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Biggin Hill and Airfields around London

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Biggin Hill and Airfields around London

Old 4th Feb 2012, 08:41
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Biggin Hill and Airfields around London

I'm moving to London. I'll live at Vauxhall Bridge.
I'm looking for a place to base my Cessna 172 around London.
It seems that the only place where hangar space is available is Biggin Hill.
Would another airfield around London have hangar space available?

I drove to Biggin Hill from Vauxhall Bridge, I had to drive 1h30 following the quickest route my GPS found.
Would any of you know a quicker route? Or is 90mn the standard time?

The hangars for small aircrafts in Biggin Hill are on the eastern side of the runway, a 2 miles drive from the main terminal. If I chose to commute via public transportation, would it be easy to get a taxi to drive me to Bromley South, what would be the time I'll have to wait? Would they know how to get there?

My only experience with taxis from GA Airfields is in France, and to get a taxi at Toussus le Noble you have to call several companies until you find one who is willing to work, then you have to explain, several times, where the driver has to pick you up, then you have to wait a totally unpredictable time, from 5 to 50 mn. And then the guy tells you either that he wont drive you to Paris, but at the nearest train station, or that he wont drive you to the nearest train station because its too small a trip, but that he will drive you to Paris. And he will make you feel that driving you is a sort of a favour, as he would have better things to do. That's why I'm asking about Taxis in Biggin Hill.
If you fly to Paris, choose Saint Cyr l'Ecole, it's at a walking distance from the station, and the view of the Chateau de Versailles is included.
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 09:52
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Can't help you with the hangerage but in England taxi drivers go where you tell them to.
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 10:37
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Driving in south of England is always slow. Trains will generally move you faster. Local taxi firm will rapidly get used to you and provide the link to airfield and back. Get an air map and take a look at the many airfields around London. In the same sector from London you will find Redhill (my base) Fairoakes and Blackbush. Life would probably be cheaper at Denham, so look around.

Good luck
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 10:56
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I second the comment about taxi drivers. Very few bad ones here.

Denham is a nice airfield - would definitely save you money over Biggin but it depends on your budget. I'd be disappointed if you couldn't do Vauxhall Bridge to Denham in 45 minutes (Google maps says 35 minutes, though traffic is a MAJOR factor).

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Old 4th Feb 2012, 11:46
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Try North Weald;Weald Aviation on Google
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 12:01
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Try Headcorn in Kent. Friendly airfield with a grass strip and the owner has just erected a brand new hangar for parking. Trains run to Headcorn from Charring Cross every 30 minutes and it takes about 1 hour 6 minutes. Short taxi ride from the station to the airfield or you can walk it if the weather is nice, about 1 mile from the station

Last edited by happybiker; 4th Feb 2012 at 12:05. Reason: Added walking information
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 12:27
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Last private hire taxi I took from Bromley South to Biggin was £12ish (datacars I think) or jump on the 320 bus from outside the station for £1.35 (it might have gone up a bit) takes about 20 minutes. A black cab costs £18-£20 from the stand outside the station.
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 13:14
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I'd give Fairoaks a try. 45 mins drive from central London, hangers are in the right place, and very regular trains to Woking from Waterloo/Clapham (about 25 mins) and always loads of taxis at the station, which is 10 mins from Fairoaks. 800 metre paved runway with lights. Decent cafe.

I've flown to Toussous le Noble a number of times as well, only problem with with their taxis are the speed they drive
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 14:03
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Also consider EGTO Rochester which has hangarage.

You can get trains from Victoria to Rochester about 45 minutes if a fast train and then a 10-12 minute taxi from the station to the airport.
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 15:46
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If you're not bothered by cost, there are plenty of taxi's available at Bromley South. The 320 bus stops at the main terminal and by the flying schools so you'd still have quite a walk to get to the hangars.

If you're driving I would go either A2 - A20 and then through Bromley or A23 - A232 through Croydon. Neither route is particularly good, but they are better then using the A21 or the south circular due to all the choke points like Catford!
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 17:25
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Strangely, Shoreham is easy to get to from London. Take a Southern Train from Victoria to Worthing and get off at Shoreham by Sea. The line actually follows the airfield boundary. Taxi must be all of 5 mins to the Termianl.

Not sure about hangarage and there's an issue about handling. But with a good weather record and its own GPS approach I commend it to the house.

Old 4th Feb 2012, 18:10
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I support SEP Flyer in that Fairoaks makes a good potential option if located in Vauxhall.

I have been regularly flying a 172 in and out of Fairoaks for maintenance for several years. Consequently I have frequently used the trains and taxies to get there to collect it and get home after dropping it off. Iíve always found taxies at the station. Typically Iíve not waited more than 10 to 15 mins for a cab to come and collect me when Iíve telephoned from the airfield to go to the station.

Woking station is in fact a direct service from Vauxhall train station (44 min according to National Rail and quicker if you change at Clapham Junction to a fast train) and the taxi is about 10 mins.

From my experience of travelling around London distance is not a good metric for comparing between different venue locations. When travelling in London you also need to consider the route and types of transport you want to use and the impact of congestion on your journey. Time of day really does make a major difference to journey times; also, whether itís a weekday or weekend when you need to do it.

Iím with John R81 - visit the airfields around London and choose one where you feel at home and that has road and public transport links that are good for the times you will need to use them.
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 18:12
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White Waltham and Fairoaks are both about an hour's drive from Vauxhall Bridge. Don't know whether there is any available hangarage though.
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Old 5th Feb 2012, 00:30
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I used to live in Pimlico and fly from Biggin for a few years, so am familiar with your problem...

A 1.5 hour drive is par for the course, quite short, in fact. Longer if you want to drive out there on a Friday afternoon... even when driving on a Sunday morning with no-one around I never managed less than 1 1/4 hour, if I remember correctly. And it's a pain, so I only did it a few times.

To get to Biggin I took the train to Bromley South and then a taxi from the station. There is a taxi rank at the station, and while not all taxi drivers are familiar with the south side of the airfied, you can always direct them. I allowed 1 hour for this trip, including the 10 minute walk to Victoria, and normally made it with 5-10 minutes to spare.

To get back from Biggin I took a local minicab firm [local to Biggin, that is, NOT to Bromley] and made sure on booking they knew where to go. However, advance booking was necessary, just calling them up would give you a 20 minute wait, and much longer if they are busy.

I was flying from the flying schools right at the entrance of the airfield estate, so it was easy to find. If you are hangared all the way around, for example in Hangar 504 or in the old Air Touring hangars, it might be more difficult.

There was a minicab firm present in the terminal that knew their way around, but they were very expensive, and without pre-booking weren't any faster than the locals.

So, in a nutshell, I would say no problem getting TO Biggin, but getting back needs an arrangement with a local minicab firm.
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Old 5th Feb 2012, 04:29
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Hangarage is available at Fairoaks, and as other posters have said, the train journey is straightforward (Vauxhall Bridge or Clapham Junction to Woking then taxi; more trains available per hour if you go from Clapham). Even driving to/from Vauxhall Bridge shouldn't take too long provided you don't try it in rush hour.(A3205, A205, A316, M3, M25 to Junc 10)
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Old 5th Feb 2012, 18:26
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Bakerloo, Jubilee or Northern to: Harrow and Wealdstone, Stanmore or Edgware. Depending on where you are in Vauxhall. Short taxi or minicab ride to Elstree. If you want to subsidise your a/c costs we could discuss a leaseback....................
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Old 5th Feb 2012, 21:14
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It is amazing how poorly London is served for GA traffic, for IFR.

A coordinated transport policy would have a GA airfield nearby, with an ILS at both ends, good transport links, and operated as a centre of excellence for all GA up to bizjets.

Instead, the light jets fly into places like Luton (where the entry level to touch the tarmac is about £500) which have better transport links into "London" than Biggin Hill
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Old 6th Feb 2012, 08:58
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320 and then a half hour walk isn't too bad to get to the eastern side of Biggin Hill - I have been doing it for about 4 years now... - Security integration every now and then makes the trip a bit more fun... (Sometimes they offer a lift too!!)

If taxi is more your thing I know lots of people around the airfield use Cannon Cars -
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Old 6th Feb 2012, 09:17
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with an ILS at both ends, good transport links
Which are both the reasons why Biggin will never become a big commercial airport. There's no space for an ILS on 03, and no one is gonna want to pay for a rail link there. It's also a bit too expensive for typical GA to base there now comfortably and it's not well connected enough for more commercial operations. Southend has no such problems.
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Old 6th Feb 2012, 09:45
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I wonder why Biggin is expensive, given that the place is full of empty hangars (or was last time I looked).
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