Surrounded by the most magnificent coastline in all the British Isles, as well as national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a historic University city nearby, Exeter Airport is centrally located in the heart of Devonshire, and we offer some amazing flying days and experiences here on FlyDays.
Founded in 1937, it was established by Exeter Corporation who bought it on private purchase, with the Straight Corporation Ltd who also set up the Exeter Aero Club, which was run from tented terminals as a protemps measure until the main building was completed.
The first scheduled flights that took off from the airport were a summer service run by Jersey Airways to Jersey and the Channel Islands on a schedule of eight flights a week. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the airport became RAF Exeter.
It played a key function in the Battle of Britain, as it was an RAF Fighter Command airfield, and was also used by the USAAF as a D-Day Troop transport base for their Ninth Air Force unit to move paratroops over to Carentan near to the beachhead at Normandy in 1944.
However, despite the best efforts to camouflage the airfield, it was bombed by the Luftwaffe who destroyed the administrative and technical buildings that were essential to its running in wartime. Among the RAF units based here during the war was the No. 213 Squadron and the No. 601 Squadron.
There are two brass plaques that are situated near the airport’s observation lounge, erected here as a mark of remembrance for the acts of defence of the city of Exeter by the allied Polish Air Forces who were also based at the airfield.
There was still residual RAF activity at the airfield even after the end of WWII, until as late as the start of the 1960s, including No. 691 Squadron's target-towing Vultee A-31 Vengeances in 1947, who were the last RAF unit to be based at Exeter.
Scheduled flights recommenced from 1952, with new terminal buildings and runway extensions being added from the early 1980s. One of the main companies that has notably been based at Exeter are Air Charters, who were previously known as Capital Aviation.
Operating since the mid 1990s, they ran private, corporate and VIP chartered flights, emergency patient transfer via Air Ambulance services as well as urgent freight transportation for businesses, VIPs, insurance companies and hospitals.
Only the air ambulance function, known as Capital Air Ambulance, continues to operate to this day, with the airport running a corporate/private flying service in-house as XLR Executive Jet Centres.
The airport is also home to several flying schools, as well as a dedicated VIP lounge and crew facilities, together with refuelling and aircraft parking facilities for private pilots, and an Asphalt runway measuring 2076 x 45 metres.
Devon from the Air
As the principal city of Devonshire, Exeter has many fantastic sights and landmarks on offer. Why not view them from an altogether different perspective with our flying experiences from Exeter Airport?
Just think - you could take off, many feet up into the air, and see all the sights of this historic University city, including the ancient city walls, the stunning Gothic cathedral and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum as you’ve never seen them before.
First Flight at Exeter
Flying and piloting your own plane is something that’s on many people’s bucket lists but rarely gets ticked off. Our range of Flying Lesson packages at Exeter will offer you the opportunity to realise this ambition.
Several flying schools are based at the airport, including Exeter Flying School and Robin Flying Group. On these lessons, which can be booked for either 30 minute or 60 minute sessions, you’ll get airborne in a two-seater aeroplane such as a Robin DR400.
An expert, CAA approved instructor will guide you through and help you master the basics of flying and piloting for the first time, plus this will also count as experience towards obtaining your Private Pilot’s Licence.
Booking to Fly at Exeter Airport
Arranging and booking to enjoy your next flying day or experience at Exeter Airport is simple to do with FlyDays. Our Events calendar for all our listed experiences here are regularly updated, and any forthcoming available date can be booked onto directly.
But for more flexibility, and a great gift idea whatever the special occasion may be for, our open gift vouchers can be purchased and put towards the experience you want to attend at a later time to suit your needs.