Portsmouth Aerial View

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Portsmouth Aero Club Opens. (June 1933)


PORTSMOUTH AFRO CLUB was opened by the Lord Mayor (Ald. VV. A. Billing) on Saturday, June 10(1933). He, together with the Lady Mayoress, and Councillor A. Johnson. Chairman of the Airport Committee, was welcomed by Capt. W. P. Mark-Wardlaw, R.N., who said that he felt sure that everyone would realise what an extremely fine aerodrome and Aero Club Portsmouth had. It was, however, in so far as the Club was concerned, an enterprise which could not exist without support, and he asked for that from all those present.

The Lord Mayor then opened the Club. He said that everyone admired their airport, and admitted that it was one of the finest in the country. He could not help feeling that if the Mollisons had used a real aerodrome like Portsmouth, they might have been in the air on their way back now. He also asked for support for the Club, and pointed out that for the next fortnight there would not be any entrance fee charged.

Mr. L. M. J. Balfour, Director of the Portsmouth, Southsea and Isle of Wight Aviation Co., Ltd., who own the Club, asked for a vote of thanks for the Lord Mayor, which was carried with acclamation.

The Lord Mayor, with the Lady Mayoress and others of his party, then made a flight around Southsea in the Westland " Wessex " (three 7-cyl. " Genets "), which is used for service on the Portsmouth-Ryde Ferry. Afterwards when they landed, tea was served to the large number of guests, and while they were regaling themselves they were entertained with some flying. First of all, Fit. Lt. C. Clarkson did loops, stalled turns, and many other manoeuvres with the demonstration " Dragon," which, as manager for Brian Lewis, Ltd., he takes to meetings like this. He demonstrated its commercial transport aspect by bringing down a full load from Heston and then its " handleability " by throwing it about. Acrobatically he puts up a good show. He certainly does almost all the ordinary things with it and, in fact, the only manoeuvre we are now waiting for is a flick roll !

Mr. F. S. Symondson was next on the list, and he gave an acrobatic display in his own " Moth " (" Gipsy I "). Following him, Flt. Lt. F. L. Luxmore took up one of the firm's " Moths " (" Gipsy 1 ") and did rather a different show, in that he included some slow flying, spins, and loops off a dive on to the aerodrome. Both he and Mr. Symondson are directors of the P.S. & I.O.W. A. Ltd.

Several visitors came down by air, and the amount of interest shown by the indigenes was really gratifying. The Club ought to do very well indeed
The Lord Mayor declaring the Club open and about to get in a Westland  Wessex " machine for a flight. (Right to Left) Lady Mayoress. Lord Mayor (Alderman W. Billings), Councillor A. Johnson (Chairman of Airport Committee), Mrs. F. L. Luxmore. lady Myrtle Balfour. Mr. I.. M. J. Balfour.

Several visitors came down by air, and the amount of interest shown by the indigenes was really gratifying. The Club ought to do very well indeed. It has come to a working arrangement with the Royal Naval Flying Club whereby the members of the latter club are members of the former, and thus able to receive flying training at Portsmouth. This should ensure a steady supply of pupils, as there is always a large number of naval officers in the port, and it can confidently be expected that many of them, particularly those Sub-Lts. who are there for courses, will want to fly. Capt. Mark-Wardlaw, who welcomed the Mayor on behalf of the Club, is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Portsmouth Club, as well as being a prominent member of the R.N. Flying Club, and will therefore be of great value to both clubs.

The P.S. & I.O.\V.A. Co. will be supplying aircraft for the Club, as well as instructors, but the Club will have its own hangar and club-house, the latter being a delightfully furnished and converted farmhouse.