Glasgow Airport Movements 2021
This month saw an unprecedented number of planes from around the globe set their sights on Scotland, creating a badly needed bonanza for the country`s main airports. As well as Glasgow where the COP26 Climate Conference is being hosted, Edinburgh and Prestwick saw a dramatic increase in traffic with some of the country`s other airports handling COP aircraft. The fact that so many world leaders and delegates opted to travel to the event by air unsurprisingly caused widespread criticism, especially given that the aim of the gathering was to reduce pollution and ultimately address global warming. Some experts have said these private, military and government jet flights into Scotland will produce more greenhouse gasses than 1,600 Scots burn through in a year with groups accusing the VIPs of double standards. Aviation enthusiasts, spotters and photographers, however, focused on the volume and variety of aircraft, many of which had never visited the UK before, let alone Scotland.
This is the west apron, Apron N at Glasgow Airport on the afternoon of November 2. Stands 32 to 40 at this location were used exclusively for COP26 movements from 31 until 04 November but conference-related arrivals were also directed to park on Area J (Signature), Area Q (Stands 81 & 82), Area R adjacent to Abbotsinch Road, the Gama Aviation ramp and Taxiway Yankee on the north side. In addition, some corporate jets parked on stands in Apron L. Unlike Prestwick which handled event traffic only, the COP comings and goings at Glasgow were in addition to the scheduled domestic and international flights.
I didn`t make the journey through to Edinburgh Airport at all, but despite the increased security around the perimeter I`ve heard that access for spectators there, as at Glasgow International and Prestwick was much as before, enabling close up views of the action.
Although the iconic Air Force One Presidential Jumbo landed at Edinburgh and didn`t, as many hoped, relocate to either Prestwick or Glasgow for long-term parking, the latter airport had `Bor Force One` and `Kor Force One` on the ground together for a time. The following shot shows the Korean heavy, ready for departure and en-route for `Alpha One` taxiing past the UK Prime Minister`s Airbus A321-253NX G-XATW on the 2nd of November. (Edinburgh photos of Joe Biden and Air Force One © AW Journal / The Scotsman).
Please bear in mind that all my images are subject to copyright. They are not free to use and have been embedded with a digital watermark.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, was one of the first high profile attendees to arrive, touching down at Prestwick on 31 October in his £48 million Gulfstream G650 N271DV. Charles Prince of Wales wasn`t far behind in London Executive Aviation`s Embraer Legacy 600 G-THFC. Dozens of Heads of State and `green-minded` chief executives also arrived by private plane, with these COP-related movements not only restricted to Scotland`s three main airports.
Many photographers and spotters expected the main airports to be far busier than they were on the run up to the event but there were wasn`t much COP-related activity as many of the heads of state or other invitees due to attend Glasgow were taking part in a G20 Summit in Rome on 30 & 31 October. Some arrived in Scotland late on the 31st but others didn`t appear until the next day. Some of the aircraft dropping-off delegates weren`t on the ground long and relocated to either Prestwick or down south to park up. No doubt some enthusiasts would have stayed up through the night to catch these exotic arrivals but many of the planes involved reappeared at Glasgow for uplift.
The mass airlift of world leaders and other delegates and repositioning of planes seemed to go seamlessly and air traffic controllers throughout the UK and beyond should be commended for their efforts. It may be a very long time before the volume of non-scheduled movements experienced at Scotland`s three main airports during the first three days of COP will be seen again, especially at Glasgow International. And of course, such a complex operation involved expert planning and preparation across numerous organisations and agencies. Unlike large-scale charters for sporting events such as football cup finals, security was a major consideration as so many world leaders in the one place made tempting target not only for activists but terrorists.
(Above photo © Daily Record/PA)
Air-side Ops were kept very busy escorting convoys and individual vehicles around the airfield to pick-up and drop-off passengers with police motorcycle outriders waiting outside the crash gates to clear the route for the VIPs as they headed towards the city. With so many roads closed around the conference venue, including the usually busy Clydeside Expressway, this was no easy task, but there no reports of any problems.
It wasn`t just the volume of cars inside the airfield that ramped up - the above photo shows the scene in Walkinshaw Road on November 1 on the north side of the airport. Judging by some of the accents, many people had driven quite a distance, some overnight, to witness the spectacle with very few spaces left by mid-morning. Parking opportunities in Abbotsinch Road, traditionally another popular spot with local photographers, were limited due to the ongoing construction work but the fence line here (right) could be easily reached on foot within 10-15 minutes. There are other, little utilised locations which I made use of, one in particular giving me a grandstand view of the action for a few hours with no one else in sight. The edge of Inchinnan`s Teucheen Woods is another ideal vantage point late on sunny days but it requires a 400-600 mm lens and heat haze can sometimes prove problematical.
Above: This shot of spectators in Walkinshaw Road snapping the action was available for sharing on social media. (© The Times/ Alamy /C Fisher).
I have compiled a separate Prestwick Airport page which also includes info on the COP movements at Edinburgh, Leuchars and other Scottish airports, plus a few south of the border. Dundee, for example, hosted a Danish Falcon 2000S OY-SWO (1st Nov) and a French Falcon 2000LX F-HLPN (2 Nov). Over 31 October-2 November, Aberdeen Airport saw Airbus A320CJ A7-MBK of the Qatar Amiri Flight, Embraer Lineage 1000 M-AKKU, Gulfstream G280 C-FLMW, Falcon 900LX N47EG and Global 6000 N933EY, as well as Nigerian Air Force Gulfstream V 5N-FGW (f/t Glasgow). Any photos included from these locations such as the following shot of COP26 jets at Edinburgh, are available for sharing on social media and are credited as appropriate. (Following image © Forbes).
The SEC Event Campus and immediate area became United Nations territory for the duration of COP26 with UN staff flown in to provide internal security and screen attendees before they entered the respective buildings and units. This photo courtesy of BBC News/Getty © taken just before the conference got underway, shows how the site was expanded.
(COP26 images © Metro / iNews/ Forbes / The Independent)
The arrival and views of Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg were well covered in the media, while Sir David Attenborough, highly respected across the globe, was just one of the high profile speakers to address the heads of state in the main auditorium. China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin had indicated some weeks earlier that they would not be attending COP26 personally, which was no surprise given their respective political stances and the fact that their countries are among the world`s worst polluters with regard to fossil fuels.
It had been anticipated that Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed Bin Salman would attend but it appears that he decided against coming shortly before kick-off, as did Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his sources stating that certain concerns regarding his security cover had not been addressed. This came as a surprise, especially as his armoured limo and support vehicles had already been offloaded at Prestwick from a Turkish Air Force A400 early on October 31. Needless to say they were quickly driven back up the ramp.
(Above image © NBC)
Reaching a deal at the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow was seen as highly challenging but crucial in the battle against global warming. Sure enough, discussions amongst the almost 200 nations` delegations continued well past the deadline. One of the fiercest disagreements in the final hours was over the wording of an intention to abandon coal, with both India and China reluctant to commit to do so. After much debate the term “phase-out” was diluted to “phase-down” at India`s insistence and the Glasgow Climate Pact` was adopted across the board. US climate envoy John Kerry said governments had no choice but to accept India’s coal language change. “If we hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have had an agreement,” he said. Yet it marked the first time that such a resolution had been made under the UN climate process.
World leaders and environmental experts have broadly welcomed the outcome that for the first time targeted fossil fuels as the key driver of global warming, while some criticised the agreement for not going far enough. The two-week conference also delivered a major win in resolving the rules around carbon markets, but it did little to ease vulnerable countries’ concerns about long-promised climate financing from rich nations.
Extreme weather is now hitting countries most at risk far harder and more frequently than had been predicted, but that`s also the case with the likes of the USA and Australia where catastrophic wide-ranging forest fires are becoming more common.
Many parties did raise their ambition, with over 40 countries committing to phasing out coal-fired power, and over 30 countries and institutions now committing to halt international finance for fossil fuels. Governments that continue to support oil and gas production will find their pledges to contribute in the battle against climate change increasingly questioned.
Tens of thousands of climate activists from around the world took part in a series of mass demonstration during the COP26 summit in Glasgow - but there was no serious violence or damage to property, and only 97 arrests, most of which were for relatively minor offences - far fewer than the 300 plus per day anticipated in a worst case scenario. The police and the majority of the demonstrators should be commended in achieving this remarkable outcome, given the scale of the protests and the anger of those taking part at a perceived lack of action from world leaders to address their concerns. There was generally a carnival-like atmosphere throughout which was in stark contrast to the violent scenes when Scotland hosted the three-day G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005. (Demo photos © The Herald/Daily Record/PA Wire/The Scotsman/NewYork Times/BBC/Euronews/Sky News/UPI/Big Issue).
Police Scotland is the UK's second largest force behind the Met, but had to bring in 7,000 officers as well as dogs, horses and vehicles from other parts of the country to help it mount what was by far the biggest operation in its history. Up to 10,000 officers were on duty at any one time during the conference, which Police Scotland said was needed for the safety of protesters and officers. There were also instances of `self-policing` from protesters with a number of individuals intent on more serious confrontation with the police being restrained and dragged away by fellow activists, with the reminder that violence wasn`t acceptable. Many of those taking to the streets were children and young people and in most cases a carnival atmosphere prevailed. (Following photo UN News/Laura Quiñones).
The NPAS provides centralised air support to the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales, as well the three special police forces serving that area. It replaced the previous structure whereby police forces operated their own helicopters, either individually or in small consortia (such as the South East Air Support Unit). West Yorkshire Police is the lead force and the service is coordinated from the NPAS Operations Centre, at Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
On the River Clyde
On Monday 1 November, Greenpeace activists successfully sailed into Glasgow to make their presence felt at COP26 after police abandoned efforts to halt their progress. The organisation`s flagship Rainbow Warrior had set sail from Liverpool on Saturday night, and contacted the Clyde Port Authority to request permission to berth outside the COP26 conference venue, but was told it could not continue along the upper Clyde as the area was within the strictly controlled security zone set up to protect the delegates. The captain decided to ignore repeated warnings, however, and continued upriver.
The `Warrior`s progress was closely monitored and the police took the decision to close the Erskine Bridge due to `public safety concerns` as she passed underneath. There was no way that the ship would be allowed to enter the security zone but a comprise was reached. The activists were allowed to sail as far as the King George V Dock in the Shieldhall / Govan area and berth there where they could put their message across. A “Stop Failing Us” banner was hung between the Rainbow Warrior’s masts and bows. (Above photos © Glasgow Evening Times).
Since Greenpeace was founded, seagoing ships have played a vital role in its campaigns and their latest vessel, continues the name of the organisation`s first Rainbow Warrior, a 40-metre (130 ft) former fishing trawler. It was already a household name in 1985 when it led a flotilla of protest vessels bound for the waters surrounding Moruroa atoll, a site of French nuclear testing in French Polynesia in the southern Pacific Ocean. In an attempt to thwart the planned protest, President of France François Mitterrand ordered the bombing of the ship while it was berthed in Auckland harbour, New Zealand. French secret service agents in diving gear attached two packets of plastic-wrapped explosives, one by the propeller and one to the outer wall of the engine room and these were set to detonate while the ship was unoccupied. Greenpeace freelance photographer Fernando Pereira (35), however, thought it was safe to enter the boat to get his photographic material after the initial small explosion, but drowned as a result of the second far larger blast. An investigation by the New Zealand police quickly identified the culprits and the attack was a public relations disaster for France. After initial denials, the French Government had no choice but admit liability. They subsequently apologised and agreed to pay New Zealand compensation of NZ$13 million. The French also paid ₣2.3 million compensation to the family of Mr Pereira. (Above photos © Greenpeace).
On 1 November, by chance I caught the Greenpeace vessel passing Newshot Island at Erskine on her way to the KGV. (Following shot The Times/Alamy/Gerard Ferry).
The presence of the Greenpeace ship on the Upper Clyde wasn`t the only thing that prompted a police response on the water. The area around the COP26 site, on the banks of Glasgow's River Clyde, was under strict security arrangements, which includes the tributaries of the river itself. Nessie, Scotland`s world famous Loch Ness Monster was huckled close to the COP26 complex in Glasgow. Although the actual monster was unable to leave home to attend the conference personally, the Jubilee Debt Campaign substituted an 8 metre-long inflatable. The campaign group were intercepted as they tried to launch the iconic monster on the river. Heidi Chow, from the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said they were highlighting the problems which debt in the global south present in efforts to tackle climate change. The stand-in Nessie was deflated, not only emotionally, but physically and was taken to Helen Street Police Office, no doubt set for a `Weekend Lie In` before appearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court!
(Nessie photos © Glasgow Live / The Scotsman)
The exorbitant cost of some hotel and short-term rental accommodation in the City of Glasgow and surrounding area during the conference was well covered in the media but even the drastically inflated prices didn`t stop all available rooms from being snapped up. One solution to help provide a secure temporary home for around 1,500 delegates and staff was the chartering of two large cruise ferries, the first of which, MS Romantika, berthed at the city`s King George V Dock just a few miles from the Scottish Event Campus (SEC). She`s pictured above passing Newshot Island at Erskine on her way upriver last month.
Like her sister, the second ship, MS Silja Europa is a luxury cruise-ferry owned and operated by Estonian shipping company Tallink Grupp. Both vessels normally ply their trade between Baltic coastal cities. It was initially reported that both the Romantika and `Europa would both dock in Glasgow to be close to the conference venue but the latter vessel tied up alongside Inchgreen Quay at Port Glasgow where the above shot was taken.
So, even with numerous pledges to cut harmful emissions made at the two-week summit, it`s still not enough to limit rising global temperatures to 1.5 °C, the target limit set out in the Paris Agreement. All countries have agreed to return to the negotiating table next year. The 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the UNFCCC will be held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt and, all going well, COP 28 will take place in the United Arab Emirates in 2023. These gatherings should see nations re-asses their strategies with a view to increasing their ambition on cuts. It will be interesting to see how either of these events compares with Glasgow, especially regarding the number of protesters and how they are accommodated by the local security services. (Above image © The Conversation / Biden departing Edinburgh photo BBC News).
It was no surprise to see British Airways special-liveried Airbus A320-251N G-TTNA at Glasgow Airport during COP. The `BA Better World Livery` was unveiled at Heathrow Airport on 7 September 2021 to coincide with the launch of the ‘BA Better World’ sustainability program. The UK`s national flag carrier partnered with Airbus to create the new scheme which adorns G-TTNA, its most modern and fuel-efficient airliner to date. A collaboration with BP enabled BA to source a sustainable aviation fuel for all its UK operations between London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh while the conference was running. It`s estimated that the initiative should provide a carbon reduction of up to 80% compared to the use of traditional jetliner fuel.
BA weren`t the only ones flying the `Save the planet` flag at Glasgow Airport this month: Tunnocks like to keep their adverts topical and amusing and the latest effort is up there with the best of them. Hopefully this billboard in St Andrew`s Drive near the main entrance will not only remind the delegates what they`re in the city for, but boost the sales of caramel wafers into the bargain giving a welcome lift to the Scottish economy.
A handful of COP26 airliners at the beginning of the month joined those operating the scheduled flights and football charters. Wednesday 3 November was a particularly interesting day: Airbus A319-114 5B-DCW Cyprus Airways, Boeing 737-8 MAX 5T-CLJ Mauritania Airlines International, Airbus A321-251NX G-UZMD (f/v) easyJet; Boeing 767-2DX(ER) P4-CLA Comlux Aruba, Boeing 737-7GL(WL) EZ-A007 Turkmenistan Airlines, Boeing 737-8-200 MAX SP-RZF Buzz, Airbus A321-211 G-POWN Titan Airways (all white livery) conveyed Rangers FC to Copenhagen, while Jet2 Boeing 737-85P G-GDFF and BAE146-RJ100 G-JOTS of Jota Aviation took the club`s supporters. Air Horizont Boeing 737-436 9H-ZAZ (f/v) (left) called in to collect Celtic FC and take them to Budapest. Lastly, an inaugural visit by easyJet A321-251NX G-UZMJ (f/v). British Airways A319 G-EUPY departed the BA hangar after a period of storage/maintenance. (3rd).
The highlight airliner-wise on 3 November, was Boeing 787-9 S2-AJX of Biman Bangladesh Airlines which called in to uplift COP26 delegates.
The Dreamliner landed at 10:45 hours having flown up from London Heathrow.
It departed at 13:00 by which time the runway in use had switched to `05`. S2-AJX returned to LHR before the onward flight to Bangladesh.
On Thursday 4 November, Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner 5Y-KZD (left) flew up from Heathrow to collect delegates. This aircraft was sporting a new special `Come Live The Magic` scheme complete with a couple of life size rhinos painted on the rear fuselage. The details can`t be made out on this shot taken from my back window though. Then it was Emirates Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EGB (Year of the Fiftieth Livery) and Airbus A321-211 G-POWN Titan Airways (all white livery) from Copenhagen (5th); Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ECU Emirates (Expo 2020 Opportunity Livery) and Embraer ERJ-190LR D-AECD (f/v) Lufthansa CityLine (6th); Airbus A321-231 EC-MQL (f/v) Vueling (7th); Boeing 767-2AXER N767A (f/v) Saudi Aramco (below) (10th).
Also on Wednesday 10 November, Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX Eco N60436 (left) made a welcome return to Glasgow after flying non-stop from Seattle. It was on the ground from 12:50 until 16:50 on the 11th. Also making an appearance on the 10th were Boeing 737-8 MAX SP-RZC of Buzz Airlines and Bombardier CRJ-200ER VQ-BOM (f/v) of UVT Aero which arrived at 14:25. It was directed onto Stand 65 where it night-stopped (10th)...
Next, Jet2 Boeing 737-85P G-GDFF departed with Scotland fans to Chisinau, Moldova, plus there were showings by Vueling Airbus A321-231 EC-MPV (f/v) and Embraer ERJ-190STD PH-EZX KLM (SkyTeam colours) (11th); Privilege Style Boeing 757-256 EC-HDS arrived with the Scotland national football team, while Jet2 Boeing 737-8MG(WL) G-JZHZ returned from Chisinau with jubilant Scotland fans. Boeing Triple-Seven 300 A6-ENS worked an extra Emirates flight for the end of COP26, Airbus A321-271NX D-AIEK (f/v) Lufthansa, plus BA A319-131 G-EUOA departed after storage/maintenance (13th); Boeing 737-8K2(WL) PH-HXK (f/v) Transavia and Boeing 737-83N(WL) SP-ENU Enter Air both from Copenhagen, plus Boeing 737-405 OY-ASA (f/v) Airseven (operated by Copenhagen Air Taxi) from Billund all arrived with Denmark supporters. Airbus A320-271N D-AIJA (f/v) Lufthansa also called in (15th)…
Above: Bombardier CRJ-200ER VQ-BOM (f/v) of Russian carrier UVT Aero about to touch down on Wednesday 10 November.
Airbus A320-271N D-AINY (f/v) Lufthansa plus Do-328JET-310 OY-JJB returned (16th); Boeing 737-8 MAX 200 SP-RZC Buzz. BA A319-131 G-DBCH departed after maintenance (17th); Alaska Air Boeing 737 Eco Demonstrator N60436, as previously mentioned, returned to Glasgow having flown in from Stansted, Vueling A321-231 EC-MPV, plus A320-232 G-EUYL arrived for storage / maintenance (18th); TUI Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner G-TUID from Manchester stopped off to pickup additional passengers while en route to Bridgetown, Barbados. This was the first such flight since international COVID travel restrictions were eased. Plus Airbus A319-112 D-AIBH Lufthansa (Star Alliance Livery) and A320-251N G-TTNP (f/v) British Airways (19th); A319-131 G-DBCE British Airways arrived for storage / maintenance (20th); Boeing 777-36N(ER) A6-ECC Emirates (Expo 2020 Mobility Livery) (21st).
Above: On 24 November, Carpatair Fokker F100 YR-FKB arrived from the Czech capital with Sparta Prague for a football match against Rangers. The Gers` new manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst got off to a great start with two goals from Alfredo Morelos securing victory at Ibrox to send send his side into the knockout stage of the Europa League. This result, along with Danish side Brondby's defeat by Lyon, means Rangers are guaranteed to finish in second place in Group A, setting up a clash with one of eight teams dropping out of the Champions League over two legs in February for a place in the last 16 of the Europa League. This means the Scottish Champions` final group game against section winners Lyon on 9 December is now effectively meaningless. Van Bronckhorst was making his first appearance as boss following the departure of Steven Gerrard's to Aston Villa. Sparta had been 1-0 up following the first meeting in the Czech Republic.
It was different story for Celtic whose hopes of progressing in the Europa League were dashed in agonising fashion as a late fightback from Bayer Leverkusen saw them beaten 3-2 in Germany. The Celts had been on course for a win following a Josip Juranovic penalty and a strike from Portuguese winger Jota which cancelled out Robert Andrich’s early goal for the hosts. However, Leverkusen hit back twice in the closing eight minutes to win and top the group. The result means Celtic will drop into the Conference League after Christmas, with Real Betis going through in the Europa League as runners-up. (Football shots © The Scotsman / RTE News).
Airbus A320-214 EI-DVM Aer Lingus (Retro Livery), Boeing 737-8-200 MAX SP-RZB (f/v) Buzz, Embraer ERJ-190LR UR-EMD (f/v) Ukraine International Airlines arrived from Kiev with Ukraine women football team, Boeing 737-8BK(WL) G-DRTG Jet2 departed with Celtic FC to Cologne, Fokker F100 YR-FKB Carpatair arrived with Sparta Prague football team from the Czech capital while Ryanair Sun Boeing 737-8AS(WL) SP-RSX brought a contingent of the team`s supporters (24th); Boeing 737-8 MAX EI-RZC Neos, Airbus A321-231(WL) EC-MLM (f/v) Vueling, Aer Lingus`s Retro A320 EI-DVM returned and BA A320-232(WL) G-EUYU left after storage/maintenance) (25th); Hibernian Airlines Bombardier CRJ-1000 EI-HBB from Hamburg operated a Rugby charter to Venice (26th).
(Above photo © Press & Journal)
Storm Arwen struck the UK over the night of Friday 26 / Saturday 27 November prompting a rare red alert warning issued by the Met Office for the east coast of Scotland and north-east England. In Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, gales exceeded 80 mph in some places and caused structural damage, while driving snow and downed trees resulted in large scale power cuts with tens of thousands of homes left in the dark. The worst of the weather missed the Central belt though and operations at Glasgow Airport were unaffected. As a result it was able to accommodate several storm-related diversions on the evening of the 26th: KLM Cityhopper ERJ-190STD PH-EXF which was routing Amsterdam > Aberdeen, easyJet A320 G-EZWX (Bristol > Edinburgh) and TUI Boeing 737 G-TAWV (Hurghada, Egypt > Newcastle. Although these travellers were inconvenienced, their situation didn`t compare with passengers in Aberdeenshire who were stuck on a train near Huntly for 17 hours.
Also in Aberdeenshire, the crew of this police van had a lucky escape - their vehicle was crushed by a falling tree in Hatton of Fintray while the officers were out dealing with a similar weather related incident nearby. Tragically, the driver had been crushed to death by a tree and it was only when they returned to head off that the cops saw how fortunate they were. Bizarrely, the blue lights on their van were still flashing. Another two men weren`t so lucky though, with falling trees claiming lives in Ambleside in Cumbria and in Antrim, Northern Ireland. (Van photos © BBC:Derek Ironside / Daily Mirror).
The worst of the weather had cleared the UK by dawn on Saturday leaving bright skies with excellent visibility and with Runway 05 in use at the airport, I headed for the Gleniffer Braes to catch the inbound Emirates flight against a snowy mountain backdrop. Much of Scotland and England was white after significant falls and although the Kilpatrick Hills were clear, I expected a decent covering on Ben Lomond and the high tops beyond. That wasn`t the case though with Scotland`s southernmost Munro and the nearby Arrochar Alps totally clear. It was only the hills north of Crianlarich that had been transformed. Even so, it`s the first time I`ve managed to photograph one of Emirates Expo 2020 liveried jets from this location.
Also snapped from here on the 27th were easyJet A320-251N G-UZLA and Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS(WL) EI-DCM...
Rounding up this month`s batch of noteworthy airliners were: Boeing 777-36N(ER) A6-ECD (Expo 2020 Opportunity Livery) (above), Bombardier CRJ-900LR D-ACNR Lufthansa CityLine (Frankfurt > Newcastle weather diversion), Hibernian CRJ-1000 EI-HBB returned from Venice, Boeing 737-8AS(WL) G-DRTY (f/v) Jet2 and Airbus A320-232 G-EUYF British Airways arrived for storage/maintenance (27th); Airbus A320-214 EI-DVM Aer Lingus (Retro livery) and Airbus A321-231(WL) EC-MMH (f/v) Vueling (28th); Embraer ERJ-190SR G-LCAH (f/v) British Airways and Airbus A320-214(WL) D-AIZN Lufthansa (Star Alliance colours) (29th).
Things were apparently still a bit wild on the east coast early on Saturday 27 November as Newcastle-bound CRJ-900LR D-ACNR from Frankfurt ended up here.
Ukraine International Airlines ERJ-190LR UR-EMD (f/v), seen here lifting off on the 27th, had arrived from Kiev with Ukraine women football team on the 24th.
Also on 27 November, a pair of Dreamliners passed well above the airport as the Ukrainian ERJ-190LR UR-EMD was pushing back: KLM PH-BKG was routing from Schiphol to LA and a Turkish Airlines example was heading in the opposite direction, destination Istanbul. Both were snapped from Walkinshaw Road. The following photo shows Schiphol-bound KLM Cityhopper ERJ-190STD PH-EZE ready to taxi on Saturday 27 November...
Even though COP26 was running during the first half of the month, the only commuter prop activity comprised the usual Loganair Twin Otter and Saab 340s, as well as the Irish-registered ATR freighters of ASL Airlines, including EI-SOO pictured above. The only real visitor of note was Antonov AN-26B UR-CQD of Vulkan Air which touched down at 23:30 on Monday 22 November and night-stopped on Stand 6A. Vulkan Air is a cargo-only outfit currently headquartered in Kiev, Ukraine.
This aircraft and other similar Russian-built cargo planes are more usually seen at Prestwick although many examples including this one have called in at Glasgow before. I didn`t get a shot of UR-CQD here this time round but had already photographed it at Aberdeen Airport (right) in August this year.
Over 1,400 AN-26s were produced between 1969–1986 with the primary users being the Soviet Air Force, Pakistan Air Force and Vietnamese Air Force but many, like this one, have since found work with civilian operators. Although designed as a tactical transport, the An-26 has a secondary role as a bomber utilising underwing racks. As a bomber, it was extensively used by the Vietnam People's Air Force during the Cambodian–Vietnamese War and by the Sudanese Air Force during the Second Sudanese Civil War and the War in Darfur.
Although it operates as a Flying Laboratory rather than an airliner, Cranfield University`s Saab 340B G-NFLB is included here. It arrived on November 10 and went straight into the Loganair hangar where it remained for most of the month although it was moved outside occasionally, including on the 11th when the above shot was taken.
Photo opportunities improved on November 27 when the Saab was towed round to Apron November.
By the afternoon of the 30th though the plane was back under cover.
Probably the best ever month for corporate visitors. Numerous civilian biz-jets and military variants appeared on 1 November, bringing in heads of state and other main players, I`d imagine exceeding most aviation enthusiasts` expectations. the next day was even more interesting and, as many countries, organisations and private companies had set up pavilions at the SEC event campus, corporate movements continued for the ten days after the high-profile delegates had left. During this period not every biz-jet movement was associated with COP26, but the vast majority were. Arrival and departure times in the following list are approximate.
Boeing 737-97YER(WL) BBJ3 LX-DIO and Boris Johnson`s Union Jack-tailed Airbus A321 G-XATW were among the stopovers from last month having been allocated remote stands close to the control tower. Bo Jo`s plane and lampposts effectively screened the Global Jet Luxembourg VIP jet preventing decent shots from ground level outside the airport. This distant, heat-hazed view taken late afternoon on November 2 was the best I could manage. The aircraft departed that evening.
Other corporate jets staying over from 31 October were Royal Jet Boeing 737-7Z5(WL) BBJ A6-DAS, Bombardier Global Express EC-LEB which left for Madrid at 16:20 on 1 October, Gulfstream G550s EI-LSY and 5N-FGW callsign `NGR 001` and Cessna Citation XLS+ S5-BBC. A late arrival on October 31 was another Royal Jet Boeing 737-BBJ A6-AIN which flew in from Rome, touching down at 23:30 hrs. It relocated to Belfast Aldergrove at 00:45 on 1 November. As usual, the comings and goings of Air Charter Scotland`s CitationJet CJ2 G-NOCM, pictured below on 1 November, aren`t listed.
Monday 1 November 2021
The first COP-related business jet arrived well before daylight, namely Dassault Falcon 900EX N47EG (f/v) (05:25/06:20hrs) which flew in from LaGuardia, New York. After dropping off its passengers it headed to Aberdeen, Following on were Gulfstream G650ER A7-CGC (f/v) of Qatar Executive (08:10/14:40) and Dassault Falcon 8X OY-SKK (f/v) of Air Alsie (08:40/13:40 hrs).
Gulfstream G650ER N887WM (above) (09:35/22:10) arrived from Milas Bodrum-Boeing Field, WA with American business magnate and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates (below left). Addressing the other delegates, he emphasised that If we’re going to avoid the worst effects of a climate disaster, it’s not enough to invent zero-carbon alternatives - we need to make sure they’re affordable and accessible enough for people all over the world to use them. Currently the world’s poorest people, who contribute the least to climate change, will suffer from its effects the most and this situation is, he stressed, deeply unfair. (Bill Gates photo © GN).
Other corporate arrivals on 1 November were Citation Mustang F-HASJ (f/v) (10:10/11:50 hrs) and Falcon 900B N122GB (f/v) (above) of TCC Air Services Inc (10:40/12:50); Bombardier Global 7500 G-LOBX (f/v) Luxaviation UK from Paris Le Bourget (17:40/18:4) made an onward flight to Luton, Gulfstream G600 G-ULFX (17:50/22:00) (also operated by Luxaviation, f/t Luton), Falcon 900B P4-HEI (f/v) of Finesse Executive flew in from Cannes (18:45 N/S). This aircraft, (Construction Number 01) is the prototype Falcon 900 built in 1984 and is currently registered in Aruba.
Gulfstream G650ER A7-CGC (f/v) of Qatar Executive was just one of numerous aircraft making its inaugural visit to Glasgow Airport during the conference. It flew in from Inverness, landing about 08:10 and departed mid-afternoon for Northolt. Qatar Executive is a business jet subsidiary of Qatar Airways, which is based in Doha. It was launched on June 16, 2009 at the Paris Air Show. Apart from its core business of aircraft charters, Qatar Executive's service portfolio also includes aircraft management, maintenance and a full range of fixed-base operator (FBO) services.
Above Right: Another view of Bill Gates` taxi, Gulfstream G650 N887WM (f/v) parked on Area R.
Dassault Falcon 8X OY-SKK (f/v) of Air Alsie f/t Roskilde landed at 08:40 hours and took up position on Stand 18.
Above: Four expensive COP26 `taxis` parked on Area Yankee, 10:30 hrs on Monday 1 November.
Tuesday 2 November 2021
I had intended to spend the morning watching the action at Glasgow then drive down to Prestwick as some sources predicted that upwards of 50 aircraft connected with the conference would eventually park up there, but it soon became clear that Glasgow was the place to be. Conditions were excellent and unlike the Ayrshire airport, there are a variety of vantage points dotted around the perimeter with some interesting backdrops.
Night-stopping Falcon 900 P4-HEI taxis to Alpha One to line-up for takeoff ahead of a Heli-Med chopper on 2 November.
Civilian biz-jets calling in on November 2 were Gulfstream G650ER N650HA (f/v) of TVPX Aircraft Solutions Inc from San Francisco which landed at 06:20 hrs and left for Stansted 40 minutes later, Falcon 2000S OY-SWO (f/v) of Blackbird Air Charter (08:00/12:40 hrs Dundee-Billund), Air Bohemia Cessna Citation Excel OK-AST (f/v) 08:40/09:45 hrs Munich-Belfast Aldergrove), Citation XLS CS-DXM NetJets Europe (08:50/10:00 hrs Geneva-Poznan), Citation XLS+ OE-GJB (f/v) Avcon Jet (09:15/10:35 hrs f/t Vienna), Embraer Legacy 600 G-LEGC (09:41/12:00 flew in from Geneva, onward to Barcelona)...
Right: Manx-registered Embraer Lineage 1000 (ERJ-190-100 ECJ) M-AKKU of Aliforti Ltd made two visits, initially arriving from Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan at 09:55 hours. It remained on the ground until 10:45 when it flew up to Aberdeen, returning at 16:10 and parking on the north-side. It left for Luton about 90 minutes later.
Kazakhstan`s capital was formerly known as Akmolinsk, Tselinograd, and Astana, and acquired its present name on March 23, 2019, following a unanimous vote in the country`s parliament. It was named after former Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Further corporate visitors on 2 November were Embraer Legacy 500 G-TULI Centreline (11:00/17:05 f/t Farnborough), Embraer Legacy 600 G-KGKG Luxaviation (returned from Brussels - left for Amsterdam 1359/1819), Phenom 300 D-CMXM (f/v) Air Hamburg (14:05/15:00 hrs Paris Le Bourget-Birmingham), Learjet 45 D-CLMS Aero-Dienst (15:05/15:45 Munich-Aberdeen), Global 6500 EC-NOC (f/v) Gestair (15:15/17:15 Madrid Barajas-Newcastle), Global 6000 HB-JFX (f/v) Air King Jet (16:15/07:20 ns f/t Paris Le Bourget), Citation Excel G-LEAX (16:35/18:30 hrs from Londonderry/City of Derry-Brize Norton)...
AMD-BA Falcon 900EX F-GPNJ (right) of Luxaviation France was on the gound between 16:40 and 18:00 hours. It was routing from Paris Le Bourget to Aberdeen.
Last to call in on the 2nd were Air Alsie Dassault Falcon 7X OY-RAB (18:55/20:05 Newcastle-Göteborg Landvetter), Citation XLS G-NJAB NetJets UK (19:00/20:30 Hawarden-Biggin Hill), Citation XLS+ YU-TBA (f/v) Air Swisslion (20:10/21:05 Berlin Brandenburg-Rome Fiumicino), Falcon 900LX N47EG of Wing and Rotor Transportation Holdings (21:15/22:50 Aberdeen-New York JFK), Gulfstream G600 G-ULFX Luxaviation UK (2130/2215 f/t Luton) and Global 6000 CS-GLF NetJets Europe (22:35/23:25 Riyadh King Khalid Airport-Luton). Details on Gulfstream G650 A9C-BAH of the Bahrain Royal Flight and Gulfstream G550 5N-FGW which also arrived today are given in the Military / Government section below.
Wednesday 3 November 2021
A decent crop of corporate visitors today including Challenger 605 9H-VFA VistaJet Malta, Embraer Phenom 300 G-DCMT from / to Farnborough, Cessna 560XL Citation Excel OK-AST routing from Belfast (BOH) to Munich, Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign+ OK-JRS Smartwings from Paris Le Bourget to Aberdeen, Embraer Legacy 650 G-SUGR from Stanstead to Copenhagen, Phenom 300 G-JMBO, Pilatus PC-24 LX-PCG (f/v) plus Gulfstream G600 G-ULFX appeared yet again. The above photo shows Royal Jet Boeing 737-7Z5(BBJ) A6-DAS which was also kept busy ferrying COP delegates about. A second Royal Jet 737-BBJ, A6-AIN, appeared in the afternoon.
Dassault Falcon 7X 3A-MGA, pictured on the left vacating Runway 05 at 13:45 on November 3 after repositioning from Edinburgh, belongs to HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco. (COP26 Conference photos © Monaco Tribune/AP).
During the first day of COP26, on October 31, Prince Albert II launched the third `Because the Ocean` declaration, alongside many other international leaders, at a special event held at Edinburgh University. The “Because the Ocean” initiative highlights that to protect the climate you must protect the oceans. The signatories (below) therefore committed to strive to accelerate efforts to phase out greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
Another `05` arrival on the 3rd was Bombardier Global 6000 T7-SSB (f/v) of the Empire Aviation Group which touched down at 12:30 hours. The company website shows off the aircraft`s plush interior. (Images © Aviapages/EAG).
Thursday 4 November 2021
No photos today but biz-Jets making an appearance were Phenom 300 CS-PHN of NetJets Europe which flew in from Stansted at 07:15 then headed to Zurich, Gestair Global Express 6500 EC-NOC arrived from Newcastle before leaving for Teterboro. Following on were Slyt Air CitationJet CJ2+ D-IGWT (Nuremberg-Paris Le Bourget), Embraer Legacy 500 G-TULI (Oxford-Edinburgh), Citation Latitude D-CAWN operated by Aerowest (Luton-Dublin), Falcon 900EX F-GPNJ returned from Aberdeen then set off for-Brussels, Learjet 45 D-CLMS Aero-Dienst (Aberdeen-Munich), Gulfstream G650 N651BA (Bank of America NA) routing Luton-Bedford Hanscom Field, Massachusetts and finally Gulfstream G-450 OE-ITC of Luxaviation Germany (Lisbon Cascais-Teterboro).
Thursday 5 November - Saturday 13 November 2021
Dassault Falcon 900EX N240LG, pictured here on 5 November, was on a round trip from Farnborough.
Other corporate arrivals on the 5th were Bombardier Challenger 850 D-AFAN from Geneva, Embraer Legacy 650 G-SUGR from Farnborough, Cessna 560XLS Citation Excel CS-DXO from Valencia, plus Phenom 100 D-IAAB Arcus Air and Cessna 680A Citation Latitude F-HATV, both from Paris Le Bourget. The French jet is pictured below on short finals for Runway 23.
On Saturday 6 November, two Bombardier Global 5000s arrived, C-FFIJ (f/v) of Clearwater Fine Foods from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and N815PA (f/v) from Westchester County, New York State. Embraer Legacy 500 G-FXFX (f/v) and Citation XLS CS-DXS also appeared (6th)...
Above: Gulfstream GV-SP N989JC (f/v) arrived from Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, Wisconsin, on Sunday 7 November and parked on the north-side.
Above: Allocated Area Juliet for parking, CitationJet CJ1 G-KION tags on behind the `Follow-me` vehicle after landing on 7 November.
Also on Sunday 7 November, Gulfstream GV-SP N989JC (f/v) arrived from Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, Wisconsin, plus Embraer Phenom 100 D-IAAR of Arcus Aviation arrived from Birmingham followed by CitationJet CJ1 G-KION from Newcastle.
Still on the 7th, Bombardier Global 6000 N72XF flew in from Washington DC with ex-US President Barack Obama on board. The high-end biz jet touched down at 20:00 hrs on what was a dismal evening and offloaded on Stand 82 where it remained until 17:15 hrs on the 9th when it returned Mr Obama to the States.
The former US president admitted that he couldn't stay away from the COP26 summit despite no longer holding public office. Mr Obama used a keynote speech in Glasgow to warn the that world was still not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis. Addressing the conference at the SEC on Clydeside, he had insisted there had been some meaningful progress made during the first week of talks but more needed to be done.
The Democrat also called out China and Russia after their respective presidents declined to travel to Glasgow for COP26 and took a swipe at Donald Trump for his decision to withdraw the US from climate targets agreed in Paris six years ago. (Obama photos © ITN News / Daily Record / Glasgow Evening Times / New York Times).
Corporate traffic, no doubt most of which was COP26-related, continued with VistaJet Bombardier Challenger 605 9H-VFB from Paris Le Bourget, Gulfstream 280 N282CC (f/v) from Westchester County, Citation XLSs G-NJAC from Biggin Hill, Citation Excels G-LEAX from Luton, D-CAWU which relocated from Edinburgh and D-CUUU (f/v) from Stuttgart, plus Learjet 75 G-ZNTH from Oxford, Embraer Praetor 600 G-FHFX from Farnborough, Phenom 300 D-CMXM Air Hamburg f/t Lisbon and CitationJet CJ2 G-LFBD f/t Farnborough (8th)...
Global 5000 N815PA, Falcon 7X OY-RAB Air Alsie, Challenger 850 D-AFAN from Malmo, Cessna CitationJet CJ3+ 9H-WIN (f/v) from Geneva, Phenom 300 M-ELON (f/v), Citation Excel D-CUUU returned from Prestwick where it had parked overnight and Pilatus PC-24 OO-MBP (f/v) made 2 visits (9th); Embraer ERJ-145LU G-OFLX Bae Systems (Corporate Air Travel) Ltd, Global Express T7-VBS (f/v) (Left), Dassault Falcon 7X OY-RAB and Cessna Citation Latitude G-LATO of Zenith Aviation (10th); Global 6000 N826ZF (f/v) (above). Gulfstream G280 N282CC from Edinburgh, Hawker 400XP SP-TTA of Smart Jet Poland from Murcia and Hawker 750 9H-BSA from Dublin (11th)...
Embraer EMB-135BJ Legacy 600 VP-BTT (f/v) Sirius-Aero, Global 6000 OE-IEO (f/v) from Moscow (VKO) and CitationJet CJ4 M-KNOX (12th); Cessna 680A Citation Latitude CS-LAS, CitationJet CJ3+ 2-RBTS and CitationJet CJ2 G-JNRE (13th). This marked the official end of the COP26 conference, although discussions overran in an attempt to reach an agreement, but there was no marked increase in biz traffic to collect the remaining delegates.
Above: Air Hamburg`s Phenom 300 D-CMXM, seen here departing Glasgow Airport on the morning of November 10, was kept busy during COP26.
Embraer ERJ-145LU G-OFLX, pictured here on November 10, belongs to BAE Systems.
Sunday 14 November - Tuesday 30 November 2021
The second half of November saw the following corporate visitors pass through: Gulfstream V N718JJ (f/v), Gulfstream G450 G-ULFM, Cessna 750 Citation X N92RX, Citation XLS SE-RIL, Learjet 60 D-CFAR and Hawker 750 9H-BSA from Malaga (14th); Global 6000 N160QS from Teterboro and Citation Excel G-IPAX from Luton (15th); Global Express VT-HMR (f/v) from Luton, Citation XL G-IPAX from Amsterdam, Citation XLS CS-DXR from Leeds, plus Learjet 60 D-CFAR returned from Moscow (SVO) (16th)...
Gulfstream G-IV-X G-ULFM from Farnborough and CitationJet CJ2 G-JNRE from Oxford (17th); Citation XLS G-NJAC from Southampton (18th); Gulfstream IV-SP N763DB (above), Falcon 2000EX CS-DFG, Learjet 45 G-FEMC (f/v) from Belfast, CitationJet N260AM and Embraer Phenom 300 D-CAGA from Rotterdam (19th); Cessna Citation Latitude G-LATO from Stansted, Phenom 300 CS-PHA from Paris Châlons Vatry Airport (XCR) to Farnborough (20th); Embraer Legacy 650 G-SUGR, plus Legacy 500 G-WLKR from Stansted (22nd); Gulfstream G650ER N661CH (f/v) and Cessna CitationJet CJ4 D-CBTA (f/v) (23rd)...
Challenger 604 G-REYS, Falcon 2000LX LX-EPE (f/v), Phenom 300 G-JMBO, Cessna Citation CJ1 S5-CEG (f/v), Citation M2 2-COOK (f/v) and Citation XLS CS-DXJ (25th); Learjet 75 G-ZNTJ from Farnborough, Learjet 45 G-FEMC from Belfast (BFS) and Embraer Legacy 500 G-FXFX from Cambridge (26th); Bombardier Global 6000 OE-LML (f/v) Global Jet Austria and Cessna 680A Citation Latitude CS-LAU of NetJets Europe (28th); Citation Bravo YU-BZZ from Angelholm, Sweden, and CitationJet CJ2+ G-TWOP from Bristol, Citation Latitude G-LATO from Farnborough (29th). The following distant views of Cessna Citation CJ1 S5-CEG (f/v) and Falcon 2000LX LX-EPE (f/v) were taken on 27 November...
As far as I`m aware the only actual aircraft to be found within the COP26 campus was Rolls-Royce`s Spirit of Innovation. which was on display outside the Glasgow Science Centre on the south side of the river. The aircraft, which only took to the skies for the first time in September, is believed to be the world's fastest all-electric plane. The company, whose aerospace division has its headquarters in Derby, said the Spirit of Innovation reached a top speed of 387.4 mph (623 km/h) during test flights from the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down facility on November 16th. (Electroflight NXTE images © Rolls Royce / BBC / autoevolution.com).
Rolls-Royce said Spirit of Innovation was more than 132 mph (213.04 km/h) faster than the previous record set by the Siemens eAircraft powered Extra 330 LE Aerobatic aircraft in 2017. Various other aeronautical achievements were also said to have been surpassed during the trials but the company won't open the champagne bottle just yet as the data has been forwarded to the World Air Sports Federation aka FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) for verification.
Rolls-Royce seeks to integrate the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for the Spirit of Innovation in future applications for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. Its 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain incorporates the “most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.”
Back to Glasgow Airport, which despite COP didn`t see a great deal of foreign-registered GA visitors. One exception was King Air 250 F-HNAV (f/v) which flew in from Toussus-le-Noble in north central France, on Tuesday 9 November, landing about 20:00 hrs. This Beech twin is part of the National School of Civil Aviation (ENAC) (École Nationale de l'Aviation Civile) fleet. ENAC was founded on 28 August 1949 to provide initial and continuing education in the field of civil aviation. It currently offers 30 engineering and technical programs in civil aviation and aeronautics. These include aerospace engineering, aircraft maintenance, commercial airline piloting, air traffic control, and flight instructor. The college also offers three Master of Science programs and 12 Advanced Master programs for students with relevant experience.
Manx-registered Beech 200GT Super King Air M-CDMS of BAe Systems Marine flew in from Dundee early on the 1st and left later for Farnborough.
As previously mentioned, Vulcanair P-68R Victors G-POLV and G-POLW of the National Police Air Service were temporarily based here while providing top-cover for COP26. Other General Aviation / Miscellaneous visitors during November 2021 were Pilatus PC-12/47E OO-PCN and King Air 200 M-CDMS (1st); Pilatus PC-12/47E OY-VLT (f/v) Air Alsie, King Air 200s G-FSEU and G-OLIV plus King Air 90GTx F-HNAK (f/v) (2nd); Pilatus PC-12/47 N178MH (f/v)and King Air 200 G-IASB (3rd); King Air 200 G-CIFE (4th); King Air 200s G-IASA and G-FSEU, plus HMCG AW189 G-MCGP (7th)...
King Air 250s G-JMAW Martin-Baker and F-HNAV (f/v) (9th); King Air 200s G-CIFE, G-JASS and G-IASB, plus Cirrus SR22 N226BB (f/v) (10th); Beech King Air 250 G-JMAW returned, plus King Air 200 G-FLYW (11th); King Air 250s G-JMAW yet again (from Benson), King Air 200s G-IASC, G-CDZT, G-CWCD and G-VALK, Pilatus PC-12/47E M-DRIL, plus Prestwick-based HM Coastguard AW189 G-MCGR stopped off briefly mid-morning to pick up a paramedic team before continuing on to Campbeltown (12th)...
King Air 200s G-FLYK and G-FLYW (13th); Pilatus PC-12/45 M-YBLS, plus Diamond DA42 G-CIKM made two overshoots of Runway 23 (15th); Manx-registered Bell 429 Global Ranger M-YMCM. Diamond DA42 Twin Star G-CIKM and PA-34-200T Seneca V G-GSYS both carried out overshoots of Runway 23 (17th); AW189 G-MCGR HMCG and Seneca V G-GSYS returned for an overshoot (18th); Cessna 421C Golden Eagle G-ISAR, King Air 200s G-IMEA from Doncaster and G-IASB, plus Aerospatiale AS355F1 Ecureuil 2 G-NETR (19th); King Air 200 G-DXTR from Stornoway to Brighton City (20th); King Air 200 G-NIAB, Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee G-AYAW (f/v) plus Van's RV-8 G-WEEV overshot Runway 23 at 13:45. HMCG AW189 G-MCGT made two visits (22nd)...
King Air 350 SE-LLU from Edinburgh, King Air 200 G-KVIP, Cessna P210N Pressurised Centurion N210SH from Lydd and AgustaWestland AW109SP GrandNew G-GALI (f/v). Diamond DA42 G-CIKM returned for another overshoot (23rd); King Air 200 G-IASB, plus G-CIKM again (24th); King Air 200 G-IASA (25th); Cessna 421C Golden Eagle G-ISAR (26th); Beech B200 Super King Air G-CDZT (28th); King Air 200 G-FLYK, plus PA-34 G-GSYS did a couple of overshoots 71171(29th); and finally, Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian 2-TRAC, King Air 200 G-IASB and HMCG AW189 G-MCGR (30th).
Air ambulance patient transfers and organ transplant flights are also carried out by the Scottish Ambulance Service`s Beech King Airs but Gama Aviation also maintain many of the Beech twins utilised by other UK air ambulance units as well as those operated by other agencies and private operators.
Below: One from the Swedish register, Beech King Air 350 SE-LLU relocated from Edinburgh late on Tuesday 23 November and parked up on Area Juliet. It`s pictured here warming up before departure on the morning of the 25th.
Military & Government
Although COP26 attracted numerous civil airliners and corporate jets rarely-seen in the UK, the main draw for many was the military and governmental aircraft. The appearance of Air Force One at Edinburgh unsurprisingly drew a large crowd but even rarer arrivals were on offer, such as those from South America, Africa, India and the Far East. As in previous sections, movements are listed in date order along with routing information where known and approximate arrival / departure times. The data comes from various flight tracking websites and Central Scotland Aviation Group`s monthly publication Scottish Air News (SCAN) as well as my own observations. And a reminder that my dedicated Edinburgh / Prestwick page covering more of the outstanding military and civil COP26-related visitors at various other UK airports can be found here.
Monday 1 November 2021
The temporarily-based RAF Puma HC.2s were still on Area Juliet and Area Tango on the morning of the 1st, their serial numbers being XW213/E, ZA940/V, ZJ954/W and ZJ955/X. Only the latter chopper ZJ955 took to the air that day and was one of the assets providing security for President Biden`s motorcade when it travelled from / to Edinburgh.
Indian Air Force Boeing 777-337(ER) K7066 / VT-ALV, pictured above, arrived at Glasgow from Rome Fiumicino about 21:30 hrs on 31 October and was directed onto Stand 33. This aircraft was operating as `Air India One`, a callsign used for the President of India, Vice President of India or Prime Minister of India. The IAF's Air Headquarters Communication Squadron, based at Air Force Station Palam, is the unit responsible for coordinating these missions.
USAF C-17A Globemaster 96-0005 of the New York Air National Guard (ANG) flew in from Joint Base Andrews on 26 October to drop off Sikorsky VH-60N 163263 `HMX-1` which went straight into the Gama Aviation hangar. Two VH-60Ns were similarly deposited at Leuchars, presumably one of the trio acting as a spare.
Despite the US Marine chopper being remaining at Glasgow for the duration, the only photos I managed to get were these dire record shots when it emerged briefly from the hangar for an engine run / systems check on the morning of November 1, and a distant snap from my back window when it took to the air a couple of days before.
I caught the departure of Bulgarian Government Dassault Falcon 2000 LZ-OOI (f/v) at 09:00 hrs on the 1st. It had arrived from Sofia just under an hour previously to drop off dignitaries and later repositioned to Newcastle. On 23 February 2021, Air Detachment 28 which provides air transport for the country`s President, Prime Minister and other high-ranking state officials, changed its name to the `Bulgarian State Aviation Operator`. The unit also has an Airbus A319 and several helicopters in its inventory.
Emergency vehicles assembled at the RVP in Abbotsinch Road in response to a hydraulic spillage from a vehicle on one of the aprons as the Bulgarian VIP jet was taxiing out but the incident was quickly stood down.
The Republic of Croatia Government`s Challenger 604 9A-CRO made a round trip f/t Zagreb and was on the ground here between 08:45-10:15 hours.
Aptly registered Government of the Netherlands Boeing 737-700(WL)(BBJ) PH-GOV (f/v) spent less than an hour on the ground after touching down at 09:05 hrs, having been allocated Stand 37L. Delivered to the operator in June 2019, this aircraft is based at Amsterdam`s Schiphol Airport. Manufactured by Boeing in Seattle, its interior has been modified by Fokker at Woensdrecht Air Base to accommodate 26 passengers in comfort.
Next to appear was Bombardier Challenger CL604 C-172 (f/v) of the Royal Danish Air Force which landed at 09:20 hours.
The Danish VIP jet was directed to Stand 36 to unloaded its passengers and it was airborne again by 10:40 but it returned the following day.
Above: Landing at 09:25 hrs, Cessna 560XL Citation Excel T-784 of the Swiss Air Force was next for a `drop-off and go` on the hectic West Apron.
It set off on the return journey to Bern just under an hour later.
Then three A319-115(CJ) VIP transports from different European air arms landed in quick succession, the first of which was Czech Air Force Airbus, serial number 3085 (f/v) at 10:05. It had flown in from the Czech capital Prague and after its passengers de-planed on Stand 32 it moved over to the north side to park overnight.
The German Air Force was next at 10:20 with A319CJ 15+02 which arrived from Berlin with Angela Merkel.
(Following photo © Daily Mail / Spindrift)
Ten minutes after the German jet touched down this Italian AF example, serial number MM62209 (f/v), did likewise, remaining until just after 19:00 hrs.
Next, a pair of French Air Force Falcon 7Xs on a round trip from Villacoublay landed within 3 minutes of one another. The first was 86/F-RAFB at 10:35 hours with 68/F-RAFA (f/v) following on. Both aircraft, pictured together on the right parked on Taxiway Yankee in the afternoon, have `RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE` titles on the fuselage.
Hellenic Air Force Dassault Falcon 7X 273 (f/v) was another welcome visitor. It landed at 11:05 hours, offloaded on Stand 37L on the West Apron then repositioned to Area J where it remained until approximately 17:45. This jet is operated by 352 MMYP, a squadron, based at Elefsis near Athens. The unit also flies with two Embraer ERJ135s and a Gulfstream V. Falcon 273 dates from 2015 but was only just delivered to the Greek Air Force two weeks previously. Its former identities were F-WWUK and OO-JUK.
Spanish Air Force Airbus A310-304 T22-1 (45/50) (f/v) arrived at 12:35 on Monday 1 November and took up position on Stand 39.
Puma ZJ955/X aka `Allycat 3B` took to the air several times during the day.
Yet another military Airbus A319CJ called in, namely No.604 of the Hungarian Air Force. I wasn`t around when it landed at 13:20 but caught its departure an hour later. It was routing Belgrade, Serbia-Glasgow-Kecskemét, Hungary, then onward to Munich from where it returned to Glasgow the following afternoon.
Above: Embraer ERJ-175LR SP-LIG (f/v) is operated by the Polish Government. It landed here for the first time at 14:50 using the callsign `LOT 7705`.
My final shots taken on November 1 were of the Spanish Air Force Airbus A310-304 setting off on the return trip to Torrejon about 15:50 hours. The Fuerza Aerea Española (Spanish Air Force) has two VIP configured A310s in service with three larger A330-200 tanker/transports on order. These will be ex-Iberia airliner conversions. Eleven Airbus A400s, four of which have aerial refuelling capability, and a pair of CASA C-295 transports are also currently on strength.
Tuesday 2 November 2021
Arab Republic of Egypt Government Airbus A340-211 SU-GGG wasn`t showing on any flight tracking websites so it was a bonus to be in position at the east end of Walkinshaw Road at 08:30 on November 2 when it appeared on finals. On vacating the runway it was directed to Stand 39 where it remained until midday.
The -200 series is one of two initial versions of the A340 and as well as being the shortest version of the family it`s the only version with a wingspan measuring greater than its fuselage length. Due to its large wingspan, four engines, modest passenger capacity for its size and improvements to the larger A340-300, the −200 proved heavy and unpopular with mainstream airlines. Consequently only 28 A340-200s were produced and apart from one operated by Venezuelan carrier Conviasa the remainder, like this Egyptian example, are used for VIP or military use.
His badge shows that the guy in inform in the above slideshow is Aide de Camp to the President of Egypt.
Above: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose country will the next Climate Change Conference of the Parties in 2022, greeting the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad, who flew in to Glasgow Airport on Gulfstream G650ER A7-CGC, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the COP26 summit. (Photos © Independent/Getty/Eg24).
Boeing 777-3SBER 80-1112 of the Japan Air Self Defence Force returned having checked out Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick airports last month on a lengthy training / pre-conference reconnaissance flight from its home base in Japan. On this occasion the big jet landed at 09:10 with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (below) and remained on the ground here until 17:25 hours. (The above close-up is courtesy of © BBC News/Lee Donaldson).
(Above Photo © CNN/AFP via Getty).
I took the following shot of the JASDF Triple-Seven being pushed to another stand for refuelling prior to its return trip to Tokyo on my phone.
A second JASDF Triple-Seven, 80-1111, had arrived at Prestwick Airport half-an-hour after 80-1112 landed at Glasgow, possibly positioning as a spare.
Above: Gulfstream G650 A9C-BAH of the Bahrain Royal Flight flew in again from Farnborough at 10:15. Bahrain Royal Flight operates a small number of aircraft for VIP transport. It was founded in 1981 as the Bahrain Amiri Royal Flight and renamed Bahrain Royal Flight in February 2002. Its planes, including Gulfstream G650 A9C-BAH are primarily used by the royal family and other high-ranking government officials. Also on the inventory are one Boeing 737, one Boeing 767 and two Boeing 747s.
Belgian Air Component Dassault Falcon 7X OO-LUM from Melsbroek was on the ground between 10:20-11:15 hours having been allocated Stand 37R.
This aircraft is an early production model (C/N 004) and dates from 2007. These shots were taken mid-morning on Tuesday 2 November 2021.
The following shot, taken at 11:15, shows the Belgian Air Force jet lifting off for Prestwick...
It was followed half-an-hour later by the night-stopping Czech Air Force Airbus A319CJ 3083 which was returning to Prague Kbely.
The highlight for many was the chance to photograph the South Korean Government`s Boeing 747-4B5, serial number 10001 (ex Korean Air HL7465), which made two visits to Glasgow during COP. I missed it when it touched down here for the first time late on Sunday 31 October (22:15/23:57 hrs). `KAF001` had flown in from Rome Fiumicino to drop off its passengers then continued to Gatwick.
On the 2nd, I was ideally positioned when `KOR Force One` reappeared in the sunshine just before midday. The aircraft is a product of the Boeing Everett plant in Washington and dates from September 2001 making it just over 20 years old. It was directed on to Stand 37 where it remained until shortly before takeoff time at 14:50 that afternoon. It`s first stop on the long flight home was the Hungarian capital Budapest.
It would have been nice to get a close up of the flag waving from the flight deck (just visible in the left hand shot above) when the Korean Jumbo pushed back, but I decided to capture its departure from a distance, opting for the edge of the Teucheen Woods at Inchinnan.
This was this 747`s last mission in military / government service as immediately after arriving back at base it was converted into a freighter pending transfer to a civilian operator. The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) has decided to continue with sourcing its next number one VIP aircraft from Korean Air. On 1 March 2021, Boeing 747-8 HL7643 (construction number 60410/1538) was ferried to Hamburg airport where it was converted into a VIP transport. It`s entry into service, on a five-year contract, coincided with the retiral of 10001. The new wide body will join RoKAF’s dedicated VIP unit 257 Special Flight Squadron (257 SFS) at Seongnam-Seoul Air Base.
Mauritania Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 5T-CLJ , bound for the country`s capital Nouakchott–Oumtounsy waits for the Korean 747 to vacate the holding point.
Swiss Air Force Citation Excel T-784, on a round trip f/t Bern, landed about 12:30 and spent an hour on Taxiway Y before setting off again. Next, FAB-001, a Falcon 900EX of the Bolivian Air Force (Prestwick-Heathrow) touched down just before 13:00 hrs. (see below).
Today, Danish AF Challenger 604, serial number C-172 made its second visit to the airport, albeit a fairly brief one being on the ground between 13:15-14:00 hrs.
Having missed Bolivian Air Force Falcon 900EX FAB-001 when it arrived at 13:00, it was a bonus to catch it departing 2 hours later.
Hungarian Air Force Airbus A319CJ serial number 604 also made a return visit, landing at 15:20 hours and heading back to Budapest 45 minutes later.
The turbines visible on the skyline in the following shot form part of Whitelee Windfarm in East Renfrewshire. This month it was revealed that the facility is set to become home to a state-of-the-art hydrogen storage facility which could eventually produce enough clean energy to help power the next generation of public transport.
The UK government has awarded the project £9.4m which will go towards developing what will be the country's largest electrolyser, which converts water into hydrogen. Splitting water and capturing the released hydrogen requires energy, and the project will use electricity produced from the wind farm, the largest onshore farm in the UK, to create the gas. If things go according to plan green hydrogen will be available to the commercial market by 2023 in volumes that could provide the equivalent of enough zero-carbon fuel for 225 buses travelling to and from Glasgow to Edinburgh each day.
Operated by the Government of Albania, A319-115(CJ) bears the Turkish civilian registration TC-ANA. It landed at 15:35 and was on the ground for an hour. Following on at 16:05 hours was Swedish Air Force Gulfstream G550-Tp102D serial number 102005 (right) which was directed onto Stand 32. It had been at Prestwick and left for Göteborg Landvetter, Sweden`s second-largest airport after Stockholm, at 16:55. Below: The Hungarian Air Force jet starts its takeoff run. It had flown in from Munich earlier.
Having been here since October 31, Indian Air Force Boeing 777-337(ER) K7066 / VT-ALV, finally left for New Delhi on the evening of the 2nd.
Slovenia Air Force Falcon 2000EX serial number L1-01 (above right) had landed at 15:45 hours, initially waiting on Taxiway Y before relocating to Stand 36 for passenger uplift. Croatian Challenger 604 9A-CRO returned from Prestwick at 16:40 to do likewise. With police and security escorts for the occupants of the other aircraft arriving and departing too, it was a very busy scene.
Airbus KC-30A A39-007 of Royal Australian Air Force`s 33 Squadron had already touched down at Prestwick Airport late on 31 October after it flew in from Rome, bringing Aussie PM Scott Morrison and his entourage to Scotland, It then relocated to Stansted. Today, it called at Glasgow for the first time landing at 17:25 then conveniently parking nose-in on Stand 39 right next to the perimeter fence beside the Loganair hangar.
I didn`t hang around for the remaining inbounds but I`d already photographed some of them at Prestwick: Honduras Air Force Embraer Legacy 600 FAH-001 (f/v) (18:35/19:15 Prestwick-Shannon), Moroccan Government Gulfstream G550 CN-MMR (f/v) (19:20/20:30 Rabat-Casablanca), Bulgarian Air Force Dassault Falcon 2000 LZ-OOI (19:35/20:30 Newcastle-Sofia), Gulfstream G550 5N-FGW Nigerian Air Force (19:37/21:15 Aberdeen-Stansted) and finally, Italian Air Force Falcon 900EX MM62210 (f/v) (2025 hrs/night stop f/t Rome Ciampino).
KC-30A A39-007 (f/v) set off on the return journey to Australia at 19:25, taking on fuel as Al Minhad Air Base, a military installation in the United Arab Emirates, en route. This facility is located approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of Dubai and supports Australian operations in the Middle East. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has used Al Minhad as their main transport and logistics hub in the region since they withdrew their combat forces from Iraq in 2008.
Boris Johnson also left Glasgow in darkness. This shot shows his motorcade approaching his plane. Boris would return to the city on Wednesday 10 November to address the summit once again before it drew to a close, but following widespread negative criticism regarding his first initial mode of transport he decided to take the train. (Central Station photos © Washington Post/Network Rail Media Centre).
Wednesday 3 November 2021
Only three military visitors today: C-17A 02-1098 call-sign `Reach 4125` arrived from Joint Base McGuire about 10:10 hours to uplift US Marine Corps Sikorsky VH-60N 163263 which had been based at Glasgow over COP. Next, USAF Boeing C-40B 01-0040 of 89AW/1AS, call-sign `SAM 438`, flew in from Belfast Aldergrove at 14:30, heading stateside 2 hours later for Joint Base Andrews. Lastly, Swiss Air Force Citation Excel T-784, made another round trip f/t Bern.
These shots from the Web show the helicopter being towed from the Gama Aviation hangar to the waiting Globemaster, with the support personnel wheeling ancillary equipment. (Marine Chopper photos © eminetra.co.uk / Steven Dunsmore).
Runway 05 was in operation at 13:00 when the heavily laden USAF transport lifted off for Joint Base Andrews.
Thursday 4 November - Saturday 13 November 2021
Back to more reasonable expectations with regard to military visitors compared with the interesting procession over the first three days of the conference. Just two appeared on 4 November, both repeat shows, namely Slovenian Air Force Falcon 2000EX L1-01 and French Air Force Falcon 7X 86/F-RAFB.
The RAF Pumas remained at Glasgow until 15 November.
Italian Air Force Dassault Falcon 900EX MM62245 made a return trip from / to Rome-Ciampino International Airport on Friday 5 November.
US-registered Falcon 900EX N240LG (below) had flown in from Farnborough earlier that morning.
Sunday 7th was the quietest day of the first week of November movement-wise as the conference attendees were having a day off. Even so, Turkish Government Gulfstream GV-SP (G550) TC-DAP, which touched down about 14:00 hours, was an unexpected bonus. The weather wasn`t as favourable the next morning when the left-hand shot was taken. The jet remained on Taxiway Y until 18:45 on Tuesday 9 November when it set off on the return flight to its home base at Ankara.
A repeat visit by Slovenian Air Force Falcon 2000LX L1-01 on the 7th was the only other government/military flight that day, landing at 21:00 hrs and spending just an hour on Area Juliet before setting off again. Bombardier Challenger 604 T-751 (f/v) of the Swiss Air Force flew in from Bern on Tuesday 9 November, followed shortly afterwards by Swedish Air Force Gulfstream G550-Tp102D serial number 102005 from Stockholm. Having cycled round the airport earlier I settled for long distance record shots of both.
On Saturday 13 November, Falcon 2000EX L1-01 Slovenia Air Force made yet another visit, plus Swiss Air Force Falcon 900EX T-785 (f/v) appeared for the first time.
Sunday 14 November - Tuesday 30 November 2021
The first military aircraft to call in after COP26 had ended was Falcon 900 T.18-5 (f/v) of the Spanish Air Force on 14 November. All four RAF Pumas departed Glasgow in formation at 10:00 hours on Monday 15 November and headed back to their RAF Benson base. Royal Navy Merlin HM.2 ZH839 `Tiger 67` visited briefly that day, remaining on the ground between 18:45-19:20 hours. Next, German Air Force Global 5000 14+02 routing from Aalborg to Marseilles overshot Runway 23 at 10:30 hrs on the 17th. French Air Force Falcon 2000LX 231 did an overshoot of the same runway at 10:55 on Tuesday 23 November then a pair of French Air Force Embraer EMB-121 Xingu appeared on Thursday 25 November, touching down about 15:30. The aircraft, 077 (f/v) and 083 (f/v), night-stopped on Area J and left for Cork the next morning.
Construction & Development
By November 1, the upgraded pavement on the north side of Greenock Road at the site of the new roundabout was taking shape.
The tall crane brought in and erected at the Glasgow Airport Investment Area off Abbotsinch Road to help with the final stages of construction of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland building had been dismantled and removed by the end of the month.
With so much land falling to developers, it was great to hear that the Teucheen Wood close to Inchinnan will be bought from its private owner and fall into the hands of the community after a major cash windfall.
The ancient Renfrewshire woodland, which overlooks the new Gilchrist Gardens estate on the Erskine side, will be restored with new routes to improve public access. The Inchinnan Development Trust has just been awarded £71,851 by the Scotland Land Fund with an additional £50,000 from Renfrewshire Council.
The woodland is a wildlife haven and up until now saw very little human intrusion, but if managed properly, animals, birds and people could all benefit.
It’s thought there has been a wood at this location for a thousand years. It now spans nearly 15 acres off Old Greenock Road and is currently owned by the Blythswood Trust. In 1164 a force of 15,000 men under Somerled was attacked and defeated as the warriors crossed the river, the fiercest fighting taking place close to the Teucheen Wood, which as a result is sometimes referred to as Blood’s Mire.
The next battle is to protect the land between Gilchrist gardens and this small wood a few hundred metres to the north. Although very marshy, the ground could be drained to become much sought after real estate for more houses. Survey work has already been carried out but I believe the purchase has been blocked, at least for the time being, as the local area`s infrastructure and amenities would struggle to support the increase in population.
I`m still not sure what`s being built on the site next to Renfrew`s Westway Park. A new headquarters is being constructed for wholesale Cash & Carry company JW Filshill, which is currently based nearby at Hillington, but I believe that is actually within the Westway complex itself. Filshill`s new purpose-built facility, just across the White Cart Water from the Glasgow Airport Investment Area, will be 30% larger than the company`s current HQ. The site will include a 120,400 sq ft distribution centre and 10,000 sq ft of office space. One thing`s sure though - the new building here will be tall and will obscure even more of the already limited views of the airport from the Renfrew Heights. The right hand shot shows the emerging structure from the opposite direction.
The following snap of the Barnsford Bridge over the Black Cart Water was taken on the morning of November 27 from Walkinshaw Road after Storm Arwen had passed. It shows how this area was left relatively unscathed with not even a hint of snow, whereas large tracts of the UK experienced blizzards resulting in widespread traffic disruption.
Out & About
After all the hectic activity during COP26, a relaxing plane-free week on Mull sounded ideal, checking out the island`s exceptional wildlife and hopefully getting a few walks in. The weather on the Saturday when my wife and I headed up to Oban for the ferry was superb, but after that nothing went to plan. Just 15 minutes before the sailing, passengers were told that the crossing was cancelled as the boat had engine trouble. Most of the CalMac`s fleet is ageing and in need of replacement and although the resultant disruption has been well publicised this is the first time I`ve experienced it first-hand. Catching a later ferry from Oban to Craignure wasn`t possible, and the only alternative suggested was to drive up towards Fort William, cross into Moidart for the Lochaline-Fishnish ferry (below).
Our rental property on this occasion was Fingal Cottage which is conveniently situated at Lochdon village, just 3 miles south of the island's main ferry terminal at Craignure, a bonus when you arrive after dark in the pouring rain! This quiet settlement, previously called Lochdonhead, lines the head of loch Don, a shallow, ragged sea loch, with our accommodation occupying a slightly elevated position on the western side of the inner, northernmost bay, overlooking the water and extensive mud flats which are exposed at low tide.
The view from the lounge window, (below) (photographed on a previous visit) stretches as far as Ben Cruachan above Loch Etive on the mainland, but the twin-peaked Munro wasn`t visible at all during the week due to the gloomy conditions - most days we were lucky if visibility stretched to the far side of the loch!
Wildlife sightings from the window though are often good and the first two mornings around first light we watched a pair of otters run along the far side of the narrow tidal arm that runs in front of the cottage then slide into the water to fish. Red Deer are often spotted very close to the cottage but it`s more common to see them grazing on the opposite bank, or occasionally taking a shortcut by swimming across. These hinds were photographed during a downpour.
Wild weather doesn`t necessarily curtail wildlife viewing on Mull as many of the species, whether animals or birds, can be found close to a road. This sodden juvenile White-tailed Eagle was trying to dry its wings while a Buzzard sat close-by on another branch. Suddenly, another young Sea Eagle flew in, causing the buzzard to take to the air, chased by the latest arrival. Both had flown out of range by the time I`d wound down the car window and focused my camera.
These shots give a false impression as overall the weather was atrocious. Pictured above are Loch na Keal and a much photographed red-roofed corrugated cottage and waterfall on its southern bank. The other view is of the ruins of Aros Castle in a brief spell of late afternoon winter sunshine. This stronghold, near Salen on Mull`s east coast, dates from 13th-century and overlooks the once strategically important Sound of Mull. The castle was thought to have been built by one of the MacDougall lords of Lorn but they backed the losing side during the Wars of Independence which resulted in their lands being declared forfeit. Aros changed hands several times over the centuries that followed with Clan Donald and Clan MacLean being the main players.
The only aircraft seen during the entire week on the island was this high-flying eastbound American Airlines Boeing 767 snapped while at an altitude of around 30,000 ft from Calgary Bay when a welcome break appeared in the clouds. There is one small grass airstrip on Mull at Glenforsa but it closes down over the winter months. Come springtime though it`s a different story and fine weather can attract a good variety of light aircraft, either individuals or in small groups stopping off on a longer tour. The Glenforsa Fly-in April is a popular event, both with pilots and visitors alike and is always well-attended.
The Glenforsa website has some excellent footage of the action and emphasises the airfield`s superbly scenic location: www.glenforsa.com.
On our last full day on the island the rain was sheeting down but the decision to take a drive was well rewarded with our best ever view of otters to date.