Wellesbourne Airfield is located just a few minutes flying time from historic Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of one of Britain’s and the world’s greatest writers, William Shakespeare, making it the perfect location to enjoy aerial views of the world-famous market town with a range of flying days and experiences to enjoy in the heart of the West Midlands with FlyDays.
The story of how Wellesbourne Airfield came to be one of the most premiere destinations in the West Midlands for aviation enthusiasts starts back in World War II, when the UK Government purchased six acres of farmland in the village of Wellesbourne near Stratford-upon-Avon, which was surrendered by the Littler family farm to become RAF Wellesbourne Mountford in the summer of 1941.
The first Royal Air Force unit to be based there were the No. 22 Operational Training Unit, who were largely responsible for training up aircrews, pilots, navigators, bomb-aimers, wireless operators and air gunners from both Britain and the Commonwealth.
The airfield was attacked by air raids on four consecutive occasions alone during May 1941. One of these, carried out on 10th May, was believed to be a Heinkel 111, which fired at a dilapidated Wellington bomber that had been hit in a previous attack, as well as attacking the runway and flare path, with a stick of three bombs which ricocheted into a field near the village.
As training on the air base grew - it was at its peak of around 113 aircrews a month in the spring of 1944 - so too did the number of flying accidents, and thus sadly the number of service men that lost their lives and aircraft that were destroyed in combat grew also.
In total, 96 Wellington bombers were lost in operational or training accidents, with 80 airmen injured and over 300 killed in action. With the end of World War II and VE Day in 1945, RAF Wellesbourne Mountford ceased war operations in July of that year, after training up over 9000 airmen.
A number of different RAF units operated sporadically from there for the next 15 years, notably the School of Photography from 1948 to 1964, who operated Avro Anson fighter planes, and the No.9 Oxfords for advanced flying training in the early 1950s.
The Littler Family repossessed the land from the RAF in 1965, from which point onwards the site was used as a vehicle testing facility, and was also a temporary base for Microlighting. With the dawn of the 1980s, licensing from the Civil Aviation Authority finally brought flying clubs to the airfield.
It quickly grew in popularity, with the addition of a museum charting Wellesbourne’s wartime usage opened towards the end of the 1980s in what was the old underground emergency wartime command and control bunker, and a new hangar for use by HeliAir, a helicopter maintenance facility in the mid 1990s.
Around 70 different aircraft are permanently based on site at the airfield, as well as several flying clubs, school and aircraft maintenance facilities, together with two Asphalt runways, the longest of which measures 1200 x 48 metres.
Wellesbourne, Wellesbourne, Wherefore Art Thou Wellesbourne?
For sky high views of Shakespeare’s county, including Warwick Castle and the regency town of Royal Leamington Spa, Wellesbourne Airfield is the perfect location, as it is just a short five-minute drive from the M40 motorway and legendary Fosse Way.
Even closer still, and almost within touching distance from the end of the runway, is majestic Charlecote Park, where legend has it that Shakespeare was once caught poaching deer.
And, if you book your flying experience for a Saturday, you can also indulge in some retail therapy at one of the largest outdoor markets in the West Midlands, which is located right next to the airfield.
But that’s not all. The Touchdown Café, which is also located on site at the airfield, is the perfect place to enjoy a tasty snack or full English breakfast whilst watching the flying action from its outdoor terrace.
Is this A Helicopter I See Before Me?
Indeed, it is, as FlyDays gives you the chance to learn to fly and pilot a helicopter at Wellesbourne in the heart of Warwickshire.
Our Insight to Becoming a Helicopter Pilot package will also count as your first steps towards a Helicopter Pilot’s Licence and a possible future career or hobby in aviation.
The experience itself includes a pre-flight briefing, and after landing, the pilot will present you with a signed flight certificate to take home and display with pride on your wall.
A Helicopter! A Helicopter! My Kingdom for a Helicopter!
FlyDays.co.uk is also proud to offer a range of Helicopter Flying Lessons for Two and Three people to enjoy together.
It is a chance to discover how well you can fly a helicopter, while also learning how important navigation and observation are, in a chopper up thousands of feet in the air.
We’re always open to accepting group bookings, so this could even be a great team building exercise for a corporate away day - contact our customer service team today and they’ll be happy to discuss options with you.
Booking to Fly at Wellesbourne Airfield
There are few gift experiences that come close to matching the thrill and excitement of a flying experience, and Wellesbourne Airfield is the perfect place to take to the skies in a helicopter. Its central location makes it easy to get to and it is surrounded by rolling English countryside.
Book your experience with FlyDays.co.uk for a magical, aerial adventure today for any of the experiences you see listed below, using our regularly updated Events calendar, or through purchase of one of our open gift vouchers.