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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 18th Nov 2010, 13:31
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The Air Touring Club - Biggin Hill: History Sought

Hello

I'm doing a little family research and looking into the start of the Air Touring Club at Biggin Hill and wondered if anyone knew the history if this establishment - how it started and what happened in the early year.

Thanks - any help would be greatly appreciated.

JC
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 21:27
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Air Touring

Did a short (ex gliding) PPL there in 1972.
Colin and Margaret Dyne,Kevin Hills and David Turner.
Everything looked pretty new then including the Rallyes and monsun BO209 (for spinning)
Was only there for the licence but very pleased with the way it was run and the atmosphere.
Staff were very friendly and amused when i pitched up with my Turbulent some weeks later.
Years later dealt with Pat Patel (engineering) "great guy".
Very sorry to hear of their demise in 2009 as always found them a pleasure to deal with and always ready to help with tech queries.
Having spent Years flying gliders with no compass and only a couple of instruments this led to some interesting situations.
One occaision en-route to S/Ford instructors asks "whats your heading"
Im heading for Crystal Palace i answered. No "whats your heading" Ah i think he wants me to be more precise,"the Co-op store i answer".
Instructor buries head in his hands and we have a chat about DI's and using them later.
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 06:40
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December 1979

Last edited by Earl of Rochester; 20th Nov 2010 at 19:56. Reason: re-size photo
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 15:24
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G-BGKB

Well done,Earl of Rochester !
My first ever log book entry was in G-BGKB on the 28th May 1980.It was the first of approximately 600 hours in a variety of different Rallyes.I still have the bill for that day`s flying - 40 minutes dual including landing fee was 19.20 ! Would cost a bit more today, I think .
Notfarg
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Old 20th Nov 2010, 18:38
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Air Touring (giving a good deal)

When i booked my flying with them i was offered a discount for paying in advance and an extra discount for flying during the week.
They even did my "spinning" whilst the aircraft was en-route for a booking at Headcorn (no charge)
They certainly took the pain out of the costs which were quite modest to start with and all the aircraft were brand new.
However it was the positive attitude that made me do my hours with them and they made it enjoyable from the moment you first stepped into the club / ops room that looked out across the airfield.
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Old 1st Dec 2010, 05:47
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Air Touring Club

I have just come across this thread and was most interested to see Dave Turner's name mentioned. He was my instructor when I learned to fly there in 1973. Does anyone know where he is now.

BB
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Old 1st Dec 2010, 10:59
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JSJ: London Aero Club started at Biggin, 1961, won the MS.880 distributorship and imported G-ARTT 13/12/61. Re-named Air Touring Services Ltd. 1965.
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Old 1st Dec 2010, 17:33
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David Turner

Hi B/Boy I saw mention on a page about a B/Hill reunion that DT had gone to South Africa.
Ist trip with Margaret, Middle bits with Kevin and David and the GFT with Colin.
All a very happy experience (after we sorted the compass/di bit out) (i had been flying for over ten years in machines that did not have them!!!)
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Old 11th May 2016, 20:26
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David Turner is indeed living in South Africa. I see him a couple of times a year. He taught me to fly in 1971. A great instructor.
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Old 12th May 2016, 00:12
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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.
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Old 2nd Aug 2016, 21:57
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Smile Air Touring, the early days

Hi All, In my search for an old Instructor from Air Touring I came across this site;


Brief history; I started flying with AT on the 3rd of Sept 1978 the instructor was Trevor Prytherch; Finally acquiring my PPL on the 13th April 1980 at 40 hours 04 mins. The club was a truly family and social event, the social club ran many seasonal functions and festivities a great place to hang out. The CFI at the later time was Mike Weeks and he put me up on my first sole at 8.5 hours. the guy behind the desk at the time was Roger Patterson, a pupil PPL as well. (Later becoming my Instructor) I went on to fly the Rallye 150St & St100, Tapico and Tobago type. After many failed attempts to get a on a civil airline training scheme, That last was Bcal that accepted me and then was sold to BA and they dropped the scheme. In 1989 on the 27th August I made my last flight as P1. Broke and divorced.
I flew hardly any hours at after that ( I borrowed a C172 while on honeymoon in France to show my new wife the Chateaus) and a bit with people that had planes and helicopters. This April (2016) I was 60 and my wife tracked down Roger Paterson, who now does the GFT's at Surrey and Kent flying club, Biggin Hill. She arranged a flight to Headcorn for tea as a surprise. We eventually made the trip on the 31st July this year. Clare in the back with video and myself as a PUT. The Old hanger at AT has been replaced by a new Blue thing and the main hanger is home to Spitfires, Hurricanes and a part built ME109. No more bustle, no over packed circuit, in fact nothing else on the circuit, all gone. If anyone wants more information guess I might be able to help but the post is really to try and track down Mike Weeks, so if anyone knows of his whereabouts???


Regards, hope tis was no so boring?
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Old 3rd Aug 2016, 17:58
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Hi Mr Roo,
I will pass this on to my brother, Ian Goodchild also an instructor a Biggin and lives a few doors down the road to Mike Weeks.
Cheers
Paul Goodchild.
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Old 4th Aug 2016, 08:31
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I had my first flight with them aged 12. I remember it was a Piper Apache, and the Aunt that took me was impressed with the fact that we had to join the Club for a week to be allowed to take a pleasure flight. I sat in the front seat and the pilot let me take the controls for a bit. That was me hooked!
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Old 3rd Mar 2020, 17:47
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Took my first lesson at Air Touring with Colin Dyne in May 1970 in Rallye G-AXCL. Hooked! As well as flying with Colin I also flew with Dave Turner (superb instructor), Kevin Hills, Margaret Dyne and others. Air Touring had no spinnable aircraft in those days and spinning was required before solo, so I had to fly with Barry McGrath at Surrey and Kent in a Beagle Pup to do Exercise 11. PPL in 1971, and when the MBB Monsuns arrived in 1972, Colin checked me out in G-AZOC - that was the day I learned what the rudder was really for! The Monsun was a delightful little aircraft, and I did a little aerobatic flying with Colin in it - nothing fancy, just loops, barrel rolls and spins. When Colin and Margaret moved to Headcorn to set up the Headcorn Flying School, I followed them down there and flew Robin DR 400s. Very happy memories of Air Touring Club.

Last edited by davjenmays; 4th Mar 2020 at 11:10.
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Old 4th Apr 2020, 13:08
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I have come in a few years late on this thread, but I got my PPL with Air Touring back in the late '60s. In those days it was known as the Air Touring Club (the 'Rallye' prefix came later) and operated out of an old control tower (almost certainly now demolished). The club had (I think) 3 Rallye Clubs at that time. As these were not cleared for spinning, that part of the training was done in either a Tiger Moth or a Chipmunk belonging to another club (Kent and Sussex Flying Club?). I still have a picture of myself looking like a Biggles character in the Tiger).

At that time there must have been at least 6 flying clubs at the airfield. I remember Colin and Margaret Dyne well. Margaret checked me out before letting me go for my first solo and Colin tore me off a strip one day for being very late back with a plane and keeping others waiting (I had flown some friends up to Silverstone to watch the motor racing and we were held there before being allowed to take off for the return trip).

My main instructor was a chap called Martin Jeffries who later left to take his Commercial License. While I was there the club moved into a brand new hangar on the other side of the airfield and the whole organisation became (perhaps sadly) more organised and professional.

I haven't been back to Biggin Hill for many years and I expect would hardly recognise it today, now that business aviation seems to have squeezed out most (and probably all) of the clubs and, from what I hear, is not too friendly at all to mere recreational fliers. But I still have happy memories of sunny days (the sun always shone in those days!) sitting on the grass outside the old clubhouse waiting for my plane to land so I could go flying.

As a postscript, those were the days when Biggin was the home of a still-airworthy Lancaster together with a Spitfire and a Mustang.
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 10:39
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Morning all

Just seen this thread about Air Touring Club. As a family the old clubhouse was our regular haunt while Dad (Bill Barker) was training for his PPL on the tin parachutes. Lots of happy memories of clambering up the stairs to what was at the time the best view of the runway with decent bench seats aroung the edges and watching the Rallye death plunge at the end of 11. Radio traffic was very amusing in those days with the pilots commenting on thier approaches to the club on the short runway, keeping the audience amused with their banter about the instructors. We used to play in the blast pens where they kept the spitfires in ww2. On bonfire night we would split up into two gangs, adults and kids and launch fireworks at each other over the separator between the two pens. no-one got hurt........much. Dad and his instructor Gordon Quinnell were asked by a local TV company to do a flyby in 'India Whisky' for the cameras and this is what it looked like........

Oops, 9 more posts to go until I can share that

TTFN Clive Barker
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 17:21
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I too have just found this thread.
I spent a lot of time at Air Touring between 1969 and 1973 both renting Rallye's for fun and doing evening ground school lectures there. On occasion I was persuaded by Bob Cleary to go down to the Socata factory at Tarbes and ferry brand new airframes from there to Biggin Hill. The aircraft were pretty basic, had just a compass, ball, ASI and non-sensitive altimeter and of course no radio; I remember on one occasion being flown down there in a Gardan Horizon, on other occasions taking the boat train via Paris. It was a long way back in a Rallye, via Orleans or Toussus, Berk-sur-Mer and Lydd (to do the Customs paperwork) especially when flying the O-200 engine version!
There was quite a lively social life at Air Touring, especially in the evenings after ground school...does anyone remember one of my students, the delightful Janet Harris, a long legged blond who used to turn up for flying lessons in an AC Cobra wearing fashionably short skirts? The Metropolitan Police Flying Club were also affiliated to Air Touring and I learned a lot about the work of "coppers" from their members over a pint or two in the bar.
When Air Touring were appointed dealers for the Bolkow Monsun Colin Dyne checked me out on the demonstrator G-AYPE and did such a good job I bought a brand new one, taking delivery of her on January 1st 1973. The price, just 6450 after a bit of haggling with Mr Cleary.
In those days flying to France was slightly more complicated than today, each aircraft had a customs carnet and one had to clear outwards as well as inbound; as long as the aircraft had a
radio we used Gatwick for customs as well as ILS practice for a very minimal landing fee.

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Old 20th Oct 2020, 17:43
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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.
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 19:29
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Don't recall ATC ever having any, certainly from my first visit in '75 it was all Aerospatiale, plus the Monsun. I think EFG and the Biggin Hill Flying Club had one or two each. I've had a very quick squizz at G-INFO and none of the UK Victa or Glos built examples seemed to have been owned by them...
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Old 20th Oct 2020, 22:18
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Originally Posted by John M 45 View Post
I have come in a few years late on this thread, but I got my PPL with Air Touring back in the late '60s. In those days it was known as the Air Touring Club (the 'Rallye' prefix came later) and operated out of an old control tower (almost certainly now demolished). The club had (I think) 3 Rallye Clubs at that time. As these were not cleared for spinning, that part of the training was done in either a Tiger Moth or a Chipmunk belonging to another club (Kent and Sussex Flying Club?). I still have a picture of myself looking like a Biggles character in the Tiger).

At that time there must have been at least 6 flying clubs at the airfield. I remember Colin and Margaret Dyne well. Margaret checked me out before letting me go for my first solo and Colin tore me off a strip one day for being very late back with a plane and keeping others waiting (I had flown some friends up to Silverstone to watch the motor racing and we were held there before being allowed to take off for the return trip).

My main instructor was a chap called Martin Jeffries who later left to take his Commercial License. While I was there the club moved into a brand new hangar on the other side of the airfield and the whole organisation became (perhaps sadly) more organised and professional.

I haven't been back to Biggin Hill for many years and I expect would hardly recognise it today, now that business aviation seems to have squeezed out most (and probably all) of the clubs and, from what I hear, is not too friendly at all to mere recreational fliers. But I still have happy memories of sunny days (the sun always shone in those days!) sitting on the grass outside the old clubhouse waiting for my plane to land so I could go flying.

As a postscript, those were the days when Biggin was the home of a still-airworthy Lancaster together with a Spitfire and a Mustang.
Martin Jeffree, later a great captain with British Island Airways at LGW, who died not so long ago.
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