Note: This map only gives a general position within the UK. If anybody can kindly provide a more exact location, this will be much appreciated. The open area of Runnymede extends for over a mile, but I suspect that the Henderson Flying School would probably have favoured a site at the south-eastern end, which is closer to Staines and Egham.
RUNNYMEDE: Temporary joy riding venue
Operated by: Henderson Flying School
Location: W of Staines, NW of Egham
Period of operation: Possibly just 1928, see below, but I suspect the site may have been used for several years? Can anybody kinfly offer advice?
NOTES: For years, especially since starting work on this ‘Guide’ in around 1997 or so, I couldn’t figure out why Runnymede hadn’t been used as a flying site. I’d known the area since I was about eight years old and it seemed ideal. Then, in December 2011 I discovered an autobiography by Don Robertson, ‘The Urge To Fly’, and on page 15 discovered this nugget. Don was learning to fly at the Henderson Flying School at BROOKLANDS in 1928.
“On weekends we used to fly over to a field by the river at Runnymede, taking up joyriders at 5s a head. My job was to sell tickets but it was well worth it as I was getting two cross-country flights free.”
As an aside, having researched the joy-riding operators for many years, it would appear that the standard fare for a 'quick flip', usually barely more than an extended circuit, was five shillings. And, this seemed to remain the case from the 1920s through to the 1930s. I suppose that over this period of time the novelty value wore off to some extent, so the solution for the operators was to reduce the time spent in the air?
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