Lasham Airfield


Lasham Airfield

Infobox Airport
name = Lasham Airfield
nativename =



IATA = QLA
ICAO = EGHL
type = Private
owner =
operator = Lasham Gliding Society
city-served = Lasham, Hampshire, England
location = Basingstoke
elevation-f = 618
elevation-m = 188
coordinates = coord|51|11|14|N|01|02|01|W|type:airport
website =
metric-rwy =
r1-number = 09/27
r1-length-f = 5,896
r1-length-m = 1,797
r1-surface = Asphalt
footnotes =
Location map many | Hampshire
label_size = 80
pos=left
marksize=12
lat=51.1847
long=-1.0334
label2=Basingstoke
pos2=left
mark2size=2
lat2=51.2667
long2=-1.0876
label3=Alton
pos3=bottom
mark3size=2
lat3=51.1498
long3=-0.9769
label4=Southampton
pos4=left
mark4size=2
lat4=50.89696
long4=-1.40416
label5=Portsmouth
pos5=right
mark5size=2
lat5=50.8167
long5=-1.0833
caption=Location of Lasham Airfield in Hampshire

Lasham Airfield airport codes|QLA|EGHL is located 6 miles south-south-east of Basingstoke in Hampshire, England, near the village of Lasham. The airfield frequency is 131.025 MHz.

The airfield is owned by one of the world's largest gliding clubs, Lasham Gliding Society. Power pilots visiting the airfield require prior permission and a briefing on its hazards. These hazards are: dense concentrations of thermalling gliders (up to 100 gliders can be in the vicinity at once), winch cables up to 3000 feet above the ground, and occasional movements of large jet airliners. Over-flying aircraft are requested to not fly below 3618 feet QNH. Visiting glider pilots also need to be aware of these hazards.

History

The airfield was constructed in 1942. Several different types of aircraft were based at Lasham during World War II: Hawker Typhoon, De Havilland Mosquito, B-25 Mitchell and Supermarine Spitfire. The squadrons based at Lasham during the war (apart from one- or two-night stays) were:
* No. 107 Squadron RAF Mosquito VI, arr 1 Feb 1944; dep 23 Oct 1944
* No. 181 Squadron RAF Typhoon IB, arr 5 Apr 1943; dep 6 Jun 1943
* No. 182 Squadron RAF Typhoon IB, arr 3 May 1943; dep 2 Jun 1943
* No. 183 Squadron RAF Typhoon IB, arr 3 May 1943; dep 30 May 1943
* No. 305 (Polish) Squadron RAF Mitchell II & Mosquito VI, arr 18 Nov 1943, dep 30 Oct 1944
* No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF Mitchell II, arr 30 Aug 1943; dep 18 Feb 1944
* No. 412 Squadron RCAF, Spitfire VB, arr 7 Mar 1943; dep 8 Apr 1943
* No. 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron RAF Spitfire VB, arr 14 Apr 1943; dep 29 Apr 1943
* No. 613 (City of Manchester) Squadron RAF, Mosquito FB.VI, arr 12 Oct 1943; dep 30 Oct 1944

One of the most famous operations was by 613 Squadron. On 14 April 1944, at the request of resistance workers, six Mosquitos led by Wing Commander Bateson bombed the Central Records Registry of the Gestapo in the Hague from a height of 50 feet. The accuracy was such that the incriminating records were burnt. There was inevitable loss of life amongst the Dutch and German staff, but there were few civilian casualties in the nearby streets.

On the nights preceding and following D-Day, the Mosquitos of 305 and 613 squadrons carried out numerous low level attacks on enemy supply lines and armoured positions in Normandy to assist the allied landing forces.

The airfield ceased to be an operational RAF station in 1948, though General Aircraft Ltd continued testing military gliders. A memorial at the entrance was dedicated on 14 September 2006 to those served at Lasham between 1942 and 1948.

In 1950 the Army Gliding Club was re-established by Major Tony Deane-Drummond, then an instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. It operated at Odiham Airfield but after two accidents, the Commandant of Sandhurst ordered it to suspend operations. In early 1951 he ordered Major Deane-Drummond to restart the club at Lasham. In the meantime the Surrey Gliding Club and Imperial College Gliding Club were both seeking a new home because Redhill airfield had many other users. The Surrey club and Imperial College therefore moved to Lasham in August 1951. Lasham Gliding Society was established in 1958 to unify operations and it later signed a long lease on the airfield from the Ministry of Defence. The airfield's boundaries were reduced but it still occupies over 500 acres. The Defence Research Establishment later maintained a satellite station at Lasham but the dishes, one enclosed in a large white dome, have now been removed. Most of the buildings from World War II have now been demolished. Derek Piggott was Chief Flying Instructor at Lasham during much of the period from 1953 to 1989. Ann Welch and Peter Twiss were also members for many years. In 1999 the Society bought the freehold of the airfield from the Ministry of Defence, making the final payment in 2001.

Present day

The airfield is home to one of the world's largest gliding clubs, Lasham Gliding Society, and 210 gliders are based there which are used by 640 full members. [ Verified with LGS ] The airfield is in constant use throughout the year and regularly hosts national and regional gliding championships. There are approximately 55,000 aircraft movements (departures and landings) annually (roughly the same as Southampton Airport).

In 1954 Dan-Air established a subsidiary, Dan-Air Engineering, at Lasham Airfield to service its own fleet and aircraft belonging to other operators. Dan-Air ceased trading in 1992, and after a period of operation by FLS Aerospace, the facility has now been let by the Society to another aircraft maintenance company (ATC Lasham). This company uses the main runway several times a week to bring in Boeing airliners for overhauls and is the largest employer in the area.

Glider launching occurs by two methods. Firstly there is winching in which a wire is attached to a release mechanism on the underside of the glider. The wire is also attached to one of two powerful winches each mounted on a truck. These winches can launch gliders to over 2000 ft above the ground. The second method of launching is aerotow and uses a fleet of five tug aircraft.

LGS's 90 [ Verified with LGS ] instructors train new pilots at all stages from ab initio through to competitive cross-country flying. The training fleet consists of the following types:
* ASK 13 (nine basic trainers)
* ASK 21 (two glass fibre trainers)
* Duo Discus (advanced trainer)
* DG-1000 (two advanced trainers - one a turbo)
* Scheibe SF-25 Falke motor glider
* Grob 109 motor glider

There are also eight single-seater club aircraft, previously operated by the Surrey & Hants Club. However there also 186 [ Verified with LGS ] other gliders at the airfield operated by private owners and by affiliated gliding clubs: Imperial College Gliding Club, University of Surrey Gliding Club, Southampton University Gliding Club, The Crown Service Gliding Club and the IBM Gliding Club.

Lasham Airfield is an available as an airport on Google Earth Flight Simulator.

Lasham Youth

Lasham Youth run a Saturday Evening gliding course during the summer months which is open to everyone, but enables them to provide an environment where young members can fly with people of similar ages.

They have their own instructors, tug pilots and winch drivers, and aim to be a centre of excellence and help individuals achieve their goals. In the event that bad weather rules out flying, they run lectures and simulator sessions instead.

Lasham Youth also organises expeditions so members can experience flying from different locations, along with a range of social activities throughout the year.

References

External links

* [http://www.lasham.org.uk/ Lasham Gliding Society]
*WAD|EGHL
*GCM|EGHL|EGHL / QLA
*ASN|QLA


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