Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome

ICAO Code – EGBW

Elevation – 159 ft amsl

AFIS – 124.025 – Call sign – Wellesbourne Information

Runways – 3 (2 Asphalt – 1 Grass – Unlicensed)

Navigation Aids on aerodrome – None

Fuel – 100LL, Jet A1, UL91

Telephone Number (For PPR) – 01789 842000

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

History

Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome was originally opened in 1941 and was constructed in the typical Class A airfield design.

The main unit to use the airfield was No. 22 Operational Training Unit RAF which flew Vickers Wellingtons and Avro Ansons for RAF Bomber Command from 14 April 1941.

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Wellesbourne Mountford

During the Second World War, Wellesbourne Mountford was attacked on a number of occasions by enemy bombers on their way home after bombing targets in the Midlands such as Coventry and Birmingham. The nearby railway station of Ettington was used to transport troops and munitions from the rest of the country to the airfield using RAF lorries and buses.

RAF Bomber Command Crews also attacked a number of German cities such as Cologne, Essen and Bremen as part of the 1,000 bomber raids. The aircraft was crewed by instructors and students with some aircraft unfortunately failing to return.

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General Aviation Hotspur

The airfield was briefly home to the No. 3 Glider Training School which started using Wellesbourne Mountford during July 1945 preparing for war in the far east using the General Aircraft Hotspur before being disbanded on 3 December 1947.

 

The RAF School of Photography operated from the airfield from 1948 to 1964, the RAF School of Education between 1950 and 1952 and the Airfield Construction Branch from 1951 to 1964.

In 1964 the airfield was closed and put on a care and maintenance basis, then returned to the original owners.

The airfield has been reduced in size following the closure of the RAF station with a large number of the pan dispersals and dispersal track being removed in the 1970s for civilian construction projects and with the removal of one runway (which is now a concrete taxiway) and the shortened length of another. In the past, Wellesbourne Mountford was temporarily home to Air Atlantique Douglas DC-3’s between 1965 and 1981 also the site was used for vehicle testing. 

In February 1984, Avro Vulcan XM655 arrived on Runway 36 following a flight from RAF Waddington. The Vulcan is now parked on the North West corner of the Aerodrome and is looked after by the Vulcan XM655 Maintenance and Preservation Society and is able to perform taxi runs for the public.

Location and amenities

Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome is situated 3.5 miles to the East of Stratford-Upon-Avon in stunning Warwickshire.

The aerodrome is approximately 90 minutes drive from London and 40 minutes drive from Birmingham, but with plenty to do in the immediate vicinity.

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Avro Vulcan XM655

Located on the aerodrome is the fabulously preserved and cared for Avro Vulcan XM655, which is able to perform taxi runs for the public and tours can also be arranged.

Also located on the Aerodrome is the museum, which is housed within an underground emergency wartime command and control bunker, housing a collection of aviation artefacts. Displays cover the history of Wellesbourne Mountford aerodrome, together with various aircraft components and memorabilia. There is a small aircraft park, including the nose of Vulcan XA903. This aircraft was used to test the Olympus engines of Concorde in the 1960s. The museum is open Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays and more details can be found on the website.

Wellesbourne Mountford has a locally renown cafe with a terraced area affording great views of all of the aerodrome activities, that is open daily between 0900 and 1700. The cafe bustles as aviators, visitors and the public alike, come to sample the fine fayre.

The aerodrome is alive with training and engineering facilities and it wonderful to see such a busy a thriving aerodrome. Aeros Flight Training Wellesbourne, Heli-Air, On Track Aviation, South Warwickshire Flight School and Take Flight Aviation all operate from Wellesbourne, as does the busy Warwickshire Aviation Engineering and Maintenance facility.

Pilot Information

wm9Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome maintains a comprehensive website, covering everything from aerodrome history to current weather and is well worth navigating for any visitor, be it by air or otherwise. Active Twitter and Facebook accounts also provide a healthy following and interaction, containing a whole host of additional information regarding forthcoming events.

Containing within the website pages is information regarding noise abatement for the sensitive local villages. At weekends there is a market held along the partial length of Runway 05/23 and climb out on Runway 36 requires a right turn onto a 030 degree heading for noise abatement requirements for the village of Charlecote.  The procedures are simple to comprehend and the tower FISO’s are fantastically knowledgeable and friendly and will talk you through the whole procedure.

Runway 05/23 is not available from 1700 on a Friday to 1000 on a Sunday.

Flying in

Wellesbourne Mountford is situated 3nm from the southern boundary of Birmingham Airport CTA, the base of which is at 1500′ and below the CTA (base 3500′). Visiting pilots are advised to utilise the Listening Squawk and to squawk 0010 and to monitor Birmingham Radar Frequency on 118.050, who will provide assistance if an emergency situation arises.

Pilots are requested to contact Wellesbourne at least 10 minutes before their ETA to Wellesbourne.

wm10The Standard Overhead Join is preferred, as is PPR at weekends and variable circuits are flown at 1000′ QFE for fixed wing and 600′ QFE for rotary aircraft. Helicopter arrivals and departures are to remain below 600′ QFE within the ATZ.

 

In Summary

Wellesbourne is a historic and welcoming aerodrome that had long since been on my list of places to visit and did not disappoint.

wm3Everyone I spoke to was welcoming and friendly and could not have done more to help. It was a genuine pleasure to speak to Mrs. Frankie Spray in the Tower, who served a Manchester Air Traffic Controller, before taking up the reins at Wellesbourne Information in her retirement. She possesses a wealth of knowledge and information, along with a pleasant and friendly sense of humour, that I enjoyed whilst waiting for the skies to brighten for my departure.

Wellesbourne is an ideal mid-point destination in the country if you are planning a longer flight and having now visited, I will be back, as I have yet to enjoy the museum and explore fully.

If you haven’t yet visited, then it is time to get EGBW in your log book, or to visit with the family by road. A pleasant and prosperous airfield that embodies everything that is General Aviation.

Checklist

Before visiting:

  1. Check the website for a wealth of information and noise abatement details.
  2. Careful consideration to flight planning due to location within the Birmingham CTA (3500′).
  3. Speak with an on duty FISO regarding noise abatement procedures
  4. Arrange PPR
  5. Leave some room for the fantastic food on offer at the Cafe

For videos showing VRP’s, arrivals and departures to and from Wellesbourne Mountford and a variety of airports, aerodromes and airfields, please view the author’s YouTube channel.