Popham Airfield near Winchester. It lies along the A303 road, is located 6.9 miles southwest of Basingstoke, and is home to the south of England's longest runway. The airfield was once home to a secret Star Wars Ep7 filming location with half of a full-size Millennium Falcon spaceship, discovered by an AirBourne Aviation training school staff pilot.
In the early 1970s, the land that runs alongside the A303 in Winchester was purchased by Jim Espin, a member of the Hampshire Strut of the Popular Flying Association. With the aid of fellow members of the Strut, the land was cleared, levelled, seeded and transformed into an airstrip.
In 1978, Charles Church, an avid spitfire collector, purchased the airfield. During this time, a second runway was added, and the airfield was expanded to include additional hangers.
During a morning flight in September, Matthew Myatt- An Airbourne Aviation Flying Club member- was leaning out his Ikarus C42 single-engine microlight aeroplane, enjoying the view, when he noticed something strange from below. The planes were completing their morning flight, having set off from Popham Airfield they flew North towards a parkland called Greenham Common. Matt suddenly noticed something peculiar from below. He couldn't quite make out what the object was, as they were traveling around 1,000 feet in the sky, so he decided to zoom in as much as possible and take some photos on his phone to look at later. Little did he realise he had captured a piece of cinematic history.
It was only after he had looked through the photos did he realise that he had photographed the Millennium Falcon, one of the most closely held secrets on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The picture captured the right half of Han Solo's galactic cruiser parked next to a Black and Blue X-wing fighter. He uploaded the photo to Twitter, social media, and media news outlets went crazy. No one in the public knew that filming was happening in the park.
Today, Popham Airfield welcomes over 10,000 visitors annually and has an active programme of activities for aviation enthusiasts to be a part of. The training school runs Flight Simulations and Flies C42a aircraft. With FlyDays, you are able to purchase the opportunity to take Flying Lessons in light aircraft and Microlighting.
Please remember that Flying Experiences are dependent on weather conditions, so at times may need to be rescheduled.