UP IN THE CLOUDS SINCE 1935
Fixed-wing pilot training started at Sywell Aerodrome with the arrival of Brooklands Aviation Ltd back in 1935 to fulfil pilot training contracts for the War Department. The RAF opened No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School in 1935. Training pilots with a fleet of 20 Tiger Moths, which had expanded to 126 by 1942, operated under contract by Brooklands Aviation.
Very shortly after the closure of 6EFTS in 1947, No. 6 RAF Reserve Flying School opened at Sywell with 16 Tiger Moths and 2 Oxfords operated again under contract by Brooklands Aviation just like 6EFTS. Then in November 1951 No. 4 Basic Flying Training School opened - again under contract by Brooklands Aviation - operating 20 Chipmunks. In 1953 a change in policy saw all pilot training being transferrred to RAF stations and both 6 RAF RFS and 4 BFS were closed down, ending 18 years of intense flight training for the RAF by Brooklands Aviation Ltd.
From there on less intense private pilot training was carried out until 1977 when Brooklands Aviation pulled out of aviation to concentrate on general engineering. Brooklands purchased Norde Suspensions in Derbyshire and relocated the company to Sywell. The Northamptonshire School of Flying opened in 1977, using the ex-Brooklands fleet, and operated from Sywell until their departure in 2005.
Knowing that fixed-wing training would end at Sywell unless either another school moved in or Sywell Aerodrome set its own up, the decision was made to do both in that Sywell Aerodrome Ltd would set up a basic fixed-wing training operation and aircraft hire facility, the tail-wheel conversions etc. would be contracted out to other operators on the Aerodrome and advanced flight training offered by another operator.
The new Flying School was named the Brooklands Flying Club as it was felt appropriate given the Aerodrome's long association with Brooklands Aviation and recognising the huge amount of pilot training they carried out here.