Lincoln Aero Club
The History of Lincoln Aero Club
by Glennis & Steve Elders
G-AIRE at Bardney in 1958 (Photo: Barry Moores)
The Early Years at Bardney
The formation of Lincoln Aero Club is due to Tom Hayes. Tom was born in Lincoln
and spent most of his working life in the area.
In 1951 Tom had acquired a Taylorcraft G-AIRE which he flew from Boston as Lincoln
had no flying club. After a couple of years he managed to move to a farmers field,
close to his home and this worked well for a year or so until changes on the farm
set Tom looking for an alternative. There were many disused airfields close to Lincoln
which were possibilities. Some were still being used for disposal of war time bombs,
whilst others were in a sad state of repair, however, Bardney, some six miles southeast
of Lincoln, was in relatively good condition.
Tom found other interested persons and they approached the Ministry of Defence,
which produced a favourable response and in due course permission was obtained to
use the runways and control tower, for a rent of 25.00 per quarter year.
A small working party set about getting the airfield into shape in the spring of
1956 and a committee was formed in July. It was decided to call the organisation
Lincoln Aero Club. It would become a Popular Flying Association Group, (No 74) to
enable it to operate the scheme whereby a number of people could share an aircraft
and legally train on it without the machine having a commercial C of A, providing
they were all owners and the instructor received no remuneration. An arrangement
was made to use Toms Taylorcraft with part of everyones annual subscription counted
towards their aircraft share. Flying hourly charges were set at two pounds, six
Robin Simpson from Ancaster, an ex-RAF flying instructor, offered his services and
flying instruction got underway in July.
In the summer of 1957 a hangar was commenced. Progress was relatively slow as the
substantial structure, sufficient to house three aircraft, was all made by the club
members but by mid-1958 it just needed doors to complete. Unfortunately a letter
was received on the 16 June from the MOD saying they were reoccupying the airfield
(to use as a Thor missile site) and informing the Club it had to vacate. So before
the hangar was complete the Club had to take it down and empty the club house, which
somehow they managed in the 28 days given.
After more negotiation the Club was able to relocate to Kirton-in-Lindsey. The field
was still in use by the RAF but after meeting with the station commander, he agreed,
and hangarage and a building to use as a club house were also provided. The field
was grass but well kept and suited the Taylorcraft. In 1959 a Tiger Moth G-AMEZ
was purchased, which could be hired for three pounds per hour. The Club flourished
and by 1960 the membership was over sixty strong, compared to eight or so that had
started at Bardney.
In 1961 the Club gained the use of a Turbi G-APFA which was owned by the PFA and
loaned out to member groups. They were able to retain it for four months, whilst
G-AIRE was away on maintenance.
In the Spring of 1962 the Club acquired a further aeroplane, a Hawk Trainer G-ANWO.
Unfortunately this aircraft had a short career as, following flying damage and a
prohibitive C of A, it was permanently withdrawn from flying in April 1963. A Terrier
G-ASKJ was purchased in September 1963 but the Tiger gradually lost popularity and
was reportedly sold in 1964 for just 200 as members found it too cold!
In 1963 the Committee decided that the Club should have a President and asked none
other than Alex Henshaw, the famous air speed record holder and Spitfire test pilot.
Alex was contacted and very graciously accepted the role, which he filled admirably.
Hemswell and Sturgate
The Club stayed at Kirton until 1967 when Ministry requirements meant it had to
move. There followed a difficult period at an unlicensed field at Blyborough Hall
before the M.O.D allowed the Club to move to Hemswell in 1968 where it remained
until 1975. There was the use of the control tower, a concrete runway which was
still in excellent condition and one of the wartime hangars, which all added up
to produce a strong club. It was a sad day when Hemswell was sold and the Club had
to move once more, but it found an airfield with some promise at Sturgate. Lots
of hard work and expense followed once more to repair the control tower and erect
a hangar, but by the late seventies the Club was back on its feet with a more modern
fleet consisting of a Cessna 150 and Beagle Pup plus several leased Condors and
offering training for the PPL, Night Rating and IMC.
The Club has remained at Sturgate since 1975, and after a hard start has become
very well established. As well as refurbishing the control tower to turn it into
a club house and weekend operations centre, the original blister hangar has been
replaced by two large modern ones, housing some 20 aircraft. Sadly flying training
had to discontinue in 2002 when the airfield became unlicensed, but club aircraft
continue to be available with a Cessna 152 G-BONW, and a Cherokee180 G-AVZR
G-AVZR at Sturgate in 2006 (Photo: Steve Elders)