Denham Aerodrome

 

DENHAM AERODROME

Gerrards Cross residents are used to seeing light aircraft in the skies near or over Gerrards Cross, so  they may be interested to learn something of the Aerodrome’s history, its relationship with the Town Council and what action to take if a resident  considers an aircraft is flying too low over their house.

BRIEF HISTORY

Aircraft flew from Denham during the First World War. The Royal Flying Corps No 5 School of Aeronautics learnt to rig aircraft [aligning biplanes’ wings and wiring them in position] at the site of the now Martin Baker Aircraft Factory and RFC 1 Cadet Wing  trained flight cadets from the airfield. In 1926 Myles Bickerton purchased part of the current aerodrome, choosing the site because it was high and flat with good drainage. Hangars were built and fuel tanks installed. Amy Johnson and the Prince of Wales  [later King Edward V111] both  used the aerodrome as did many civil and military aircraft.

In 1938 the aerodrome business was formed into a limited company, becoming the first licensed aerodrome in Buckinghamshire. During World War 11 the aerodrome was requisitioned, together with part of Denham Golf course and the surrounding fields. It was used by the RAF for training  and at one time 30 de Havilland Tiger Moths and 30 Miles Magisters were based there. Many of the Arnhem glider pilots were trained at this airfield.

PRESENT USE

After the aerodrome was de-requisitioned  and repaired as it was left in a dreadful mess, the Denham Flying Club was formed and from the 1960’s it has been increasingly used by charter companies and businesses  flying passengers into and out of small airports all over Europe.  Maintenance is carried out on aircraft and on helicopters, including those performing essential services such as medical flights and powerline inspections. Among the helicopters based at  Denham  are the ambulance helicopter for London  and two which are equipped as television stations. Squadron 2370 of the Air Training Corps is based at the airfield and many young people have achieved various successes through their commitment and perseverance.

RELATIONS WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

In 1970 the Aerodrome set up a Consultative Committee with the various users of the Aerodrome and the surrounding Councils, including that for Gerrards Cross. It liaises with local planning departments and encourages them to inform  developers of the aerodrome’s location and operations.  Many school and group visits take place and the aerodrome strictly enforces a ‘good neighbour’ policy, trying to ensure that flying is always  carried out with consideration for those on the ground  in terms of both noise and safety.

COMPLAINTS

Denham Aerodrome is 249’ above sea level and its planes should fly at 1000’ above sea level which is as high as permitted due to the proximity of Northolt and Heathrow. Most aircraft have to fly north – those under the control of Northolt and Heathrow go to or from the east, south and west – concentrated into a small path, avoiding as far as possible built up areas. Contrary to popular belief aircraft my fly over Gerrards Cross and are not confined to the east of the A413.

Complaints may be made by telephone on 01895 835161, in writing to your local Parish/Town Council or to  the Aerodrome Manager, Bickerton’s Aerodromes Limited, Denham Aerodrome, Denham, Bucks UB9 5DN. The telephone is a dedicated line to an answerphone situated in the Control Tower.  Complaints should include the time of the incident, the position and the registration of the relevant aircraft. If the registration cannot be seen, details such as the number of engines, the colour scheme, whether the aircraft has wings above or below the pilot and whether the undercarriage was retracted may help to identify the aircraft. Complaints will be recorded and investigated and, if the complainant leaves a telephone number or address, a response will be given.