From RAF Hartford Bridge to Heathrow diversion, to today’s light and commercial operations, Blackbushe celebrates 75 years
2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the opening of what is now Blackbushe
Airport, and will be commemorated with an airshow on 1-2 July. The Blackbushe ‘75’ Airshow, in support of Aerobility, Help for Heroes and the Douglas Dalzeil Memorial Trust, will feature flying and ground displays. Among the airshow performers will be The Blades, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Army Historic Flight and a Vintage Air Rally ‘Cloverleaf’ competition.
The Blackbushe site first opened in 1942 as RAF Hartford Bridge Flats, and housed RAF and Polish squadrons. Military use ceased in November 1946 and three months later it opened as Blackbushe Airport, sited on both sides of the A30 road, serving airlines and charter operators such as Airwork (which was later to become the UK Cessna dealer at the airfield), Britavia, Derby Aviation, Eagle, Falcon and Orion and private operators, and as a maintenance base. Blackbushe was also a diversion airfield for London Air Port (L.A.P., as Heathrow was then known) and base for the US Navy’s Fleet Air Support Squadron 200.
The airport was closed in 1960, but after lengthy planning battles, reopened in 1962 under the ownership of Air Vice-marshal Don ‘Pathfinder’ Bennett, and when the Farnborough Air Show was held annually, hosted a wide variety of visiting military and civilian aircraft each September. It later became the base for the late Doug Arnold’s extensive warbird collection. In 1978 it was also the host (not without
controversy) to ‘Picnic at Blackbushe’, an open-air concert which starred Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton among many other bands, and drew crowds of 200,000. For more information on Blackbushe ‘75’ visit: blackbushe75.com
Easter Airfield, situated in the Scottish Highlands near to the Ross-shire town of Tain, is holding a fly-in, appropriately, over Easter Bank Holiday weekend 14-17 April. Airfield operator David Munro says he will pick the best two days of the four nearer the time. Camping facilities will be available and there is hotel accommodation nearby. For further information visit: easterairfield.co.uk
Eagle Vikings lined up at Blackbushe Airport