Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport

ICAO Code – EGBO

AD Elevation – 283FT amsl

AFIS – 123.0 – Call sign – Halfpenny Green Information (pronounced Ha’penny)

Runways – 3 Asphalt and 1 Grass (unlicensed)

Navigation Aids on aerodrome – NDB (WBA – 356.0) & DME (WOL 108.6)

Fuel – AVGAS 100LL and Jet A1. Other fuel can be arranged on request.

Telephone Number (For PPR) – 01384 221378

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

http://www.wolverhamptonairport.co.uk

As a keen GA fixed wing pilot, it was always my dream to fly out to the many and varied airfields, aerodromes and airport that cover the UK. Averaging one new airfield every three weeks, 2015 was a great year for myself and I visited some fantastic places and met some wonderful people. One airfield however, keeps pulling me back. Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green.

Halfpenny Green as it is more often referred to, was the airport destination that I flew my first cross-country solo. It was also one of the three airports I visited on my qualifying cross-country flight whilst training. It was the first airport I flew to with my wife and kids with my shiny new lience in my pocket. I have been back a number of times since then too, landing on all of the runways except the unlicensed grass strip.  I think you see a pattern developing…

I’ll summarise the reasons why at the end of the review, but if you haven’t been, you are missing out and once you have been, you’ll laminate that pilot’s log for future use. Trust me, Halfpenny Green is a belter!

Location and amenities

RAF Bobbington changed its name to Halfpenny Green on 1st September 1941. To say that Halfpenny Green was a busy airfield pre, during and post World War II would be something of an understatement. Permission was given for Halfpenny Green to operate civil aircraft in 1961 and the airfield has thrived ever since.

Harvard B&WThe airport is 7 miles to the South West of Wolverhampton and 20 miles from Birmingham. It is undeniably a busy airfield and attracts all types. On my last visit, I parked on the apron next to a North American Harvard, chatting with the pilot for some time. Movements average high numbers and the cafe and viewing area bustle with aviators and non-aviators alike.

Halfpenny Green is a flourishing centre for General Aviation and is a busy business centre also. Aviation Operators and maintenance organisations abound, with fixed wing, microlight and rotary flying schools, a National Police Helicopter unit and several private aircraft operators all enjoying the airport.

Very reasonable landing fees are paid up in the tower, commanding an authoritative view of the airport, with friendly, knowledgeable and helpful controllers on hand to answer any questions you may have and accommodate in every way possible. As you climb up the exterior metal steps to the tower, cast a glance behind you and think of the Blackburn Botha, Avro Anson and Airspeed Oxford aircraft of years gone by operating from the airfield. For some reason, it isn’t hard to imagine!

Beneath the tower, you will find Tea at the Green, the airfield cafe. Wholesome quality food and drink at reasonable prices with a superb view of everything that is landing, taxiing and taking off. What’s not to like?

Pilot Information

3 hard runwHalfpenny Green Overheadays adorn the airfield in the traditional military layout and differ in length from 646 metres to 1182 metres. The unlicensed grass runway is 350 metres in length. It is worth noting that the runway widths also vary from 18 metres to 30 metres, so make sure you study the relevant airfield plate, as the perspective on final approach to 04/22 with its 646x18m runway is somewhat different to the perspective of runway 16/34 with its 1182x30m runway. It’s great training to be honest and depending on traffic and prevailing wind, worth asking if the Tower can accommodate an alternate circuit upon departure for the practice.

HG18

Halfpenny Green maintains a comprehensive website that contains every conceivable detail beginning with the breakfast menu, right through to night flying activities. There is no need for me to go into more detail, as it’s all in there and I strongly recommend you spend some time on their web pages. Opening hours, fees and all relevant information is contained within.

Active social media sites also attract a keen following and on one recent trip, posted photographs of my aircraft taking off and landing during my visit. Just brilliant and genuinely appreciated.

The AFISO staff in the tower are outstanding in the service they provide, not only on the Information service, but also in their friendly and professional attitude to visiting pilots and all that visit the airfield.

Flying in

Blessed by unrestricted airspace up to FL145, Halfpenny Green is to the West of the Birmingham CTA and a standard overhead join to any of the active runways poses no problems to a visiting pilot. South East of Shawbury Zone AIAA, ATC handover from Shawbury to Halfpenny Green Inofrmation is seemless and a good visual reference is the unusually shaped, curved and gleaming metal museum roof at RAF Cosford, if approaching from the north. Shawbury and Ternhill can be busy during midweek with military rotary traffic, but Shawbury LARS is impeccable and accommodating to GA traffic. A MATZ Penetration when requested is, in my experience, provided whenever possible.

37 miles to the north of Gloucestershire Airport, the large City of Worcester is a visible midway point if travelling north between the two airfields. To the East, beautiful scenery that eventually leads to the West Wales mountains.

Friendly and supportive neighbours of Halfpenny Green Airport dictate that no special procedures to avoid over flying towns, villages or farms are required. If you had to drop a pin on the GA centre of The Midlands, it would land at Halfpenny Green Airport.

Going forward

The website features a short article on the future of Halfpenny Green and it looks positive. Development of a modern Aviation Park is suggested and everything appears aviation orientated. A proud history surrounds the airfield and it looks set to continue well into the future, ensuring aviation is at its heart.

In Summary

The airfield has it all. Ease of en route airspace. Set in a stunning location, a sprawling airfield that supports a thriving business and GA industry. 45 minutes flying time from City Airport Manchester, Barton makes Halfpenny Green an ideal fly out location from all corners of the UK, as central, it certainly is!

Flying in is a genuine pleasure. Everyone appreciates you taking the time to come and visit and there is a real interest in how your en-route flight panned out. Halfpenny Green also offers a fixed fee for unlimited circuits. It is worth asking whether it is available on the day you visit, as it is always good to bash the circuit and there is a real satisfaction in doing this away from your home base.

HG16

There is good reason that many flying schools chose Halfpenny Green for student cross countries. There is good reason that you have to queue briefly in the cafe to be served. The outdoor visitors area thrives with young and old, aviators and non-aviators alike, all enjoying what Halfpenny Green has to offer. Flying school aircraft take off and land frequently and unusual types take pride of place on the GA apron by the tower, where they can be photographed by all. There is good reason I frequently return.

Whenever and wherever I fly, my kids always ask me “Did you say hello to Clive in the tower?”. Regardless of where I have been, the answer is always “yes”. One day, I suppose I’ll have to tell them that I fly to other places aswell….. Occasionally…..

Checklist

Before visiting

  1. Check out
  2. Speak with an on duty FISO
  3. Arrange PPR

For videos showing VRP’s, arrivals and departures to and from Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green, a selection are available on the author’s YouTube channel