Llanbedr Airfield, Gwynedd, Northwest Wales

ICAO Code – EGFD

Elevation – 30ft amsl

AFIS – 118.925 – Call sign – Llanbedr Information

Runways – 3 Asphalt

Navigation Aids on aerodrome – None

Fuel – 100LL

Telephone Number (For PPR) – 01341 241356

Operating hours, hangarage, parking, landing fees and landing cards – Please contact PPR number (website is currently being updated and is due soon)

History

Llanbedr Airfield was formally known as RAE Llanbedr (ICAO: EGOD). Llanbedr is a thriving and fully operational general aviation airport located in the Snowdonia National Park near the village of Llanbedr, Gwynedd, northwest Wales Currently undergoing re-branding and improvement, to set this airfield up for the near future.

Having opened and becoming operational in 1941 as part of RAF Fighter Command’s 12 Group. During its life, the airfield has been known as:

  • RAF Llanbedr until 1957
  • RAE Llanbedr until 1992 (he Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), was a British research establishment, known by several different names during its history, that eventually came under the aegis of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), before finally losing its identity in mergers with other institutions
  • T&EE Llanbedr (Test & Evaluation Establishment) until 1995.
  • DTEO Llanbedr (Defence Test & Evaluation Organisation) until 1997
  • DERA Llanbedr until 2001, when most of DERA became QinetiQ.

From the spring of 1942, the airfield was an operational base for Towed Target and later, Target Drone services to the UK Armed Forces. Target provision services were typically common to the Cardigan Bay Ranges (UK Danger Area EGD201, under the control of Aberporth) but Llanbedr targets also worked other UK ranges, including the Royal Artillery range off the Hebrides and they were occasionally operational overseas.

Lysander Mkiii

During the Second World War, RAF Llanbedr was home to thirty-two different RAF Squadrons on rotation who flew a variety of aircraft (Spitfire, Mustang, Typhoon, Anson, Lysander and Martinet). The longest-serving Squadron was No. 631 Squadron (RAF) who arrived at Llanbedr in May 1945 from RAF Towyn and stayed until February 1949. The Squadron was re-numbered as No. 20 Squadron RAF.

 

From 1957, civilianisation of the base services began with Short Brothers holding a series of contracts until 1979, when Airwork Services took over and held them until 1991. In 1991, contracts and scope of work changed again and FR Serco took over its running.

Secondarily, it served as a Royal Air Force V bomber dispersal airfield, more recently used for military weapons training. The site closed in October 2004. Navigational and ATC equipment was removed by the military at this time and the site put up for sale.

In May 2014 the airport re-opened, catering for the needs of general aviation activities in the area and the airfield is currently experiencing a further transitional period, meaning that it is not yet operating at full capacity. That said, change is afoot and for the better.

Location and amenities

The airfield is currently undergoing a transition, following the relocation and closure of Fly Llanbedr flight school and there are currently no flight schools on the site, but this is likely to change. Operating the airfield focuses around providing and outstanding location with which to take off and enjoy the simply stunning Snowdonia and local area from the air.

Llanbedr is presently open weekdays, Monday to Friday and PPR is essential. The airfield does not currently accept visitors at a weekend during the transitional period, but this is likely to change in the near future.

The on site cafe is excellent and is also open weekdays, serving aviators and enthusiasts alike.

Pilot Information

Offering three asphalt runways, the shortest being 1282 metres in length and the longest being 2286 metres, this provides a range of options for the visiting pilot and facilitates the arrival and departure of many types.

 

Llanbedr is located south east of Caernarfon Airfield and north east of Aberporth Airport in West Wales, making a beautiful coastal route of West Wales and a visit to all three airfields, both viable and particularly picturesque.

Located within the RAF Valley Area of Intense Aerial Activity (AIAA), it is likely that your weekday flying will find you in receipt of a service from Valley unless you are non-radio. Due to the potential for frequent fast jet activity, it is recommended that you call them before departure, particularly if flying non-radio.

Flying in

Llanbedr is close to EG D201, the Aberporth firing range and visiting pilots should ensure that they are familiar with this area and times of operation. Aberporth radar will always provide an appropriate service on 119.650.

It is also pertinent when planning, that the airfield is close to RAF Valley on Anglesey and that fast jet activity in the area takes place, so an appropriate service from RAF Valley is recommended depending on the direction of your approach to Llanbedr. Full details of procedures and any other considerations will be given when obtaining PPR.

Going forward

The new website and social media channels are under development and it is anticipated that this large and capable airfield will grow exponentially in terms of aviation activity in the coming months.

In Summary

Located in stunning Snowdonia and on the coast of West Wales, the scenery is as dramatic as it is beautiful. Having approached from the east, travelling above the Welsh mountains, to descend for the airfield is an almost unique experience in the UK. Couple this with a departure north and a low-level transit of the Menai Straights, makes for unrivalled photographic opportunities and unlimited, jaw-dropping scenery.

If you have yet to visit Llanbedr, then it is time to start making some plans and enjoy a fantastic flight to a stunning airfield location.

Checklist

Before visiting:

  1. Check the website
  2. Careful consideration to NOTAM
  3. Arrange PPR and briefing

For videos showing  arrival and departure to and from Llanbedr, a selection are available on the author’s YouTube channel.