Although I can't remember precisely, I've a feeling I got into throwing
together farm strips, out of a sense of frustration, triggered off by
knowing they were present in the VFRGM but unuseable. It's certainly one
of the smartest moves I've made.
I've just finished number eighteen, out of the next batch of twenty. It's a strip of which I was blissfully ignorant; Alcester. It's also one of many where the web fails to produce any photographic evidence, not even reports from visiting pilots. I digress.
The starting point is the descriptive page in Lockyears, with its fairly basic field diagram. Really, it's comparable to the recipe for a previously untried dish.
Next is to locate the strip on the VFRGM. Looking out of the aircraft gives only a Gobi Desert type impression; could be anywhere, provided Anywhere was totally devoid of features.
Having put in markers to define the runway, plus a hangar, if indicated, though probably nothing like the real thing, it's time to plant a wind sock. Next comes selecting the least improbable bits of available hardware to sit in VFRGM's gaps and comply with the buildings in Lockyears' drawing.
Finally, though it can take hours to achieve, Treeplanter makes it possible to progressively fill the wooded areas apparent in VFRGM.
Last job is to fly a couple of circuits, just to check I haven't totally blocked the thresholds with summat not there in real lfe.
That's where the surprise comes in. Suddenly it's no longer the Gobi Desert. Although not an accurate depiction of the real place, at last it's possible to get an idea of what it might look like. Alcester is a good example, since it turns out to be a well wooded, almost parkland setting, despite having three industrial estates in its area. Even with no added trees, VFRGM shows it to be in a very attractive area.
I've moved from looking at the recipe to tasting the dish. Better still, it's cost me nothing.
Amazing that such attractive airstrips exist, unknown to all but a handful of real life pilots. They're never mentioned in the GA magazines; perhaps the owners find it safer to stay below the parapet, out of sight of the control freeks who's hobby is to get airfields shut down.
If I lived "across" I'm sure I could develop a super hobby, of seeking out and photographing these gems. Meanwhile I'm happy just to see them emerge on my PC. Would it be more normal, I wonder, to get my kicks from watching East Enders?