Pilot reviews of Isle Of Man Airport
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I recently flew to the Isle of Man from Wellesbourne Stratford in a PA28 with my wife and friends. The weather was fairly poor so tracked the coast via Liverpool radar and used Barrow as my last turning point to make it a shorter water crossing. I contacted Ronaldsway approach around 30nm away and got crystal clear reception and a traffic service. The wind was 040/20 gusting to 35 so was offered a choice of runways (I elected to take runway 03!). I joined right base but had problems seeing the runway on final due to the mist - they gave me the option of an overhead join with a left-hand circuit to give me some time but then they put on the approach lighting which helped enormously! On the ground, I asked for taxi to Manx Flyers (which is where all GA traffic is sent) where Brett from the handling company (Rendezvous) marshalled me to parking & chocked the plane.
I've seen a lot of moaning about the £30 handling fee but they really do their best to sort you out with what you need. I called them before and Brett sorted me out with a hire car (picked it up ready for when I landed), fuelled the plane (it was around £1.70 avgas I think), helped us out with the weather on the way out and booked me out with ATC. The only downside is the lack of toilets but Brett did drive myself and my passengers round to the main terminal building to use the facilities there while the weather was passing. If anybody is considering self-handling I would really think again, for the cost involved I would rather be on my way and doing things on the island rather than sorting out fuel and connections to the terminal! Great experience!
|“||We flew to Ronaldsway from Blackpool on Sunday 21 July to take the greyhounds for a walk. This is our first visit since Manx Flyers closed and we used the services of Rendezvous Aviation which we found to be a little expensive but very good.
We parked at the old Manx Flyers hangars on the east side of the airfield, but unlike Manx Flyers who charged £30 for handling and did virtually nothing, Rendezvous collected us, (and the hounds) and delivered us to the main terminal where we were had booked a hire car for the day. (£51 for a 4X4 from Mylchreests - cheap for the Isle of Man....! And they allowed us to take the dogs along too.)
They also arranged to collect us at an agreed time and return us to the parked aircraft. Although I wish we didn't have to pay for handling, (and I remember the days we used to self-park on the main apron without any handling required!), Rendezvous do actually provide a very useful handling service and I understand would equally drop/collect you from the railway station or Castletown. They also provided latest weather details when they collected us. At last, a handling agent for GA that actually provides a handling service!!!
The service from ATC at the Isle of Man was, as always, excellent and the runways were also very good, having been recently resurfaced.
The Isle of Man is an excellent destination and the relative cost is cheaper for long visits: If you just want to pop in for a coffee, it is expensive, but our total cost of Landing, (£22.68 for a C172); Handling, (£30); and Parking, (£4.50), would only have gone up by £4.50/day if we had been there for a few days.
Having been born and brought up in Lancashire, the Isle of Man has always been a traditional destination for us. But for those who have not visited, you are missing a treat. Castles, steam trains, horse-drawn trams, Victorian electric railways winding along the coast and roads with NO speed limits are just a few of the attractions. The stunning scenery and coastline is just the icing on the cake. Go....!
£60 is indeed excessive for a light aircraft. It is the reason I haven't flown to Isle of Man for a long time and have no intention of doing so. Is that just me? Oh no, here's UKGA news saying flying has dropped off so drastically that Manx flying are suspending all operations throughout the winter season because they are "not viable". Well here's a thought, guys: why not stop overcharging, scrap the complete con of "handling" (money for nothing) and getting lots of mainland pilots to fly out there, buy fuel, have a meal or two, perhaps patronise the local hotels and restaurants.
If you put yourself out of business, your business model is probably wrong.
|“||Flew to Ronaldsway on Monday 31 May from Blackpool, to take our greyhounds for a stroll around the island. A simple 40 minute flight with radar and ATC all the way, but with all of the 60NM over water. I’ve visited many times in the past, but haven’t been for a couple of years. Since our last visit, (and perhaps in response to previous postings!), the runway and taxi-ways have been re-surfaced and are now in excellent condition. This is one of the few airfields which seems to have full perimeter taxiways still in use and it makes life so much easier. Lots of commercial traffic all day, but ATC slot GA in with no fuss and a great service.
The island itself is always well worth a visit and reminds me of Britain in the 60s and 70s (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). The public transport is excellent, but a long walk (about 2 miles) to the buses or trains from Manx Flyers.
We hired a car from Manx Flyers for £23.50 for the day. A rather tired Ford Fiesta diesel, but which went well (especially 3-up around the TT course on a practice day!) and where we were allowed to carry the dogs too. You cannot pre-book and it’s first come, first served, but it is certainly a very useful service and one I have used before.
For those who enjoy walking, the coastal footpath goes past the gate to Manx Flyers and is very highly recommended and, for those into plane spotting, goes underneath the approach to runway 26.
The landing fees haven’t changed much since my last visit and were £19.90 for a C172, plus £4.05 to park for the day. Not too bad for an international Airport. However, the fees for Manx Flyers, having started at £10.00 about 6 years ago are now £29.38, for which we got nothing except an ability to access a fax machine to file our flight plan and GAR form. It was once a members club, but is now owned by Ravenair, hence they are there to make money and I can’t blame them for that, but, other than the clubhouse which closed at 17.00, there aren’t even any loos, so we had to make “alternative” arrangements. That is pretty poor in my book and they need to pull their finger out. (The clubhouse was very nice, they do food, tea, coffee and have a bar, plus outside seating at the edge of the sea. Well worth a visit).
The only issue I really have, is that it is too expensive for a quick call – only worth a visit if you are going to be there for a whole day or have money to burn. Having said all this, the Isle of Man is a superb destination, full of history, beautiful scenery and with an excellent airport and ATC. It’s a destination which can only be reached by air (or sea), so for once, it is quicker to go by air – and just shows you what a privilege we have in being able to fly.
|“||GA Visitors to Ronaldsway – Isle of Man.
A few words of warning when landing at Ronaldsway and taxiing to Manx Flyers.
It would be prudent to try and keep prop revs as low as possible as airport infrastructure south of runway 08/26 is in a sorry state and is causing substantial propeller blade damage to resident aircraft.
South of 26, taxiway Charlie’s surface is badly broken with loose debris, ATC try to expedite taxiing when commercial aircraft are waiting for take off as clearance is not granted until GA have passed C2. I can only assume that the controllers are unaware of the appalling surface condition.
Taxiway Delta is used extensively by the heavy Simon Snorkel fire engines which has turned into a “big dipper” ride. For aircraft with small propeller clearance it may be prudent to request taxiing to the north using Alpha-cross 28-Delta to the apron.
The apron at Manx Flyers is old tarmac; the surface is detaching allowing particles to remove paint coatings from the rear of propeller blades. I must point out that the apron is airport property and not leased to the club.
A £30 million extension to 08/26 is being proposed, it is a great pity that plans are not afoot for repairing present facilities before embarking on even more surfaces for the elements to erode, The establishment seem to care little for the south side of Ronaldsway until it’s time to send out invoices……and another thing, don’t look for any taxiway lighting at night south of 08/26!
On a lighter note – I hope all visitors enjoy this friendly Island.
|“||Hi went to the Isle of Man very nice place to go helpful and easy to find. Manx Flying club very nice use them as handling agent. £25.85 to land and taxi to Douglas £20. but worth going. |
The best welcome that you can wish in this very pleasant place particularly from staff of Manx Flying Club.
Best regards Trevor.
Cessna 182 F.GBTS
|“||Flew there (for the firsr time) from Blackpool along the Class F Advisory route. The Ronaldsway Approach controller was most friendly, and allowed us a straight in approach for Runway 26 (The main one).
After we landed, we taxied to Manx Flying Club, where my pal and I were made to feel most welcome. Had a few drinks and ham & cheese toasties before they allowed us to hire a car for an nour (cost £10) so that we could visit Douglas.
As we left the airport to return to Blackpool, we asked, and recieved permission from ATC, to fly around the island for a bit. Beautiful sights, and friendly people. This airport was perhaps the best that we've ever visited in regards to facilities, friendliness, and ease of entry/exit procedures.
Thanks to all that we had dealings with!
|“||One of the nicest locations I have ever had the pleasure of flying to. The approach over Castletown is very pretty. Huge main runway with a choice of 2 others if required. We parked for the night at Manx flying club who were very helpful and even lent us a car for the day. George Hotel in Castletown square is very reasonably priced with very nice rooms and a good full English B'Fast. |
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