Carlisle Airport, Cumbria


Elevation – 190 ft amsl

AFIS – 123.600 – Call sign = Carlisle APP/TWR/VDF (usually weekdays) and Carlisle Radio (usually weekends) – AS NOTIFIED BY NOTAM

Runways – 2  Asphalt

Navigation Aids on aerodrome – ATIS 118.425 – NDB “CL” 328.0 (on A/D) – DME “CO” 110.70 (on A/D)

Fuel – AVGAS 100LL, Jet A1 by arrangement

Telephone Number (For PPR) – 01228 573641

Telephone Number (For ATIS) – 01228 574123

Operating hours, hangarage, parking, landing fees and landing cards – Please see website.

Carlisle Airport is an exciting and vibrant airport with all the qualities and features of a large airport in Class D airspace, yet it is located within Class G Airspace. It should be noted, that whichever direction you approach Carlisle Airport from, you will overfly some simply stunning Cumbrian scenery in one of the most beautiful corners of the UK.

Being based at City Airport Manchester, Barton, I flew in from the south, routing over Lake Windermere and the Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District National Park at FL070. I do not possess the literary skills to describe the beauty of this part of the world. A cruise descent when on frequency with Carlisle Radio really does make you appreciate the pleasure of flying and a very warm welcome awaits.

Location and amenities

d4Carlisle Airport is located North of the Lake District Park high ground. It is only 6 miles to the east of Carlisle City Centre and is considered the gateway to the Lake District National Park, The Pennines, South West Scotland and the Border regions. Close by to Kirkbride Airfield and the Solway Firth there is plenty to see and do on a day trip to Carlisle Airport.  Approach and departure are, in my opinion, amongst some of the most scenic that UK flying has to offer and everyone is extremely friendly at this wonderful airport. Once at Carlisle Airport, you will see many varied types from open cockpit aircraft, gyroplanes, military aircraft and business jets, all using the facilities. All are seamlessly integrated and everyone receives first class treatment.

d13Carlisle Airport is thriving. Not only with two flying schools which offer fixed wing training, one offering microlight training, but also a flying school offering gyroplane training. The airfield has maintenance organisations on site and a VIP Helicopter Charter Operation and Executive Handling is available via the Operations Team. For visiting pilots and members of the public, you will find the recently refurbished and outstanding Cafe Stobart at the foot of the control tower, offering a warm welcome, great food and reasonable prices. Cafe Stobart is bustling with activity, from Student PPL’s, Commercial, Military and ATPL pilots, aviation enthusiasts and members of the public alike. There is always somebody to talk to, should you wish and it is open daily.

You can also visit the Solway Aviation Museum on-site. Offering a wide range of aircraft, aviation artefacts and displays, it is easy to lose track of time as you reflect on Britain’s position as a world leader in aircraft design and innovation at the dawn of the jet age.  The museum is run by volunteers and they maintain their own website, which I strongly recommend you spend some time visiting. If you were not planning to visit the museum on your fly in, I think it will change your mind! Avro Vulcan XJ823 is now long retired, but available for some fantastic photographs, not only on arrival and departure, but also when you visit the museum.

Pilot Information

Carlisle Airport maintains an excellent website, with much of the detail you will require for your flight planning, including weekly updates on the home page regarding opening hours and other matters of interest to the visiting pilot. There are weekly newsletters that are downloadable in PDF format and a tab for useful contacts, which is an excellent idea and whilst researching, lost myself for few minutes, scrolling though and opening up some new and interesting tabs. ATIS information is advised bt phone on 01228 574123 and should be checked during your planning, as METAR’s will not be published when the airport is operating an Air / Ground service.

d21Runways 07/25 are 1837m x 30m and have threshold, Runway and PAPI lights.

Runways 01/19 are 938m x 23m and have taxiway lighting.

Carlisle Airport is something of a halfway house, between the bigger Class D airports and some of the smaller and more informal airfields around the UK. Whichever ATC / A/G service you are on frequency with, you will receive the same high standard of service and it is very good preparation if you are considering a visit to a larger Class D airport. AOPA have recently run an article regarding pilots who actively avoid Class D airspace and are not confident in requesting zone transits or zone entries. Carlisle Airport will give you the confidence to plan your subsequent trip and likely offer you more facilities upon landing. I cannot recommend this enough.

Flying in

The majority of the upper airspace around Carlisle is higher than the average GA pilot will need to be concerned with, although there is an AIAA to the east which operates between the Surface and 5500’, so proper planning is essential.

I have mentioned the scenery and although the photographs on the article will give you some idea, a flight is strongly recommended to appreciate all that this beautiful part of the UK has to offer.

d14Visiting pilots are requested to contact Carlisle early. Establishing contact at VRP’s Penrith, Workington, Langholm or Haltwhistle is advisable to reduce pilot and controller workload. A full list of the VRP’s are published on the relevant airfield plates and details are reproduced on Carlisle Airport’s website.

Pilots less familiar with larger airports should pay particular attention to taxiway holding points for power checks and prior to departure. If you are unsure, a friendly ATC / A/G operator will assist you, so don’t be afraid to request further assistance.

Going forward

The future is bright at Carlisle Airport. The Airport is hoping to resurface its runways in the imminent future and further development of the Airport is being openly discussed. It is hoped that operating hours are to be extended further, for the benefit of all, whilst the Airport is committed to remaining GA friendly. In these days of uncertainty, it is a genuine pleasure to see an airport thriving and growing.

In Summary

Carlisle Airport has it all. Location, relaxed Airspace, Dedicated and professional staff, training and maintenance facilities and a welcoming GA approach to visiting pilots and aircraft.

d16An outstanding museum that attracts large volumes of visitors and a bustling Cafe serving wholesome food to hungry patrons. Both Carlisle Airport and Solway Aviation Museum maintain active social media accounts and are worth following.

Carlisle is an absolute must in terms of Airports to visit and there is no time like the present, as there is an air of excitement about the future of Carlisle airport and all that it has to offer.

Unfold those charts and dust off those Plogs. The proud people of Carlisle Airport are waiting for your first call!


Before visiting

  1. Check the Airport website, NOTAM’s, plate and mark the VRP’s on your chart
  2. Speak with an on duty operations assistant or ask for ATC if there is a question that the Operations team cannot answer.
  3. Arrange PPR
  4. Enjoy one of the most scenic flights and pleasurable days out.

For videos showing arrival and departure to and from Carlisle Airport, a selection are available on the author’s YouTube channel.