Shoreham Airport is one of my favourite airfields with a convenient location and easily spotted from the air, whichever direction you come in from. They have a decently long (1,036 metres) asphalt runway with PAPI but their commercial traffic isn’t very high, so they are still General Aviation friendly and ATC has always been helpful.
One evening, we were coming in late. We’d left Málaga on time that morning but we were held up refuelling in France and then we had fierce headwinds all the way across France and the channel. I asked London Information to speak to Shoreham on our behalf: we had a passenger that needed dropping there and the taxi was already parked and waiting. Shoreham confirmed that they closed at 2000 which was approximately our ETA but that they would wait for us to get in. When I explained that we weren’t staying but wanted to taxi to the terminal and then go out again, the controller barely flinched. Everyone was watching the clock – we got in before closing but was a minute past closing time before I could get the plane in the rolling. The controller was patient and never pushy – he took his time without rushing me to switch to Farnborough so that he could shut down. Shoreham could have justified charging us through the nose for the extra five minutes of ATC but the controller was very friendly about the whole fiasco.
The end of last year the word was out that the Shoreham was in financial trouble – proposed expansion to the airfield was put on hold. Then on April 14th it seemed it was over: Shoreham Airport went bust with debts of over a quarter of a billion pounds. Stupidly I stopped paying attention at that point – and so did everyone on Wikipedia, which ends the story of Shoreham Airfield with all flights being blocked.
I know better than to use Wikipedia for research, dammit! In reality, the closure only lasted a single day and the airfield was immediately purchased and re-opened for business.
Certainly their their website makes it clear that it is business as usual, so my worrying was pointless. That’ll teach me!
So, my cheat sheet for the flight:
Date: 23 May 2008
Sunset: 19:55 GMT
Phone Number: General Enquiries: 01273 467373
Hours: Mon – Sat 0800 – 2000 (or sunset) Sun 0830-2000
Frequencies: APP/TWR 123.15, ATIS 125.30
Runway: 02/20 1036 x 18 Asphalt
Website: Shoreham Airport
Useful: Circuit Map
Divert: Biggin Hill
This’ll be a quick stop to pick up my son and then fly straight to Germany, where my presence has been requested at a family-get-together. So we’ll be flying to Mannheim City the same day and spending the weekend there. Wow, the Saratoga is seeing more action this month than it has all year!