Grass Roots Fly-in 2023


Popham Airfield, Hampshire, UK, 18-20th August 2023

Report by Peter & Kim Davison & Colin Coulthard

This eagerly awaited event is the annual gathering for microlight and homebuilt aircraft from around the United Kingdom. Although the early weather forecast looked fine a wind and rain event scuppered arrivals on the Friday but had blown through by Saturday lunchtime. Around 150 visiting aircraft arrived followed by nearly a hundred on Sunday.

Although Vans types dominated arrivals one of the stars was the rebuilt Beagle Pup prototype G-AVDF that graced the Sywell event in 2021. This reverse engineered icon was the recipient of the Robert Pleming Award for ‘Innovation’ created by Aviation Heritage UK in memory of the pioneering heritage flights of XH558, the last flying Avro Vulcan.


The Light Aircraft Association, hosting the event, ran numerous talks and briefings for private pilots plus opportunities to purchase maps and technology items to encourage safe and best practice across the sector. Unusually, many of the display tents had been erected alongside the airside fence-line; this considerably reduced opportunities to photograph active aircraft. With potentially half the gate receipts coming from ‘enthusiasts’ this may reduce future attendances.


A few overseas visitors made their way cross channel, oldest of which was a French Garden Horizon and a Dyke Delta; a shape rarely seen outside the famous Oshkosh fly-in in Wisconsin USA. Another item now rarely seen in the UK is the Forney Ercoupe.


Popham is regularly attended by single and dual seat autogyros and this year was no exception. Occasional opportunities for experience flights open up this unique experience to new users.

Peter Davison

About Peter Davison

Peter Davison is an aviation author and editor from the United Kingdom.