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Bournemouth-Hurn Airport – Spotting Guide
Bournemouth-Hurn Airport (BOH/EGHH) is located on the south coast of England approximately 170 km southwest of London and 7km north of Bournemouth city centre. It serves the cities of Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and the wider southwest coast. Bournemouth was opened for the RAF in 1941 and also served the USAF during WW2 as well as providing an alternate airfield for civil airlines serving London during the war. From the 1950s schedules services were slowly introduced to Bournemouth and it also became a major base of British aircraft manufacturing with both the Vickers Viscount and the BAC 1-11 being assembled in Bournemouth. The old production hangars are still in use today (spot #3). Passenger traffic has been fluctuating over the years, with the airport mainly serving charter traffic to the usual holiday spots around the Mediterranean. Palmair, founded and owned by Bournemouth based Bath Travel was one based at the airport port for two decades operating BAE 146-200, B737-200 and B737-500 until it was forced to shut down in 2011. Today passenger traffic is dominated by Ryanair with one aircraft based and TUI who have a B737-800W based in the summer season, usually in the Sunwings hybrid colours. Easyjet tends to operate a few flights per week to Geneva in the winter season. However, the bigger attraction for enthusiast are the based and stored aircraft as well as visitors for the various maintenance companies and the paint shop.
Since the late 1980s European Aviation Air Charter has been based at BOH. Their colourful fleet included BAC 1-11, A300, B737-200 and B747-200 until in ceased operations in 2008. It’s engineering and aircraft sales business is still based at the airport as well as the 6 former Virgin A340-600 flying under the name European Air Cargo. Most of the A340-600 are still in basic Virgin colours but have lost the special NHS titles that they were wearing during the pandemic. They now fly fairly regularly to China and New York but 3 or 4 can be seen at base.
B737 classic in colours of various operators from all over the world have been stored at BOH over the years but recently a bit of a clear out has happened. But you never know what to expect.
Draken Europe has a fleet of Special Mission Falcon 20s based at the airport. These are operating training missions for the RAF and Royal Navy and can be see frequently on sorties, mainly on weekdays. Business jets and props (especially PC12) are also frequent visitors due to multiple based maintenance companies.
For the last about 20 years Bournemouth has also been home to the only Conroy CL-44 Guppy ever built. Despite all the rumours that it will be scrapped soon it has luckily survived so far and as of June 2022 is still stored at BOH. However, unfortunately it has been moved to a position where currently no good pictures are possible from outside.
Written by Mike Lutzenberger and Johannes Wirl. Last Update: Mike Lutzenberger (Spot #3B & #5, Removed Spot #3C and new photos) August 2022
How was your trip? Rate this airport!
| (6 votes, average: 3.17 out of 5)
|08/26||2271m – Asphalt|
|17/35||1476m – not in use, just used for parking|
|Terminal 1||One terminal for all movement.|
|Ladder||Recommended for some spots. Details given for each location|
|Car/Public Transport||Car is recommended to travel between the spots as the public bus only runs Monday to Friday and is very infrequent. Jetbus 737 is operating from Central Bournemouth to the business park (#1-5 walkable), along the fence (#6-8) to the terminal. The bus is very infrequent so best to check the schedule HERE.|
|Restrooms||Restrooms in the terminal, aviation museum and at Cribby’s café in the business park.|
|Drinks/Food||In the terminal and in the business park there is a cafe called Cribby’s that sells good Burgers etc|
|Hotels||None nearby. Plenty of hotels available in Bournemouth about 15min drive away|
|Season||There are more holiday flights by TUI and Ryanair in the summer but as stored aircraft are the main attraction year round.|
|Security||There is a gate at the entrance of the business park. It’s is usually manned with the barriers open. There is no need to stop. Security also patrols within the business park both inside and outside the airside area. However, I have never experienced any problems. But as this is a private property it is important that all spotters behave responsibly, don’t trespass any fences or barriers and leave as soon as all photos are taken.
There is plenty of free car parking available on all spots in the business park. Please make sure that you don’t stop on the road, in front of crash gates or parking spaces that are clearly marked as private. Please also be careful not to block the frequent heavy lorry traffic.
|08/26||Used for all movements.|
|11/29||Out of service, just used for parking.|
|Spot #1 – Honeywell – PC12, Flying club|
|WHERE||When leaving the airport terminal drive towards the west/turn right on the B3073 along the perimeter fence. You will pass the end of runway 08. At the roundabout take the second exit (turn right) into chapel gate and follow the airport perimeter, now north of the runway. You will enter the airport business park. There is a gate at the entrance of the business park. It’s is usually manned with the barriers open. There is no need to stop. Just after the first roundabout after entering the business park you will see the Honeywell building on your right. Bus stop: Enterprise way|
|WHAT||Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training Centre planes and PC-12.|
|TIME||Summer afternoon until sunset, winter afternoon though the sun won’t come around fully.|
|MISC.||Ladder not needed and recommended. It’s possible to shoot through the fence Spotters aren’t always appreciated here so stop only briefly to take pictures, be discrete and quick.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||50-100mm for closer aircraft, about 200mm for the PC12 which are parked further away|
|Spot #2 – Viscount Road – parked A340-600 and GA|
|WHERE||After you pass the Honeywell building continue straight on Enterprise Road. It changes its name to Viscount Road and loops past the old BAC 1-11 hangars. After you pass the European apron with the stored aircraft on the right you see a big gate to the airfield. Park on the side of the road, do no block the gate or the road. To you right is the European apron. Depending on how aircraft are parked some shot over the fence may be possible. Walk along the fence to find the best position. Bus stop: AIM Building|
|WHAT||You can shoot the planes parked on the old runway 17/34. Currently most likely European Air Cargo A340-600. Also various GA aircraft or helicopters that park nearby. Stored aircraft on the European apron and business jets for maintenance.|
|TIME||Summer afternoon until sunset for planes parked on the old runway 17/34, winter afternoon though the sun won’t come around fully. European apron only late afternoon in summer.|
|MISC.||Ladder not needed for runway 17/34. It’s possible to shoot through the fence and gate. For the European apron there are big concrete blocks that help.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||135mm for A340-600, up to 400mm for smaller aircraft depending on parking position.|
|Spot #3 – Ramps – European apron|
|WHERE||After you pass the Honeywell building continue straight on Enterprise Road. Turn the second right into Commercial way passing the fuselage of a former OZJet B737-200 on your left. At the next roundabout turn left onto aviation way. You will see the European apron (3A) in front of you and some more to the right at Airtime Parts (3B),
Update: Spot 3B is currently no longer available as a lot of stored ground equipment is blocking the view. Photos of the CL44 Guppy and Bizjets parked outside the Gamma Hangar are no longer possible
|WHAT||You can shoot the planes parked on the apron and business jets for maintenance at Thurston aviation (3A) , Gamma aviation hangar & runway17/34 (3B&C).|
|TIME||All year round. Depends on how the planes are parked.|
|MISC.||Ladder (3-4 steps) recommended though shouting through the fence is possible for planes parked further away. Parked GA aircraft or airport equipment often block the view, so the spots aren’t always usable. You must be lucky.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Depending on parking position, Jettime B737-300W 90mm, Gulfstream 75mm. A340-600 115mm|
European Aviation 3A:
Airtime Parts 3B:
|Spot #4 – Southern Perimeter Road – Runway 08/26|
|WHERE||The B3073 runs along the southern airport perimeter and there is a sidewalk for pedestrians. There is no parking at this spot. Closest parking at the museum/adventure park and from there walk back. Don’t stop at the road as this is a busy road with fast traffic. Bus stop children’s Wonderland on Jetbus 737 and line 769.|
|WHAT||Aircraft lining up on runway 08 or slowing down on runway 26|
|TIME||Summer midday until afternoon, Winter whole day|
|MISC.||Ladder needed – 3-4 steps. Watching aircraft from the public sidewalk seems tolerated but it’s probably best to use the ladder only briefly to shoot any movements to avoid issues with security.|
Unluckily we cannot provide any pictures from here yet. But they should look like THIS for example…
|Spot #5 – Adventure Wonderland – Runway 08/26|
|WHERE||On the B3073 you will see the Adventure Wonderland family theme park clearly signposted. Drive up to the big car park and walk back 2 minutes to reach the bank at the entry of the road. Bus stop children’s Wonderland on Jetbus 737 and line 769.|
|WHAT||Only for 26 departures. You are on an elevated bank overlooking runway 08/26. Shots on the taxiway and runway aren’t possible as the planes are too close to the fence and covered by the trees.|
|TIME||Summer midday until afternoon, Winter whole day|
|FOCAL LENGTH||B737-800 200-220m, Falcon 20 400m|
|Spot #6 – Parley lane – Southern apron|
|WHERE||This spot can be found south of the airport as well along the Parley lane. Just east of the museum, there will be a little gate to the airport, so north of the lane here, from where you can catch a view to the area/apron behind the hill line. So this spot is located between all those trees on the hill just exactly at the gate.|
|WHAT||The hill line behind the fence has a little gap behind the gate here so you can spot everything behind/thru the hole here. Mostly only the southern apron just in front.|
|TIME||Noon till sunset normally.|
|MISC.||Ladder not useful as you will have the tree crowns in the picture from up there. The trees are unfortunately growing fast so it is likely that you will have some branches on top of some shots. In general, your view is very limited here and also the space where you can shoot. One has to shoot thru the mesh here so thin lens recommended… Nothing around, don’t block the gate with your car! As it is a very busy road best to park at the museum and walk down.|
A346 on stand = 80mm
|Bournemouth Aviation Museum – Museum + (Runway 08/26)|
|WHERE||Just in between spots 5 and 6. You won’t miss it!|
|WHAT||When you are in Bournemouth the Bournemouth Aviation Museum is well worth a visit. It has a nice collection of military aircraft, some cockpits and also the forward fuselage of a former European B737-200 Palmair colours. It houses a nice exhibition on this Bournemouth based airline and it’s colourful and innovative history. It is also south of runway 08/26 and has 2 elevated viewing platforms overviewing the runway. Not the best option for photography as trees blocks the sight and heat is an issue due to the distance. Shots on the taxiway aren’t possible as the planes are too close to the fence and covered by the trees.
Some of the aircraft parked on the closed runway (at the moment usually MLT A346) can also be shot with a long lens.
|TIME||Summer midday until afternoon, Winter whole day for the runway. Most exhibits have best light during that time as well.|
|MISC.||No ladder needed. The spot is inside the Museum, so you need to pay an entrance fee. For prices and opening times visit their website.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||B737-800 200-220m, Falcon 20 400m , Museum exhibits 20-40mm|