filey. They were to report on any invasion activity which included photographic reconnaissance.

On 7 September 1940, 613 moved to nearby RAF Firbeck, Netherthorpe was left with obstacles to deter enemy aircraft from landing but with a known emergency landing area for a Lysander if required. In May 1941 while stationed at Firbeck, 613 started practicing high and low level dive bombing strategy, a large target outline of a battleship being painted on the ground at Netherthorpe. After 1941, although the RAF retained operation of the airfield, there was virtually no activity.

Slingsby Cadet

In 1945 No.24 Glider School RAF operated from the airfield, utilising the Cadet TX.1, TX.2 and TX.3 and the Sedbergh TX.1. In 1951 the RAF relinquished control of the airfield and it was handed back to the landowner, the glider unit moving to RAF Lindholme. Little use of the airfield was made until 1961 when the SAC reformed

In 1961 the SAC reformed at Netherthorpe and in 2016 featured a clubhouse; with a garden leading out onto the airfield, four hangars; one hangar used for aircraft maintenance and another incorporating the fire tender shed, an operations block and control tower are also present along with a 100LL fuel bowser.

Location and amenities

Netherthorpe Airfield is located close to Worksop and is less than ten miles to the East of Sheffield city centre.

Netherthorpe Airfield is operated by Sheffield Aero Club, the only flying club in the United Kingdom with its own airfield and they offer everything from a trial lesson  to PPL, NPPL and IR(R). Aerobatic flights are also offered along with aircraft hire at competitive rates.

Sheffield Aero Club offer a number of flying and experience poackages, not least the very popular Flying Starter Package. Offering a little more than an experience flight, without the expense of a full PPL package – 2 hours flight training including flight briefings, 3 months SAC membership, a Pilots Official Log Book, Trevor Thom’s “The Air Pilot’s Manual, Volume 1 and a Cessna 150/152 Pilot’s Check List is offered for £350. You can purchase this package directly through the website and is an excellent idea for budding pilots.

Sheffield Aero Club maintain a comprehensive website which contains all of the details that you could possibly need. Active Facebook and Twitter accounts also provide a healthy following and links to all that is available.

The Skyways Bar and Restaurant is as popular out of flying hours, as it is during the flying day. Open six days a week, fully licensed and recently refitted, serving both snacks and full meals, the website boasts:- “The conversation is wall to wall aviation”. The building, facilities and atmosphere is fantastic.

Pilot Information

RunwayHD

Netherthorpe ATZ lies partly within the Doncaster Sheffield CTR, Class D Airspace and the overhead join is performed at 1800 ft on the Netherthorpe QFE. A clearance to enter and transit Doncaster Sheffield CTR can be requested, where appropriate from Doncaster Radar on 126.225.

 

Circuits are performed at 800 ft and are performed left hand on runways 18 and 24 and right hand on runways 06 and 36.

Noise abatement procedures are in place and provided on an essential and required PPR telephone briefing, as well as being displayed on the website, as there are noise sensitive villages and working farms in the vicinity.

Displaced thresholds exist on runways 06, 24 and 36 due to the runways close proximity to publis roads.

The UK’s shortest licensed runway is 18/36 at Netherthorpe with a Landing Distance Available of 309m on R36. Experience of landing and taking off on grass is beneficial, but not necesarily essential. Proper planning and attention to weight and balance however, is, as it always should be. The runwways at Netherthorpe are performance related, so please ensure that weight and balance, and other calculations are completed and be reminded to use the length of the runways also, not lift off as soon as apossible and then find you are too slow.

An additional warning is given in respect of wind turbines on the north west boundary,overhead power cables on the north east and south west boundaries and telegraph poles on the north east boundaries.

Going forward

A steady schedule of maintenance will ensure that this airfiled continues to thrive and be amongst one of the most friendly GA facilities in the UK.

Regular activities are undertaken on the airfield, from an evening and entertainment in the centrally heated clubhouse, to planned aviation events (such as the Fly In and Open Day on 29th July 2017).

 

In Summary

A true gem of an airfield with a strong community spirit and beating heart that is pure aviation.

There aren’t many airfields where you can fly in, practice your short field landing skills, pay your landing fee and watch an impromptuy aerobatics display whilst enjoying a coffee in the outside seating area. Just brilliant.

If you have yet to visit Netherthorpe, then please make the time to pay them a visit. If you’ve already been, I have no doubt it is on your list of places to visit again.

The hangars at Netherthorpe are full and many of the aircraft are in showroom condition. If you can, ask permission for a walk around. You will not be disappointed.

Checklist

Before visiting:

  1. Check the website
  2. Careful consideration to NOTAM
  3. Arrange PPR and thorough briefing
  4. Familiarise yourself with A/G Procedures and download the Get Into Flying Aide Memoir

For videos showing  arrival and departure to and from, a selection are available on the author’s YouTube channel.