The airfield was set up in 1928 when the de Havilland family bought 196 acres of grassland to house the de Havilland Flying School. In 1938 the airfield was taken over by the government, and during the second world war was the home base of the Air Transport Auxiliary. The airfield was also home to Fairey Aviation. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was taught to fly at White Waltham in 1952, flying a De Havilland Chipmunk belonging to HQ Home Command Communications Squadron of the Royal Air Force. The airfield stayed in RAF hands until 1982, when it was purchased by the current owners. Until recently (2007), it was the base of Thames Valley air ambulance helicopter.