Useful airfield information and home of the forum's fuel price league tables.

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By Pete L
All of the Highland airports are friendly, but I can recommend the welcome we got from Kirkwall.

On the journey between Orkney and the mainland, the only problem is that Duncansby Head (N of Wick) seems to be permanently shrouded in cloud- Scottish Information are extremely helpful with passing on METARS - and Kirkwall was VFR between the clouds when we arrived.

IMC rating highly recommended - we flew in expecting to fly an ILS and we flew out at minimum VFR level before going IFR for the water trip rather than fly too far out to sea. I'd just set up for the VOR approach into Wick when they reported the cloud had cleared and we arrived with the place bathed in sunshine.

We routed both ways as close as we could to the flattest land, giving Lamb Holm as an alternate - neither the cliffs nor the ocean look inviting.

There's concrete filled tyres for tie downs. I used chocks as well in case the wind got up - the GA park is fairly exposed although its in a dip.

It has fuel, but its pricy.

Parking is a long way from the terminal, about 400m upslope - travel light or bring wheels. It which has proper security with an alarmed crew door. Its operated from the information desk, but a quick chat with the firemen got us in.

Kirkwall is a fairly busy passenger airport, so has the usual facilities including a cafe and a large display of Highland Park whisky. Cafe hours seem to match scheduled arrivals and departures. But there was enough to eat and read to cope with a 4hr weather delay.

Chap on the info desk will let you use his PC for web weather and notams etc - he's used to it for GA types.

Car hire recommended. The airport is a long way from Kirkwall itself, but the companies in town will do an airport pick up - its a big island with excellent and relatively fast roads.

Orcadians have a unique demeanour - neither Scandinavian nor Scottish - reserved, self reliant but are very welcoming.

We stayed at Crantit House, run by John Cowie, within about a mile of the Scapa Flow memorial. This proved to be useful when we had a problem with the C182 - he's also a PPL with the Orkney Flying Club. He's still doing the house up, but it was warm and comfortable. We found out there's no GA maintenance on the island - they fly the aircraft to Dundee - so we popped into see Andy Bruce at Wick for a look-see on the way back.

Scenery is low hills separated by bogs, very relaxing once away from habitation. Lots of prehistory as well as the World War stuff. Fishermen love it - trout and salmon as well as sea fishing.

I'll post a few pictures later.
Last edited by Pete L on Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By GaryS
If you are parked on the small apron (for a overnight stay or the main apron is busy) then it will involve a 400m walk.


If you have heavy luggage and are parked on the small apron ask the tower for transportation - depending how busy it is this may be possible!

If you are staying for a few hours request parking on the main apron depending on the time of the day this may be possible.

If you need access to your aircraft from the building contact the information desk and they will let you out.

If runway 27 is in use you may be asked to taxi via the eastern, if so follow the track which goes past the tower.

Main reporting point from the south is lamb holm, a small grass strip on a island.
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By The Westmorland Flyer
Kirkwall is great. The island is interesting and the people are very friendly. I was particularly impressed with Kirkwall's attitude to GA pilots, with minimum bureaucracy and sensible security arrangements, unlike a certain other HIAL airfield on the west side of the country. Landing fees are reasonable, even cheap, for a full ATC field with ILS, VOR/DME and so on. Fuel is understandably on the pricey side.

The weather can change in a trice. We landed there in severe CAVOK and departed into IMC at 600ft. ATC prefers you to lodge a flight plan for departures, especially if you will be IFR. There is a small briefing room with nothing much more than a fax machine and a telephone - but that gets you straight through to ATC and you can ask for any flight information, either verbally or to be faxed to you. You can also lodge a flight plan over the 'phone.

Definitely worth a visit.
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By joe-fbs
Just spent five days there and endorse what everyone has posted above.

For a PA28, landing plus five days parking was GBP 49.

We took 51 litres of 100LL which cost us GBP 130.

There are also buses and taxis into town. Taxi is about nine pounds, buses about two pounds per person.

For accommodation, we had three days in the Orkney Hotel which was nice enough but a little indifferent. We then had two days in the Scapa House B&B which was a little further from town (still walkable) but cheaper, with a better welcome, better wifi and just as good a breakfast. Scapa House is highly recommended by us.