Hatfield Aerodrome

Hatfield Aerodrome

Hatfield Aerodrome, formerly Airport codes|HTF|EGTH, was an airfield and aircraft factory located in the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire from 1930 until its closure and redevelopment in the 1990s.

Early History

Geoffrey de Havilland, pioneering aircraft designer and founder of the de Havilland Aircraft Company purchased some farmland close to Hatfield as his existing site at Stag Lane, Edgware was being encroached upon by expanding housing developments in the London suburbs. Flying commenced in 1930, but the clubhouse buildings and adjacent recreational facilities, fuel pumps and sheds were not completed until 1933.

1930s expansion

In 1934 significant works were undertaken at the site and a large factory and imposing Art Deco administration buildings were constructed together with a flying school building which also housed flying control. Later, an experimental block was added to the north of the factory. Production of aircraft, moved from Stag Lane and during this time principly consisted of a range of small biplanes such as the Moth family, DH.84 Dragon, DH.86 Express and DH.89 Dragon Rapide.


During the Second World War, de Havilland was most noted for its Mosquito fighter bomber, the famous 'Wooden wonder'. This was developed privately at Salisbury Hall, outside of Hatfield to avoid being targeted by German bombers. The Hatfield site itself was camouflaged but was bombed on October 3rd, 1940 by a Junkers Ju 88. Four bombs hit the '94 shop' building, killing 21, injuring 70 and disrupting work on the Mosquito.


A hard runway was laid in 1947. Expansion of the facilities was called for by rapid development of military and civil jet aircraft such as the Vampire and Comet. The factory was enlarged and a new flight test hangar and contol tower was constructed. Additionally, a large design block was constructed alongside the administration buildings.

Manor Road site

de Havilland had been developing and manufacturing propellers and piston engines in addition to airframes. Post-war, the engine company continued developing jet engines, with testing taking place at Manor Road and production at nearby Leavesden. The propeller company moved into developing rockets, guided missiles and Britain's ballistic missile, the Blue Streak. Production facilities, test facilities, wind tunnels, water tanks, hangars and an administration building were located on the Manor Road site, on the opposite side of the main runway to the aircraft factories.

1960s and 70s

The de Havilland Aircraft Company was acquired by Hawker Siddeley in 1960 and the de Havilland name ceased to be used in 1963. At Hatfield, the Trident airliner and DH.125 were under development in the early 60s, with production of the later taking place at de Havilland's other factory at Hawarden. Design studies for feederliners that would ultimately lead to the HS.146 took place as well as studies for a pan-European aircraft, the HBN.100 which would eventually become the Airbus A300. Hatfield once again changed ownership when Hawker Siddeley was merged with the British Aircraft Corporation and Scottish Aviation under the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act to form British Aerospace in 1978. This resulted in the 146 programme going ahead which saved many jobs at Hatfield and secured the site as a centre of design and production of commercial aircraft for the next decade.

1980s and 90s

The 146 first flew in 1981 and production of some components, final assembly and flight testing of the first two series of the aircraft was based at Hatfield during the early and mid 1980s. In 1987, a new final assembly hall was built for 146 production to coincide with the introduction of the stretched 146-300 derivative. Further development resulted in the demolition of the original 1930s flying club buildings to make way for the Bishop Sqaure office block development. This was named in honour of Comet designer R.E.Bishop and was constructed in 1991. In 1992, due to severe financial problems, British Aerospace announced the cessation of aircraft production at Hatfield in 1993. By this point, work on the Manor Road site, which had become part of BAe Dynamics had wound down and this site was cleared first. The airfield closed but was used as a film set for first "Saving Private Ryan" and later the television series "Band of Brothers"


The redevelopment of the main airfield site commenced in the late 1990s. Only the listed flight test hangar and administration buildings were retained, all other buildings, taxiways and runway were removed to make way for new offices, businesses and homes. Today the flight test hangar survives as a leisure centre, whilst the rest of the site is divided between the University of Hertfordshire, housing and a business park.


"Hatfield Aerodrome, a history", Philip J. Birtles, 1993, ISBN 0 9521613 0 3
"Airfield Focus: 45 Hatfield", Graham M. Simons, ISBN 1 870384 87 3

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stag Lane Aerodrome — was a private aerodrome between 1915 and 1933 located in Edgware, London, UK.HistoryThe land for an aerodrome was purchased by the London Provincial Aviation Company during October 1915. The company used the aerodrome for flying training during… …   Wikipedia

  • de Havilland Aeronautical Technical School — Salisbury Hall, where the Technical School moved in 1941 …   Wikipedia

  • de Havilland Moth Minor — DH.94 Moth Minor DH.94 Moth Minor Coupe at Portsmouth Airport in September 1954 Role …   Wikipedia

  • De Havilland — Infobox Defunct Company company name = de Havilland Aircraft Company company slogan = fate = incorporated into Hawker Siddeley successor = foundation = 1920 defunct = 1964 location = Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England industry = aerospace key… …   Wikipedia

  • De Havilland Moth Minor — infobox Aircraft name = DH.94 Moth Minor type = Tourer/Trainer manufacturer = de Havilland Aircraft Company caption = designer = first flight = 22 June 1937 introduced = retired = produced = number built = status = unit cost = primary user =… …   Wikipedia

  • C. W. A. Scott — C.W.A. Scott C.W.A. Scott 1932 Born Charles William Anderson Scott 13 February 1903(1903 02 13) Westminster, London, England Died …   Wikipedia

  • De Havilland T.K.2 — T.K.2 Role Racer National origin United Kingdom Manufacturer de Havilland First flight 16 August 1935 Retired 1947 Number built 1 The de Havilland T.K.2 was a British 193 …   Wikipedia

  • Comper Mouse — Mouse Role Three seat cabin monoplane National origin United Kingdom Manufacturer Comper Aircraft Company Designer Nicholas Comper First flight 11 September 1933 Retired 1935 …   Wikipedia

  • Band of Brothers (TV miniseries) — Band of Brothers Genre War Directed by …   Wikipedia

  • Geoffrey de Havilland — Infobox Person name = Geoffrey de Havilland image size = 150px caption = Geoffrey de Havilland (left) with Frederick Handley Page birth name = birth date = Birth date|1882|07|27|df=y birth place = High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England death date …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”