- Stapleford Aerodrome
name = Stapleford Aerodrome
ICAO = EGSG
type = Public
operator = Stapleford Flight Centre
elevation-f = 185
elevation-m = 56
coordinates = Coord|51|39|09|N|000|09|21|E|type:airport
r1-number = 04R/22L
r1-length-f = 3,533
r1-length-m = 1,077
r2-number = 04L/22R
r2-length-f = 2,953
r2-length-m = 900
r2-surface = Grass
r3-number = 10/28
r3-length-f = 2,343
r3-length-m = 714
r3-surface = Grass
Stapleford Aerodrome airport codes|N/A|EGSG is an airfield in the Epping Forest district of
Essex, England near to the village of Abridge. It is about 3.4 nautical miles (6 km) south of North Weald Airfieldand 4.5 nautical miles (8.3 km) north of Romford. The airfield is just within the M25, near to the junction with the M11.
Stapleford Aerodrome has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P472) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Herts & Essex Aero Club Limited) [ [http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/375/srg_asd_ordinarylicences.pdf Civil Aviation Authority Aerodrome Ordinary Licences] ] .
Stapleford opened as Essex Aerodrome in 1933 as a base for
Hillman Airwayswho provided a service to Paris and other European cities using De HavillandDH.84 Dragon and DH.89 Dragon Rapide biplanes. Amy Johnsonwas one of the Hillman Airways pilots. After running into financial difficulties, Hillman was bought up by Whitehall Security Corporation Ltd and merged with three other airlines that they already owned to form British Airways Ltd. Operations began in 1936, but after 4 months all flights were moved to Heston Aerodrome, leaving just a small number of private aircraft.
RAFtook an interest in the airfield in 1937 and in 1938 No 21 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training school was established at Stapleford. Flying training was provided by Reid and Signist Ltd, under contract to the Air Ministry. One of the most famous students was J.E. "Johnnie" Johnson who became the RAF's top scoring pilot and reached the rank of Air Vice Marshal.
World War II
The airfield was requisitioned shortly after the start of World War II as RAF
Stapleford Tawney. A long perimeter track and dispersal points were built and some accommodation buildings were erected. By the end of March 1940 the airfield was ready to become a satellite station for North Weald.
The first squadron to make regular use of Stapleford was No. 151 Squadron, making patrols from the base from August 1940. Six aircraft were lost and two pilots, including squadron leader Eric King, killed in action on 30 August. After a short stay, the squadron was moved to
Digby, Lincolnshire, but one aircraft struck a crane after take off and burst into flames. The pilot, Pilot Officer Richard Ambrose, was killed; he is buried in Epping cemetery.
Other units to use Stapleford included the secret 49 flight, formed in August 1940 as the operational air-arm of the
Special Operations Executive(SOE). They were intended to use Armstrong WhitworthWhitleys to drop agents and supplies behind enemy lines. Westland Lysanders would be used to pick up agents as well as other important people. Because of heavy Luftwaffeattacks on North Weald, the flight moved to Stapleford on 4 September. The Whitley was a rather large aircraft to use Stapleford's grass runways. Only two operations were carried out from Stapleford; one to Brest and the other to Fontainebleau. The flight then moved to Stradishall, Suffolk on 9 October.
Stapleford played an important part in the preparations for
D-Dayand many units arrived.On 20 November 1944 a V2 rocketlanded in the middle of the airfield leaving a crater 60 feet in diameter. On 23 February 1945 another rocket landed on the airfield camp site killing 17 personnel and injuring 50. A number of the personnel are buried in the church cemetery at North Weald.
Stapleford finished its wartime service with the last personnel leaving before
A memorial at the airfield recalls those who lost their lives.
In 1946, Stapleford Aerodrome was taken over by the
Royal Engineers. 869 Mechanical Equipment Squadron RE was the only plant unit in the UK and held a large inventory of bulldozers, scrapers, road rollers, cranes, excavators, draglines and all the plant items that the army had acquired - most of it worn out. The newest of the equipment was used throughout the UK in clearing minefields (armoured bulldozers) and constructing shooting ranges etc. The unit name was changed to Number 1 Plant Park Squadron RE and moved to Borden, Hampshire in September 1948.
In 1953 Roger and Buster Frogley transferred the Herts and Essex Aero club from
Broxbournein Hertfordshire to Stapleford, the hangars were renovated and they began flying Tiger Moths and Austers.
Edgar Percivalthe famous pre-war aircraft designer, set up a company at Stapleford under his name and started a production line for his EP9 crop spraying aircraft. A total of 40 aircraft were built.
The airfield is currently the home of
Stapleford Flying Club, a privately owned, family run business which has been training pilots for around 40 years. With a fleet of over 40 aircraft, they train pilots at all levels, from PPL to CPL and ATPL. Other companies provide business charter services and London sight seeing flights.
The airfield has two long parallel runways 04/22, one of them being partly
asphaltat one end, and a shorter grass runway 10/28.
*United Kingdom AIP"Pilot" magazine, October 2006
* [http://www.flysfc.com/ Stapleford Flight Centre]
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