The first flights in and out of Fairoaks took place in 1934 when it was used as a landing strip by a private owner who sold his farm to the Secretary of State for Air (Air Ministry) in 1936.

Tower 1950s 400x414In June 1937, the Air Ministry announced that they would be setting up a flying school at Fairoaks for the training of new pilots enlisted in the RAF under an expansion scheme.

The School was opened on 2 October 1937 by General Aircraft Limited who had been selected by the Air Ministry to manage the school.  The School was one of nine new schools and commenced training, initially with three flying instructors, 24 RAFVR pupils and 6 Tiger Moths.  The School was closed in 1953 having trained over 6000 pilots.

Fairoaks Airport enjoyed a busy and important return to civilian usage after the Second World War and continues to be of great significance to the international aviation community as well as the local community it serves.  

For information on historic aviation events, you can read Fifty Years of Flying Heritage by Historic England.

Famous Airfield Users

  • King Peter of Yugoslavia - learnt to fly with No.18 EFTS in 1945
  • Gary Numan - owned 3 aircraft based at Fairoaks
  • Cliff Robertson - TV and film actor learnt to fly at Fairoaks
  • Dick Emery - comedian based his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Diana Britten - UK female aerobatic champion currently based at Fairoaks
  • Ian Whittle - son of Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine has his aircraft based at Fairoaks
  • Alan Mann - racing driver, owned the airfield for many years
  • Mike Hawthorn - winner 24 Heures du Mans learned to fly and kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Sir Jack Brabham - 3 time F1 world champion kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Ron Flockhart - Scottish racing driver kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • John Cooper - race car creator kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Duncan Hamilton - Le Mans winner kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Willie Carson, Walter Swinburn and Richard Hanson (jockeys) were regular visitors
  • Katie Melua - singer learned to fly at Fairoaks
  • Formula 1 driver Jenson Button and Jason Plato (Team BMR) both visit the airfield multiple times each year