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Home > Blog > Best Aero Clubs In Bristol

Best aero clubs in Bristol to fly to from Sherburn

Posted 18 Sep 2023

Best aero clubs in Bristol

In this guide we will dive deep into the history of aviation and how Bristol played its role in pushing the boundaries of aeroplane design along with a list of the best aero clubs that Bristol has to offer.

Bristol is known for its rich history in aviation and has also played a major role in developing one of the most iconic aeroplane designs in history: the Concorde. With such an impactful history, it is no surprise that today, Bristol has a range of excellent aero clubs that private pilots from around the region visit for networking and leisure purposes.

In this guide we will dive deep into the history of aviation and how Bristol played its role in pushing the boundaries of aeroplane design along with a list of the best aero clubs that Bristol has to offer.

Bristol in Aviation History

Even before the first manned flight by the Wright brothers in 1903, Bristol had a strong community of engineers and dreamers who were already pondering and experimenting with the ideas of aviation.

However, as fate would have it, it took two engineers from Dare County, North Carolina to bring the concept of aviation into reality. The Wright brothers were the first people to invent an operable aircraft design. Their aircraft design which is now known as a “fixed wing” design was iconic and above everything else, it was capable of sustained flight.

Numerous engineers from around the world had already built and tested several aircraft designs, and while some of them were capable of flight, they were difficult to control and often crashed due to their design flaws.

The Wright brothers were said to have been at the right place and at the right time. The duo was testing aircraft technology and designs for many years and after a lot of experimentation, they were able to crack the code of flight using two things:

  • A fixed-wing system and,
  • A 3-axis control system.

The fixed-wing system was seen as the best design for sustained flight and unsurprisingly the design stood the test of time for the better half of a century before it was eventually challenged by engineers in Bristol (more on this later).

The biggest advantage of a fixed-wing design was its stability and its concurrence with the power-to-weight ratio of the aircraft. This design used two wings attached to the body or fuselage of the aircraft. The wings were usually made from a combination of lightweight fabric which was fitted over a wooden skeleton frame. The fixed-wing design allowed for air to move freely and helped the aircraft maintain flight for longer.

The second breakthrough was the 3-axis control system. This was truly a revolutionary design and is what jumpstarted the aviation industry. Previously, it was quite difficult to control an aircraft while it was in flight. This is why many experiments and test flights that took place before 1903 were unmanned. Since there was no real way to control the direction of the aircraft, it was deemed too dangerous for anyone to test it while in the air.

However, the Wright brothers sought to take on this challenge. Their 3-axis design along with the fixed-wing system allowed the aircraft to not just turn left to right, but it also allowed pilots to spin, dive, climb, and more importantly, land the aircraft.

Pushing Aviation Forward

The Wright brothers successfully flew their aircraft, called Kitty Hawk, in 1903 and with this came about a huge change in the global engineering community. Flight was finally possible, and more importantly, this success gave the global engineering community a blueprint for how to design even better aircraft.

Within the first decade of Kitty Hawk, there were already not just several flight schools, but also prospering aircraft manufacturing companies around the globe. In the context of Bristol, there was one company that was destined for greatness: The Bristol Aeroplane Company.

The Bristol Aeroplane Company, originally the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, was established in 1910 and is frequently cited as one of the most important aviation companies in the world due to its contributions to aircraft design and technology.

The Bristol Aeroplane Company was focused on setting gold standards for the aviation industry and was one of the few engineering companies in the world that was actively working on newer and more advanced designs for aeroplanes.

The company was able to make a name for itself by producing top-class airframes and engines. Their engine designs came to be known as the best and most efficient aircraft engines in the region due to their high output and relatively low fuel consumption.

Bristol Aeroplane Company went on to produce several iconic aeroplanes like the “Boxkite”, the famous Bristol Fighter, the Bulldog, and more. Perhaps the biggest achievement of the company was its preliminary work for what would later become the Concorde.

Owing to the success of the company, the city of Bristol became known as one of the most aviation-friendly cities in the country. The company truly hit its high when it began production for aircraft during both World Wars. As unfortunate as both these events were, they laid the foundation for the future of aviation, since the industry saw a huge inflow of money from the government and a substantially increased interest by the military.

The Bristol Aeroplane Company eventually merged into the British Aircraft Corporation and today the company has been assimilated into BAE Systems, a proud British multinational arms, security, and aerospace company based in London.

Flying to Bristol from Sherburn

Bristol offers a diverse range of landscapes and manmade/natural structures that you can visit when travelling to Bristol from Sherburn.

Bristol City

If you really want to experience the best of Bristol, then we highly recommend that you start with a city tour. Bristol is home to historical landmarks, especially its harbour area! Experience the urban landscape of the city mixed with a jaw-dropping shoreline. You can also fly over the iconic Clifton Bridge which arguably provides one of the best views in the city.


Located within a short flight from Bristol, Bath is known for its beautiful Georgian architecture and the historically Roman-built baths. We highly recommend that you check out the Bath Abbey, Roman Baths, Royal Crescent, and more.

Cheddar Gorge

Experience awe-inspiring terrain and a beautiful horizon all in one place. Cheddar Gorge is perhaps the most beautiful landmark in the country. It is known for its dramatic cliffs and an intricate cave system that will challenge your imagination. Of course, if you happen to visit Cheddar Gorge, we recommend that you also taste their famous Cheddar cheese!


Glastonbury is a town known for its mystique and beauty. The town provides stunning aerial views and thanks to its clear skies, you are bound to have a fun flying experience. The town also has a rich history and is home to Arthurian legends. We suggest flying over Glastonbury Abbey and the Chalice Well Gardens for the best experience.

A Checklist for Pilots Visiting Bristol

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before embarking on your journey:

Make Prior Reservations

Before you finalise your flight plan, it is important to ensure that you have made all the necessary reservations for the places that you intend to visit. While aeroclubs in Bristol welcome visitors with open arms, it is best that you always first check for availability before making your trip.

When you have figured out the right routes and landing places for your itinerary, we recommend that you call each aeroclub or airfield to confirm that they can accommodate you on your given dates. Please also make sure to obey all the local rules and regulations. As a best practice, always ask if there are any specific policies for visitors. For example, some airfields have a Noise Abatement policy where pilots must operate their aircraft below a certain noise level.

Check Weather Conditions and Plan Alternatives

In aviation, redundancies play an incredibly important role in ensuring safety. The best way to avoid any delays for your trip is to continually check the weather conditions for the day that you plan on travelling. To make your flight plan foolproof, we recommend that you come up with alternative routes to avoid bad weather and make at least one alternative flight plan so that you can easily avoid problems during your trip.

Even when budgeting for your trip, you will need to keep a separate tab for miscellaneous and emergency costs that may occur on your trip. For example, if you land on a location and are forced to prolong your stay due to bad weather, then you will need to have enough funds to extend your stay and fulfil all the payment requirements of the aeroclub. These might include costs associated with accommodation, food, landing fees, and more.

Picking the Right Aircraft

There are primarily two aircraft that you can choose from: 1) fixed-wing, and 2) flexed-wing. Both these light aircraft are great for flying but they offer different advantages. For example, fixed-wing aircraft are best for pilots who want to travel with more than one passenger. A fixed-wing is designed with a fuselage that can usually hold up to six passengers. If you have a Night Rating, then a fixed wing will be your only choice because these aircraft offer an extensive cluster of instruments.

If you plan to make a day trip and enjoy the weather and surroundings of Bristol, then we suggest taking a flexed-wing aircraft. These aircraft are designed to have an open cockpit which puts the pilot and passenger out in the open! It is truly one of the best ways to fly and is frequently the choice for many private pilots who want to fly for leisure or photography purposes.

Be on your Best Behaviour

Lastly, please keep in mind that when you travel to another aeroclub, you will be representing your flight school and its practices. This is why it is important to be on your best behaviour and be polite and receptive towards other fellow pilots. Even when talking with Air Traffic personnel, you are required to conduct yourself professionally and have a positive attitude towards everyone.

Best Aero Clubs in Bristol to Fly to From Sherburn

Here are the best aero clubs in Bristol:

Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club

Located at Bristol Airport, the Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club is known to be one of the busiest aeroclubs in the city. It has all the amenities that a pilot can ask for and has picturesque surroundings, making it the best place to fly in Bristol.

The flight school specialises in Private and Commercial pilot training and is proud to be one of the few top-tier flight schools in Bristol. They provide extensive training, which also includes simulator training – and the school is popular for its fleet and passionate students.

Bristol Aero Club

Located in Gloucestershire Airport, Bristol Aero Club (BAC) is another excellent flight school in the city. The club offers a range of professional training services and is one of the top choices for students who want to excel in their aviation training. Not only does the club provide amenities for its students, but it also welcomes visitors with open arms. There is truly no better place to network and socialise than at the BAC!

Flight Club Bristol

Flight Club Bristol (FCB) is one of the oldest and most popular flight schools in Bristol. Known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, this flight school has been producing high-class and competent pilots for years. The school is known for its passionate pilots, events, amenities, and location. If you plan to visit Bristol and are extremely passionate about aviation, then we highly recommend that you visit here.

Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport should be the first destination for anyone planning to travel to the city. The airport is well-known for its high traffic and is one of the most well-managed airports in the region. Home to several flight clubs and aviation enthusiasts, Bristol Airport is usually the go-to place for every visiting private pilot!


Sherburn Aero Club, which has been operational since 1964, is the ideal place for most of your training and flying needs. It is one of the largest flying clubs in the North of England and also one of the largest in the country.

If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licences, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.

For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran in various types of light aircraft.

With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand-new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation in the long run.

Sherburn offers a dedicated day-long Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) course for those wishing to get the certification, running the first Sunday of every month.

In addition to that, if you are looking for a hangarage for your own aircraft, need servicing or repairs, want to buy a new aircraft or aviation equipment, or are just looking to enjoy and watch the aircraft, Sherburn Aero Club is the place to be.

Call us at 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on light aircraft, training requirements, fee structure, licencing procedures, as well as experience flights and pilot training at Sherburn.

Photo by Nathan Riley on Unsplash 



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