Damyns Hall Airfield
Special feature

Flying in to Damyns Hall Aerodrome for the first time

Claire Bartlett flying instructor

Claire Bartlett used to instruct at Damyns Hall so knows the place inside-out. Here, Claire gives clear advice on flying into what’s probably London’s closest GA airfield

Damyns Hall is a great little airfield situated to the east of London, just north of the Dartford Crossing and inside the M25 motorway. London City Airport is seven miles to the west meaning approaching from that direction is tricky. Visitors from the west generally elect to fly either north or south of the London Class D airspace.

Damyns Hall Aerodrome, however, is situated within Class G airspace, despite being so close to London.

Approaching from the north, east or south, Farnborough or Southend can offer a radar service (LARS). Southend can be quite busy but they have a listening squawk of ‘5050’ providing you are listening to Southend Approach on 130.780.

The airfield can be difficult to spot. Once north of the Dartford Crossing, there are a pair of windmills just to the east of the M25 and, from the northernmost one, if you turn to the west, the airfield is just one nm away.

Damyns Hall operates an unmanned dedicated frequency: ‘Hornchurch Traffic’ on 119.555. Some of the pilots based at the airfield are usually helpful enough to provide the QNH and whichever runway is in use. If you’re the only one on frequency, still report your position when joining and in the circuit.

This Google image shows the wider area – with airfield marked in red

The standard join is overhead at 1,400ft (with caution to the London City CTA), and descending deadside immediately to the west.

The airfield has three grass runways for based aircraft, but only one, 21/03, is available to visiting pilots. This is due to the other two runways having quite challenging approaches and being quite short, bumpy and only really suitable for STOL aircraft.

However, 21/03 has approximately 550m available for landing in either direction with a starter extension at each end, and is fairly smooth.

Field elevation is 56ft with circuits for 21/03 to the east within the M25 motorway at 1,000ft agl. Pay careful consideration not to fly over Upminster, Aveley and South Ockenden. Be aware ‘bomber circuits’ are sometimes flown beyond the would-be ATZ dimensions, so please keep a good lookout.

Offset approach to avoid pylon

The approach for Runway 21 has a pylon (c. 250ft agl) on the extended centreline, approximately 700m from the threshold, and more slippery machines may choose a slight offset approach. Runway 21 starts slightly downhill but the gradient gradually increases for the last third.

Runway 03’s approach is more open, but be cautious of the London City CTA starting at 1,500ft at one nm on the extended centreline. Unfortunately, there are no prominent landmarks for where this occurs, so make sure you are under 1,500ft on the extended centreline. The first one-third of the runway is uphill then becomes flatter.

There are fairly tall trees to the east of the runway that can cause a rotor effect if there is a strong easterly wind.

Damyns Hall is home to the Pipistrel UK agent, FlyAboutAviation, where we flew the electric Velis Electro. Photo: Ed Hicks
Damyns Hall is home to the Pipistrel UK agent, FlyAboutAviation, where we flew the electric Velis Electro. Photo: Ed Hicks

But don’t let the approaches put you off of what is a great little hidden gem of an airfield.

Once you land, taxi off to the west of the runway to the apron (and make a call that you have vacated). The apron is situated in the adjoining field, the one with a row of green hangers.

There is ample parking on the apron and 100LL avgas is available from the self-service bowser opposite the green hangars. The fuel pump takes major credit cards. Unfortunately, no UL fuel is available on site.

The Tiger Club at Damyns Hall offers flights in a Tiger Moth
The Tiger Club at Damyns Hall offers flights in a Tiger Moth, flown here by Nick Fairhead, right. Photo: Tiger Club

Once parked up, why not visit the Garden Coffee Shop & Diner, with excellent food and drink available? It sometimes hold special events in the diner and can often get quite busy. There are tables outside, which means that you have a great view of the flying activities.

Also on site is the Tiger Club with its array of vintage aircraft, a microlight school and a very busy gyrocopter school, as well as several privately owned based aircraft.

If you choose to venture away from the airfield, a seven-minute cab ride can take you to Upminster tube and rail stations with an approximate 30-minute journey to central London.

PPR and a full briefing can be obtained at Damyns Hall website










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