Unit History: RAF White Waltham
White Waltham Airfield (ICAO: EGLM), is located at White Waltham, near Maidenhead in Berkshire, UK. The airfield is privately owned and is the home of the West London Aero Club, the largest flying club in the UK. About 150 or so light aircraft are based at the airport, which with three runways is reportedly the largest grass airfield in civilian use in Europe. The airfield has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P773) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.
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.
On June 24th 1989, White Waltham Airfield was the venue for one of the largest Acid House raves at the time. Called the Sunrise Midsummer Party, it was organised by Tony Colston-Hayter and David Roberts. The event was attended by over 11000 ravers, and about 1000 vehicles were brought to the airfield. This caused 3 mile tailbacks on the approach road up to the ’Fairey’ hangar (built by (Fairey Aviation) on the North side of the airfield where the rave was held. ’The Sun’ newspaper ran a headline ’Ecstasy Airport’ the next day