Oban-airport nestles five miles north of Oban itself at the mouth of Loch Etive at the foot of Beinn Lora. (368 meters / 1207 ft.)
The location is truly beautiful and the fact that is also home to an interesting array of flying activities males this one of my favourite destinations.
The single north to south runway (01-19) is a good length at over 1200 meters but can offer even seasoned pilots a challenge with the prevailing wind from the West.
An arrival at Oban airport from the north requires a curved approach to avoid the mountain. Local advice is to land long to give yourself time to settle. There are plenty of black lines at the mid point though from nervous jabs at the brakes by those who feared they had left it a little too long.
The airport staff are very friendly and helpful with the same people covering everything from air traffic control to baggage, marshalling and fire / rescue. They surely must be some of the most qualified people around. Particular thanks to Murray for giving me the guided tour.
Oban is home to several light aircraft, Argyll Aero club, a microlight club and a gliding club.
The gliding club now use self launching motor gliders so there are no cables to worry about now.
Hebridean Airlines operate regular flights to the islands including the 'school bus service' with their Islander aircraft. That is certainly going on my to do list. Services are six days per week from Oban airport to Coll, Colonsay, Tiree and Islay.
The RAF are regular visitors to Oban airport as a rest and debrief point before the next leg for trainee pilots and navigators. It is not unusual to see several Tucano trainers in full RAF livery parked on the ramp. Chinook helicopters are also regularly dropping by.
Oban airport was originally an RAF base called RAF Connell Ferry which provided support for Atlantic convoys from America during the war. Oban airport is now owned and operated by Argyll and Bute council.
During my last visit there was a coast guard Sikorsky S92 helicopter in having diverted to Oban with engine trouble. Unfortunately it required a whole new engine which had to come from the USA.
If you are visiting Oban airport you need to call ahead to arrange prior permission to land.(PPR). PPR ensures that they will be ready for you and may save a wasted trip. It is not uncommon for local weather to prevent pilots on visual flight rules (VFR) crossing the mountains. The layout of the airport can mean parking issues for aircraft at busier times. It also means that overdue procedures can be instigated if required. If you find yourself down on the mountains you will be glad you made the call. Ppr by radio is not recommended due to lengthy transmission.
Landing fees at Oban airport range from £11 for light aircraft to £450 for your Chinook.
Opening times vary so best to contact by phone on 01631 710910.
Oban flight information service is on 118.050.