flying experiences faqs

Flying Experiences FAQ’s

Everything you need to know before flying with Ultimate High at Goodwood...

Guideline availability can be found in our calendar.  Please phone or email us to book your flight date as we do not have an online booking facility due to the wide variety of experiences and advanced flight training courses that we offer.

COVID-19 Coronavirus Update:

Our experience flights were due to start back up in April.  However, Goodwood Aerodrome is now closed as of 24th March and we are not expecting it to reopen for some time so have postponed all flights in April.

We will review bookings for May/June onwards as the news develops, but are not postponing these flights yet.

We are automatically extending the expiry date of all our flight vouchers for 6-12 months for no charge so that our customers do not need to worry about their vouchers expiring.  

If you wish to re-book your flight now, this can be done by emailing us.  Otherwise, we would recommend contacting us again later in the year.

We appreciate that this will cause much disappointment for our customers but thank you for your understanding in these very uncertain times.

FAQ / Terms & Conditions - Individual Flights

  1. Are there any Medical, Age or Weight restrictions?
  2. How do I get to Goodwood Aerodrome?
  3. Can you recommend any local accommodation?
  4. What should I wear?
  5. Should I eat before I fly?
  6. Can I bring my friends/family with me and can they watch me fly?  Are dogs allowed
  7. How much of the flying can I do myself?
  8. How extreme is the flying? Will I feel sick? Will I have fun?
  9. Are your flight experiences suitable for Pilots as well as Non-Pilots?
  10. How long does the experience last?
  11. Videos/Photos - How can I record the day?
  12. Change of Flight Date / Late Shows
  13. Cancellations & Refunds
  14. Can I extend my gift voucher beyond its expiry date?
  15. What about the weather?
  16. What do I need to do before my flight?
  17. What should I do when I receive a Gift Voucher?
  18. Instructor Pilot Availability
  19. Aircraft Serviceability & Airfield Closure
  20. Is it safe? Am I insured?

FAQ / Terms & Conditions - Full Listing

1. Are there any Medical, Age or Weight restrictions?

We can fly anyone aged 12 and over, as long as they fulfill the medical, height and weight criteria.  You must also be  physically capable of getting into and out of the aircraft without assistance**.

You will be required to complete a Medical Self-Certification Form before flying with us - if you have any doubts or answer any questions with a "yes" you should contact your GP (your GP may charge you for this).  If you are aged 71 or over, as a formality, we will require a letter from your doctor confirming your suitability to fly with us.  There is no upper age limit to fly with us.  NB if you are already a pilot with a current medical, the above does not apply.

Extra300 Aircraft Limits:  Weight limit* is 15 stone 7 lbs (98kg).  Minimum height 5ft (1.52m).  Maximum height 6ft 4" (1.93m).
T67 Firefly Aircraft Limits:  Weight limit* is 17 stone (108kg).  Minimum height 5ft (1.52m).  Maximum height 6ft 5". (1.95m)

* Weight limits are based on participant weight fully clothed and wearing shoes.
**As well as needing to be physically capable of getting into and out of the aircraft without assistance, you should also be physically capable of operating a parachute in the event of an emergency (as you will normally be wearing a parachute during your flight).  We recommend that you contact aeroBILITY (formerly the British Disabled Flying Association or BDFA) if you have a disability and would like to fly.

2. How do I get to Goodwood Aerodrome?

Ultimate High is based at Goodwood Aerodrome & Motor Circuit, Chichester, PO18 0PH (just north-east of Chichester, only 60 miles from London, and 30 miles from Brighton and Southampton). The Goodwood Motor Circuit is also located at the Aerodrome.   The entrance to the Aerodrome is on Claypit Lane (on the eastern side of the airfield).  Our location is accurate on Google Maps.

As we are not signposted at the Aerodrome, please follow the directions below:

  • Once at the Aerodrome, pass through the tunnel and follow the road round to the left (signposted Goodwood Aerodrome). 
  • Continue all the way to the end of the tree-lined road (you will see "Goodwood Aerodrome" in large letters on the side of a white building straight ahead of you, next to a statue of Douglas Bader) and bear left again and park.
  • We are in a small building on your right as you look south at the skidpan.

Travelling by Train from London

  • The nearest train station is Chichester, which has direct connections to London Victoria; the train takes around 1.5 hours.
  • Chichester railway station is about a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the Aerodrome.

Travelling from Abroad / Flying Into the UK

  • Southampton Airport is 35 miles away and should take around 40 minutes by car, although if you are travelling in the rush hour, congestion on the M27 can cause it to take much longer than this. 
  • London Gatwick is 47 miles away (approx 1 hour by car and less affected by rush hour traffic).
  • Both Southampton and Gatwick have train connections to Chichester.

3. Can you recommend any local accommodation?

There is a wide range of places to stay in Chichester and the surrounding area.  The Goodwood Hotel is about 1.5 miles away.  Alternatively, please refer to the Chichester Tourist Office website or 

4. What should I wear?

It is essential that you wear light flat shoes with good grips - trainers are ideal.  We shall kit you out in genuine military flying suits - please wear comfortable casual clothes to go underneath - ie trousers/shorts, T shirt, and sweater.  Ladies should not wear skirts/ dresses.  It is a good idea to bring a light jacket as it can be exposed on the airfield.  Sunglasses are also recommended.  

Loose objects (including cameras, go-pros and phones) are not allowed in the aircraft cockpit.  Before entering the aircraft, you will be asked to empty your pockets of keys, change etc, and remove any jewellery (other than watches and stud earrings), hairgrips etc.  Valuables can either be safekept in our crew room or left in your car.

5. Should I eat before I fly?

It is difficult to offer advice on this one as everyone is different.  We normally suggest that you eat a light breakfast/snack 1-2 hours before you fly as flying aerobatics on an empty stomach (which causes low blood sugar) can increase the propensity for airsickness. 

A heavy meal just before your flight is not recommended, and neither is strong tasting food and drink (coffee in particular can cause nausea), and alcohol MUST be avoided.

There is a cafe at the Aerodrome which serves a range of food and beverages should you and/or your family require refreshments during the day.

6. Can I bring my friends/family with me and can they watch me fly?  Are dogs allowed?

Any number of family/friends can come to the airfield itself, HOWEVER, due to space constraints, only 1-2 guests per flying participant can be accommodated in our crew room during the flying brief. 

As Goodwood is a busy airfield, our flights do not take place over the airfield itself, but in many locations throughout the local area - your family/friends will therefore only be able to see you get into the aircraft, take-off and land, and will not see you doing aerobatics.

We recommend that you do not bring young children as there is little to entertain them at the airfield. 

Dogs are allowed at the Aerodrome, but must be kept on a lead at all times and not cross any fences/barriers (ie cannot go airside).  Dogs are not allowed in our crew room/offices but there is grass space outside our building where you can sit with them or leave them unattended (on a lead).

There is a lovely cafe next to our crew room and picnic tables outside our building, which you are welcome to use.

For safety and insurance reasons family/friends are not allowed airside.

7. How much of the flying can I do myself?

LOTS!!!!  All our flights teach you how to fly our aeroplanes and you are encouraged to do as much (or as little) of the flying as you like.  As you will be participating in a trial lesson,  your flight with us will count towards a private pilot's licence and you will be able to fly the aircraft in all regimes of flight apart from close formation, take off and landing.

You will be offered the chance to carry out aerobatic manoeuvres yourself, even if you have never flown in a light aircraft before, all under the close guidance of your instructor who will show you the way.

8. How extreme is the flying? Will I feel sick? Will I have fun?

Second only to safety is our pledge to you to enjoy yourself.  It is an experience you will never forget.  Many people enjoy it so much they come back again and again.  Just look at our testimonials!

We tailor all flights to the individual, and can provide anything from a gentle flying lesson around the area to extreme aerobatics and everything in between, depending on your nerves or your g-tolerance.  This will all be discussed as part of the initial briefing session, and will be continually monitored during the flight by our experienced instructors.

Although some of our students expect to feel ill, less than 1% actually are, partly because students actually fly a large proportion of the flights themselves, and if they feel uncomfortable, can relax or return to base at any time.

9. Are your flight experiences suitable for Pilots as well as Non-Pilots?

Yes!  We fly with all kinds of people including very experienced pilots.

Regarding the Top Gun experience we do try to match the pairs into similar ability/ background.  For many pilots, the opportunity to fly in close formation with another aeroplane (when you are usually trying to keep well away from other aircraft!) and to chase another aeroplane around the skies is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Participants can do lots of the flying themselves, including the tailchasing and aerobatics, so existing pilots do learn something as well!

Regarding our aerobatic experiences, we say all pilots should fly the amazing Extra300 once, just to find out what an incredible machine it is.  Our "Fly with a Fighter Pilot" hands-on flight in the T67 Firefly is an excellent introduction to aerobatics.

10. How long does the experience last?

Group briefings normally take place promptly at 10.30am or 1.00pm (we ask that you arrive at least 15 minutes early to check in and do paperwork etc).  Students are usually briefed in groups of typically 4-6 people, and then flown sequentially in pairs or sometimes threes.  The briefing is very thorough, and is followed by changing into flying kit, so the first flying "wave" starts around an hour after your briefing start time.  We aim that you spend no longer than 3 hours with us from start to finish, but occasionally you may be with us for longer than this if we are delayed (see below).  If all runs smoothly, you should be with us for 2 - 2.5 hours.

It is difficult to give very accurate times of when you will be flying as there are many things that can cause delays, which include weather, queues for refuelling, minor technical hitches etc.  We will try to keep you informed of the time that you are likely to be in the aircraft.  If you are under time pressure, please make sure that you let us know in advance and we will endeavour to fly with you first.

Quoted flight times are defined as "airborne time + 10 minutes";  the 10 minutes on the ground is an average time and can vary considerably depending on how busy the airfield is and other factors.  A 35-minute flight will therefore consist of 25 minutes in the air and around 10 minutes on the ground, with the "loggable" time in the pilot's logbook being 35 minutes (in line with the aviation industry standard which measures flight times from the time the aeroplane starts to move up to the point where it finishes moving).  The airborne time may occasionally vary from the time quoted (it may be more or less) for a number of reasons including busy aircraft circuit traffic on returning to the airfield, passenger airsickness etc.

Additional flying time to your quoted flight time may be requested.  This is charged at £5 per minute in the T67 Firefly and £8 per minute in the Extra 300 aircraft.

Flight time is entirely at the instructor pilot's discretion; the instructor's prime concern is safety.  We do not charge if your flight time overruns the stated time and likewise are unable to offer refunds if your flight time is less than the time stated, whatever the reason.

11. Videos/Photos - How can I record the day?

We provide a personalised flight certificate signed by your instructor.

We automatically video all flights, and it is up to you if you wish to purchase your video after the flight (price £49).  This is a HD video provided on a USB memory stick and can be taken with you on the day.  

The installations have been specifically designed for our aeroplanes (to withstand accelerations of +10g/-10g), and are approved by the CAA.  They generally have good reliability but can occasionally be temperamental.  Should a video not record perfectly in some way, then Ultimate High will not refund any associated flying costs or offer repeat flights for free.

We do not allow participants to wear or use GoPros or cameras in the cockpit. It is not possible to accurately assess the strength or durability of any individual camera harness or mount for appropriateness in a high G environment, and any camera that works loose is a potential missile that might cause injury or damage the cockpit. Camera harnesses are also potential snag points for emergency parachute deployment.

12. Change of Flight Date / Late Shows

If you wish to change your chosen flight date, you must give at least 14 days' notice.  For changes made within 7 days of the scheduled date a rearrangement fee of £75 will be made for Top Gun flights and £25 for Aerobatic flights.  As Top Gun flights consist of two participants in two separate aeroplanes, if one cancels at short notice we will still have to fly the other participant with your scheduled seat being empty.  If you cancel a Top Gun flight with less than 48 hours' notice, and fail to provide an alternative participant, you will forfeit your voucher entirely.

Please aim to arrive at least 30 minutes early.  If you arrive late and we are unable to fit you into the schedule, you may forfeit your voucher entirely.

13. Cancellations & Refunds

To allow for unforeseen changes in personal circumstances, Flight Vouchers are fully transferable allowing the nomination of alternative participants.

For cancellations made within 14 days of the date of voucher purchase, a full refund will be granted, less an administration charge of £20.  After this period, the administrative and financial costs incurred in maintaining the operation and setting up flights are such that only 50% of the voucher cost will be refunded, as long as the voucher is less than 6 months old.  We are unable to refund any vouchers that are older than this. Please note that these refund terms generally exceed those offered by the big experience agencies or other experience providers.

For vouchers purchased through an agency such as Buyagift or Virgin Experience Days the refund rate will be based on the Ultimate High list prices and NOT on the agency price paid.  You should contact the agency directly if you wish to receive a refund from them or to exchange your flight for a different experience.  

Although we are sympathetic to customers who are cancelled/rescheduled due to weather or for other reasons beyond our control, we are unable to grant refunds outside the terms above.  We accept no liability for any costs incurred (eg transport, accommodation, insurance, days taken off work etc) when flying has to be cancelled.  With this in mind however, we may occasionally offer free voucher extensions and/or free weekend upgrades in exceptional circumstances (eg if customers are rescheduled 3 times or more).

Force Majeure: Should other circumstances outside of our control, which could not have been prevented despite all efforts and precautions on our side – for example Acts of God, riots, civil unrest etc - put a stop to your flight experience, refunds will not be given. All booked participants will be rescheduled to future dates when the event will be held as normal, after the disruption has passed.

14. Can I extend my gift voucher beyond its expiry date?

We can extend your voucher for 6 months for a £30 fee, or £50 for 12 months, as long as you contact us whilst it is still valid. Unfortunately, we cannot fly you if your voucher has expired (without being extended). 

15. What about the weather?

All flying is subject to weather, aircraft serviceability, pilot rosters and airfield availability.  It is ESSENTIAL THAT YOU CALL US TO CHECK IN ON 01243 913916, the previous afternoon.  This is not only to check the weather but also to check that the flying is going ahead as planned and that there have been no last minute changes.  DO NOT SET OUT WITHOUT CALLING US, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE BOOKED ACCOMMODATION.

The presence of low unbroken cloud or haze (in the summer) and/or high winds may mean that we will have to reschedule flying. The simplest weather guideline is that we need to have bits of blue sky (ie gaps in the clouds) or a high cloud base (of more than 3000 feet).  Rain is fine as long as there are "gaps" between the showers.  Low cloud/drizzle without any breaks will generally mean that we can't fly.  The wind does not usually affect us flying the T67 aircraft as the aircraft has high crosswind limits, but it may affect us flying the Extra 300 aircraft.

During the winter months (November-February), there is a greater than 60% chance that you may not be able to fly due to weather.  This decreases to around 10-20% during the peak summer months.

WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU FIRST BOOK YOUR FLIGHT AS EARLY AS YOU CAN IN THE MAIN FLYING SEASON (March-October), and certainly within 6 months of the purchase of the voucher, so that there  will be time to reschedule it if necessary.  If you first book your flight from autumn onwards, there is a chance that you may not fly before the end of the year, in which case your voucher will need to be extended (for a £30 charge).  We have some sympathy for customers who are rescheduled due to weather 3 times or more, and may occasionally extend vouchers for no charge if we consider it appropriate.

We will try and ensure you do not have a wasted journey if at all possible, so please call us in advance!  We accept no liability for any costs incurred (eg transport or accommodation) when flying has to be cancelled.  We try very hard not to rearrange trips as we have an extremely high level of bookings and it can be difficult to reschedule cancelled trips.

16. What do I need to do before my flight?

Call us on 01243 913 916 (before you set out) to check that all is going ahead as planned.  It is ESSENTIAL THAT YOU CALL US TO CHECK IN the previous day.  This is not only to check the weather but also to check that the flying is going ahead as planned and that there have been no last minute changes. As the weather varies considerably around the country, please still call even if it is sunny where you are!

Please aim to arrive at least half an hour early, as you may miss your flight if you arrive after your scheduled start time.  If you do arrive late, you may forfeit your voucher.

Read our rearrangement fees / cancellation charges, if you are looking to reschedule at short notice.

17. What should I do when I receive a Gift Voucher?

Call us on 01243 913 916 to book in your flight or alternatively you can email us.  Guideline availability can be found in our calendar.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU FIRST BOOK YOUR FLIGHT AS EARLY AS YOU CAN IN THE MAIN FLYING SEASON (March-October), and certainly within 6 months of the purchase date of the voucher (at least 3 months prior to its expiry), so that there  will be time to reschedule it if necessary.  If you first book your flight close to its expiry, particularly if this is in autumn, there is a reasonable chance that you may not fly before the end of the year, in which case your voucher will need to be extended (for a £30 charge).   

18. Instructor Pilot Availability

All of our instructors are current or former military fast jet pilots, many of whom have fought and flown operationally in The Gulf War or Bosnia.  They include former Red Arrows pilots, test pilots, Jaguar and Harrier pilots, as well as current Spitfire display pilots.  Additionally, some of them display with our aerobatic display team and compete in advanced and unlimited Aerobatics Championships.  Please see about us for more details.

All of our instructors fly for us part-time, and have full time jobs, mostly either flying for commercial airlines or still in active service.  They come and fly for us because they enjoy it!

Occasionally, last minute changes to instructors' work commitments may mean that they are called out, in which case we will make every effort to secure a substitute instructor.  Also, from time to time we may unfortunately have to cancel flights if the scheduled pilot is not well and we are unable to secure a replacement.  It may therefore sometimes be necessary to reschedule your flight at short notice due to instructor availability.

19. Aircraft Serviceability & Airfield Closure

Our aircraft are meticulously maintained to the highest possible standards, in strict accordance with CAA regulations.  From time to time minor technical faults may arise which may preclude flying either temporarily or for the whole day.  If this situation occurs, we will endeavour to fix the problem or "borrow" another aircraft wherever possible, but this cannot always be guaranteed and, as a last resort we may have to reschedule you to another day at late notice.

Airfield availability is not normally an issue, except during the winter months when the grass runways can be prone to waterlogging which means that it is not safe to operate aircraft, so the airfield may be closed.  Other occasions when the airfield may not be available to us include aircraft unserviceabilities that close the runway, events (air shows etc), runways unuseable (eg due to flooding, chemical/oil spillages and resurfacing work).  Occasionally, airfields will be closed at short notice (including for royal flights) and we may not always receive sufficient notice to cancel scheduled flying in time.

20. Is it safe? Am I insured?

There is a huge emphasis on safety, as the military ethos insists that every eventuality is prepared for, no matter how unlikely.  The care of our guests is paramount and we employ the same safety standards used by the RAF to ensure that everybody enjoys a great time without taking risks.  The aircraft are maintained in strict accordance with CAA regulations and our instructor pilots have supreme credentials.  Although aerobatic and formation flying may 'look' dangerous, the flying is done within strict rules around procedures, minimum altitudes and distances between the aircraft.  The instructors have many thousands of hours of military and civilian experience which helps ensure that they are perfectly prepared for flying with you.

We specialise in teaching and promoting safety courses to existing pilots.  Insurance companies recognise the value of our training and offer discounts to pilots who have done safety training with us.

We are fully insured at Lloyds for personal and third party risks up to £10 million, and your own personal policies are normally unaffected by the activity (although you should check this in advance with your provider).  If you booked through an experience agency, you may also automatically receive additional cover.  Copies of our insurance cover are available on request.  Please note that personal effects are not covered by our policies, but again your normal insurance arrangements usually remain valid.

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We hope that the above answers all your questions.  Please free to contact us if you still have a question.