During WW II, Victoria airport was the largest operational military air base in Canada, partly due to the presence of the seaplane base in adjacent Patricia Bay. The latter is included in this guide and is currently named Victoria Airport Water Aerodrome. The main airport is still often referred to as Pat Bay and serves as the international gateway to Vancouver Island. A helicopter squadron of the Canadian Forces and the British Columbia Aviation Museum are located here as well. With CFB Comox, Victoria plays host to the bi-annual Trident Fury military exercise. The airport is very open and offers good viewing opportunities.
Like many Canadian airports, Victoria features a triangle runway system to cope with the local weather system. The passenger terminal area can be found on the south side of the airport between tresholds 02 and 31. Both the east and the west side of the airport are used for general aviation and cargo.
The airport is located 22kms north of Victoria, on the Saanich peninsula. Driving from Victoria, highway 17 will bring you to the airport. Take the airport exit and follow Willingdon Rd to reach the passenger terminal area.
Around the Airport
1Terminal & Threshold 03 & 31 (west)
The main terminal building offers only limited views of aircraft parked on the platform, the airside has a cafe. To the left of the terminal building a viewing area has been created. Parking space and seating is available. To reach this spot, follow Willingdon Rd to aprons west and take the first dirt road on your right, which leads to 9465 Willingdon Rd. The viewing area is at the end of this road and offers great views of the aprons, taxiway B and Approach 03. The spot is closed from 09.00PM till 06.00AM and photos can be taken through the fence. Moreover, the large parking lot in front of the terminal is also an option to watch air traffic on runways 03 and 31, just go from one side to the other. Photography is ok as well, for runway 03 in the morning only, and for runway 31 in the late afternoon. At the end of runway 03 a great spot is found graph aircraft taxiing to the threshold.
2Aprons west side
Following Willingdon Rd towards Patricia Bay, take a right at Kittyhawk Rd for a peek on the aprons between the hangars. At the end of Kittyhawk Rd there is a brand new complex that houses 443sq. If their hangat doors are open, you can read off their helicopters.
3South side approach 09 & Water Aerodrome
The Victoria Airport Water Aerodrome is connected with the airport by a long taxiway, which crosses West Saanich Rd. To the left of this road the seaplane base can be found. The southern part of the area has a large hangar, the taxiway can be found on northern part of the seaplane base. Various waterplanes can be found on the aprons. This spot is also good for views and pictures of aircraft on approach to runway 09. For views of flying and taxiing seaplanes we recommend driving a little further north on West Saanich Rd.
If runway 13 is in use, spot 4 might come handy. From spot 3, turn right on Mills Rd, whih can be fairly busy and therefore stopping is not recommended. Wilson Rd can be found right under the approach path of runway 13 and is a suitable place to park your car. Depending on the time of the day, you will have to choose your spot along Mills Rd for the best light conditions. For those interested in light aviation, the hangars can be found just east of the 13 threshold.
5East side approach 03 & north eastern aprons
Approach 03 leads over Mills Rd. To reach spot 5, turn right to McDonald Park Rd from which views are excellent. Pictures can be made here in the morning hours. Near spot 5, some general aviation hangars can be found as well; the aircraft are parked very close to the road and an easy prey for the enthusiast.
6South side approach 27
Continue your tour around the 27 threshold. McDonald Park Rd becomes Beacon Ave, turn right on Stirling Way, and right again on Ocean Ave West, after passing the threshold. From the latter, views of aircraft landing on runway 27 are great, with light conditions favourable for the afternoon.
7Aprons east side
Ocean Drive West will become Canso Rd when entering the general aviation and cargo area on the east side of the airfield. The cargo terminal is situated right of Canso Rd on your right. Between the various hangars, interesting aircraft can usually be found.
8East side approach 31 & B.C. Aviation Museum
The east side of approach 31 can be reached as well by visiting the B.C. Aviation Museum, which is located off Canora Rd. Views are good from the parking lot, which also permits views of some stored aircraft in the area. The museum is definitely worth a visit as well.
Near spot 2, the firebrigade is situated, from where this picture was taken. Marcel Sloover.
Taken from the firebrigade, and a good example of what to make at spot 2. Marcel Sloover.
|121.900 / 361.400||Ground|
|119.100 / 239.600||Tower|
|127.800 / 133.850||Departure/Approach|
|C-GJGQ||DC-3, stored near spot 8|
|Alberni Valley Regional   subscribers only|
|Comox   subscribers only|
|Kamloops   subscribers only|
|Kelowna   subscribers only|
|Port Alberni - Sproat Lake Tanker Base|
|Qualicum Beach   subscribers only|
|Vancouver - Harbour SPB & Heliport|
|Vancouver Intl   subscribers only|
|Victoria Intl (Patricia Bay)|