Mona Aerodrome, Anglesey, Wales

ICAO Code – EGOQ

Elevation – 202 ft amsl

A/G Radio – 118.955 – Call sign = Mona Radio (available evenings in summer and weekends only)

Runways – 1 Ashphalt – 04/22 – 1649x46m

Navigation Aids on aerodrome – N/A

Fuel – Nil

Telephone Number (For PPR) – 01407 720581

Aerodrome is operated by Mona Flying Club 1830-Sunset Monday to Friday (April to September) and 0900-Sunset on Saturday and Sunday.

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

History

The location where Mona Airfield currently resides was first used for aviation during the First World War when the Royal Naval Air Service opened an airship base here named Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Anglesey (also known as RNAS Bodffordd, RNAS Gwalchmai and RNAS Llangefni).

Dropping bombs from an SS Class Airship

RNAS Anglesey was originally commissioned on 26 September 1915, when it was operated by 14 Group RNAS, operating SS18, an SS class airship, which was further joined by airships SS22, SS24 and SS25. The station had a large airship hangar that was 37m × 97m long, workshops, a number of hydrogen gas production sheds and accommodation huts. The airships, which were intended to drop bombs, escorted ships and patrolled for enemy submarines in the central section of the Irish Sea between Bardsey Island, Dublin, the Isle of Man and Morecambe Bay. This area includes the approaches to the Port of Liverpool, which at that time, was one of the busiest ports in the world.

SSZ Class Airship

In June 1917 three SSP class airships, SSP1, SSP5 and SSP6, replaced two of the original SS class airships, the other two old airships continued in use. The airships were later replaced by eight SSZ class airships, which had greater speed, endurance and a higher bomb payload.

 

 

The airships communicated by radio with a relay station at Llaneilian on the north coast of Anglesey, whose operators contacted the airship station by telephone.

Airco DH.6

In November 1917 an unsuccessful attempt was made to base Airco DH.4 light bomber biplanes at RNAS Anglesey. From August to November 1918, eight Airco DH.6 biplanes of No. 255 Squadron RAF were based at RNAS Anglesey, but the poorly-drained land caused difficulty, and the aircraft were transferred to the newly opened Bangor Aerodrome on the Welsh mainland.

Experimental work conducted at RNAS Anglesey during the First World War included the use of hydrophones suspended under airships to detect submarines, the use of phosphorus to create smoke screens at sea, and the use of hydrogen from the airship envelope to fuel the engine.

At the end of the First World War, Major Thomas Elmhirst, the commanding officer of the station, celebrated the armistice by successfully piloting an SSZ airship under the Menai Suspension Bridge. The act did not harm Elmhirst’s career (as it perhaps might today) and he later became Air Marshal Sir Thomas Walker Elmhirst, a senior commander of the RAF.

In 1920 the site was bought by Anglesey County Council. The aircraft shed was demolished and some of the buildings were used as an isolation hospital to impliment infection control.

In 1941 the site was requisitioned for use as an airfield, and the hospital was transferred to Llangefni and in 1942 three tee hangars and seventeen blister hangars were constructed. The concrete runways were laid in 1943. At this time the base was controlled by RAF Training Command. The RAF base was initially named RAF Heneglwys (after a nearby hamlet) but was soon renamed RAF Mona which is another nearby hamlet.

 

Avro Anson patrol

The base was intended to be used by No. 6 Air Gunnery School (AGS), but this unit was not established and RAF Mona was instead used by 3 AGS, which transferred from RAF Castle Kennedy in south-west Scotland in December 1942. 3 AGS was initially equipped with 48 Blackburn Botha torpedo bombers, 6 Fairey Battle light bombers and 8 Miles Martinet target tug aircraft. These were subsequently replaced by Avro Anson multi-role aircraft.                 

In spring 1943 RAF Mona was used by No. 5 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit to train Turkish officers, using Miles Master aircraft. From November 1943 until June 1945, No. 8 Observers Advanced Flying Unit were based at RAF Mona, equipped with Avro Ansons. At the end of the Second World War, 1,378 officers and men of the RAF and 408 officers and women of the WAAF were based at RAF Mona. The airfield was placed on care and maintenance at the end of the war.

de Havilland Vampire

RAF Mona reopened in 1951 as a relief landing ground for RAF Valley, then used by No. 202 Advanced Flying School operating de Havilland Vampire jet fighters. RAF Mona still maintains this role.

Today, Mona is used for circuit practice by BAE Hawks from RAF Valley along with civilian Mona Flying Club and 2474 (Cefni) Squadron Air Training Corps.

Location and amenities

(RAF) Mona Aerodrome is located approximately half way between Bangor and Holyhead on the stunning Isle of Anglesey. Incredible views of Snowdonia shadow the Aerodrome.

RAF Mona acts as the Relief Landing Ground for RAF Valley which is located just 6 miles to the West of Mona. Mona is used by student and instructor pilots to practice flying airfield circuits. RAF Valley is a busy airfield used primarily by Number 4 Flying Training School and so Mona is a very necessary Relief Landing Ground.

Although Mona is an RAF base it is operated at weekends, bank holidays and mid-week summer evenings by Mona Flying Club.

Mona Flying Club offer a range of courses along with popular Trial Lessons, so you can train for your  full PPL/LAPL training together with Night and IMC ratings plus rating and CoE renewals. Special arrangements can be made in advance to conduct training on midweek days, flying out from Mona and returning later in the day.

Mona Flying Club maintain their own website and plenty of information can be found within its pages, along with some stunning aerial footage taken by aviators and their passengers.

A healthy Twitter feed can be found @MonaFlying and a growing Facebook page accompanies the social media output for Mona Flying Club.

Pilot Information

Airbox RunwayHD

Mona lies within the Valley AIAA (Area of Intense Aerial Activity) that operates between 2000′ and 6000′ at the appropriate times and has a CMATZ controlled by RAF Valley on 125.225. During the summer evenings and at a weekend, visiting pilots will usually obtain a service from London Information (FIS) on 125.475.

 

The aerodrome is operated by Mona Flying Club 1830-Sunset Monday to Friday (April to September) and 0900-Sunset on Saturday and Sunday.

Long Final for Rwy 22

In order to visit Mona PPR is required along with a copy of your Insurance document with a minimum £7.5m Crown Indemnity Cover. This can either be emailed to the club in advance or  a copy will be taken upon your arrival. An added bonus is that upon payment of your landing fee and if required, additional circuits may be conducted at no additional charge.

 

A variety of joins can be accommodated dependant on circuit, visiting and training traffic and this is best discussed when obtaining PPR.

Runway 04/22 is Asphalt and impeccably maintained as you would expect. TORA on both 04 and 22 is 1649m, with LDA on 04 – 1581m and on 22 it is 1649m.

Circuits are performed RH on Runway 04 and LH on Runway 22.

The Menai Straights

You will struggle to find a more friendly welcome at any UK airfield, than the one you will get at Mona and the locals, visitors and regulars are a knowledgeable and passionate bunch. If you have any questions about your visit, or perhaps were to get lunch once you land, I suggest you seek one out! Tea and coffee are available upon landing and a large crew room with complimentary WiFi is available for planning your next leg, or simply sitting and admiring the view.

In Summary

Situated on the stunning Isle of Anglesey with views of Snowdonia, Mona must be amongst a handful of aerodromes blessed with the most breathtaking views and ever so friendly people. Whether flying in, or simply planning a visit whilst on Anglesey, Mona is a must.

The beautiful North Wales Coastline

My recommendation if visiting these parts, is to make a day of it when planning your flying.  I would strongly recommend following the North Wales coast from Rhyl for some spectacular scenery as you track the A55 and maybe an orbit of Great Ormes Head, Puffin Island and Red Wharf Bay, being mindful of the Valley MATZ if you are flying midweek.

 

Planning is effortless with Airbox’s RunwayHD flight planning tool and the airfield overlay feature is fantastic. When visiting on a fine flying day, why not consider Caernarfon Airfield and Llanbedr Airfields too? Caernarfon Airfield is 9.7nm from Mona and Llanbedr is 28.4nm as the crow flies, so visiting them all is easily achievable.

Checklist

Before visiting

Check the Aerodrome website

Arrange PPR

Check NOTAM’s and plan your flight

Enjoy your scenic flight and on of the most pleasurable days out that Wales has to offer!

For videos showing arrival and departure to and from Mona Aerodrome, along with a selection of other flights, please visit the author’s YouTube channel.

All of the information above, is correct at the time of going to press.

The author would like to thank Mr. Pete Maher for his assistance in verifying some of the club procedures with regard to this article and Mona Flying Club for the over airfield image.