Nestled deep in the heart of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, near the village of Yatesbury, but also within easy reach of Swindon via the M4 and the nearby market towns of Devizes and Calne, Yatesbury Airfield first came to being as RAF Yatesbury from World War I onwards, in 1916.
Amongst its most notable squadrons were No. 99 Squadron, as well as the No. 7 and No. 8 Squadrons of the Australian Flying Corps. It closed and returned to farmland from 1920 onwards, and for a short period of time from 1936 onwards, the Bristol Aeroplane Company utilised part of the west site as a civilian flying school that prepared its trainees for flying in the RAF or the Reserve, usually in deHavilland Tiger Moth aircrafts.
Most famous of all these trainees was Guy Gibson, who of course went onto lead the successful Dambusters raid in 1943, as he took his ab initio training here in the winter of 1936.
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, flying training was temporarily moved off site whilst the site was once again acquisitioned by the Air Ministry, primarily for use as a training site for airborne wireless operators, with radar operators trained here from 1942 onwards. Flying training did eventually return to Yatesbury, from the end of WWII in 1945 to 1947.
After a short period during the Cold War in the 1950s, where it became RAF Cherhill, 27 Group Headquarters, Technical Training Command for training radar operators, mechanics and fitters at the East Camp. As the 1960s arrived, and National Service was wound down, the site was eventually closed by 1965, with the radar and wireless training moving to nearby RAF Locking, and most of the land on site eventually returned to farming use.
The two sets of hangars on site at Yatesbury, that were built in 1916, were Grade II listed in 1987, with the former Officers' Mess and offices becoming Grade II listed two years later, in 1989. Yatesbury even found itself recognised by UK chart music lovers in 1988, when The Timelords (otherwise known as The KLF) partly filmed the music video for their number one single "Doctorin' The Tardis" here.
Today, Yatesbury Airfield is the home of the Wiltshire Microlight Centre, officially registered and recognised by the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA), so for those looking for Microlighting Experiences in the South West of England will be ideally catered for here.
There's a range of Microlighting packages available, including lessons and flights ranging from 20 minutes to 60 minutes in length. There's even a full day's flying course in a fixed wing Ikarus C42 plane, so light it may as well be a microlight, with three lessons of 45 minutes each in length, allowing you plenty of time to master and control the plane at the cockpit and build in confidence.
And taking flight in either a flexwing or fixed wing Microlight aircraft from Yatesbury is a truly special place to do it from; the gorgeous views over the North Wessex Downs, in particular the ancient stone circles on the Vale of Pewsey, Silbury Hill and the famous White Horses are quite simply unbeatable to view from the air. Why not take a look at our full list of packages above that you can browse and book from today? All are available to book through our open Gift Vouchers as well, so you'll have plenty of flexibility to use and redeem them!