The BAe (Warton) Flying Club was formed in 1954 with the declared objective "to encourage an interest in aviation amongst the employees of the Corporation (British Aircraft Corporation later to become BAe) and to provide them with facilities for flying including instruction for the Private Pilots Licence". The club operated from then until 1976 by using a voucher system to subsidise aircraft hire from any of the flying clubs based at Blackpool Airport.

In 1976 with company support, the club purchased its first aircraft, a second hand Cessna 150 (G-ATRN) with the aim of providing more economical flying for it’s members. When that aircraft was sold in 1980,it had accrued over 7000 hours TTAF which was believed to be the highest flight time of any C150 in the UK at that time. On the 7th March 1980, the club purchased its second aircraft, a new Cessna F152II (G-BHFI) . This aircraft is still used by the club today as its basic trainer.

Once again with company support , in September 1986, the club was able to purchase its first four seat touring aircraft, a Cessna 172H registered G-AWXV. This aircraft provided long and stirling service to the club until suffering an engine failure due to carburettor ice on the 21st March 1991. The pilot managed to land XV in a field off New Lane, Crossens near Southport and alighted unhurt. XV however was not so lucky, her starboard undercarriage had collapsed on striking a raised dyke and the fuselage was written off. In June the same year a fuselage belonging to C172 G-AVUL was obtained from Lloyds Salvage and the Wings, Engine, Avionics and all other useable parts were transferred from XV to G-AVUL. UL first flew again in October ‘91.

In June 1994 the club purchased the Piper PA28-161 Warrior we use today (G-BNOJ), from BAe Flight Training (UK). UL was sold in August that same year to a Flying Club based at Paphos in Cyprus. Two of the clubs pilots ferried the aircraft to Cyprus with a colleague from Westair, and later had an article describing their exploits published in "Pilot". In August 1997 the Club was leased an FFA Bravo from BAe Flight Training (UK) G-BNTF. The Bravo is fully aerobatic and our resident examiner and Hawk pilot, John Hurrell used it to train interested Club pilots for the AOPA Aerobatic Certificate. During its first year with the Club TF helped 4 students gain that Certificate. The Bravo was returned to Prestwick during the winter of ‘97-’98, returning again in September 1998 for a prolonged stay until August 1999. During which the aircraft helped a further three students to gain their aerobatic certificate, as well as provide many Club members with valuable experience handling a very responsive aircraft with a "proper joystick" and a more advanced constant speed propeller.

In January 1999 the Club was asked to operate the Systems & Services Cessna G-SBAE on behalf of BAe, with an agreement that Club members could use the aircraft, when it was not required by BAe, this provided the Club with a heaven sent opportunity to increase its student through put.

The Club acquired yet another PA-28-161 from BAe Flight Training (UK) - G-BNOP on 7th July 1999 after a somewhat eventful and prolonged ferry flight. OP actually departed Prestwick at 16:00 on 6th July 1999, but had to overnight at Carlisle due to bad weather at Blackpool and finally arrived at Blackpool Airport at 18:45 on the 7th July. This brought the Clubs fleet up to four aircraft, three of which are actually owned by the Club. By the end of 1999 the clubs annual flying rate had increased to 1385 hours.

The Present

The BAe (Warton) Flying Club operates out of Blackpool Airport, and has a membership of approximately 100 qualified pilots, and 25 students. High-G, based at Blackpool Airport, hanger the clubs three aircraft, a two seat Cessna 152 - that is used predominantly for training purposes, and two four seat Piper Warrior II’s (PA28-161) - that are used by the qualified members for longer duration flights, and touring. Members can fly all year round, the only restrictions being the airport operating hours, and the pilots own qualifications. Membership is open to all British Aerospace staff and relations at the three Warton sites.

The club is a non profit making organisation run solely by its members whose main aim is to make the relatively expensive hobby of flying, affordable to as many people as possible. Our Chief Flying Instructor is Jonathan Gunson (FI), who shares the instructional work load with several other instructors. We also have a resident examiner, Mr. J. Hurrell who, as well as assisting with the day to day instruction, takes our students for their final Flight Test. Student pilots need a minimum of 40 hours training before they can qualify for a pilots licence, though the average is closer to 55 hours, and that time can be broken down into general training, 10 hours of solo flying, 5 hours of instrument training, dual and solo navigation excercises, and the final Flight Test. Ground exams in 6 subjects must also be passed, before the Private Pilots Licence (A) is finally issued.

The Future

Who, way back in 1954, could have envisaged that the BAe (Warton) Flying Club, would mature to the level its members enjoy today, with both a mix of dedicated training aircraft, airways standard touring aircraft and an Aerobatic aircraft for the brave. We have our own instructors and examiners who are capable of providing training for advanced as well as basic pilot qualifications. With continued BAE Systems & support, the clubs committee continuously strives to improve the high standard of facilities which we offer to our members and a number of plans and projects are under discussion.