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August Bonus Feature - Airfields across the region

August Bonus Feature - Airfields across the region

To accompany our feature Sky High....


For stunning aerial photographs of the region, visit Imag-en-air, the website of Aerial photographer Francis Leroy.


Aéroport international Angoulême-Cognac

16430 Champniers, 05 45 69 88 09, Angouleme airport website
Despite the loss of Ryanair, the airport continues to operate, under the management of SNC-Lavalin Aéroports. The site is also home to Héli Union Training Centre Professional, which trains helicopter pilots 05 45 90 33 30 , to Rotor Angoulême, specialising in helicopter maintenance and private pilot training  05 45 93 68 60, and to Aéro-Nautic Services & Engineering, a new company researching modern airship potential.  
In addition to its 1860m tarmac runway, Angoulême offers a second 750m grass strip. Not one but two flying clubs are based here: l’Aéroclub d'Angoulême (powered light aircraft) 05 45 69 88 22  and l’Association des Ailes Angoumoisines et Charentaises (gliding) 06 52 05 41 07  

Aérodrome de Chalais 

2 km SW of Chalais, with an  840m grass runway and home to the Ailes Chalaisiennes flying club - private flying, both powered and gliders.

Aéroport de Cognac Châteaubernard 

(BA709) BP.91- 16130 Cognac Cedex. 05 45 82 13 51  website.
Six kilometres south of Cognac, the airport is home to the flying school of the Air Force (EPAA). The airport is also open to domestic commercial traffic, non-scheduled commercial traffic and private aircraft. The civilian airport is managed by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Cognac. The base is also home to European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) ‘Snowy’ surveillance drones deployed around the world, the French Air Force Cartouche Doré aerobatic team and to Les Ailes Cognaçaises Aéro-Club (powered light aircraft, gliders and aero-modelling).

Aéroport de Jonzac - Neulles 

17500 Jonzac-Neulles  4km N of Jonzac, offers light-aircraft and hot-air balloon flights, plus instruction including night flying. Two runways: 1250m and 610m (reserved for ultra-lights only). Home to the Aeroclub Jonzacais  05 46 48 06 47.

Aéroport de La Rochelle - Île de Ré 

rue du Jura, 17000 La Rochelle. Currently the most important airport in Poitou-Charentes, with a 2255m tarmac runway used by several well-known commercial carriers. However, several clubs and similar activities are also based here: l’Aéroclub de La Rochelle et Charente-Maritime 05 46 42 54 74. 
l’Aéroclub Rochellais  05 46 42 54 42, la Grand Club Ouest Aviation (specialising in flight simulator experiences), Altitudes 05 46 29 62 49, Aunis Air, Air Loisirs 05 46 67 78 90 (for amateur aircraft constructors) and Héliberté 08 20 82 06 98 (helicopter pleasure flights).

Aéroport de Marennes 

17320 Saint-Just Luzac. Managed by the Ville de Marennes and licensed for limited private light-aircraft only, 770m grass runway, unsupervised. The home of l’Aéroclub Albert Baron 05 46 85 06 51.

Aérodrome de Pons-Avy 

31 Route de l’aérodrome, 17800 Pons. A 1250m grass runway, plus both grass and gravel strips for model aircraft. Home to l’Aéroclub de Pons.

Aéroport de Rochefort 

17620 Saint-Agnant. Managed by the Conseil Général de la Charente Maritime, Rochefort (and not La Rochelle) seems planned to become the principal regional airport, despite environmental and other concerns. It has an important military role, is home to l’Ecole de Formation des Sous-Officiers de l’Armée de l’Air (EFSOAA) and offers both 2280m tarmac and 830m grass runways. There are two flying clubs: l’Aero-club Charentais et l'Aéroclub du pays Rochefortais  05 46 83 15 88  and l’Aéroclub Charentais  05 46 83 03 16.  Activities include light aircraft and glider flying instruction (including courses for non-licenceholders regularly accompanying private pilots).

Aérodrome de Royan - Médis

Rue Joseph de Lelée, 17600 Médis. Administered by the Mairie de Royan, this historic airfield has two runways: 1255m of tarmac and 1000m of grass. Its partner airfield at Soulac sur Mer is 15 minutes flight from Royan and has a 770m tarmac runway. There is a full-time Chief Pilot at Royan who oversees instruction, which is possible every day of the year at Royan and Saturdays at Soulac. The airfield also offers 30 minute scenic flights or, if you are considering taking up flying, a pilot taster session. Details from the Aéroclub de Royan 05 46 06 86 00. 

Aérodrome de Saintes - Thénac

17460 Thenac. A popular airfield for British visitors to the region who appreciate the good weather and proximity to the coast and places of interest. There’s a chance to fly planes, gliders and model aircraft. Flying instruction (including aerobatics) is offered 7 days a week, 05 46 93 08 97. Three twin-seat gliders plus four single-seaters are available daily during the summer, 06 99 73 50 44. The model aircraft club specialises in both free-flight and radio-controlled aircraft. Website.

Aérodrome de Saint-Jean-d'Angély - Saint-Denis-du-Pin

2km north of Saint Jean D'Angely with an 850m long grass runway and home to the Aéroclub Angérien 05 46 32 19 38. Flying instruction in a Cessna 152, Wed-Sat every week.

Aérodrome de Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron

Bois Fleury, 17310 St Pierre d’Oléron. Two grass runways of 1011m and 520m, established in 1936, from which the Aéroclub Les Ailes Oléronaises 05 46 47 02 31, offers instruction and scenic flights over the island. Recently-built hangars have increased the airfield’s capacity to 40 aircraft and microlights.

Aérodrome Mauléon-Bocage

79700 Rorthais. Opened in 1995 to help local businesses bring in corporate investment to the area, it also hosts the Aéroclub du Bocage 05 49 81 85 54 which offer flying instruction and pleasure jaunts over north Deux-Sèvres.

Aérodrome Niort-Marais Poitevin

Route de Limoges, 79000 Niort. Operated by the Ville de Niort and open 24 hours a day, this aerodrome sees around 35,000 takeoffs and landings each year, from business jets, military transport planes and light aircraft. Two flying clubs are based at the airfield. The Aéroclub de Niort  flies planes and gliders and offer instruction, initiation flights and scenic outings. The Aero Club of Deux-Sèvres organises similar training and flights, with volunteer instructors for planes and gliders. Other activities include microlights, model aircraft and parachuting, plus numerous events open to the public. There’s also a club Les Ailes Anciennes  which conserves and safeguards classic/heritage aircraft.

Aérodrome de Thouars

Route de Poitiers, 79100 Missé. With an 1100m grass runway situated 5km from Thoars in north Deux-Sèvres, the Aeroclub Thouarsais  offers pilot instruction and leisure flights (including over the Château d’Oiron).

Aérodrome de Châtellerault 


Targé is 3km south of Châtellerault. Les Ailes Châtelleraudaises  flying club was established in 1933 and offers instruction every weekday afternoons and all day at weekends. There’s also a very active model aircraft club.

Aérodrome de Chauvigny 

2km north of Chauvigny with a 740m grass runway. The airfield is managed by the Aéro-club, which has been training plane and glider pilots throughout its 60 year history, and added ULMs in 2008.

Aérodrome de Couhé - Vérac

Les Bernards, 86700 Couhé. Home to the annual Meeting-Aérien which takes place every July, Couhé has two grass runways, the shorter being reserved for ULMs. The Aéro-Club de Couhé  offers pilot instruction including a new Handivol programme for training disabled pilots.

Aérodrome de Loudun

Bellevue, 86200 Loudun. A small airfield managed by the town with a recently-refurbished 790m grass runway. Leisure flights and pilot initiation sessions are offered by the Aéro-Club Loudunais.

Aéroport de Poitiers-Biard 

5 Rue du Sous-Lieutenant Collart,  86580 Biard  05 49 30 04 40, airport website.  The airport is managed by Vinci Airports, taking over from the Syndicat Mixte d'Aéroport Poitiers Biard in January 2013. The first plane landed at Poitiers almost a century ago – now it has become the second-busiest airport in the region, with plans to extend its low-cost flights to Germany, Switzerland and Holland by 2019. In addition to pilot training, the Aéro-Club du Poitou (whose website has a comprehensive list of French/English aeronautical vocabulary) offers glider flights and training, aero modelling, including construction and how to fly your craft. The Aéroclub ASPTT Poitiers  organises introductory flights and pleasure jaunts, including overviews of construction work on the LGV.

Aérodrome de Saint-Junien

La Croix Blanche, 87200 Saint Junien. The airfield has a 585m surfaced runway, with a grass runway and model aircraft area currently being added. The friendly Aéro Club de Saint Junien welcomes new pilots for instruction in aircraft or a recently-acquired ULM. The flying club offers discovery flights, taster sessions and full instruction throughout the year.

Aérodrome de Fontenay-le-Comte

Route Maillezais, 85200 Fontenay-le-Comte. Three kilometres from Fontenay-le-Comte and a few minutes flight from La Rochelle and the Vendée coast, the airfield has a 970m tarmac runway and an adjacent 960m grass landing strip reserved for gliders. The Aéro Club  is run by volunteers, who maintain superb facilities for members and those wishing to undertake instruction in light aircraft or a Skyranger ULM. For gliding contact the Planeur Club Sud Vendée,  02 51 69 73 02. There are two associated businesses based at Fontenay: Fly West Loisirs, 06 08 27 34 63 offers repair, maintenance and an aircraft hire service, and Aero 85 provides maintenance and repair for light aircraft.