White Waltham Airfield
White Waltham Airfield (ICAO: EGLM) is an operational general aviation aerodrome located at White Waltham, 2 nautical miles (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) southwest of Maidenhead, in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England.
White Waltham Airfield
|Operator||West London Aero Club|
|Location||White Waltham, Berkshire|
|Elevation AMSL||133 ft / 41 m|
This large grass airfield is best known for its association with the Air Transport Auxiliary from 1940 to 1945 and also has a significant history of prewar flying training, wartime and postwar RAF use and postwar use as a flight test centre by the Fairey and Westland aircraft companies. In the mid-1950s it was HQ of RAF Home Command. It is now privately owned and is the home of the West London Aero Club.
The airfield was set up in 1928 when the de Havilland family bought 196 acres (0.79 km2) of grassland to house the de Havilland Flying School. In 1938 the airfield was taken over by the government, and during the Second World War was the home of the Air Transport Auxiliary between its formation in early 1940 and disbandment on 30 November 1945. The ATA staged a unique Air Display and Air Pageant at White Waltham on 29 September 1945 which was opened by Lord Beaverbrook and featured a memorable static park of Allied and German aircraft and the flying included Alex Henshaw displaying a Seafire Mk45.
After the war, the airfield was also used by Fairey Aviation and later Westland Helicopters, which assembled and tested aircraft built at their Hayes factory. These included the Fairey FB-1 Gyrodyne (1947), Fairey Jet Gyrodyne (1954), Fairey Ultralight (1955), Fairey Rotodyne (1957) & Westland Scout (1960) & Westland Wasp (1962). The prototype Fairey Gannet was first flown from Aldermaston but production aircraft were completed and first flown at White Waltham too and an example is currently stored at the airfield.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was taught to fly at White Waltham in 1952, flying a de Havilland Chipmunk belonging to HQ RAF Home Command Communications Squadron (HCCS) of the Royal Air Force (RAF). This squadron was based at the airfield from 1950 until 1959.
Approximately 150 light aircraft are based at the airfield which, with three runways, is reportedly the largest grass airfield in civilian use in Europe. The airfield holds Civil Aviation Authority Public Use Aerodrome Licence Number P773, that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flight training.
On 24 June 1989, the Fairey Hangar, on the north side of the airfield, was the venue for one of the largest acid house raves to be held at that time. The Sunrise Midsummer Party was attended by over 11,000 ravers, and attracted about 1,000 vehicles. This caused 3-mile (4.8 km) tailbacks on the approach to the airfield. The Sun newspaper ran a headline "Ecstasy Airport" the next day.
The home quarters of Carter's Steam Fair are adjacent to the airfield.
- White Waltham - EGLM
- Sturtivant, P.67
- Sturtivant, P.192
- "West London Aero Club". West London Aero Club. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
- "Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance". Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
- "de Havilland Chipmunk T.Mk10 WP912/8467M" (DOC). RAF Museum. Retrieved 8 January 2007.
- Davy, Bob (January 2007). "White Waltham". Pilot Magazine. Archant Specialist Ltd. pp. 83–87.
- "Civil Aviation Authority Aerodrome Public Licences" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
- "Marilyn Monroe film made at Maidenhead airfield". BBC Berkshire. BBC. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
- Sturtivant, Ray (1997). RAF Flying Training & Support Units. Air-Britain (Historians Ltd). ISBN 0-85130-252-1.
- Waltham - A Village at War 1939-45 by Dennis Tomlinson, ISBN 0-9534505-3-8
- 'White Waltham Impressions - Photographs Taken at the ATA Pageant on Saturday 29 September' in 'The Aeroplane Spotter', 18 October 1945
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