|Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport
|IATA: none – ICAO: EGBO|
|Operator||Wolverhampton Airport Ltd.|
|Location||Bobbington, South Staffordshire|
|Elevation AMSL||283 ft / 86 m|
Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport (ICAO: EGBO), formerly Halfpenny Green Airport and Wolverhampton Business Airport, locally Bobbington Airport, is a small, 400-acre (1.6 km2) airport situated near the village of Bobbington, South Staffordshire. The airport is situated 8 mi (13 km) south-west of Wolverhampton, the city which it serves.
Wolverhampton Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P872) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.
The airfield was constructed between mid-1940 and early 1941 for use by the Royal Air Force, being initially named RAF Bobbington. The name was changed on 1 September 1943 to RAF Halfpenny Green, to avoid confusion with RAF Bovingdon in Hertfordshire. The first RAF unit to be based was No.3 Air Observer & Navigator School which flew Blackburn Bothas and later Avro Ansons. The unit disbanded on 13 November 1945. After a lengthy gap, RAF flying resumed on 5 May 1952 by No.2 Air Signallers School, again equipped with Avro Ansons, the unit disbanding on 13 September 1953. A ground-based equipment sub-unit of No.25 Maintenance Unit occupied much of the airfield from 1 March 1946 until 15 November 1956. Following closure of this unit, the airfield lay disused for several years before civil aviation use commenced in 1961.
Wolverhampton Airport is located 5 mi (8.0 km) from the edge of the West Midlands conurbation and operates a number of general aviation services including facilities for private aircraft; business jets; helicopters; flying schools; and training and maintenance facilities.
The small-airfield image the airport has retained was under threat until late 2006 as previous owner CityHopper Ltd had ambitious plans to expand the airport for airline usage, initially by up to 500,000 passengers a year which would necessitate construction of a new longer runway; plus intended open-air facilities to test jet engines for Boeing 737s. The Wolverhampton Airport Action Group is a local group which was set up in late 2002 to fight against the expansion.
New owner MAR Properties Ltd announced on 24 November 2006 that such plans had been dropped and it had no intention to expand to allow scheduled passenger services, its intention being to expand on the current general aviation and flying school activity which had been in steady decline at the airport since the late 1990s. MAR confirmed that the previously mooted runway extension was no longer necessary and had also been dropped from the plans.
The airfield is also becoming more popular with flex-wing and three-axis microlight pilots, and a microlight flight school has been on-site for some time. In support of short field operations, an unlicensed grass runway, measuring approx 355 m × 16 m (1,165 ft × 52 ft) has been provided which runs parallel to and to the left of Runway 28.
Recent developments involve the potential of a GNSS Approach, which would allow aircraft to land in bad weather, without the need for expensive ILS equipment.
The head of the airfield Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) is John Dunn.
Up until 1 January 2016, the Central Counties Air Operations Unit police helicopter operated from Halfpenny Green. It was withdrawn under a rationalisation scheme operated by the National Police Air Service that would see air operations not being restricted to force boundaries and thus the availability of cross working when necessary.
As of January 2009, Runway 16/34 has high-intensity bidirectional edge lighting along its length (with low-intensity omnidirectional components) and high-intensity threshold and stop end lighting. Full precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights are installed for both ends.
Incidents and accidents
- Prince William of Gloucester, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, died at the airport on 28 August 1972 when the aircraft he was piloting crashed into a hedge just beyond the airfield's boundary.
- Delve 2007, p. 129.
- "Wolverhampton – EGBO". 9 January 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "History". Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Airport. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Delve 2007, p. 128.
- Brew, Alec (2013). "Introduction". 100 Years of Wolverhampton's Airports. Stroud: Amberley. p. 1. ISBN 9781848684867.
- "Wolverhampton Airport Policy Area Development Plan Document Issues and Options Paper" (PDF). South Staffs.UK. South Staffordshire Council. January 2007. p. 5. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Wolverhampton Airport Policy Area Development Plan Document Issues and Options Paper" (PDF). South Staffs.UK. South Staffordshire Council. January 2007. p. 24. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Residents fear new Wolverhampton Airport expansion bid". UK airport news.info. 18 February 2008. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "The National Police Air Service has confirmed plans to move to a 15-base model". National Police Air Service. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "On This Day, 28 August 1972: Prince William killed in plane crash". BBC News. 28 August 1972. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
- Delve, Ken. The Military Airfields of Britain - Wales and West Midlands. Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Crowood Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-861269-17-1.
- Sturtivant, Ray. Royal Air Force Flying Training and Support Units. Air-Britain, Tonbridge, 2007. ISBN 0-85130-252-1.