At a recent liaison meeting between BGA representatives and Cranfield airfield, where Cranfield was reminded of gliding activity and they provided an update re their operations, it was noted that the airfield is increasingly busy with commercial pilot training and University research flying. There are two instrument approaches. The instrument approach in the NE (ie approaching towards the SW) of the airfield is the one used 90% of the time. The University research flying includes spinning which generally takes place to the northwest of the airfield towards the large wind farm.
The Cranfield aircraft are not that untypical of the usual GA airfield mix. The University aircraft including a Jetstream and a Firefly are equipped with Powerflarm. The commercial training aircraft are equipped with ADS-B. Some Cranfield aircraft are equipped with transponder only. Others have no EC.
Cranfield’s strong advice is to call them if likely to get close to the instrument procedures, the ATZ, the airfield overhead or known busy areas, and to use Electronic Conspicuity regardless of what it is. They currently have no radar. The BGA supports this advice. Cranfield approach is 122.885.
Regarding a cross-country soaring glider landing out at Cranfield, according to the ATC unit (operating a virtual tower based in an office complex near the airfield) they are limited by the CAA to two aircraft in the circuit at any one time, and, disappointingly, will not accept a glider unless its pilot passes an emergency message in accordance with CAP413 (chap 8 refers). Naturally the BGA has challenged this inflexible position. Meanwhile, pilots should take note.