'Kenley Airport?'

Douglas DC3, PH-ALI "Ibis" delivered to KLM in September 1936. Photographed at Croydon Airport.
airportofcroydon.com

On 16th February, 1936, RAF Kenley was an ‘airport’ for a few hours!

“AMAZING AIR CONTROL”

Croydon’s Severe Test in Dense Fog

‘Planes Landed by Wireless Report.

“Amazing fog conditions gave Croydon Airport a severe test yesterday. During the early afternoon, 15 machines were near the aerodrome at the same time.
All were landed safely by wireless instruction at different aerodromes and in no case was there delay of more than 15 minutes on schedule times.

FLOOD OF MESSAGES

“Because of heavy fog on the continent, air liners from Paris, Belgium and Germany were unable to leave. Meanwhile Croydon was enjoying sunshine, but when at midday conditions on the continent improved there was an exceptionally long list of machines making for Croydon.

“Messages flooded the communication office and almost at the same time a blanket of fog enveloped Croydon, making visibility practically nil. Pilots of the incoming aircraft were kept advised of their position by the control tower, but the conditions were so impossible that only one machine succeeded in making the aerodrome. That was one of the machines forced down by similar conditions on Saturday at Littlestone. Her pilot was Mr. J. W. Duggen…..

…..AT DIFFERENT AERODROMES

“Of the machines bound for Croydon yesterday afternoon, six landed at Biggin Hill, three at Kenley and three at Lympne.

“The Imperial Airways plane got through from Croydon to Paris, and the Dutch air liner flew from Croydon to Amsterdam.
A machine from Amsterdam landed at Littlestone.
Customs officers were hurried to Biggin Hill and Kenley to deal with the arrivals and passengers were brought to London by road.”

(Nottingham Journal 17/2/1936)

More about Croydon’s role in pioneering Air Traffic Control on the Historic Croydon Airport Trust website here.

Many thanks to Colin Brookes at airportofcroydon.com
Douglas DC3 “Ibis” (see photo) had an interesting history. It was shot down by Junkers Ju88’s in 1943. More here.

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