Pilot reviews of Manchester City Airport & Heliport
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Visited on 21/09/2014 on a short flight from Blackpool with my two young lads (aged 9 and 7). ATC were very helpful both when calling for PPR and a nice welcome from ATC on landing. Good directions in a busy circuit and the taxi instructions without needing to be asked.
£17 landing fee which included tea / coffee for as many people as were on board.
Facilities at the airfield lodge were good with a little play area for the kids, plenty of outside tables and good food.
The runway was a little bit bumpy, but I guess it's grass after all. It was certainly fun in the PA28.
Briefing facilities online and PPR booking online were all really good.
The airfield at Barton is a friendly and welcoming place,with a well maintained club house and great radio facilities. AFIS are very helpful and look after the traffic well. However, the standard of the runways and manoeuvring areas is very poor and less than adequate, even for a grass field. The landing fee is steep considering the quality of the runway. If the runway quality was drastically improved, this would be a wonderful airfield for recreational flying, with plenty to see nearby, and swathes of uncontrolled airspace to the north. The addition of UL91 shows promise that the airfield wishes to develop. Facilities are great, especially their unofficial online ATIS.
|“||Flew to Barton today, my first trip though the low level corridor. Its easy !, landmarks are obvious, and a listening sqawk of 7366 for Manchester App. Runway (27R) was VERY VERY slippery, with ice and wet mud on the surface (a warning would have been nice). My advise would be to treat it as a very short strip even if the numbers suggest there should be plenty of room, there really is no grip for braking at all, my understanding from the ops person is that this is a fairly common state at Barton. Friendly welcome from the person at the desk, and a voucher for a free cup of tea or coffee. Nice food (great chips), and a well kept restaurant with food very reasonably priced. Overall a pleasant place to visit, i intend to return. |
|“||I flew into Manchester Barton on Saturday 15th Sept, strangley for a nice day there did not seem to be much traffick around, the low lever corridor was not as daunting as it appears on the map, the landmarks are all easily identified. We had a good welcome, (even though I produced a free landing voucher) we had two free cups of tea in the resteraunt and the food was good. On departing the ATZ we were identified by Manchester useing the listening squawk, so that works well, our position was passed to a comercial, tracking behind and above us. Nice airfield, reccomended. |
nice little airfield, with plenty of staff on hand to assist with any problems. plenty of things to look around and do. cafe/restaurant is overpriced at around 7 pound for a dinner is pricey when you have just payed 16 pound to land there! staff in reception very friendly and helpful and so are the staff in the control tower. Grass runway is very easy to land on besides the mud baths and bumps. fuel, landing and touch and go fees are overpriced. plenty of things to do in nearby area if you were to make a day of it. overall a friendly airfield and a nice place to visit if your willing to pay that little bit extra!
I flew into barton (or manchester city airport as they now call themselves) and thought ATC very helpful, as was the lady behind the desk. However, only 27R was available which, at 520 meters is a bit tight for a Saratoga and, even after one of the driest autumns on record, was like a mudbath. £23 for landing fee wasn't preposterous, if I didn't have to pay another £80 to have all the mud cleaned off.
We flew in to Barton from Bournemouth on 13th June 2011. I called Barton before entering the low level route at Ashcroft to confirm the required squawk, 7366, and listened out on 118.57 while in the corridor as recommended.
We landed on 27L and found the grass surface to be somewhat bumpy. We received a friendly welcome, and were refueled promptly. The young lady in the ops room at the control tower was very helpful in providing TAFS and Metars for our onward flight, and directing us to the excellent golf club restaurant up the road for our lunch. The airport cafe is closed for refurbishment. Landing fee for our Cessna 150, £14.26p. Definitely a G.A. friendly airfield.
|“||Brought my aircraft into Barton for an SEP renewal with Ravenair.
Runway 27R, which is the shorter of the main runways, was in an acceptable condition though seems there were a lot of bumps making for some uncomfortable rolls; and not the easiest of landings if you catch one! I can't really compare it to other grass runways as Barton is the only one I've used, so whether it is the norm for grass or not I can't say.
AFIS are excellent despite a busy circuit and various helicopter movements, which goes some way to justifying the landing fees for a PA28; the reduced rate for circuits is useful compared to some airports which charge a full landing every time.
Finally, I appreciate AVGAS is expensive so can't criticise too much (though what justifies 42p/l more than Tatenhill, for example, I don't know!), but I do find it cheeky to charge a 3% surcharge on a credit card payment! |
|“||We had a visit to the airfield today which was fairly busy when we arrived. The tower has commanding views across towards Winter Hill. The food served was very nice. |
|“||Excellent and extremeley historic airfield.
Everybody very helpful.
|“||very busy airfield very good facilities . the viewing area was very good with an overview of the airfield |
|“||Flew into Barton last month - Little disappointed by the state of the Runway (not much grass and very bumpy).
AFIS was fantastic (although very busy!), I even got a briefing from the chaps in the tower before leaving. Could do with some pilot briefing facilities though.
Landing was expensive considering the runway state. However its in an ideal location near the trafford centre and major motorways.
Clubhouse was on the pricey side but the food was good and served with a smile.
In general a nice little airfield with helpful staff. Hopefully the runway won't be too affected by the winter weather as I hope to go back for Xmas shopping at the trafford centre
|“||I visited Barton today and my experience was positive. Barton is quite a busy GA airfield with lots of fixed wing and helicopter traffic being integrated - strange to see helis actually obeying joining procedures and flying the circuit! ATC was helpful and refuelling & parking was uneventful. The cafe was being repainted and the staff were friendly: I didn't sample the food so I can't comment. However I flattened the battery on my PA28 and the maintenance chap came straight out, gave me a jump and wouldn't accept anything for his trouble - all done with a cheerful smile. Paid £15 landing fee for a PA28 and £1.41/l for avgas which I thought was quite pricey.. The runway is grass and quite bumpy. |
|“||Disappoining really. Should have been a classic GA airfield as it has all the right ingredients but somehow it didn't mesh together. Perhaps I visited late in the day, perhaps being a weekday, who knows but the service (apart from the ATC) was at best indifferent, the food quite poor and I left feeling like an gate crasher at someone elses party. One day I shall go back. Just not yet. |
|“||Folks, let me put the record straight re Barton as a long term visitor to and latterly member of LAC. Firstly some background.
As has been reported, the airfield itself is currently owned by Manchester Ship Canal Developments Limited (effectively Peel Holdings). MSCD employ an agent company to run the airfield on their behalf, this company is called Barton Airfield Operations Limited. BOAL is currently run by many of the former committee members of Lancashire Aero Club.
MSCD own the land and the buildings, control tower, hangers club house etc. These they rent to organisations who, whilst they previously had a more direct stake, are now “merely” tenants, these include the several flying schools, the maintenance company Light Planes Limited and Lancashire Aero Club itself.
There are changes afoot …..
Security at the airfield is being tightened with a secure “airside” being established. I understand that this is at the insistance of the CAA and is common to all aerodromes of this size. There is a directive CAP 703? (not sure of the number) that covers these requirements.
MSCD have imposed a charges for parking cars. However despite rumors of £1/ hour that were circulating, the current charges are nil for 30 mins or less, 50p for two hours or less, 2.50 for a day. They have also installed a security camera system so the car park is monitored. LAC rent a separate car park on the approach road for their members who pay a part of their membership as a car park “contract”
The club house has always been “members only”. This is a function of the license more than anything else. “ Pre Peel” the airfield itself was operated by the club (LAC) who could grant temporary membership to visiting pilots so there was never a problem. However “Post Peel” the club do not operate the airfield and so the operators (BOAL) cannot grant such membership (at the moment anyway).
There was a recent spurt of “enforcement” of the members only policy by an over zealous committee member which generated a good deal of bad press. However having seen the strength of feeling amongst the members this activity generated, it’s now business very much as usual. Let me be very clear on this point. I am just an ordinary member of the club so I am not speaking for or on behalf of the club, but if anyone out there in UKGA land or anywhere else for that matter, fancies dropping in for a cuppa and a bacon butty, you will find a welcome at the club house. In the very unlikely event of any issues, just ask a club member to sign you in. There is almost universal support for this policy amongst the rank and file club members so you are preety much guranteed to find someone to sign you in anytime. However it is most important that you please respect the licensing restrictions by not purchasing alcohol unless you have been signed in as a guest. In the meantime it is my understanding that the club are looking at getting the licence changed and / or looking at ways of granting temporary membership to visiting pilots.
There is indeed now a landing fee for all aircraft imposed by MSCD and collected on their behalf by BAOL. Larger users such as LAC have negotiated contracts and pass these on to their customers in membership fees etc. Bumpy runways I agree but see “General”
The tower is NOT falling down. It has recently had a small number of bricks removed in order to faciliate inspection of the steel reinforcement rods. This is part of the expensive restoration work MSCD has comitted to complete to this listed building and which now forms the headquarters and offices of BOAL itself . LAC and the flying school have been re located just outside the tower building.
Please also note that MSCD have submitted plans for a new clubhouse to be built and BAOL (I think) have started extensive improvement work on the runways which have become a bit bumpy.
Who knows what’s really in store for the future. The airfield will continue as such for at least the next two years under the terms of the current leases, MSCD have put the field under their “airports” division, and are making positive noises and backing these up with investment cash but I guess only time will tell. I guess it will depend on how many visitors we can attract...
|“||I flew into Barton from the east. It's a very pretty route over the hills. The airfield is easy-to-spot, and the runway numbers very clearly marked. Some areas were slightly bumpy, but not excessively. The staff were fantastic. The tower staff and other airfield staff were extremely helpful and friendly. We were only visitors but they were so accommodating, and went out of their way to help us, often without us requesting it. It is all hi-viz airside, so remember yours if you intend visiting.
There is a cafe and bar that serves good food, and a visitor centre with some interesting aviation photos and small displays of vintage flying items. I'm looking forward to returning to Barton.
|“||When deciding on what aerodrome to take my ppl training at I visted a few and got lots of advice. I found the most helpful and friendly setup seemed to be at Barton. It also seemed the most professionally run of what I saw and it has good facilities. I am now up to Ex10 (stalling & slow flight) of flight training and loving every minute of it and have passed my air law exam and have had good ground training on circuits etc. My instructor is a very pleasant chap and his teaching style is very calm and sure. I feel that I have made the right decision about chosing Barton, the prices arn't the cheapest but I feel that for the extra prices which aren't really that much more you get a much better package. |
|“||We flew in to Manchester-Barton on Sunday 24th August 2003 from East Midlands in PA-28-161 G-BPRY. It was our first attempt at the low-level corridor and, having downloaded the article from the Barton website and studied our 1:500,000 and Pooley's thoroughly, we headed along the A50 towards Stoke. Following the A500 round Stoke to the M6 we headed for the beacon at Whitegate, found the small grass airfield at Ashcroft and turned north in to the corridor at around 1,000ft on the MAN QNH.
The corridor is remarkably devoid of good visual references since it was moved westwards following the opening on MAN's 2nd runway. There is little to help you adjust your heading for drift and being only 4 miles wide, it is easy to stray off the corridor centreline.
The visibility wasn't that great (10-12km) but we soon came across the junction on the M56 and continued north across Warrington.
We were glad to see the M6/M62 junction as this marked the end of the LLC for us and we turned swiftly north east to track along the north side of the M62 towards Barton climbing as we did to 1500ft to join overhead the field and make a standard deadside join for 09LH.
The runway is a little "rippled" to say the least but we finally settled and taxied in to park by the tower.
After a longish wait to pay our £8 landing fee (they get very busy in the Lancashire Aero Club at the base of the tower where you pay and they seemed a little short staffed) we headed for the clubhouse to order lunch and a drink. on the positive side though, you do get a voucher for a free cup of tea or coffee when you pay the landing fee which is a nice touch.
Our burgers and chips took a good half hour to show - it was a busy Sunday lunchtime - but they were worth waiting for.
The airfield is very busy at weekends with Lancashire Aero Club flyers, helicopters buzzing everywhere, visitors coming and going - both on foot and in the air, and even a Tiger Moth doing what looked like pleasure flights!!
After a 90 minute stay, we taxied out for 09 and got airborne more like a Harrier on a ski-jump than a normal take-off as we hit a runway bump just at the right time and it pushed us skyward!! Left in to the circuit then west until well clear of the field then a further left turn to run along the north-side of the M62 again.
At the M62/M6 junction we banked left again making sure we were below 1250ft MAN QNH and turned south back through the corridor tracking towards the Whitegate beacon with a 10 degree left of track to account for drift from the easterly wind.
The corridor was much easier to navigate on the way back - things are always easier once you've done them before - and we were soon at Ashcroft where we climbed to 2,000ft, banked left and headed for home.
In summary - Barton is a lovely little airfield with good food and nice service, if a little slow. Its a busy airfield though and if you are coming from the south and have never transitted the LLC before, do your research and have another pilot with you for help. Also, don't attempt the LLC on a day where the visibility is poor - good vis helps you identify the few reference points there are.
It would be a great shame if they closed Barton and built houses on it as is rumoured.
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