Aircraft at Stonhenge for first time in 90 years
AIRCRAFT landed at the former Stonehenge airfield on Friday for the first time in 90 years.
The event was arranged by the National Trust to commemorate the centenary of the formation of the first British military aeroplane unit.
Although overcast weather and strong winds hampered the occasion, three Auster planes, the oldest dating back to 1942, did manage to land.
A number of other planes including some replica First World War aircraft were due to take part but were unable to take off because of the conditions.
The airfield, RFC Stonehenge, was part of the Royal Flying Corps, although part of the site was also used by the Royal Naval Air Service as RNAS Stonehenge.
It became part of the Royal Air Force when it was formed in 1918 and the airfield remained open until March 1921.
The fly-in commemorated the formation of No 2 (Aeroplane) Company, Air Battalion, Royal Engineers which was formed at Larkhill on April 1, 1911.
“We are delighted to bring this aspect of the history of Stonehenge to life again, with the fly-in by this wonderful collection of aircraft,” said Stonehenge project officer Lucy Evershed.
National Trust volunteer guide Ted Mustart added: “Although No 2 Company was based at Larkhill, much of their flying in 1911 and 1912 was over the Stonehenge landscape.
“The Austers which have visited were used in the same roles as those of the first military aeroplanes – scouting, artillery co-operation and liaison in the period immediately after World War II.”
The National Trust has also organised a series of walks revealing the aviation history of the Stonehenge landscape.
The Wings over Stonehenge walks have taken visitors to the former airfield and more walks are planned for the summer, including one commemorating the first fatal military aircraft accident.
Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website