Portsmouth Aero Club Opens.
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.
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
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