Easily reachable from central London and deep into the rolling countryside of Essex lies Stapleford Airfield. Possibly because of its good city links and ideal placing near to the M25 and M11 motorways, it is a great venue to escape and enjoy some time up in the air with FlyDays.
First known as Essex Aerodrome, it was opened for the operation of Hillman’s Airways (which was subsequently merged into British Airways) in 1933, offering flights to Paris and other European destinations on the de Havilland Dragon biplanes.
However, such operations only lasted for three years when this service was moved to Heston Aerodrome in Middlesex in 1936. A year later in 1937, following an expression of interest from them, the RAF acquired the defunct base and it became the No. 21 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School.
Its World War II name was changed to RAF Stapleford Tawney in 1939, and by the following year it had also become a satellite station for the nearby North Weald Airfield. The squadrons who were predominantly based here over the remainder of wartime were No. 151 Squadron, No. 242 Squadron and also No. 277 Squadron, who were established as the new Air Sea Rescue squadron.
The airfield also played a crucial role in preparation for the D-Day landings at Normandy in France in 1944. Military operations ceased at RAF Stapleford Tawney just before VE Day and the end of the war in 1945, and a memorial is still at the airfield which pays tribute to those who lost their lives.
Ownership of the airfield after the war changed hands numerous times, including as a base for the Royal Engineers from 1946 - 1948, the Herts and Essex Aero Club (who had previously been based at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire) from 1953 - 1955, and it was also the founding for the Percival Air Company in 1955.
Today, Stapleford Flight Centre runs from the airfield, together with other independent flying schools and leisure air operators. It has two parallel runways - an Asphalt one and a grass one, both measuring 1077 x 46 metres, together with hangarage and aircraft maintenance facilities.
London By Air From Essex
The opportunity to enjoy a leisure flight over the Capital awaits from Stapleford Airfield, with our special range of City of London Helicopter Tour packages to book for one or two to enjoy.
So whether you’re fancying a city trip with a difference, or you're visiting from London looking to see your home city from a completely different perspective, this is the flying experience for you, as you take to a helicopter that will fly over the Essex countryside.
This eventually gives way to the sprawling metropolis of London, with all the major landmarks pointed out to you by your pilot and in-flight tour guide along the way, including the River Thames, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, the O2 Arena and Battersea Power Station along the way.
Aviation Lessons in Essex
If you’ve dreamed of taking to the skies above Essex, or just have a pipe dream of flying and piloting your own plane, Stapleford Airfield offers that opportunity with a selection of flying lessons lasting either 30 minutes or 60 minutes.
Stapleford Flight Centre are approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, so their expert instructors that are on hand as you take to the skies to get your first experience in handling and controlling a plane and learning the joy of aviation are the very best around.
Whichever length of lesson you choose, it also qualifies as part of your experience towards obtaining a Private Pilot’s Licence. It’s a great introduction to what makes flying so exhilarating a pastime.
Booking to Fly at Stapleford Airfield
FlyDays is looking forward to getting you booked onto your next flying day or experience at Stapleford Airfield. Any of the available experiences you can see below can be booked onto directly from available dates on our regularly updated calendar.
But for a perfect gift idea to treat yourself or any flying enthusiast, our open gift vouchers give you greater flexibility to put them towards the experience you want at the time you want.