STAG LANE AND THE LONDON AEROPLANE CLUB
AND THE STAG LAN ONDON AEROPLANE CLU
THE names of Stag Lane Aerodrome and the London Aeroplane Club are synonymous—one cannot think of one without the other, for both, to a large extent, have grown up and advanced through various stages of development together, and both are in the annals aviation. are
Stag Lane as an aerodrome, in fact, has been in existence for something like fifteen ye ars.. During the War it was used by the Warran School of Flying, and there a goodly number of R.F.C. officers received fheir elementary train. ing on Caudron biplanes powered with 45 h. p. Anzani and 50 h.p. Gnome engines— machines which would seem strangely antique nowadays beside their modern descendants. In the year immediately following the Armistice, conunon with practically all . business associated the aviation industry, the school closed down, for then was, to all intents and purposes, dead. theless, in that extremely difficult period, the was still carried on as such, for Captain Geoffrey Havilland, with commendable courage, himself there as the de Havilland Aircraft Co. It one of our very first post-War aviation concerns, one which had a very modest beginning. Where stand extensive workshops, offices and hangars, found in those days but two or three Bessanan and a few humble wooden buildings. All the used were War-time machines converted for commercial
purposes, and the light ‘plane, the private owner, and the club member existed only in dreams—perhaps of ” D.H.” himself. But as the years passed Stag Lane crept onto the map. Things were happening at the little obscure aerodrome which lay back from the busy Edgware Road, and over the roofs of the sedate London suburb which
sprawled around it, Cobham and Barnard and Broad set off on their several epoch making flights.
In time it became a centre of British commercial aviation —the steppingoff place, as it were, not only of some of our most famous pilots ,but ultimately the private flying cum-light ‘plane movement itself, for there the first “Moth” appeared and there the London Aeroplane Club made its home.
That was in 1925, when the Government system of subsidising flying clubs was first introduced. The Club in the first place owned two Mark I “Moths,” which, of course, were powered with the early-type ” Cirrus” engine of 27-60 h.p. The machines were housed in a diminutive shed just large enough to contain them when the wings were folded, and alongside this building was the “flight office.” The whole was, perhaps, not particularly imposing, but that did not matter ; it was the beginning of a movement which was later to be copied all over the world, a movement which was to bring flying within the reach of all with moderate means. And contrary to the sceptics, the demand for membership was immediate, and the inaugural meeting on 19th
August, 1925, was remarkable for its enthusiasm. This keenness must have been a little embarrassing for the overworked instructors and the ground-engineer, for the records of the Club’s activities during the first month show that in that time, 72 pupils received instruction and over 100 hours were flown. Both the ” Moths ” were continually at work, and their daily average time in: the air was between five and six hours.
The past six years have wrought a good many changes in the London Aeroplane Club ; the original instructors, Messrs. Sparks (” Sparkie “) and Whitcomb are no longer to be found at Stag Lane for the former is now flying in Canada and the latter has given up aviation ; the original equipment was long ago abandoned for the later editions of the “Moth,” and the little wooden shed has been replaced by spacious hangars and a club house (with bar) worthy of the name. But the character of the club, which now has a membership of between 500 and 600, remains unaltered,
and with no less than seven machines available, and flying taking place on every day of the week, it is one of the busiest and keenest centres of private flying in the country. Certainly for anyone living in the London area who is anxious to fly or to learn to fly, one would have difficulty in recommending a more satisfactory, cheerful or convenient place than the London Aeroplane Club, Stag Lane, with Major H. G. Travers as chief instructor, the maintenance of the aircraft in the hands of Mr. A. E. Mitchell, and the business side of the club presided over by Mr. M. P. S. Spencer, the genial and obliging secretary. Moreover the rates, fees and so forth are quite reasonably low as the following will show :— Entrance fee flying member, 23 3s. ; associate mem
ber, nil. Subscription—flying member, 23 3s. ; associate member, 21 ls. Flying charges—dual, 22 per hour ; solo 21 10s. per hour.