Cranfield Airport (XUD/EGTC) is situatiated in Bedfordshire about 6 miles east of Milton Keynes, just a short drive off the M1motorway. It lies about 50 miles north of Central London and about 30 minutes’ drive north of London Luton Airport. It was originally opened in 1935 as RAF Cranfield. After the second world war it became the site for a new College of Aeronautics, later renamed Cranfield University. The university has a long association with aviation and helped develop the highly successful Harrier Jump Jet. In recent years Cranfield airport is trying to get its share of the London business jet market. There are several maintenance companies based at the airport. Of particular interest is Avalon aviation who moved from Kemble a few years ago. Among smaller types they are specialised in Jetstream and BAE 146/ AVRO RJ Series. As a result, several BAE 146/ AVRO 146 are usually stored in Cranfield, either for scrapping or for preparation for new operators. Cranfield University has a former BA B737-400 as an instructional airframe.
Written by Michael Lutzenberger. Last Update: 2020
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|03/21||1800m – Asphalt|
|Terminals||No passenger terminal, only a GA facility.|
|Ladder||2 -3 steps recommended on all spots.|
|Car/Public Transport||Car recommended, though there is a bus services from Bedford to Milton Keynes with stops in Cranfield village from where it is possible to walk to the spots.|
|Restrooms||Probably ok to use the pub or Costa Coffee as mentioned below.|
|Drinks/Food||There is pub and a few small supermarkets in Cranfield village. In the main University area there is a Costa coffee.|
|Hotels||There is a 4* hotel within the University campus. Most major hotel chains can be found in Milton Keynes, about 6 miles away.|
|Season||Year round as the main attraction are stored BAE 146/ AVRO RJ Series. Due to its proximity to the circuit the weekend of the British F1 Gran Prix in Silverstone is likely to be quite busy.|
|General Info||Only runway 03/21 is still operational and used for all traffic.|
|Spot #1 – Merchant lane – Main storage area + 03/21 movements|
|WHERE||The main road (high street) through Cranfield village connects from Bedford to the M1 and Milton Keynes. In the village centre opposite the war memorial and The Swan pub turn into merchant lane and drive all the way until the end when you reach the runway. There is plenty of parking on the side of the road along the hedge, but you can also come by bus – just use bus stop war memorial.|
|WHAT||Good view of the main storage area on the disused runway 26. This is where the BAE 146/AVRO RJs are stored. Walk along the fence/hedge to get the best angle for all stored aircraft.
On the gate at the end of the road it is also possible to shoot aircraft on runway 03/21.
|TIME||In the morning year-round and summer late evening for the stored aircraft.
Till around midday for the runway.
|MISC.||2 -3 steps needed to clear the hedge. This is a quiet residential road with speed limits and children playing on the road. Please drive carefully and don’t block any driveways when parking so that the local residents will not be disturbed by our hobby.|
130-200mm for BAE/Avro / 300-400mm on the runway
|Spot #2 – Stilliters Farm road – Storage on runway 08/26 and 17/35 + 03/21 movements|
|WHERE||Coming from Cranfield village or #1 follow the main road south and turn right onto the first road after you leave the village.
Coming from the university side take the third exit on the main roundabout when first entering the area to connect to Cranfield village.
The road leads around the southern end of the airport. About halfway there is a turn into Stilliters farm road. It’s a wide paved road and there is plenty of space to park without blocking access to the property at the end of the road. Then just search your favourite position along the fence.
|WHAT||What you can shoot nicely here exactly depends on your position along the fence, but in general you can see from here:
The B737-400 of Cranfield University, plus aircraft stored on disused runway 08/26 or 17/35.
But also active traffic on runway/approach 03 and larger aircraft taxying to the end of the runway prior 03 departure or after 21 arrival.
|TIME||Depends on what you wanna shoot and from which side, but this spot is normally either best in the morning or afternoon.|
|MISC.||You are on a bank overlooking the fence so a ladder is not essential but recommended to clear the high grass. Thus haze may be an issue in summer if the grass is too high.
150mm for B737-400 / 400mm for stored J31