Aviation Park Group, Hawarden, Chester

ICAO Code – EGNR

Elevation – 45ft amsl

AFIS – ATC – Call sign – Hawarden Radar – 123.350

Hawarden Tower – 124.950

ATIS – 125.425

Runways – Asphalt / Concrete

Navigation Aids on aerodrome – NDB “HAW” 340.0

ILS / DME Rwy22 and Rwy 04

Fuel –  Avgas 100LL (Apron N) and Jet A1 by arrangement with Hawarden Air Services

Telephone Number (For PPR) – 01244 522013

Operating hours, hangarage, parking, landing fees and landing cards – Please see website.

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Broughton site during building works

The aircraft factory at Broughton was established early on, during the Second World War as a shadow factory for Vickers-Armstrongs Limited, an aircraft manufacturing company. The factory produced 5,540 Vickers Wellingtons and 235 Avro Lancasters.

 

 

wellington-bombers-in-flight
Wellington Bombers in flight

Remarkably, one of the Lancaster bombers, PA474 is one of only two of the types remaining in airworthy condition out of the 7,377 in total, that were built. PA474 rolled off the production line at the Vickers Armstrong Broughton factory at Hawarden Airfield on 31 May 1945. This date was just after the war in Europe came to an end, so she was prepared for use against the Japanese as part of the ‘Tiger Force’. PA474 is now part of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

After the war, over 28000 aluminium prefabricated bungalows were built by Vickers on the site.

Horsa
Horsa Glider

The RAF’s No. 48 Maintenance Unit was formed at Hawarden on 1 September 1939 and until 1 July 1957 stored, maintained and scrapped military aircraft, including the Handley Page Halifax, Wellingtons, Horsa gliders (which were extensively used in training at nearby Sleap Aerodrome and de Havilland Mosquito aircraft. The maintenance unit was located on the northwest portion of the airfield.

Between 5 November 1940 and 30 November 1945 the No. 3 Ferry Pilots Pool Air Transport Auxiliary was based at the airfield. Its pilots ferried many thousands of military aircraft from the factories and maintenance facilities at Hawarden and elsewhere to and from RAF and Naval squadrons throughout the UK.

It is historic that on 1 July 1948 The de Havilland Aircraft Company took over the Vickers factory and over the years built the following aircraft types: Mosquito, Hornet, Sea Hornet, Vampire, Venom (and Sea Venom), Dove, Devon, Comet (of which two later became the prototype for the Nimrod), Chipmunk, Beaver, Sea Vixon and Heron. An impressive fleet indeed!

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Hawker Siddeley HS125

In the 1960’s de Havilland became part of Hawker Siddeley Aviation and the HS125 business jet was the primary aircraft produced at the factory for almost 40 years, before production of the type moved to the USA in 1996. Parts were still manufactured at Broughton for many years thereafter.

 

In 1977 the Broughton factory became part of British Aerospace Operations and is now owned and operated by Airbus and manufactures wings for many models of the Airbus Commercial Aircraft fleet.

 

Location and amenities

Aviation Park is located in an area known as Borderlands, which is on the border with both England and Wales and is only 3.5 nm WSW of Chester.

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PA38 G-RVNA on short final to R22 during my training

Many training flights operate from Hawarden, not only from the flying school located on site, but also from nearby Liverpool John Lennon Airport. As a student pilot myself, I conducted many sessions of “Circuit Bashing” at Hawarden under the keen eye of the controllers and ever helpful and friendly staff around Apron N.

Aviation Park Group Ltd maintain a comprehensive website that include all aspects of interest for the visiting pilot and non-aviator alike, from the rich and varied history of the airfield, General Aviation Facilities to Corporate and VIP handling services.

H12The fantastic Chocks Away diner is open 7 days a week and is located with excellent views of the airport. The diner maintains its own website and all manner of information and menus are contained within their pages. A meeting and training room venue is also available for hire. It is always bristling with aviators and regular non-aviation visitors alike and I have eaten there on my way to Chester with the family, such is the quality of the food and friendliness of the staff. If there was ever a diner that all the ingredients just right, then Chocks Away Diner was the one!

Airside tours are also available for visitors, where you can experience getting up close and personal with a range of types, including a couple of Soviet era aircraft such as and Antanov An-2 and a MiG 27. The tour is free, however there is the opportunity to make a donation to Wales Air Ambulance Service and Childflight as a thank you. You can request a tour on the following page of the website.

Flintshire Flying School operate from Hawarden and maintain their own website with all the details you will need from booking that trial lesson, right up to training, additional ratings and renewals.

Pilot Information

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Short final for R04

Aviation Park Group website maintains an excellent and information Information page for the visiting pilot that should be utilised in addition to your normal planning and approach plate guide. The website covers details from local towns and attractions, to weather and gliding operations over a weekend at nearby Sealand, so please make sure you check the pages.

PPR is essential and high visibility clothing must be worn airside. Non radio and aircraft below 450KG MTWA are prohibited. Tail wheel aircraft can be accepted with the specific permission of the airfield manager and marshalling is mandatory on all aprons, so it is worth brushing up on, if you haven’t studied this in a while.

Noise abatement procedure are in effect for aircraft departing Rwy 22 and are listed on your flight guide. Circuit height for fixed wing piston aircraft is 1000′ QFE, 1500′ QFE for jet and turbo prop aircraft and 800′ for helicopters.

Expect to join the circuit on a right hand base leg for Rwy 04 and a left hand base leg for Rwy 22.

It is worthy of note that the site is vast and if landing long on Rwy 22, a lengthy taxy may be required. Please make sure that you are familiar with the airport chart.

Flying in

The visiting pilot should be aware during the planning stages of the Class D airspace of the Manchester CTA to the northwest and west of Hawarden during planning, which is controlled between 2500′ and 3500′ and above the northern tip, above Hawarden’s ATZ.

Class A airspace beginning at 3000′ is also above Hawarden’s ATZ, so planning is essential. Hawarden Radar are extremely helpful and if you have a question, I would suggest contacting ATC before your flight.

11 miles to the North is Liverpool John Lennon Airport. If you are visiting Hawarden, then this is an excellent opportunity to speak to Liverpool controllers and request entry to Class D airspace if this is a more direct route home, or you want to practice transiting Class  D airspace. Having learnt at Liverpool, the controllers are excellent and used to communicating with student pilots, so a call to Liverpool ATC before you leave is always recommended.

H16Flying in from the East and south you will likely obtain a service from RAF Shawbury Zone who control the AIAA traffic and again, will hand you over to Hawarden approach in good time. Flying in from the west, you will be on frequency with RAF Valley midweek and will be enjoying some spectacular scenery.

Going forward

Aviation Park has no immediate plans for expansion. They are busy, the hangars are full and the diner is doing a roaring trade, so a healthy future is predicted.

In Summary

Aviation Park Group operate a friendly and professional service and are very GA friendly. Having trained in the circuit at Hawarden, I have been back a number of times, both flying in and driving in, such is its appeal.

When departing the grass runway at Barton, I like to call in at Hawarden en route to Caernarfon, Llanbedr or Welshpool, for the variety.

If you haven’t yet visited, then perhaps it should go on your list of places to visit. Take a taxi into Chester for a visit, there is no shortage of places to explore in the vicinity and like me, I think you will go back.

Checklist

Before visiting:

  1. Check the website
  2. Careful consideration to NOTAM due to nearby gliding AIAA
  3. Plan the flight with Airbox RunwayHD
  4. Arrange PPR

For videos showing VRP’s, arrivals and departures to and from Aviation Park Group, Hawarden a selection are available on the author’s YouTube channel.