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Eastbourne International Airshow 2016

14 Celebrating

14 Celebrating Eastbourne’s Aviation Heritage Eastbourne is home to a rich aviation history. It has been more than 100 years since Eastbourne’s flying school opened and 81 years since pioneering aviator, Sir Alan Cobham staged his Astra Airshow. Eastbourne’s Aviation Company was founded back in 1909 by Frederick Bernard Fowler who opened the Eastbourne Flying School in 1911. Interestingly, the factory for building Seaplanes was located by the Sovereign Centre on Royal Parade with the landing field covering acres of land stretching across St Anthony’s Avenue, Langney Rise and Sevenoaks Road in Eastbourne. The company made 252 aircraft in Eastbourne and repaired many more during the first World War. Flying overhead during the 1930’s was the revolutionary Amy Johnson, the first female pilot to ever fly solo from Britain to Australia. She often took flight from the Wilmington Aerodrome in Sussex, which closed back in 1939. 2016 will mark Get social. airbourneeastbourne eb_airshow 1909 Eastbourne Aviation Company founded at the Crumbles. Six of the 211 British pilot’s licences issued in 1912 were obtained by pilots trained here. 1911 Frederick Bernard Fowler opened the Eastbourne Flying School on a 50 acre site to the west of St Anthony’s Hill. 1915 The Polegate Royal Naval Airship station was founded. 1916 Eastbourne’s Cavalry Command Depot was established in Old Town. Road names Command Road and Cavalry Crescent exist today as reminders of the Depot! THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME 1909 1911 1915 1916 KEY DATES IN EASTBOURNE’S AVIATION HISTORY EASTBOURNE INTERNATIONAL 2016

75 years since Amy died. Today visitors can see the airfield grounds close to the well-known Long Man of Wilmington on the outskirts of Eastbourne. Playing a major role in the Second World War was Friston’s RAF Aerodrome first established in 1940. The military airfield was situated slightly inland from Cuckmere Haven and Seven Sisters and was capable of accommodating around 100 aircraft at a time. Aircraft as large as the RAF Avro Lancaster and the USAAF Boeing B-17 could safely land there, and the site was also home to British icons Supermarine Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane. The Spitfire and Lancaster aircraft are both celebrating anniversaries this year with the Spitfire commemorating 80 years since its first flight while the Lancaster 75 years. Both aircraft can be seen at Airbourne this year. During both the World Wars Eastbourne’s iconic Beachy Head landmark with it’s prominent white cliffs were many of the airmen’s last sight of England before they crossed over into enemy territory. A memorial marks this spot today to honour the men of the Bomber Command, and pay tribute to those that fought in the war. With thanks to Heritage Eastbourne, Eastbourne Herald, The Argus, ITV News for their assistance with this article. Photos: Heritage Eastbourne 1917 Tragic accident involving two airships at Hill Farm, Willingdon. 1935 July 7 Sir Alan Cobham staged his Astra Air Show. 1936 The Supermarine Spitfire, designed by Reginald Mitchell, took its first flight! Did you know: A total of 48 variants were made during the development and production of the aircraft over 10 years. 1941 Tragic death of Amy Johnson. The iconic Lancaster Bomber took its first flight, renowned for its impact on winning the Second World War. 1942 RAF Friston Aerodrome played a key part in the ill-fated Operation Jubilee. 1917 1935 1936 1941 1942 KEY DATES IN EASTBOURNE’S AVIATION HISTORY WWW.EASTBOURNEAIRSHOW.COM

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