For archive news stories (2001 - 2012) please see the News Archive
End of 2017 Leeds East Airport news update
At the end of 2017, Leeds East Airport appears to be getting slightly busier, albeit the proposed VIP flights appear to have been "canned". There are a good number of based aircraft, all within 3 Hangar.
1 Hangar is now in use as a film studio as part of the "Yorkshire Studios", with some plans indicating that all three hangars are to be converted for film studio use however this appears to be some time away. Plans are currently being considered by Selby District Council for a "Creative Hub" which would see a large area north of the Control Tower being built upon (in the area of the disused Bulk Fuel Installation) however the plans show the airfield continuing to operate.
GNSS RNAV approaches are currently under development which would allow for all-weather operations.
Leeds East Airport gains licence and ATZ
In September 2016, Leeds East Airport became a CAA licenced airfield (EGCM), along with gaining an ATZ. It was also announced that "VIP" charter flights would begin operating to Cannes, Faro and Malaga from May 2017. For more information, see the BBC website article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-37305591
"Fighting Church Fenton" book updated and re-released
|David Mason, son of the
late Peter Mason who during the late 1980s wrote the book "Fighting
Church Fenton" has completely revised and updated the original book. The
new book has many more photographs, and includes much extra material on
subjects such as the Polish squadrons at Church Fenton during WW2.
Visit the page on David's website http://www.rafchurchfenton.com/fighting-church-fenton/ for further details
CAA licencing and ATZ move closer for Leeds East Airport
Recently, much work has been going on at Leeds East in preparation for formal licencing of the airfield. Leeds East's new ICAO designator is EGCM, and the airfield will soon be appearing in the UK AIP. The airfield has new operating surface markings, as well as various new signage to ensure it complies with the CAA requirements.
Leeds East Airport new-year fly-in 2016
As last year, Leeds East Airport will be holding a new year fly-in on Sunday 10th January 2016. For more details, please see the website http://www.leedseastairport.co.uk/news/flyin/
News round-up November 2015
On Saturday 26th September 2015, Church Fenton's first airshow for 21 years was held, and was a great success. A fantastic flying display, including a number of cold-war jets, helicopters and no less than three Spitfires graced the skies above CF on an idyllic late summer's day. Arguable star of the show was BM597, the Spitfire Mk Vb which for many years sat outside SHQ at Church Fenton as the station's gate guardian. Now restored and flying from Duxford, to see her in the skies above CF again was superb.
Plans for the use of the site for film use have been accepted, and transformation of 1 Hangar is currently underway. It is now the largest studio space in Yorkshire. Plans for the use of the old MT section as a demonstration area for Ginetta cars have also been accepted, again further boosting the site's potential.
News round-up August 2015
Since Church Fenton changed hands in December 2014, much has changed (for the better!). A quick summary can be seen below:
A return of airshows to Church Fenton has been announced - the first "Great Yorkshire Airshow" will be held at Leeds East Airport on 26th September 2015. See www.yorkshireairshow.co.uk for further details.
3 Hangar has been substantially refurbished, with all windows replaced, doors sand-blasted an re-painted, along with many other general husbandry jobs.
2 Hangar is currently undergoing a transformation; all cladding has been removed and it is believed will be largely be replaced by glass.
The grounds (including main gate) have been treated to a spruce up and are looking better than they have for many years. The old SHQ building now proudly wears the Leeds East Airport logo on its frontage.
Plans have been announced for use of one or more hangars as film studios, alongside the existing use of the site for aviation. If accepted, this will be a huge boost for the local area.
Plans have been submitted for Ginetta cars to use the old MT section as a showroom / workshops, and parts of the runways as demonstration areas. Again, if plans are accepted, this will be another boost for the local area.
A business aviation service known as "Makin Air" has been launched, which will fly direct to London on weekdays, using a brand-new Hondajet, along with other aircraft.
The future is looking far more positive than it has done for many years, all credit has to go to Chris Makin and his team for having the vision and resources to take a run-down ex-RAF station and bring it in to the 21st century.
Church Fenton now known as "Leeds East Airport"
The first three months of 2015 have seen a hive of activity at Church Fenton. The airfield has now been renamed Leeds East Airport, and the site has seen a number of tasks carried out in preparation for the airfield's new lease of life as a civilian airport.
Improvements which are immediately noticeable from "outside the wire" include new crash gates, sand-blasting and repainting of the main gates, hedges cut, large white "X"s removed from the runways and most recently, the refurbishment of the doors on 3 hangar. The doors have also been removed from both ends of 2 hangar, and will be replaced by walls of glass, in order to improve light levels inside.
It is understood that the airfield will be looking to cater for GA, up to biz-jet size aircraft. Hangarage for private aircraft is now available, as well as industrial, storage and office space. I understand that negotiations are ongoing regarding the setting up of a flight training school. An ATZ application is underway with the CAA.
Leeds East Airport now also has a website: www.leedseastairport.co.uk
Church Fenton in the media
Church Fenton airfield's new ownership has made it in to local media recently, see the following links:
Youtube video of revival fly-in
York Press article on the revival fly-in
BBC news article on the re-opening of Church Fenton
York Press article on the re-opening of Church Fenton
Church Fenton revival
fly in is a great success
On Sunday 4th January 2015 the first event of Church Fenton's new life as a civilian airfield took place; the so-called "Revival Fly-in". Perfect weather in the North of England led to a turn out of over 200 light aircraft; Runway 24 has never been so busy! The new owners also opened most of the buildings for inspection by those visiting which was much appreciated.
|The identity of the successful bidder for RAF Church Fenton has now
been made public; he is a pilot who intends to keep Church Fenton
airfield operational. To celebrate the handover from the MoD to the new
owner, a fly-in has been arranged for Saturday 3rd January 2015, with a
short aerobatic display at 1pm. For
details click on the image of the flyer.
*Please note that due to a poor weather forecast for Saturday 3rd, the
fly-in has now been moved to Sunday 4th*
I do not have any other details regarding the fly-in; please contact the new owners if you require any further info.
Further details of the future plans for Church Fenton's re-opening as a civilian airfield will be posted on here when they are known.
Following the formal tender process mentioned previously, it is understood that Church Fenton airfield has now been sold. The identity of the buyer has not been formally announced as yet, however I am hopeful that the future for Church Fenton looks brighter than it might otherwise have been. Keep checking back here for more news on the future plans for the airfield.
RAF Church Fenton is now up for sale by formal tender, the closing date for bids being Friday 31st October 2014. For further details see the agent's website
|Leading aviation historian Aldon Ferguson has recently completed and
published a photographic survey of Church Fenton. The survey contains a
brief history; full schedule of RAF units operating from here; Building
Schedule including use, NGR, drawing numbers (where available) and
construction details; location plans; several site plans illustrating
its development; historic photographs; detailed colour photographic
record with captions of each building.
It is an excellent document, with 263 pages, and photos of every extant building taken in Summer 2013 shortly before the station's closure. It can be purchased in PDF format on DVD.
For more details, see http://airfieldpublications.co.uk/church-fenton/
RAF Church Fenton joins the list of ex-RAF stations (20th Dec 13)
During the week of 16th - 20th December 2013, the last aircraft vacated RAF Church Fenton for their new home at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. There had been planned a march through the village by the resident YUAS / 2434 Sqn ATC cadets but unfortunately this was cancelled.
The NOTAM announcing to the aviation world that the end had come reads as follows:
B) FROM: 13/12/04 07:55
C) TO: 14/03/03 23:59 EST
E) FOR THE PURPOSES OF RULE 45 OF THE RULES OF THE AIR REGULATIONS 2007 THE CHURCH FENTON ATZ IS SUSPENDED WITH EFFECT FM 01 JAN 2014
The last ever METAR (weather report) read:
METAR EGXG 190850Z AUTO 23014KT 9999 NCD 04/M01 Q0996
And the last ever TAF (weather forecast) read:
171334Z 1715/1719 16005KT 9999 FEW030
The ILS is to be removed and relocated to RAF Topcliffe. The 2434 Sqn ATC compound has been fenced off so it looks like some military related presence will remain at least for a while. The future of the airfield remains uncertain; local rumour suggests it is to be sold off in the early part of 2014. It would be nice to think that it may be bought to remain as an airfield; I feel this is wishful thinking though!
RAF Church Fenton to close by the end of 2013 (25th Mar 13)
On Monday 25th March, it was announced that RAF Church Fenton is to close by the end of 2013. This sad, but not wholly unexpected news, will lead to the end of the 86 year RAF presence at Church Fenton. It is not known what the future will hold for the airfield.
The full text of the statement (from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defence-estate-rationalisation-update), is as below:
Reductions in the flying training pipeline, directed by the SDSR, mean
that RAF Church Fenton is no longer required to host training operations and
will close by the end of 2013. The units based at Church Fenton, including the
Yorkshire University Air Squadron (incorporating No. 9 Air Experience Flight),
will relocate; work is ongoing to determine the optimum location for the
University Air Squadron.
There are five Service personnel who will be redeployed as a result of this change and three MOD civilians will be affected.
I understand that the last flying day will be Friday 20th December.