Elstree Flying Club/London School of Flying

Operated from Mid-1950 to Sep 2011

Main Base – Elstree

Founders/Directors – Mr. John M. Houlder C.B.E. & Mr. Best-Devereaux (Secretary) & Mr David F. Ogilvy (from 1952) Mr. Ron Paine (c.1960)

Starting out during the summer of 1950 as the brainchild of airfield director J.M. Houlder, this flying club expanded over the next couple of years to include three Autocrats/Alphas, two Magisters and a single Gemini. One of the Alphas he purchased happened to be the infamous G-AGXT which had previously been hired by Universal Services Flying Club member Brian Douglas Hume on October 5th 1949 to transport a large parcel between Elstree & Southend. On landing however, this parcel had mysteriously vanished although it was later found by a farm worker who was out hunting ducks on the Essex marshes. On opening it, he found the dismembered remains of local car dealer Stanley Setty who had likely been murdered and then dumped into the sea for absconding with £1,000 that wasn’t his. Hume was subsequently arrested & served 12 years as an accessory to murder.

The club soon became a fully functioning entity which offered the usual menu of P.P.L. instruction and pleasure flying. Numerous fly ins and tea patrols were also arranged. During its lifetime, the club changed hands a couple of times and by the end of 1952 Elstree had been taken over by Wolverhampton Aviation this in turn being owned by Air Schools Ltd. (also owners of Derby Aviation/Airways which later became British Midland). This new relationship permitted Elstree to make use of Wolverhampton/Air Schools’ aircraft such as Miles Trainer G-AKKR, but the club still continued to operate under its original name. In 1954, Wolverhampton was absorbed into Derby and sometime later in 1960, the London School of Flying was created by Air Schools to take over all aerial activities while the Elstree Flying Club name would remain, albeit as a social club only.

Training was initially confined to single engine types, but by 1963 the L.S.F. had been provided with an Anson by Derby which was used to undertake instrument training and pilot conversions to twins. It was also around 1963 that several Chipmunks started appearing at the club, most of them still owned by Derby, although the majority of them would be transferred into L.S.F. ownership during the early part of 1966. It was in fact these very aircraft which would start to put in regular appearances at Southend during the early to late 1960s, frequently making monthly or bi-monthly visits always during the evenings and more than often in twos or threes. Needless to say, visits would also occur either side of this timeline but were relatively rare. Come 1990, the L.S.F. was absorbed into the large Cabair Group which in turn finally closed its doors in September 2011.

 

London School of Flying fleet from 1958 to 1970

Auster J/1 Autocrat

G-AHAP – 2/47 to 10/59

Owned by Air Schools Ltd.

Auster J/1N Alpha

G-AGTP – 11/60 to 7/68

Owned by Derby/British Midland

G-AGXT – 9/50 to 7/66

Sold to Quislats Ltd.

G-AIBW – 11/46 to 1/67

Owned by Air Schools Ltd

Avro C.19 Anson

G-AGWE – ?/63 to ?/65

Owned by Derby/British Midland

De Havilland Canada D.H.C.1 Chipmunk

G-AOSK – 3/66 to 9/66

Sold to G.E. Fischer

G-AOSN* –  2/66 to 4/67

Sold to R.C. Lewis

G-AOSO* – 2/66 to 9/68

Sold to Leith Air Ltd.

G-AOSY* – 2/66 to 11/67

Sold to J.A. Washington-Clowes

G-APOE* –  2/66 to 1/70

Sold in the U.S. as N2533

G-APTG* – ?/63 to 11/65

Owned by Derby/British Midland

G-APYG* – ?/63 to 10/69

Owned by Derby/British Midland

G-ARGH* – 1/66 to 7/66

Permanently W.F.U.

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche

G-ATEN – 3/66 to 3/68

Sold to J.G. Crampton & L.G. Wright

G-ATYF – 8/66 to 9/71

Sold to Rummer Aviation

Victa 100 Airtourer

G-ATJC – 2/66 to 10/66

Sold to Midland Air Touring Group

 

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