Located 5 miles south-east of Frankfurt am Main, Egelsbach is Germany’s busiest general aviation airport. It’s a non-controlled VFR-only airport in class D airspace, with a permanent implicit clearance to enter, granted from Frankfurt Tower. On busy days, up to 80 movements per hour are not unusual. Yes, 80 landings or take-offs in 60 minutes, on a single runway. I flew there in 2009 when I got my multi-engine rating flying a DA42 TwinStar at the Motorflugschule Egelsbach. I used to fly at busy, international airports, but I must say that what I experienced at Egelsbach is something different. Before flying there, I never had to overtake other aircraft in the airport pattern.
The runway has an east / west orientation and there are two circuits, one on the north side for training, and one on the south side for aircraft coming to land or leaving the area. The circuits for runway 09 have almost no final leg, the base turn is to be flown shortly after passing abeam the threshold, to avoid intruding the Frankfurt CTR. Both circuits must be flown at 1’300 feet, and the Charlie airspace of Frankfurt TMA starts at 1’500. Finding the circuits is rather easy, thanks to two nearby motorways and a power line on the south. The golden rule is easy: you should in no case fly west of the A5 motorway – this is Frankfurt airspace.
Because of the proximity with Frankfurt, approaching and leaving Egelsbach is possible only via the south and the east. Five VFR reporting points are defined (J, D, K, E and T) and routes between these points and the airport are published. Beware of one important details: these routes are all one way, and change according to the active runway. Don’t think of an overhead join, or a mid of downwind entry. A bit more than the standard preparation is required here. The “Egelsbach info” frequency is active when the airport is open and the guys operating it are rather helpful and they have good radar coverage. Even if it is not formally a Tower, not following their advice would be silly.
The Egelsbach train station is approximately 20 walking minutes away, and taxis are always available. From there, Frankfurt is a 20 minutes ride away. The airport’s restaurant is one of the best in the area, I personally like their fillet of springbock.
Is Egelsbach Info talking German or English? When you say "implicit clearance", does that mean you make a broadcast and if no-one says no you know you're cleared?
Egelsbach Info is speaking both English and German, and the operators take use to make sure that all pilots get the relevant information, whatever the language they use.
The implicit clearance means that you can enter Delta airspace unless told otherwise by Egelsbach Info. The clearance is formally granted by Frankfurt Tower, which can suspend it if so required.
Matthew Stibbe says
I heard that you couldn't even qualify as a German controller if you didn't speak fluent English.
That is true for controller (FIS for VFR, RADAR, TWR), but not for lokal VFR only tower at some small airfields (INFO). However most of them do, but have a look at the charts next to the Frequencies. Sometimes, when the only English speaking controller is on holiday, it is published via NOTAM. We are not like France in this matter.