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Thread: Doncaster Airfield

  1. #1
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    Doncaster Airfield

    Does anyone know anything of the history of or have memories/photographs of the old Doncaster airfield, which I believe was initially just a gliding club site?

    I recall visiting an Open Day back in August 1961, when there was a Flying Flea 'This is the Flea that Claybourn's built' on show (subsequently destroyed by fire and then resurrected) and there was also an air display there some 21 years later when G-BOAC Concorde did a single flypast.

    Wicked Willip :diablo:

  2. #2
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    AeroVenture's website has this: http://www.aeroventure.org.uk/history.php (AeroVenture occupies a corner of the former airfield).

  3. #3
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    I think the flea is now here http://www.aeroflight.co.uk/mus/uk/c...stermusart.htm along with a Benson Autogyro.

  4. #4
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    Hi,

    I learned to fly at Doncaster in the early 80s at the time the Aero Club was battling with the council to have their lease renewed and keep the airport open for flying.

    Back then they were based in the old hangars in the north west corner of the airfield. When I first flew there, the gliding club used the ground on the south west side - far side of runway 23/05 from the Aero Club operation. The council wanted to develop the land for a leisure centre, shopping and hotels - all of which has gone ahead much as per the original plan.

    After a lengthy battle, the compromise was to offer the Aero Club a five year lease, new hangars on the opposite side of the airfield (the gliding club had gone by then) and to even create and licence a new runway allowing the Dome leisure complex to be built under the old runway approach. The ASDA supermarket is pretty much where the aero club hangars were. The inevitable happened once that lease had expired and the rest of the site was developed - as explained on the Aeroventure website.

    The history of that time doesn't seem to have been recorded yet but with people still around it would be a good time to do it.

    Oh, yes I have photos, but they're all in deep storage in my parent's house. It might be months before I can get to them - sorry

    Allan
    "Writing is easy - all you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds." - Douglas Adams

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys for the information and for the links - all very interesting stuff and it it is good to know that the reincarnated Flea lives on and that the aviation connection to the old airfield remains through AeroVenture .

    Pondskater, if you ever get the chance to post some photos on here I am sure they will be of interest to fellow members of the Forum.

    Wicked Willip :diablo:

  6. #6
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    Doncaster Flying Club 1976

    In case it takes Pondskater a while to dig out his photos, here are some taken at Doncaster in 1976. Pity that tower/prewar terminal was not preserved.

    Incidentally, I knew a pilot who had flown Dakotas from Doncaster during the war, when he was with 271 Squadron - and those of you who are local might be interested in his low vis approach. Locate the A1 and fly north at low level until passing the Punches Hotel (lights always visible), count so many seconds, turn left 90 descend and flare after another prescribed number of seconds. Well it worked.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranswick View Post
    In case it takes Pondskater a while to dig out his photos, here are some taken at Doncaster in 1976. Pity that tower/prewar terminal was not preserved.

    Incidentally, I knew a pilot who had flown Dakotas from Doncaster during the war, when he was with 271 Squadron - and those of you who are local might be interested in his low vis approach. Locate the A1 and fly north at low level until passing the Punches Hotel (lights always visible), count so many seconds, turn left 90 descend and flare after another prescribed number of seconds. Well it worked.
    Thanks for the photo's- this is the sort of thing we need at Aeroventure to build the historical picture of the airfeild- please PM me & let me know if you are willing to let us use some of them for our displays.

    Many thanks Rad

  8. #8
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    Very interesting to see the pics of Doncaster Airport, particularly the terminal building, a real shame it has not been preserved. I visited in 1973 for the first time and recollect it was derelict at the time. Was it refurbished,only to be demolished later? I don't ever rememeber seeing it in such a fine condition.

    Planemike

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranswick View Post
    In case it takes Pondskater a while to dig out his photos
    Seriously - could take months

    Quote Originally Posted by Cranswick View Post
    here are some taken at Doncaster in 1976. Pity that tower/prewar terminal was not preserved.
    Great pics - thanks. I was there just after the tower had gone but the story IIRC was that it was disused and had begun being used by local youths for late night parties. It got vandalised and on one occasion set on fire - after which it was demolished. Classic case of a building without a use not surviving.

    I love the low-vis approach past the Punch Hotel. The Aero Club aircraft always had to approach from the opposite side, from the north, to stay clear of the Finningley MATZ. Shame, I used to live near the hotel and wanted a photo of the house. It'd have only ended up in a box in the attic though

    Allan
    "Writing is easy - all you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds." - Douglas Adams

  10. #10
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    Found my photo album today and vaguely recalled this thread. Can't believe it was two years ago!

    Oh, well, here's the photos from the early 80s that I promised so long ago.

    Parachute centre drop ship - I spent hours cleaning that thing, Behind is the main hangar and club house and CP - one of the nicest of the 152s we had.


    Bebe and CB


    Trainer and Aerobat - neither flew well. The standard 152s were much nicer aircraft for some reason.


    The trainer met a nasty end, fortunately with only minor injuries for those on board:


    Hornet Moth - lovely


    Crash trucks - the red one was painted by me with a two inch brush and can of dulux! Inside was still green from its ex-RAF days. They were used for just about everything on the airfield, including chasing the gypsy horses off the runway. The horses eventually got used to the two tone sirens and wouldn't move, only eventually moving when we drove up alongside them, banging on the Landrover doors.


    And finally the airfield, on approach to 23, over the racecourse. The hangars are to the right.


    Ah, memories.

    AllanK
    Last edited by Pondskater; 19th March 2010 at 12:35. Reason: Bad speling
    "Writing is easy - all you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds." - Douglas Adams

  11. #11
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    To amplify the A/V site's review of WW2 activity: C-47 work was within MAP's Civilian Repair Organisation by the type's UK Sister Firm, Airspeed, who had taken a pre-War sub-licence from Fokker, Douglas' European licencee. Overflow from their Portsmouth capacity. Other CRO overflow work was by Westland on Sea/Spitfires, and by Brooklands Avn. on Wellingtons. Phillips & Powis Aircraft Ltd. assembled 10 Master II there.

  12. #12
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    Doncaster has a page and a couple of wartime photos and a site plan in White Rose Base, Brian J. Rapier
    Victor XL231 Blog- http://victorxl231.blogspot.com/
    Home of the V-force on the web: http://twittervforce.com/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by alertken View Post
    To amplify the A/V site's review of WW2 activity: C-47 work was within MAP's Civilian Repair Organisation by the type's UK Sister Firm, Airspeed, who had taken a pre-War sub-licence from Fokker, Douglas' European licencee. Overflow from their Portsmouth capacity. Other CRO overflow work was by Westland on Sea/Spitfires, and by Brooklands Avn. on Wellingtons. Phillips & Powis Aircraft Ltd. assembled 10 Master II there.
    Didn't Westlands build some Lysanders in Doncaster as well

    You also forget there was a Ford factory in Doncaster (?) down on Carr Hill Road where Bridon are - were these premises used for aircraft production/repair

    I also remember driving out to the M18 on the A6182 and watching the Hornet Moth climbing out parallel to me - happy days - wasn't it owned by a Doctor in Doncaster?
    Last edited by jeepman; 19th March 2010 at 15:02.
    jeepman

  14. #14
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    The Hornet was owned by a lady doctor - Dr Hamilton who travelled up from Chesterfield to fly. She once called the Finningley ATC to report her position near the MATZ and, recognising the registration, they immediately gave her clearance to continue at 800 feet through to Doncaster. "But how do you know I'm at 800 feet?" she asked. The controller cryptically replied "we have you on radar." She couldn't quite work out how the controller knew her height, but we did: she always flew at 800 feet, everywhere! Really lovely lady and a very nice aircraft.

    Some wartime surplus parts were once found in an out building attached to the hangar. They were, IIRC, identified as Lancaster flap motors but nobody wanted them - not even the BBMF. But reading about the aircraft which were there, it now seems a little unlikely. I wonder what they were. They were taken by the builder who demolished the building for the club as part payment.

    AllanK

  15. #15
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    Does anyone know more about the airfield's RAF history? Be interesting to know more about those days.

  16. #16
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    Yes, there is. Chap wrote it all up in a nice little book. See: http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/Se...0&bt.y=0&sts=t (Other on-line booksellers are available) and I got my copy from Aeroventure.

    AK
    "Writing is easy - all you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds." - Douglas Adams

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