Nairobi's Wilson Airport has served commercial charter companies, flying schools and private pilots for over 70 years, but as the second busiest airfield in Africa it has evolved into a complex flying environment in which there is less room for light aircraft and training planes. As the hassle began to outweigh the fun, enthusiasts dreamed about utopia close-by where the air is pure, the commercial pilots don't wish you were out-of-the-way, the controllers don't control you and the fees are low. This dream of uncomplicated flight is now a reality at ORLY AIRPARK - THE HOME OF SPORT AVIATION IN KENYA.
Orly was the brainchild of Johnny Baxendale and William Carr-Hartley, two recreational aircraft pilots who started in the late nineties to seek "a better option". They began the process of obtaining permission from the Regulators and by 2000 were joined by Harro Trempenau and Martin Ririani in looking at the feasibility of a private airfield where like-minded people could pursue their hobby of recreational flying in a country-club setting. They soon found a suitable piece of land 15 miles south of Wilson Airport, outside the Nairobi Control Zone and accessible via a tarmac road.
Within weeks some 20 enthusiasts came on board and "put their money where their mouth is". The rest is history. Land was bought, permissions sought from a myriad of authorities and the most important element - a runway - was built by 2003. The dream dubbed "Orly Airpark" had become a reality. Today, the enthusiastic group has over 40 shareholders, most of whom fly small aircraft or are otherwise active in aviation. They jointly own some 230 acres of land near Ollooloitikosh (hence the name "Orly"), with a flat plateau for the runway, an attractive valley with a seasonal stream and lush savannah vegetation.
Orly Airpark is now the most secure airport in Kenya, entirely surrounded by an electric fence and Orly Airpark Security Guards. The internal access road has been resurfaced. Nine houses and a twenty one hangars have been erected, as well as an Airport Lounge and a Club House of the Aero Club of East Africa. Many challenges were overcome by the tenacious group, including construction of a 2 km access road, a bridge across the river, an internal distributor road, borehole, water distribution network and staff housing.
Orly Airpark now has 2 fully usable Runways; Runway 10/28 with Cabro for 650m and Murram for 550m and Runway 07/25 being Grass of 750m (closed immediately after rain). Orly Airpark now has a Fuel Bowser courtesy of the Kenya School of Flying so AVGAS is now available to Members and Non Members alike for just a fraction above the cost elsewhere, due to transport.
We are now constructing Phase III which includes 28 new 20m x 18m Hangar plots available for sale to those in the aviation community, by Board approval. We also are preparing the access roads and taxiway to put in 5 commercial hangars to lease for aero maintenace, again by board approval.
With the advent of the Recreational Airports Administration of Kenya which will eventually have its head office at Orly, the aerodrome is now making sure that Orly Airpark is THE HOME OF SPORT AVIATION IN KENYA.