South Wales Aviation Group reach milestone

An aviation enthusiast website based in the Vale of Glamorgan has reached a significant milestone this month as their number of hits on their blog hit 2 million views.

The South Wales Aviation Group which is an enthusiast website that logs the arrivals and departures of almost every aircraft in and out of both Cardiff Airport and MoD St Athan has been running since 2006.  The website was the brainwave of Mr Ian Grinter after realising the benefits of the Internet in recording the aircraft arrivals and departures.

He said “The site was a brainwave of mine back in January 2006. Years ago in the 70s when I started spotting there were quite a crowd of us that would go to the airport  when we weren’t at school and collect numbers of visiting aircraft. It got to a stage that we would see aircraft whilst in school or at home and then tried to find out the registrations and would ring each other trying to find out.”

He continued, “We had the idea of keeping a book behind the information desk and whoever visited the airport would write down their sightings in the book, this was a big success and was used a lot.  It dawned on me one night that a similar thing could be achieved with the Internet and I set out to find a free site that could work and not looked back since!”

The Wales Air Forum are regular visitors of the website as it provides us with reliable information regarding ad-hoc and diverts movements for both Cardiff Airport and MoD St Athan which makes it possible for us to perform our monthly logs.

The blog also provides information regarding residents based at Cardiff, MoD St Athan, Swansea and Pembrey along with the status of aircraft Hunter Flying Ltd, eCube Solutions LLP and Cardiff Aviation Ltd.

The website is updated by several dedicated individuals throughout the day and night.  This ensures that South Wales Aviation Group is a trusted and valuable resource.  Many of the members can be seen at the flying club in Rhoose which offers a great vantage point for viewing aircraft and taking photo’s.

View website:


A Tour of Hunter Flying Ltd



Yak-52 & Van’s aircraft line up Picture Credit: James Thomas

By Gerallt Marsh

Today Sat 8th Dec 12 I was very lucky to be one of a 20-30 strong group on a tour of the Hunter Flying Ltd hangar at MoD St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan.

We were the second group to visit in consecutive weeks which part of a trial for possible future tours depending on their success.

We were advised to report to security between 09:30 & 10:00 to register my attendance and to obtain a vehicle pass to enter the St Athan site.  After everyone had registered and paid a £5 donation to Hunter Flying Ltd we entered the restricted area in a convoy of vehicles and headed to the Hunter Flying Hangar.

We were provided with a quick briefing from John Sparks, Chief Engineer of Hunter Flying Ltd.  The briefing quite simply compiled of some health and safety pointers and advising that photographs were for personal use only.

We were then left to roam the hangar to our own devices where we could see several complete aircraft including the Hawker Hunters, Percival Jet Provost, Strikemaster, Yak-50 / 52,

Delfines and that’s just naming the completed aircraft.  John Sparks and one other engineer were on hand to answer any questions that the group wanted to ask.

Once the group had finished nosing around and taking photo’s we were then given a surprise that were able to go an visit the two Canadair 215 Buffalo Airways aircraft located outside Cardiff Aviation Ltd.

After 10 minutes of photographs we then drove past the commercial aircraft which were being looked after by eCube Solutions LLP who specialises in ‘end-of-life’ aircraft

projects.  These were the only aircraft that we were not permitted to photograph.

We were then escorted back to the entrance where we all parted our separate ways.


Hawker hunter line up Picture Credit: James Thomas


I cannot thank Richard Peckham enough for organising this event.  Richard was the contact point who passed on all relevant information required to make the morning go as smoothly as possible for no reward.

I would also like to thank John Sparks, Chief Engineer of Hunter Flying Ltd for providing us with the opportunity to visit the aircraft.  I hope that the tours went as planned and that further opportunities are available in 2013.

Aviation enthusiasts left intimidated while viewing at St Athan

A number of aviation enthusiasts have of late been offered abusive behaviour whilst viewing aircraft on the Old Llantwit Major road which is situated alongside the Southern Boundary of RAF St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan.

The individual who has caused enthusiasts distress is believed to be associated with the farm situated near the crash gate. This has occurred on more than one occasion whereby claims the land is private property owned by the farm, preventing lawful access for members of the public to enjoy their hobby.

The Farm in question is located at the end of the ‘Old’ Llantwit Major road with a stoned track linking it to St Athan Village.  It is believed but not confirmed that the farm is now owned by the Welsh Assembly Government after being purchased to extend the military base as part of the Defence Training Academy.  The farmhouse itself may have to be vacated soon as part of this purchase agreement, however the ground itself will remain to be farmed under notice.

A spokesman of the South Wales Aviation Group said “All enthusiasts are known to park well to the side of the road taking into consideration access requirements of the farm.  We have been viewing from this location since the 80s and are fully aware of the public right of way”.

Mr Ray Eade, a Highways inspector for the Vale of Glamorgan Council has stated that the track in question is no longer classified as a road, but is now identified as designated track/path No.19- Vale of Glamorgan.   There is full public assess to this site by vehicle or on foot. This has not yet been confirmed in writing, but maps are available to view at the Vale of Glamorgan Council offices at the Docks if necessary. The Old Llantwit Major road is not owned by the farmer, council or Welsh Assembly Government and is akin to common ground, being an old ‘Civic Path’ with public right of way since time immemorial.

The actions of the individual has made some enthusiasts feel intimidated to an extent they advised their members not to use the area until they had clarification of the issue.

The Wales Air Forum team have visited this exact location previously and have witnessed the South Wales Aviation Group and other enthusiasts in this particular location and cannot find a reason why the individual has decided to intimidate the enthusiasts.

We stress to everyone that enthusiasts do not under any circumstances purposely intend to aggravate the situation as it may have detrimental affect for other potential enthusiasts.  We ask enthusiasts to continue to take into consideration the requirement to leave plenty of room for farm vehicles to access the farm at all times and also not to drop litter.

We also strongly advise that any instance of threatening behaviour, or damage caused to any enthusiasts’ property should be reported initially to the Police at nearby Llantwit Major or Barry Police Stations.  Please ensure that you note any offending vehicle registrations and if possible to take photo’s and/or video footage of instances.