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Kemble Airfield

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Title: Kemble Airfield  
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Subject: Air show, General aviation, Aerobatics, Bristol Bloodhound, Hangar, Piper PA-25 Pawnee, Gun turret, Margański & Mysłowski, Air transports of heads of state and government, Spartan Arrow
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Kemble Airfield

Cotswold Airport
Kemble Airport
Cotswold Airport control tower
Airport type Private
Owner Ronan Harvey
Operator Kemble Air Services Limited
Location Cirencester
Elevation AMSL 436 ft / 133 m
Coordinates 51°40′05″N 002°03′25″W / 51.66806°N 2.05694°W / 51.66806; -2.05694 (Kemble Airport)Coordinates: 51°40′05″N 002°03′25″W / 51.66806°N 2.05694°W / 51.66806; -2.05694 (Kemble Airport)

Location in Gloucestershire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
08/26 2,009 6,561 Asphalt
450 1,476 Grass
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]

Cotswold Airport (ICAO: EGBP) (formerly Kemble Airfield) is a private general aviation airport, near the village of Kemble in Gloucestershire, England. Located 4.5 NM (8.3 km; 5.2 mi) southwest of Cirencester, it was built as a Royal Air Force (RAF) station and was known as RAF Kemble. The Red Arrows aerobatics team was based there until 1983, and is used for the storage and recycling of retired airliners, as well as flying schools, clubs and industry.

Cotswold Airport is in a good position for flying training as it is clear of controlled airspace allowing free movement for training aircraft. It is also centrally positioned between Cheltenham and Gloucester and Swindon, with good road and rail links.


RAF Kemble

Construction work for RAF Kemble began in 1936, and the first operational unit to arrive at the station was No. 5 Maintenance Unit RAF on 22 June 1938. In 1940, No. 4 Service Ferry Pool moved to the station from Cardiff, and Kemble became the headquarters for the aircraft ferrying operations of the Air Transport Auxiliary across the country.[2]

From 1966 until 1983, Kemble housed the Red Arrows, the RAF Aerobatic display team; which operated Folland Gnats and BAe Hawks from there. After the Red Arrows moved to RAF Scampton, the station was used by the US Air Force as a maintenance facility, initially for A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft, though followed by Northrop F-5s, McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagles, Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers.[2]

Following the end of the Cold War, the US Air Force left the station and it was returned to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The British Army made use of the site to store surplus vehicles and equipment, and military flights ended at the station in March 1993.[2]

Civilian use

The MoD initially leased buildings on the former station before selling the site to Ronan Harvey, a local businessman, in March 2001.[2]

There was a threat of closure because of a mistake the Cotswold District Council made relating to planning permission when it was sold by the Ministry of Defence. However, this is no longer the case, and the planning status of the airfield has been changed to that of airport. In July 2007, the airfield was again threatened by the council due to complaints from local residents of noise pollution.

In June 2008, the threat of closure eased after the Cotswold District Council allowed flying to continue, but in September 2008, North Wiltshire District Council sought to overturn this decision in the High Court as they said the original decision was flawed.

In August 2009, the airport was awarded a CLEUD (Certificate of Lawful Use) as a commercial airport so the future is assured as an airport and development to that end can occur. Lufthansa Resource Technical Training Ltd have relocated their EASA Part 147 Approved Basic Training facility to Cotswold Airport with a purpose-built facility opened in spring 2010. This has the effect of bringing numerous jobs to the local area as well as supporting local infrastructure, such as shops and hotels. There are some 50 engineering students at any one time, 365 days a year.

The current airport at the site was renamed Cotswold Airport in 2009, having previously operated as Kemble Airport or Kemble Airfield.

Cotswold Airport has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P863), which allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Kemble Air Services Limited). The aerodrome is not licensed for night use.[3] The airfield has a tarmacadam runway which can accommodate large aircraft such as the Boeing 747.

Aston Down airfield lies 3 mi to the northwest and has sometimes been mistaken for Cotswold Airport by visiting pilots. It formerly belonged to the RAF but is now used for gliding by the Cotswold Gliding Club.

Other uses

Cotswold Airport is home to Chevron Aircraft Maintenance Ltd.[4] Chevron is an Easa part 145 approved aircraft maintenance facility and has been based at Cotswold Airport since January 2004, Specialising in the Base maintenance, storage and dismantling of aircraft. Chevron Aircraft Maintenance holds Base maintenance approval on BAe146/RJ series aircraft, line maintenance approvals on Airbus A320 Series, Airbus A330, Boeing 737 all series, Boeing 757 & 767, Bombardier Challenger CL600 series and BAe ATP under EASA Part 145 approval number UK145.01181. Chevron Aircraft Maintenance operates an Avro RJ85 which is available for charter, ACMI work, ADHoc flights, support of aircraft operators whilst aircraft is on maintenance, AOG flights. The aircraft is operated by Cello Aviation.[5] Chevron Technical Services based in Sharston, Manchester is the parent company of Chevron Aircraft Maintenance. Chevron Technical Services is one of the largest aviaiton recruitment agencies in the UK, providing specialised manpower to the Aviation industry.

The airfield is also used for Formula One straight line testing.[6]

Cotswold Airport is also the operating base of Air Salvage International (ASI),[7] an aircraft boneyard and salvage company.[8]

Cotswold Airport also has one of the largest race tracks for Remote Control Cars in the UK.

In popular culture

Cotswold Airport has been used as a film location for a number of television programmes and series, including: Top Gear, Casualty, Ultimate Force, Car of the Year Show, Wheeler Dealers, Classic Car Club, Drop the Celebrity and Fifth Gear.[9]



External links

  • Cotswold Airport website
  • Chevron Aircraft Maintenance Ltd Easa part 145 approved, Aircraft maintenance facility. Bae146/RJ, Bae ATP, Bombardier Challenger 600 series
  • EGBP weather, NOTAMs and pilot reviews
  • Delta Jets Vintage jet aircraft and advanced flight training
  • Bristol Aero Collection
  • fly2help - A charity supporting those facing tragedy & trauma via the medium of flight - turning ordinary days into an extraordinary adventures for many very special and brave families
  • Cotswold Flying School - Flying School and hire for single engine fixed wing
  • The Flying Club Kemble - Flying School and hire for single engine fixed wing
  • Kemble Flying Club - Flying School and owner club for microlights

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