Thousands flock to Daedalus' 100th flying anniversary

AN airfield that predates the Royal Air Force celebrated a hundred years of flying with a packed-out anniversary event on Saturday.

Monday, 18th September 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:51 am
David Bishop next to the Spitfire Mark 26 that he built Picture: Habibur Rahman (171212-233)

Daedalus 100 saw 2,500 visitors descend upon the airfield by Lee-on-the-Solent to enjoy a wide-ranging static aircraft display combined with a series of stalls, performances and bouncy castles.

The first flights from the airfield came back in 1917 when it was known as the Naval Seaplane Training School during the First World War. It was then brought into the use of the Royal Air Force once the organisation was formed in 1918.

A vast array of aircraft such as tiger moths, gliders, Royal Navy helicopters and a spitfire kitplane drew in large crowds at the airfield and there was also a small display from a HM Coastguard crew.

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David Bishop next to the Spitfire Mark 26 that he built Picture: Habibur Rahman (171212-233)

Aviation enthusiast Ronald Stimpson, 83, from Park Gate, praised the event for raising awareness about the airfield’s history.

He said: ‘It has been lovely to be able to come in today to see all the planes. More events like this would be good as it allows people to find out more about the history of the area.

‘I used to cycle up from Portchester to Farnborough to see the air shows and would love to see an aircraft display here at Daedalus in the future.’

Friends David Wright and Fred Fraye, were visiting the airfield from Christchurch.

David Bishop next to the Spitfire Mark 26 that he built Picture: Habibur Rahman (171212-233)

Fred said: ‘There’s quite a comprehensive collection of planes here which is good for those that are interested in aviation.

‘However, it would be nice to see more information about all the planes.’

David also suggested an air show at Daedalus would have been welcomed and in his opening speech for the event, Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said that it could happen in the near future.

He said: ‘A number of people have asked me if we can have an air show, remembering them in years gone by.

‘We are very hopeful that for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in two years time, we will be able to bring an aircraft show back to Daedalus.’

The airfield – now owned by the borough council – is home to the Solent Enterprise Zone with hundreds of workers employed in its business parks and innovation centre.

It was also announced earlier this month that talks are underway about bringing forward scheduled passenger flights from Daedalus to the Channel Islands.

A small passenger terminal may also be built as well.