Maidstone Aerial View

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MAIDSTONE AIRPORT OPENED July 1933

MAlDSTONE Airport and Aero Club were officially opened on Saturday, July 22, on the occasion of a Garden Party at the Airport. The opening ceremony was performed by Sqd. Ldr. the Marquis of Douglas and Clydesdale, who arrived in his " Moth " (" Gipsy III "). He was welcomed by Sir Robert Gower, who reminded those present of the fine work the Marquis had done for aviation, both in connection with the flight over Mount Everest and by his work in the House of Commons.

The Marquis, in his opening speech, said that Great Britain must set a lead in aviation, the same as she had on the sea, and the best way to attain this end was to establish good landing grounds with petrol supplies all over the country. Maidstone had gone further than this in the equipment of its airport, and he asked for support for the Maidstone Aero Club. It had been suggested, he said, that he should crash an aeroplane in the middle of the aerodrome, as an opening ceremony, but by cutting a tape he used a less expensive and exacting method.

The Deputy-Mayor of Rochester, after proposing a vote of thanks to the Marquis, said that Rochester intended to build an aerodrome, as the firm of Short Bros. had made the town air-minded. Count Johnston-Noad seconded the vote of thanks, and called for three hearty cheers for the Marquis.

Messrs. Andrews and Wiltshire, whose yellow Spartan three-seater (" Hermes II ") is now a familiar sight at many flying meetings, " set the ball rolling " by showing some of the local inhabitants the beauties of the neighbour: hood from the air.


Three Vickers " Virginias " (two Napier " Lions ") of No 500 (B.) Squadron, stationed at Manston, flew low over the aerodrome in close formation. Their size, and the booming of the " Lions," obviously impressed the crowd greatly. Also from Manston came two Hawker " Audaxes " (R.R. " Kestrel LB.") of No. 2 (A.C.) Squadron, flown by F/O.'s Murphy and Dixon-Wright. Although No. 2 Squadron has had the " Audax " only about two months, the wide speed range and controllability of this type was well demonstrated when one of the machines flew past at about 65 m.p.h. and came back at about 160.

Mr. F. George, using a British Russell Lobe parachute, made a jump from the Club's " Moth " (" Gipsy I ") flown by F/0. L. H. Snelling. He jumped over the S.W. corner of the airport and landed on the N.W. side. F/0. Snelling later gave a very neat and well placed acrobatic display on the " Moth." The same machine was later saved from serious damage by Mr. Joice-Clarke, the Club's ground engineer. The machine started to run forward when the engine was started, but Mr. Joice-Clarke, by hanging on to a wing, slewed the machine through two or three revolutions until it stood on its nose. The only damage was a smashed airscrew.

In the evening, after the visiting machines had left, a very cheery dance was held in the tastefully decorated club-house.

With reference to the All-Women's Air Rally, which was to be held on Saturday, August 5, it has been decided to make this event of an international character, owing to unexpected support from the Continent. The meeting will be held on August 4 of next year. The Club are now accepting applications for membership at the half-yearly subscription of .1 lls. 6d. On Sunday, August 6, the monthly At Home will be held, and there will be dancing every evening throughout the season.