Club History – Time Line
The Guernsey Aero Club, originally founded in 1934, reformed in 1966 with the main objective ‘to foster an interest in aviation’ and continues in that vein thanks to the great enthusiasm of its Committee and 300+ membership.
GUERNSEY AEROCLUB – TIMELINE
In July, Mr Alan Marriette places an advert in the local paper inviting a meeting with others interested in flying. 10 people respond and flying instruction is commenced by the Guernsey Branch of the C.I Aero Club.
Initially, aircraft and instructors are flown over from Jersey at weekends only. Auster, G-ARUY, is the first aircraft used, followed by C150, G-ATRN.
The Club begins with just 3 members, but this soon increased to 12.
Jim Walters, Airport Commandant, gives permission for the Club to lease a small two-roomed building to the East of the Terminal building.
Club president, Derek Wilson acquires a Percival Prentice, G-AOKO, which is flown by some members, but not for general Club use.
Training costs were £6/hour and a licence generally cost £270 to obtain.
In September, Ms Gladys Smith became the first woman in Guernsey to fly solo.
On the 8th August, the Aero Club’s first purpose built premises were opened by the Lieutenant Governor. The premises were located behind, what are now, the freight sheds (although the building has subsequently been demolished).
To celebrate the opening, the Aero Club hosted an Open Day and afly-in, which attracted 22 aircraft.
In August, the club purchased a Garden Horizon, G-ATJT.
Later in the year, the Guernsey Branch of the C.I Aero Club ceased and direct links with Jersey were ended.
The C. Aero Club (Guernsey) was established with a C150 and Mike Selwood as instructor.
In March, the Aero Club sold the Horizon and purchased a C172, G-AZKZ.
The 1st Guernsey International Air Rally & Race took place between September 22nd & 24th, attracting 45 aircraft, including 11 race entrants.
The Aero Club moved to larger premises adjacent to the Fuel Farm (the building still exists today as a storage facility). This building included a kitchen, enabling the Club to cater for functions.
The Aero Club purchased a C152, G-BFZT.
The 10th Guernsey Air Rally is the Club’s most successful, with 97 aircraft and 300 rallyists attending. Facilities were stretched to breaking point and the Committee considered it essential that new premises be found.
A site was located at an old vinery on the airfield boundary. There were no buildings, but the location allowed for a club house and a much needed hangar.
After a long delay, planning approval in principle was issued by the local IDC (Island Development Committee).
After a further period, agreements were reached with the Board of Administration and the insurers for an ‘access’ agreement through the airfield boundary, for the Guernsey Aero Club.
The decision was taken to obtain a full building permit, raise finance with club funds, bank borrowing, individual members funding, and Members Bonds, and go ahead with the building of a purpose built Club premises and hangar. This was done on a very tight budget, with the building and car parks initially having to be basic.
The Aero Club purchased a second C152, G-BGGP, and a C172, G-BKEV.
The two C152s formed the backbone of the training fleet, with the C172 being used for touring and more advanced training.
Many local airline pilots started their aviation careers on these aircraft.
Time line to be continued…….