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Ostend -> London route information

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Ostend -> London route information

Old 24th Feb 2016, 20:14
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Knokke-Heist, Belgium
Posts: 3
Ostend -> London route information

Good evening aviators,

I'm planning a single engine vfr flight from Ostend (EBOS), Belgium to London.
Did some research and I've found 2 interesting airports near London ; Biggin Hill and Elstree, which one can you recommend me, based on safety/routing/fees/ (train/subway)connection to London centre?
I would cross the channel from the vicinity of Calais to Dover.

Any suggestions are welcome!

Kind Regards,

FlyingJones is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2016, 21:01
  #2 (permalink)  
Sir George Cayley
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One possibility is to turn left at Dover and follow the south coast to Shoreham EGKA/ESH. A short taxi ride to the station and there is a frequent express train direct to London Victoria which is close to Buckingham Palace.

Biggin Hill is an exec jet FBO and I would check the landing and handling fees. Elstree is some way from connections to London and is a bit run down.

Hope this helps

Old 24th Feb 2016, 21:47
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2014
Location: London
Posts: 140
London is a big place - which parts of it do you want to get to?

Of the 2 you list, Biggin Hill has a much higher level of aviation services than Elstree, but if you are arriving VFR, that should not make a difference. Biggin Hill also has a longer runway, but again, that may not be very useful.
Landing and parking fees are much lower at Elstree, but in the big scheme of things hardly likely to make a material difference. Getting in and out of Elstree will be quicker than Biggin Hill because it is smaller...

Neither Biggin Hill nor Elstree (nor any other GA airfield I know of...) have very easy, door to door links to central London.
If you plan to take a taxi, Elstree would be quicker than Biggin Hill; E.g. Google lists Elstree as 14 miles, 40 minutes, Biggin Hill as 17 miles, 52 minutes - both of those to Charing CRoss - and you may need to double that time depending on traffic.

Knowing London traffic, disregarding the cost of a taxi all the way, the quickest way is likely to be public transport. A very short taxi ride from Elstree to the local Thameslink suburban train service will get you into e.g. Kings Cross/St.Pancras or the City itself in about 20 minutes.
Alternatively, Elstree is close to the end of the Northern line and the Jubilee Line which serve other parts of Central London, although the underground is typically slower than the trains.

Not quite sure when SGC was last at Elstree w.r.t. it being 'run down'... I have seen both far worse and far nicer airfields in the UK. They have invested in it over the last couple of years and the new café is actually quite good. But it does fall somewhere in between a 'biz jet FBO' and a 'grassroots GA field'... I guess you get what you pay for.

You can also look at Stapleford (Central line into London). Denham and Fairoaks are further out but may also work for you depending on where you want to get to...

Baikonour is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2016, 22:40
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Age: 74
Posts: 232
Denham Welcome to Denham Aerodrome - EGLD is a good choice well run field and walkable distance to a rail station. Elstree runway is a bit short. Stapleford is ok but a grass runway and further from rail links.

As mentioned it can depend on where in London you want to go as can be very slow to cross on any surface transport.
horizon flyer is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2016, 23:28
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: London
Posts: 444
I normally fly at Biggin, public transport into town in a bus away to the train station. Landing fees for aeroplanes not based is still a few £ cheaper than Shoreham (really disliked Shoreham, ATC was rude, landing fees crazy expensive... Best of all nowhere to go once you're there... Brighton was an expensive taxi ride away!). I think it's around £30 at Biggin at the moment, so that shan't break the bank!

But - have you considered Southend Airport? That has a train station right outside, 50mins into Liverpool Street, landing fee was £36 last time I went, and everybody there was really professional and really helpful. Big long hard runway, well lit at night... Has all the gizmos you may want in nasty weather too!! :-)

I wouldn't recommend a grass field at this time of the year. I heard Denham was nice but I've never been... Yet!

Otherwise it really depends on where you're going!
alex90 is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 06:05
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Cambridge
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really disliked Shoreham, ATC was rude, landing fees crazy expensive
Don't mention Shoreham! I may have mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.....
Jonzarno is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 08:24
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: London
Posts: 12

Looking at EBOS' location geographically it looks like the closest would be Biggin Hill. However, Stapleford is an option as it has a tarmac runway as is Elstree.

I fly from Elstree and it is a short cab ride to Borehamwood Station. The café is also very nice. Stapleford has Chigwell Tube Station a cab ride away so you're sorted getting into London.

Whereabouts in London are you looking to go?

As suggested by Alex, Southend might be an option as it's much closer to you and it has a fast rail link into Liverpool Street. But it is an airport in the proper sense, and not a GA aerodrome like Elstree.

I guess it also depends on which type of airfield you'd like to fly into as well.

Good luck
AndoniP is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 08:42
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: London
Posts: 305
I've done Ostend a couple of times from Biggin Hill and there's really nothing to it. You can fly direct from KOK to DVR VORs, crossing the FIR boundary at KONAN. It is a long leg over water, but the navigation is easy and you are parallel to the coastline on the European side, not very far out. Also, with that route, you don't enter French airspace, so it saves one radio change.

I fly from Biggn Hill, I have a PA28 based there. It is a fine airport with a good runway and navigation facilities if you need them, but it is expensive and a little bit impersonal for visitors. The landing fee in a single is around £32 and there will be overnight parking charges. It is open from 0700-2100 local/GMT, which means you can arrive early and depart late from Ostend for a full day.

Getting from Biggin Hill to Central London is easyish. There is a bus stop outside of the airport, with buses around every 12 minutes to Bromley South station. Buses 320 or 246. Journey time with no traffic is around 20 minutes. It can take up to 40 minutes to get back from Bromley though, if you travel between 1530-1900, as the roads are busy. London Buses do not accept cash for fares, you will need a contactless cedit/debit card to pay. There are taxis available from the terminal building, you should expect to pay around £20 each way for one as you will get ripped off for airport prices.

From Bromley South, there is a fast and frequent train service to London Victoria, with a journey time of 15 minutes. Ensure you get a fast train and not one that is stopping at all stations.

A good alternative, if you are comfortable with 500 metres of tarmac runway, is Redhill. Tucked just inside the Gatwick zone, slightly South West of Biggin. Flight procedures to get in/out are simple and do not involve any communication with Gatwick. Landing fee there will be around £20 and it's much more friendly. Opening hours are 0900-1700 in the winter, through to 1900(L)/1800Z in the Summer. It is much more friendly, there is a good restaurant and getting to London is almost as easy. You will need a taxi for the 10 minute journey to Redhill station, which will cost you £5. Trains are not quite as frequent, and it's 25-30 minutes on a fast train to London Victoria or London Bridge.

If you choose Redhill, you can follow the railway line from Dover all the way to Redhill. The longest, straightest bit of railway in the UK, which makes navigation as easy as it gets.

Hope this helps.
jollyrog is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 09:17
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
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If you okay with grass runway try Damyns Hall. ( EGML )
Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Damyns Hall Airfield, Damyns Hall, Flying Schools, Aircraft Storage, Events, Film Location, Showground, Essex Airfield, EGML

No landing fee and no ATC.
5 mins taxi ride to Upminster underground station. One of the local pilot may even run you to the station.
trevs99uk is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 10:44
  #10 (permalink)  
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Fairoaks near Woking 813m tarmac. The FISO can order you a taxi to Woking, Chertsey or Sunningdale Station then it's about 30 min to London Waterloo.
chevvron is online now  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 11:38
  #11 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Knokke-Heist, Belgium
Posts: 3
Thank you guys for all the replies and usefull information!
I would fly with a client but he didn't make his mind up yet when and what places he wants to visit so I'm waiting for that.

I will take a closer look to the airfields and connections you suggest me and as soon as I have more details I will let you know, but I understand that anyway for GA it's not that simple to get really quick into central London, expect when I land in EGML? Ofcourse i'm looking for the cheapest solution :-)

I fly with a P28A so short runway/grass isn't a problem for me (if wx ok), good way to practise the short field take-off and landings again

Thanks again guys
FlyingJones is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 14:12
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: London
Posts: 444
If you choose Redhill, you can follow the railway line from Dover all the way to Redhill. The longest, straightest bit of railway in the UK, which makes navigation as easy as it gets.
Heard that this was the railway line used by the Germans during the war to find London. I can second this - very straight and very easy to follow. Never been into Redhill, or Damyns Hall for that matter but remember that it has been a very wet winter in the UK, so the surface may be a little soggy. You can ring the relevant aerodromes and ask what it is like there before filing your flight plan / filling in your GAR form.

Don't mention Shoreham! I may have mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.....
Haha got away with it thus far! Also - why would one land in Brighton (well is it even still Brighton? Isn't around 6 or 7 train stations from Brighton?) if the end destination was London (which is at least 50mins from Brighton by train + taxi + expensive + rude +...) anyway - I personally don't think that its even an option!
alex90 is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 17:48
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: EBZH
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Dear countryman,
For as little as it is worth, relying only on what I read on the treacherous www, my recommendation would be for Damyns Hall.

Is it your objective to get into the City quickly, perhaps for a one night's stay, or is it an extended weekend or even longer? Approaching a big city in a small plane is everything about compromising, alas. You will get better help if you give more information.

If you do not require extensive ground service, and also have some time to spare, and to enjoy the lovely Kentish countryside, there's many more options, to begin with Headcorn but quite some farm strips too, in Kent.

Last edited by Jan Olieslagers; 25th Feb 2016 at 18:04.
Jan Olieslagers is online now  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 22:03
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: 23, Railway Cuttings, East Cheam
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I would go Damyn's Hall as well. Elstree is fine by the way but DH is closer to you. Went to Ostend once. Not short of runway is it!
thing is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 23:30
  #15 (permalink)  
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As others have said, it depends a bit where in London you want / need to go to, it's a very big place.

Coming from Oostend my preference would probably be Southend or Damyn's Hall if a wet(ish) gras rwy is fine for you. Both have good connections to East/Central London.

One caveat about Southend - it is a proper airport with all that entails, i.e. hi-viz vests and security check when going airside - don't leave your Leatherman in your bag!

Another option, especially if going to the western parts of London would be Denham. Essentially you would fly along the northern edge of London until more or less abeam Heathrow. Hard rwy (although parking on grass, IIRC) and close to a train line running to Marylebone station.

Have fun!
172driver is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2016, 08:56
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: London
Posts: 305
I wouldn't bother with any of these grass suggestions if your flight is anytime soon.

Redhill grass is closed and has been so for months. The tarmac is available.
Headcorn is closed to visitors
Damyns Hall - Don't know but can't imagine it will be fun

These aerodromes are all great when the ground is firm, I use them all often.
jollyrog is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 21:36
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Uk
Posts: 175

Off post maybe, but wrt Shoreham I like flying into it and have found ATC anything but rude.

Early days post PPL I completely and utterly f----d up my circuit procedures, they were nothing but helpful. The controller's words to my apologies for being an idiot at the end of the saga and safe landing were 'don't worry, we're used to it here'...

Bearing that in mind I've kept going back.
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Old 5th Mar 2016, 19:04
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Leeds
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Ive used Denham, Damyn's Hall and Elstree regularly over the years, and they are all good, but settled on Elstree as my regular. It is friendly, inexpensive, and a 10 minute taxi ride from Stanmore tube station (Jubilee Cars). Out-of-hours operations are also possible by arrangement. It is my regular field when I need to visit central London.
A le Ron is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2016, 14:10
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Age: 74
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Only one thing to remember you will need customs and emigration in and out at which ever you plan to fly into, so will have to call ahead with flight details and passport information, flight plan does not count. This may need to be done 24 hours ahead as a minimum. No problem if EU citizens more difficult if not. If an airfield has it on site can make it easier.

Just a thought. All the fields ringed around London can take a PA28 and most are within 5/8 m/k of a train station with 30 to 45 mins into London.
So big choice its down to final destination in London and what train line ends up closest to your destination.
horizon flyer is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2016, 14:44
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: EBZH
Posts: 2,532
Regarding customs: is that referring to the UK side or the Continent?
I always learned the UK side is covered by the GAR form, though it has become less easy to file as I understand; on the continental side, one just has to use a "customs" field - which Ostend happens to be anyway.
Jan Olieslagers is online now  

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