Weston Airport

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Weston Airport

Aerfort Weston
Logo weston airport white bg.jpg
View of Weston Airport from North.jpg
Summary
Airport typePublic
OwnerPrivate investors
OperatorWeston Airport Ltd.
ServesDublin
LocationLeixlip, County Kildare / Lucan, Dublin
Time zoneGMT (UTC±00:00)
 • Summer (DST)IST (UTC+01:00)
Elevation AMSL155 ft / 47 m
Coordinates53°21′08″N 6°29′18″W / 53.35222°N 6.48833°W / 53.35222; -6.48833 (Weston Airport)Coordinates: 53°21′08″N 6°29′18″W / 53.35222°N 6.48833°W / 53.35222; -6.48833 (Weston Airport)
WebsiteOfficial website
Map
EIWT is located in Dublin
EIWT
EIWT
Location of Weston Airport, west of Dublin
EIWT is located in Ireland
EIWT
EIWT
Location of Weston Airport in Ireland
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07/25 924 + Stopway 457 = 1,381 3,030 Asphalt
Source: Irish AIS[1]

Weston Airport, also called Dublin Weston Airport, is a publicly licensed general aviation (GA) airport serving Dublin and its environs since the early 1930s. It is located between Leixlip, County Kildare, and Lucan, DublinNM (15 km; 9.2 mi)[1] west of Dublin. Its traffic is primarily private and commercial flight training as well as business/executive travel. It is the leading general aviation airport in Ireland,[citation needed] and the only GA airport in the greater Dublin region, and is home to one of Ireland's two approved training organisations for ab-initio professional pilot training.

The runway lies across the border between Counties Kildare and Dublin. The facility is located on the Dublin side of the line. The airport operator's mailing address is in Lucan.[2]

History[edit]

Weston Ltd De Havilland Dragon Rapide on a charter flight from Weston at Liverpool Airport in 1949

Weston Aerodrome was founded in 1931 (licensed circa 1937) by Darby Kennedy (1915-2016) who,[3] from 1946, operated a de Havilland Dragon and several Dragon Rapide aircraft commercially from the Weston flying field, operated under the name Weston Ltd. The charter flights took the biplane airliners to airfields in the United Kingdom. The commercial flight operation ceased in the late 1950s,[4] and Weston Ltd continued as a training provider for private and commercial licences. Darby Kennedy was chief instructor and also became chief pilot of Aer Lingus, Ireland's flag-carrier airline.

In 1988, Kennedy was presented with a crystal memento by then Irish president Patrick Hillery, at a ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the airfield. During the event, which was recorded by RTÉ television,[5] President Hillery took to the air in a replica of the de Havilland DH84 Dragon "Iolar" (Eagle) which flew Aer Lingus's first ever flight, from Dublin (Baldonnel) to Bristol in 1936.[citation needed]

Darby Kennedy in 1956

Also operated from the airfield was a flying school, Leinster Aero Club[6] for private pilots with several de Havilland Tiger Moth trainer biplanes, an Auster 5J/1 Autocrat high-wing monoplane and from 1960 two Morane-Saulnier-Rallye four-seater low-winged aeroplanes. The club now operates one training aircraft, a Robin HR 200 EI-YLG, which is IFR equipped.[citation needed] The airport was upgraded from a grass runway in the 1980s when a tarmac runway was laid. The main terminal was completed in 2005 along with the control tower and other services.

Developed over many years by Jim Mansfield, the airport was taken over by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) in 2011.[7]

In 2013, the airport was sold by NAMA to Brian Conneely and Co., who announced plans to "upgrade the radar system and buildings, with a focus on aviation education courses". Conneely and Co said they were hopeful the sale would "mark a turning point" in Irish aviation and said that they were "delighted" with the purchase due to its "proud tradition in Irish aviation".[8]

In January 2014, then Transport Minister Leo Varadkar launched a new Coast Guard Sikorsky S92 helicopter for the East Coast region at Weston Airport. The airport owner announced it was in talks with Kildare and Dublin councils and local groups about providing a walk-way and park.[9]

Today[edit]

Aircraft at Weston Airport in 2003

As of 2015, over 40 aircraft were based at Weston.[citation needed] The airport then had 15 direct employees with another 100 indirect jobs arising from airport tenancies and related activities.[citation needed]

The airport is used as a staging point for aircraft displaying in the annual Bray Air Display.[10]

In August 2021, it was announced that a group of investors, which included tech entrepreneur and aviation enthusiast John Collison, had bought a majority stake in Weston Airport.[11] Final sale to this group was confirmed in November 2021.[citation needed]

Popular culture[edit]

Several air displays have been held at the airport, and in 1966 Weston was used in filming the World War I air combat film, The Blue Max. The aircraft ground scenes were shot at the airfield. It was also used for filming 1971's "Von Richthofen and Brown": Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, was one of the film's stunt pilots, and wrote about some of his experiences at Weston during its production.[12]

In 2018, author Bob Montgomery published In Weston Skies: A personal memoir of flying at Weston in the 1950s, a book which covers his father's role in Irish private aviation in the post-war era.[13]

Location and facilities[edit]

The airport lies between Celbridge and Lucan, just off Exit 5 on the M4 motorway, on the R403 regional road. It is located on approximately 250 acres (1.0 km2) of land and incorporates about 9,000 m2 (97,000 sq ft) of operations buildings, an air traffic control tower, and three large aircraft hangars. The airport lies predominantly within South Dublin County, bordered on its north side by the River Liffey and the Leixlip Reservoir.[14][improper synthesis?]

Weston has had a role within the Irish aviation training infrastructure since its founding.[citation needed] The National Flight Centre Pilot Academy (NFC)[15] has operated in the airport for nearly 4 decades, maintaining a fleet of Cessna 152, Cessna 172 and Beechcraft BE76 fixed wing aircraft, and Robinson 44 and Bell JetRanger helicopters.[16] NFC also operates jet, fixed wing and helicopter simulators, and is both an Approved Training Organisation and an approved Air Operator. The airport has also been headquarters to other training organisations, including Weston Ltd., Trim Flying Club, Leinster Flying Club, AIB Flying Club, and Garda Siochana (Irish police) Aviation Club.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b EIWT – WESTON (PDF). AIP and charts from the Irish Aviation Authority.
  2. ^ "Latitude & Longitude of a Point" Archived 2017-01-08 at the Wayback Machine, itouchmap.com; accessed 8 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Darby Kennedy: A founding father of civil aviation in Ireland". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  4. ^ Merton Jones A.C., British Independent Airlines since 1946, Merseyside Aviation Society, 1977; ISBN 0-902420-10-0.
  5. ^ "Weston Aerodrome 50th Anniversary - Broadcast: 1988.NOV.28". RTÉ Archives. RTÉ. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  6. ^ "About Our Club". Leinster Aero Club. Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  7. ^ NAMA's Weston airport starting to turn around as buyer sought Archived 2011-12-28 at the Wayback Machine, Irish Independent, 20 September 2011.
  8. ^ Reporter, Gazette (21 February 2013). "Weston Airport sold for €3.5m". Dublin Gazette Newspapers - Dublin News, Sport and Lifestyle. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Gulf airline Etihad Airways inks training deal with Conneely's Weston Airport". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 26 September 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Bray Air Display". brayairdisplay.com.
  11. ^ "Stripe founder among group that bought Weston Airport". RTÉ.ie. 3 August 2021. Archived from the original on 3 August 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  12. ^ Richard Bach, "I Shot Down the Red Baron, and So What" in "A Gift of Wings", Dell Reissue 1989, First edition 1974; Kindle pp. 23, 27 and 29 ISBN 0-440-20432-1
  13. ^ "In Weston Skies: A personal memoir of flying at Weston in the 1950s". flyinginireland.com. 2018.
  14. ^ "South Dublin County Council Dev Plan 2016-2022 Index Map" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 May 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  15. ^ "National Flight Centre". nfc.ie.
  16. ^ "Flying In Ireland: Aircraft Owner Search". Flying In Ireland.

External links[edit]