Panshanger Aerodrome

Historical Summary

By Robert Gill

Decoy Factory at Panshanger
BAE SYSTEMS
Decoy Factory with Decoy Aircraft
BAE SYSTEMS
Decoy Hurricane
BAE SYSTEMS
Decoy aircraft at Panshanger
BAE SYSTEMS
Panshanger Aerodrome - 1947
BAE SYSTEMS
Hornet Moth flying over the North Side Training area - 1947
BAE SYSTEMS
North London Flying School Logo
North London Flying School

1940  

Some 248 acres of agricultural land which was part of the Panshanger estate was released to the Air Ministry under the terms of the Emergency Powers Act (1939). The Air Ministry gave de Havilland at Hatfield the authority and responsibility to construct a decoy aircraft factory to divert enemy bombers from their facility in Hatfield some 6 miles away. The decoy factory was constructed and then in use from November 1940, the fields around being used as a Reserve Landing Ground (known as Holwell Hyde) for flying training. The decoy factory was constructed on what is now Moneyhole Lane Park.

1941 

1 Elementary Flying Training School (1EFTS) complete with de Havilland Tiger Moths occupied buildings and hangers erected on the north side. 1 EFTS were responsible for training Army and Air Force pilots.

1942/1943                          

Further expansion with additional Tiger Moths and buildings in the south east corner.

1943                                      

Aerodrome renamed RAF Panshanger.

Post 1945                            

Training continued to be supervised by de Havillands via the London Aeroplane Club (civilian flying) on the north side and in the south by 1 Reserve Flying School (1RFS) flying at weekends in Tiger Moths and Avro Ansons. A gliding school occupied part of the site until the early 1950s run by the Air Training Corps.

1950                                      

de Havilland Chipmunk aircraft introduced. 

1953                                      

The Reserve School closed and civilian flying took over the facility following sale of the land into private hands. Periods of activity and lulls into disuse followed but the aerodrome remained a training facility. WGC Corporation purchased large areas of the land on which the aerodrome stood. The aerodrome itself remained in the hands of de Havilland but later that year was sold to Mr John Nathaniel (Nat) Somers who acquired the rights to London Aeroplane Club.

1960                                      

The large hanger (T2) was constructed at a time when the London Aeroplane Club was looking to expand usage of the aerodrome for business flying and hence larger aircraft. There was some interest from local industry at the time.

1965                                      

The WGC Corporation had purchased more of the land which resulted in new approach and take-off procedures. The first phase of Panshanger housing began.

1970s                                    

Housing continued to expand.

1979                                      

London Aeroplane Club applied to the CAA for the aerodrome to be developed into a general aviation base for advanced flying training, engineering and aircraft sales.

1980                                      

British Aerospace expressed concerns over safety test flying at Hatfield due to prospective increased Panshanger traffic. Changes to operations and runway alignments took place as a result of the British Aerospace concerns.

1982                                      

Panshanger School of Flying formed. Throughout the 1980s, deterioration of the buildings and facilities occurred plus rents increased.

1992                                      

The School of Flying moved to Leavesden and the aerodrome closed. Gypsies moved in and the empty buildings were further damaged.

1993                                      

With the closure of British Aerospace at Hatfield, the way was left open for Panshanger to become a licensed aerodrome again. The Aerodrome re-opened with a new licence to continue as a centre for pilot training. The East Herts Flying School was formed which was to become todays North London Flying School.                                                  

Material derived from the book:  PANSHANGER AERODROME by Michael Packham.

All photographs with the permission of BAE SYSTEMS.

This page was added on 18/08/2011.

Comments about this page

  • On 14 September 2014, the North London Flying School held a final day of events before they moved to North Weald airfield. This followed the decision by the owners of the Panshanger Airfield land to sell the land. It is now anticipated that the land will used for more housing.

    By Robert Gill (16/09/2014)

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