Overlooking the mouth of the Bristol Channel, Weston Super Mare is one of the most recognised coastal locations in the South West of England, and the site of its former airport is steeped in previous aviation history.
It was first ordered and built by the local council in the 1930s, as part of aviation pioneer Sir Alan Cobham’s ‘Municipal Aerodromes Scheme’ that had been established the previous decade. Scheduled flights commenced from the airport in the spring of 1936.
One of their most popular air routes, run by Railway Air Services over a series of de Havilland aircraft, was at one time the quickest link between Weston Super Mare and Cardiff until the Severn Bridge was built in 1966.
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, it was acquired for military use by the Royal Air Force, who had established a School of Technical Training at nearby RAF Locking a mile away, but which didn’t have an airfield.
That same year, the No. 39 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School RAF was established at what became known for the duration of the war as RAF Weston Super Mare. A Ministry of Aircraft Production factory was built on the west quarter of the airfield in 1940.
This was built to help production of Bristol Beaufighter aeroplanes, with a ‘Q-decoy’ site being established in the nearby village of Bleadon to prevent bombing from the Luftwaffe. RAF usage did continue at the airport until some time after the end of the war, as late as 1969.
In 1955, the old Beaufighter factory was converted for use by the Bristol Aeroplane Company Helicopter Division, which produced, amongst other things, the Sycamore, which was the first British built and designed helicopter to be used by the RAF.
The Helicopter Museum, which is the world’s largest known collection of helicopters and associated aircraft, opened on the site of the airport in 1978, and is still in operation today for tourists to enjoy, along with an operational helipad which is occasionally used by RAF Search and Rescue.
Flying near Weston Super Mare
Flying days and experiences at Weston Super Mare Airport have not operated since 2012. However, The Helicopter Museum, which houses the world’s largest such collection of over 100 vintage helicopters and associated aircraft, is still open for visitors on the same site - their opening times can be found above.
To search and book for your next flying day or experience at our other FlyDays venues in the South West of England, including Cornwall and Gloucestershire, please visit our dedicated South West page.