The Goodwood Revival never disappoints and there are always lots of reasons why I return each year but to make the most of it takes some planning. Whether your main interest is motor sport, classic cars or bikes, vintage fashion, or historic aircraft then there’s plenty to see. Here are my essential tips for enjoying the Goodwood Revival and taking away happy memories that will linger right through winter until the following year.
It’s a revival of the motor racing that used to take place on the circuit around the airfield but it’s so much more than that too. It’s a celebration of many of the best in motor cars, aircraft, motor bikes, fashion, design, music, and dance of the 1940s, 1950s, and the 1960s.
The airfield was called RAF Westhampnett during World War II and it was the home of several squadrons. From here Douglas Bader took off and made his last flight before being shot down and going into captivity. Near the Goodwood Aero Club you will see a bronze statue of Sir Douglas Bader in a likeness contemporary with the months he spent there.
After the War the perimeter track was converted into a motor racing circuit and racing continued there until 1966 when the track was closed. Racing returned in 1998 when the first Goodwood Revival was held and it’s been repeated every year since.
The Revival is held on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on the first or second weekend in September every year. It takes place at the Goodwood motor racing circuit and aerodrome just north of Chichester, West Sussex, England. You can arrive by road (A27) or rail (Chichester Station), or you can simply fly into the airfield (with prior permission from the organisers).
Due to wide range of things to see and do at the event there will inevitably be some suggestions that are of no relevance to some. These tips are offered for the newcomers, the first-timers who may be a little bewildered by the spectacle.
The Revival is very popular and tends to sell out each year. You’ll need at least an entrance ticket and are all kinds of supplements; grandstand seats, weekend tickets, camping, hospitality packages etc, so plan ahead.
Decide whether you’re going to be staying anywhere nearby or going home at the end of the day and make arrangements accordingly months in advance.
You’re about to to an outdoor event on an airfield near the south coast of England in September. When the sun shines and winds are light it can be glorious but if a weather front passes through you can get drenched and cold.
The 2016 Revival was a reminder of how different things can be. On the Saturday the rain blew in from the west and it drizzled for most of the day. The cloud base was so low that all flying (displays and pleasure flights) had to be cancelled. That meant that the afternoon motor races were brought forward and the main events finished early.
The next day, on the Sunday, the weather could not have been better. Warm sun, light winds and very little cloud. A dry track and picnics aplenty. I expect the people who bought Saturday only tickets were cursing their luck.
Most people will have to park in a grass field a good walk away from the site. If there’s been a lot of rain the combined of effects of long grass and vehicles will have the inevitable effects. Suddenly those 1950s high-heels you bought on eBay don’t seem like such a good idea as you gingerly make your way through the mud.
The airfield itself is an exposed place but the grandstands are even more so because they are elevated and you feel the full force of any wind and rain. If you bought your seat months previously and you’re only there for the day then it can be a big disappointment to find yourself getting wet and cold in your grandstand seat.
So put some umbrellas, macs, and wellies in the boot of your vehicle, just in case.
The car parks usually open at 7am and the gates open at 7.30am. If you can get there early you’ll avoid the worst of the traffic queues later in the morning.
However, unless you live or you’re staying near by then obviously that may not be practical, but if you can arrange it you’ll have the added benefit of your vehicle being nearer the entrance. This makes popping back to it for a change of clothes or recharging batteries (phone, camera, or just your own) an easier option.
Racing usually goes on until about 6pm. The area known as ‘Over The Rroad’ continues to be a mini retro festival with a small fun fair, market, live music and dancing until about 10pm.
If the weather’s bad then people tend to leave earlier but whatever the weather the car parks empty gradually throughout the afternoon. Most people leave after the last race so stay a while longer and enjoy the other attractions – it beats waiting in a traffic queue.
With so much to see and do it can be difficult to know where to start. There’ll be things on your ‘must see’ list and others will be on the ‘if there’s time’ section. You might want to plan it accordingly or just leave things to chance.
The main area just inside the entrances and along the length of the startline is the busiest and can get quite crowded. There’s more space as you cross the track (using the underpass) and continue into areas inside the airfield.
Similarly, start walking clockwise or anti-clockwise on the perimeter path and things start to open out. If you’re early enough you might find a space by the trackside fence but there’s good viewing from the embankments behind too.
Use Google Maps or Earth to examine the airfield and you’ll see that the perimeter path is about 2.5 miles in total. There are several grandstands around the track each with food, bars, and toilets. There’s even a viewing screen on the furthest grandstand at Lavant Corner on the opposite side of the airfield to the terminal buildings.
For a little respite from the noise of the track and the crowds near the startline you will find a gentler pace in the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation where all the vintage aircraft are on display. These tend to be widely dispersed and there are some quiet spots to be found here.
Alternatively you could hop onto the tractor towed trailers that travel around the perimeter and find somewhere to sit in the sun on one of the embankments. Noisy while the races are on perhaps but in between you can lie back and bask in the sun with picnic to hand.
I tend to go to the event on my own and do a lot of walking. During the course of the Saturday and Sunday in 2016 I walked a total of 14 miles but then I like to keep moving from one event on the timetable to another.
For more information and tickets…
Visit the official Goodwood Revival website. There are hours of clips to be seen there and on social media.
Entire books have been written about the Revival and this post is just a few basic tips. What are yours? Share them in the comments section below.
Learning to fly and obtaining a Private Pilot’s Licence isn’t cheap but you can avoid unnecessary expense with a little forward planning. Flying lesson costs will vary but in the long run the cheaper hourly rate may not be your best option.
In this post I discuss the cost of obtaining a fixed wing Pilot’s Licence for flying light aircraft in the UK. There are two types available; PPL (Private Pilot’s Licence) and LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence).
The LAPL gives the pilot fewer privileges than the PPL so the requirements are less stringent. As a rough guide the cost of a PPL will start at £8,000 and the LAPL will start at £6,000. Costs for other types of aircraft like microlights or helicopters for example, will vary proportionally according to aircraft type.
As well as the lessons themselves you will need to add several other smaller sums:
If you visit the CAA’s website and read the requirements for a PPL(A) you will see that you need minimum of 45 hours of training. This should include a minimum of 25 hours of dual instruction and 10 hours of solo flight. I’ll leave it to the CAA or your flying instructor to explain the finer details.
The keyword here though is minimum. Some people do manage to complete all the requirements at or close to that figure. Will you be able to do so? You will need to factor in a contingency into your budget for extra hours above the minimum requirements.
As my previous post illustrates you will save yourself a lot of money if your budget organised and available at the start of your training. If you run out of money the continuity is broken and when you return to training you’ll have to revise and repeat previous exercises.
So plan your finances in such a way that you won’t run out of money at a critical stage. Trust me, there’s nothing more frustrating! As you empty your bank account or reach your credit card limit you realise that you’re about to shelve your logbook just when things are getting interesting.
Flying schools are subject to the same economic forces as any other business, so your flying lesson costs may increase over time due to inflation.
Flight training costs vary around the UK. You’ll pay more per hour at a club with a shiny fleet of new aircraft and an immaculate club house with all the facilities than you will at a small grass strip with a portakabin as an office.
Things to consider when choosing a flight school
The school that is closest to you might not be the ideal choice. On the other hand you don’t want to travel for an hour more to reach your flight school at short notice if a weather window opens.
The attractive prospect of learning to fly wherever there are near constant blues skies and uncluttered airspace lures some to book flight training holidays in Florida, South Africa, Australia, or perhaps just across the Channel.
The attractions are obvious and the additional cost of flights accommodation and subsistence may seem a price worth paying, particularly if the hourly rate is favourable.
However, there is another cost that is sometimes overlooked. If you cover most of the syllabus in areas where the weather is often predictably pleasant and the airspace is wide open and free of restrictions how will you cope when you return to the UK?
Will you have the necessary skills and, just as importantly, confidence to make a judgement when the weather is borderline? Will your navigation skills keep you out of Controlled Airspace and Danger Areas?
Some students who return from flight training trips find themselves asking for additional training with a UK flying instructor in order to bring their skills up the standard required in Britain’s comparatively congested airspace.
Perhaps your flying holiday would be better spent hour building after you’ve obtained your PPL. On the other hand, learning to fly in a quiet airstrip in predictable weather might give you the time to learn how to fly the aircraft well and without other distractions.
You are going to be spending thousands of pounds so it’s worth remembering that you are the customer. You may be in awe of the instructors and in particular the CFI (Chief Flying Instructor) but they depend on students like you for their livelihood.
If you have any complaints or concerns don’t let them fester. If you feel it’s appropriate go and see the CFI and ask for a quiet chat. Assuming he/she is professionally minded then you will be met with an open mind.
For example, you may find that you don’t get along with your instructor. This is unusual but it does happen. We’re all different personality types and just occasionally we don’t gel with the person sitting next to us for hours on end.
So remembering that it’s your money you’re spending go and address this with the CFI and he or she should offer an alternative. This is likely to save you money because you will learn faster with an instructor who is on your wavelength.
Like any other commercial establishment running on tight margins and reliant upon a strong economy flight schools can go out of business if mismanaged or if they run out of students. For this reason it’s never a good idea to hand over large amounts of cash upfront. If they tempt you with a discount for a large deposit then perhaps a few hundred pounds might be worth the risk but I would suggest not handing over a thousand or more.
Perhaps things have improved greatly since I was a student pilot so feel free to ignore all my advice! Just remember that you want to go from zero hours to Pilot In Command, so managing the finances is your first lesson in being control.
Feel free to add your comments, suggestions, stories, and other feedback in the comments below.