Following reports on the difficulty of using the Rushwick site David Evans, Bryan Howes and myself visited the site today and were later joined by our landlord, Matt Richardson.
Most will be aware that due to an invasion of ‘river grass’ the field had become difficult to use and last September. Matt decided the only remedy was to plough and re-seed the field. This also provided an opportunity to review the field layout.
Due to weather conditions being adverse in respect of too wet, too dry and too cold at various times, retarding the development of the new sward, the field is as good as we would would expect considering the conditions. A Max Thrust Riot was flown and with standard wheels demonstrated that whilst it was possible to fly it was far from ideal and we sympathise with those that have been doing their best to use the site. We did not feel the main problem was ruts but the fact that the field was seeded by drilling which creates rows of grass with soil in between creating a mini ploughed effect. This can cause aircraft with small wheels to trip. There is some evidence that the grass has knitted together in places elevating the trip hazard. Given the right conditions the whole runway will fill in to enable a smoother surface to emerge, this is more likely to happen later in the year. At the end of March we did roll and seed the strip but with little effect and during the dry period Matt rolled it with his heavyweight roller to try and improve matters.
Purchasing a quantity of topsoil has been considered, racking this in with grass seed to try and level the surface. However, it is thought that with dry weather the soil could become dry and disperse without any grass germination or should we have rain then we could create a mud bath, our landlord concurs with this opinion. You will be aware that when trying to create a lawn effect a critical part is regular watering and there is no possibility of this at the field.
The conclusion is the field is only suitable, in the short term, for aircraft with larger wheels or powered gliders until the grass develops further. If those with some horticultural knowledge feel there is a short term solution we urge you to formulate a plan and present it to the committee who will enthusiastically receive it.
With the runway moved out into the field we have unobstructed, flat approaches and can also avoid over flying the neighbours field. The runway is also wider than it has been before, enabling take off and landing at an angle if wind direction dictates. The parking area / pits will be moved to behind the bank on your left as you approach the field so it is nearer the runway.
We much regret the inconvenienced caused but still feel long term we will have an improved site. Hanbury is operating and with up to 30 people now being allowed there should be no problem with booking a flying slot.