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The Air Touring Club - Biggin Hill: History Sought

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The Air Touring Club - Biggin Hill: History Sought

Old 21st Oct 2020, 12:32
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ashwell
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Thanks treadigraph. The search continues.
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 18:04
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Originally Posted by VictorGolf View Post
Did the Air Touring Club ever use the Victa Airtourer? I'm helping an Australian friend who is trying to update the history of the Victas and I seem to remember that the ATC might have had one or two.
Only just discovered this thread - I was searching for info on Colin Dyne with whom I did my multi GFT many years ago and was directed here.

During my time at Biggin, there were only two Victa/Glos Airtourers on the field. These were G-ATCK and G-AWOZ and both were operated by the Biggin Hill Flying Club. The club also ran an old MS880B that might have come from Air Touring. I remember taking Gordon King to Headcorn in CK in one of my more hilarious flights in the days before flying became swamped with regulation and professionalism. Sadly, both Airtourers as well as Gordon and Lillian King no longer are with us.

It is a cruel irony that Tim Doyle's Chipmunk, often borrowed by Air Touring for spin recovery training, was lost a few years later in failing to recover from a spin over the Dartford Marshes. Tim and his son Richard also have flown west - I'm beginning to feel a bit lonely.

Last edited by Gipsy Queen; 31st Dec 2020 at 18:17.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 10:57
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for your input, Gipsy Queen, and a Happy New Year to you. I only have the dates of the accidents to 'TCK (25/8/74) and 'WOZ (7/6/75). Do you happen to have any more details such as where and how they happened?
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 11:38
  #24 (permalink)  
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VictorGolf, a bit more detail about their losses in this thread...
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 12:49
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Oh dear thank you "treadigraph" for the very sad update on the Airtourers. There is reference to a Lady Bracknell being upset at the news. What was her involvement?
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 18:10
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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VG

Sorry, I can't help with any further detail - I'd gone from Biggin by 1974, although I knew Barry Hodson quite well.

And another apology if the reference to Lady Bracknell was unduly obscure. In Wilde's entertaining nonsense The Importance of Being Ernest, Lady Bracknell when being told that another character in the cast has lost two parents, responds; "To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." It was to the loss of both Airtourers that this reference was made. At the time of writing, I was unaware of the loss of life involved, so perhaps I should have avoided the flippancy.

And a happy New Year to you too. Let's hope that the deadly duo of Boris/Covid allow some reasonable prospect of this.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 09:37
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks GQ, that makes it clear. It's a long time since GCE O-level English Literature so I missed the reference
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 22:43
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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VG

I've sent a PM.
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Old 3rd Jan 2021, 11:42
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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HI GQ. Roger, reply sent.
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 20:37
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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I last flew with Airtouring on 10/12/1988. That was my last flight before family and career took over. The aircraft was a TB9 G-BIZR I used to fly both TB9s and 10s and I remember the club being very professional but also extremely friendly. Im glad to see Roger Pattinson is still around he was the CFI in those days and he was very accepting of me having crossed over from BHSF where Id crashed one of their AA5s! My instructor was John Sutehall at BHSF whom Im still in touch with and hes a captain with DHL these days. Happy times and a great place to fly
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Old 21st Apr 2021, 06:44
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Never go back it is always a shock

Many years after doing my 'short' PPL there I had cause to obtain some Rallye spares from the club whilst Pat Patel was still around. A few years after that I called at Biggin whilst visiting the nearby Kenley (an even bigger shock).
ATC had only just been vacated so it was the same as my PPL days but no people or aircraft. However it also bought back very fond memories of the place which started me off in the 'power' dept after years of gliding. Biggin itself was a complete change, and certainly not for the better. It brings home how lucky we were to experience both the club and Biggin in their heyday (Dillows Cafe) Coby and co, JM keeping it all going. Jock had 'enabled' it in 59 when Croydon closed, and what a GA centre it became, plus starting the careers of hundreds of pilots and engineers. When I called in to find a club for my 'conversion' there were over a dozen to choose from and the sky was dark with machines in the circuit, with non radio using the grass.
The fact that most people at the time were trying to fly on a budget only made the place more friendly so all in all it was a great gift of aviation for those starting off.
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Old 21st Apr 2021, 09:27
  #32 (permalink)  
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I first visited Biggin in '75 with the Scouts for a ride in a Rallye (G-BAOI) from ATS. During school holidays there were very few weeks I didn't bus, cycle or occasionally walk (14 mile round trip!) up at least once, often two or three times in the late '70s and early '80s. Nearly always something interesting to be seen and if 29 was in use, I'd sit with my back against the blast pen wall close to Sportair's hangar and watch the comings and goings... security guard would do his rounds and stop to say "hello". None of this access road business, if you wanted to go to ATS, you went round the peri-track.

Looking at Google Maps now, I see the eastern end of 29 and the grass to the north of it is now becoming a vast apron, and I assume hangars will appear.

The first Tobago at ATS in '79 was a complete surprise, I'd never heard anything about the type! I reckon every TB-9/10/20 that joined the UK register went through their hands for at least 10 years. Looking at Flight Tracker, I still see the familiar registrations pop up occasionally! Now it's full of Spitfires which is perhaps a good replacement - but a shame ATS and Sportair disappeared...

No, you can't go back...

Do we need a Biggin-specific thread?
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Old 26th Apr 2021, 08:13
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Biggin was 'THE PLACE' to be in the 60's for anything aviation south of London. Apart from the growing clubs many aircraft used the custom facilities for the French connection, and it was here that I saw my first real Turbulent close up when the pretty little machine (with canopy) dropped in on its way back from the continent.
As I recall it was getting rather late and the machine popped in onto the runway by the GA apron and the driver taxied 'tail up' and parked up followed by a hasty run across to do the paperwork thing. A few minutes later he reappeared (I am nearby) and still wearing a LJ hopped in saying he was in a bit of a hurry to get to Redhill before dark. He then bent forward and pulled the cable operated (lawn motor type) starter and headed towards the downhill taxiway, which then became the convenient runway for his departure !!. For me this was a pivotal moment in deciding that gliding around the Kenley circuit was not to be my only aviation involvement.
I was in the same place some time later when my eyes gazed upon a beautiful RF3 going past (wings rocking on the hoops) which only confirmed that with its VW engine powered flight was affordable even for me. Biggin was a mecca for anyone who aspired to fly, and formed part of an aviation triangle together with Croydon and Kenley, that not only served the Country well in two conflicts, but provided a continued boost to the 'air minded' youth in peace.
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Old 15th Aug 2021, 00:58
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Originally Posted by Sleeve Wing View Post
It would be interesting to hear how Kevin Hills got on later. I did his training for his 1179/CPL upgrade at OATS in about 1973 ISTR.
Glad to hear that you remember Kevin Hills - he is my uncle! I was one of the bunch of annoying kids that used to be hanging around the club and probably annoying you! My mum and Nan used to run the bar and restaurant. Kevin retired from commercial flying 5 years ago much to his disgust! After Air Touring he flew Merchantman for Air Bridge Carriers. From there he went to Air Europe on B737s. Following AEs demise he went to fly for Lauda Air based out of Vienna and ended up flying B777s on long haul routes. Along the way Lauda became Austrian Airlines who he flew for until his retirement.

I worked at Air Touring when I left school and am still in touch with Roger Patterson. I was back in the old clubhouse last Saturday as my cousin bought Kevin a flight in the Spit for his birthday and we had a family day for it. Was very odd being back there, loads of amazing memories came flooding back.
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Old 15th Aug 2021, 21:47
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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OLd ATC Club House

Originally Posted by airgirl View Post
Glad to hear that you remember Kevin Hills - he is my uncle! I was one of the bunch of annoying kids that used to be hanging around the club and probably annoying you! My mum and Nan used to run the bar and restaurant. Kevin retired from commercial flying 5 years ago much to his disgust! After Air Touring he flew Merchantman for Air Bridge Carriers. From there he went to Air Europe on B737’s. Following AE’s demise he went to fly for Lauda Air based out of Vienna and ended up flying B777’s on long haul routes. Along the way Lauda became Austrian Airlines who he flew for until his retirement.

I worked at Air Touring when I left school and am still in touch with Roger Patterson. I was back in the old clubhouse last Saturday as my cousin bought Kevin a flight in the Spit for his birthday and we had a family day for it. Was very odd being back there, loads of amazing memories came flooding back.
So pleased that club house has survived it was a friendly hub of aviation and a model of how a club could run., and quite close to some of the original fighter bays. Kevin had been of the instructors 'tasked' to do my glider to ppl conversion (15hrs) (he made it a pleasure). Am I correct in thinking he flew a C310 in his early commercial days.
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Old 15th Aug 2021, 21:55
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
So pleased that club house has survived it was a friendly hub of aviation and a model of how a club could run., and quite close to some of the original fighter bays. Kevin had been of the instuctors 'tasked' to do my glider to ppl conversion (he made it a pleasure). Am I correct in thinking he flew a C310 in his early commercial days.
its lovely that its still there. So much of the airfield has been destroyed which I find incredibly sad but just thankful that the clubhouse is still there and in use!



The old Air Touring clubhouse as it is now.
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Old 16th Aug 2021, 20:51
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Not bad for a 50 year old club house, now with added veranda. Glad it has had a new life.
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 10:21
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
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Air touring

I also am late into the thread, I think I found it a while ago and didn't return
I was introduced to the club by one of my Air Training Corps officers, Tony Weedon in 72, Tony was also one of the flying instructors mostly on the weekends. My first flight with him was in G-AYYY, having only flown in Chipmunks this was a different world- visibility. Tony never added the instructors fee when I flew with him, less than 7 ph for a rally ate in to my low apprentice pay, an extra 1 for the Monsun. I often hitched rides and to those I was very grateful off. I started lessons formally later after about a year. I did do a Monsun flight, but as it was before formal flying I never recorded it, even the reg.
I flew with most of the instructors noted above except Margaret and Colin. Headcorn was coming along, the clubhouse/cafe had opened, available on some days. I got a free map reading flight down and back only to then find myself being instructed on using the ground radio and being Headcorn "tower" for the next hour covering a lesson of circuits.
I got to 3.5 hours solo, nearly ate a fourniers rudder that joined the circuit tight in front of me on the cross wind. However I am neg gee sensitive and I have not beaten it to this day, In 74/5 I called it game over, stalling and spinning was not going to be good (I don't believe 80% of people do, except the loony aeros brigade). Could I step back in a Rallye and fly on my memories, yes I think I could with few prompts.
in 2018 I worked in hangar 500, got an invite to join a short tour into the Heritage hanger the the airport pr manager, we spoke of the original design with dogtooth cutout to fit the tails in, spoke in relation to the resident Messersmidt that it wasn't the first to be there although the Bolkow Blomn addition didn't really make the Monsun a true Messersmidt. At least it had fixed wings!
My short time with the club was informative, in reflection I learnt a lot more than I realised a different social level and most importantly the trust pilots place on the aircraft and its maintenance team. As an avionics apprentice it was one thing that was never taught but came from flying.
Incidentally a lady on the Heritage Hangar reception also was ex ATS/C.
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