HEST N AIR PARK.
FJVERYONE who is in the least interested or remotely associated with flying, and particularly private flying, knows or has heard of Heston Air Park. It is safe to say that it is as well known as the terminal aerodrome at Croydon. Yet it is only about two years ago that this extremely busy centre of civil aviation consisted of a stretch of neglected grassland and a series of odd-sized fields.
The fact that it has thus grown so phenomenally serves as an excellent indication of how rapidly civilian flying is advancing, and furthermore, it shows what happens when people with a long view of the development of air travel really “get down to it.” It was in 1929, that Mr. Nigel Norman with Mr. Alan Muntz realised the necessity of another aerodrome near London, and they chose their site at Heston, near Hounslow, Middlesex, as the spot coming nearest to their ideal. No doubt, a great many people at that time, as the laying out of the new establishment progressed, were sceptical of its probable utility, for then as now, private aviation was regarded as a movement
still very much in its infancy and with an uncertain future. A visit to the Air Park to-day would prove how very wide of the mark their earlier estimates and prophesies were.
There they will find no empty buildings, deserted ” tarmac ” and atmosphere of listless, enforced inactivity. Heston at all times is a real hive of industry. The tarmac—or to use the more up-to-date parlance, apron—is choc-a-bloc with aircraft ; with ‘planes arriving and departing, and being tested and demonstrated and being—well, just flown. Modernity and efficiency are the salient characteristics of the place. One can see at once that it has been planned. The entrance and roadways are of concrete— clean, dry and smooth, and the two main hangars which are of the
are very latest construction and design are also constructed of concrete, as is the extensive apron which is laid out along the entire frontage o f the main building group. Additional a c commodation is provided by steel hangars with lock-ups for craft with folding wings. Then there is the club-house–nocrude
wooden pavilion affair —but, a welldesigned, well-built and perfectly equipped and furnished building. Both the Household Brigade Flying Club and the Stock Exchange Flying Club have their headquarters there. This clubhouse, by the way, is quite unique for in addition to a capacious lounge, and restaurant, it also in
it also corporates a control tower—a very useful adjunct at a busy aerodrome. Installed in this tower is a wireless transmitter and receiving set, which with a half kilowatt of power, can be used for telegraphic communication up to a range of about 300 miles. This transmitter has been and is used quite successfully and frequently in connection with the school of flying, so that first soloists and pupils of limited experience can receive advice and instruction from the ground in the early stages of their flying career. The school at Heston is run on highly systemized lines, with Captain J. Baker, M.C., and Messrs.” fluffy “Newman and V. Maloney as instructors, and over 100 members have been passed out as qualified ” A ” licenced pilots since the aerodrome was first established. A further feather in the cap of Airwork Ltd., the proprietors of Heston Air Park, is that they have now been allocated a Customs official. Thus, private owners can clear there, and fly direct to the continent without the inconvenience of landing either at Croydon or Lympne in order to go through the usual formalities prior to their departure. The installation of a Customs House, has, of course, resulted i n a great increase in cross channel visitors, and one can often spend an interesting hour or so watching numerous foreign machi nes arrive. Indeed, at no other centre in England, is it possible
to see so wide a variety of light aircraft of British and foreign make.
Naturally, at an aerodrome such as Heston one expects to find service and one is not disappointed ; there is a whole hangar given up entirely to the overhauling and repair of aircraft. This department is under the direction of Mr. J. Parkes, and the workshops staff are available for any job, from adjusting tappets to rebuilding a write-off.
Heston Air Park is now firmly established, but Messrs. Muntz and Norman are not resting on their laurels ; further developments are in hand. An hotel is being built on the aerodrome for the convenience of visitors from abroad, and the keen public interest in the place has prompted them to open a new public enclosure, with verandah canteen and lounge.
Whenever one calls at Heston there is always something doing, and it is certainly one of the brightest, busiest and most go-ahead centres of private flying in the country.