Tiger Moth G-ANUD from Barry Davidson
Some notes on Fairoak from Terry Clark
First used as an airfield in 1931 then taken over by the Air Ministry in 1936 and re-developed to become a Flying Training School. The ‘control tower’ in the photo was built about this time.
During WW2, some 6,000 pilots were trained at Fairoaks and the FTS had 4 satellite airifelds, relief land grounds (RLGs) at Smiths Lawn and Winkfield Row and emergency landing grounds (ELGs) at Merrow (just east of Guildford) and Bray Court (just east of Maidenhead) .
One famous person trained to be a pilot here was a Mr James Wight, better known to you as James Herriot, the vet. I’m sure there were other famous’ persons trained here; as it is known Prince Philip did some flying from Smith’s Lawn, it could be he was trained here.
Postwar the airfield was operated by Universal Flying Services on behalf of the Ministry and accepted civil aircraft as well as military, with the FTS disbanding in the mid ’50s.
In 1967, it was sold by MOD for £152000 and has had several owners to this day. One of these owners was Alan Mann and Noel Edmonds and David Essex both learned to fly helicopters with Alan Mann Helicopters
The service presently provided from the ‘control tower’ is AFIS, the FISOs having the additional duties of collecting landing and parking fees and fuel payments.
Prior to the FISO Licensing system being started in the ’80s, the service provided was ATC but by ‘unlicensed’ controllers, as it was at other ex military or ex MoA airfields like Blackbushe and Biggin Hill. How this operated legally I don’t know, I only know that when I started training at Farnborough in 1974, the first ‘Fairoaks Tower ‘ voice I spoke to was an ex ATCO Cadet who had been terminated from my Cadet course (No 23) during aerodrome control training!
and Terry has added that ex NATS personnel working at Fairoaks have included Colin Scarse (ex ATCO Cadet c1974) and more recently Bob Trott ex TC, Martin Hill ex TC, Terry Clark ex Farnborough. All the former operated as FISOs. Others include John Halloway ex TC – flying instructor and Malcolm Hemming ex LATCC/Farnborough/Heathrow – flying instructor