united kingdom Roborough Airport

Plymouth, England
United Kingdom

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0.8222 Derriford, England
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3.3155 Coypool, England
4.9216 Central Park, England

1925 to 2011

50° 25' 22'' N - 4° 6' 21'' W
3.5nm NNE of Plymouth, Devon
Elevation: 485 feet

History of this Location

Originally the Polo Ground, south of Roborough village, to the north of Plymouth. Mail flights began from the all grass field, followed by routes to Birmingham, Manchester and Belfast. The Aero Club was formed here in 1929. In 1935, a service to Cardiff started with DH Dragon Rapides and the long ties to the Channel Islands began with a route to Jersey in 1936. It began to decline in importance with the rise of Exeter Airport.
Pre-war tension saw the formation of a Civil Air Guard in 1938. At the outbreak of WWII, Plymouth Roborough became a Royal Naval establishment but transferred to the RAF in 1940, under administrative control of the flying boat base at RAF Mount Batten. It was the only base to fly the Gloster Gladiator during the Battle of Britain but afterwards became home to an Air Sea Rescue unit.
The Aero Club building was put up around 1929, followed by a wooden restaurant in 1930 and the main hangar (which had the control tower at its apex) around 1931. At that time, a public road ran across the main runway (then 14/32) just south east of its intersection with 06/24.

A pair of smaller hangars were erected around 1940, to the south of the bisecting road. These housed a pair of Army Air Corps Sioux AH.1 in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were joined by 41 Commando Air Troop and on 20 Dec 1967, the three Sioux of 45 Commando Air Troop joined them, having just disembarked from HMS Fearless on return from Aden. The hangars were demolished around 1973, in part to make way for a new Teacher Training College just to the south of the airfield.

The mid 1970s also saw the extension of the main runway, together with earthworks to level it and its conversion to an asphalt surface. This completed around 1978, when the public road across it was also closed. The secondary runway 06/24 was also asphalted in the early 1980s, a new control tower was built and the 01/19 grass strip fell out of use. New airport admin and office building were erected in 1983, together with replacement of the restaurant. The main runway was further extended and lighting improved in the early 1990s and the main road at its west end was diverted in 2004 to give it more usable length (without extending it).
The airfields long association with the Royal Navy, began in the late 1940s with the arrival of the Tiger Moths of the Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) at Dartmouth. These were replaced by the Chipmunk T.10 in 1966 until the Flying Grading duties were taken over by a private contractor in the 1990s. With the closure of RNAS Portland in 1999, Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) moved to Plymouth with its Dauphins operated under contract with Bond Helicopters. In Dec 2001, the BRNC Flying Grading duties were assumed by a reformed 727 Squadron, which itself moved to RNAS Yeovilton in Jan 2007.
The airport closed on 23 Dec 2011. By summer 2012, a road had been driven across the middle of the 06/24 runway and the land to the west was being developed for housing. The Dauphin of the RN FOST unit now operate from HMS Raleigh.

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List of units at Plymouth

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YearsRotary Wing Aircraft Unitbold : Current Model
normal: Unit no longer at this base
2001/06727 NAS
1999/11FOSTSA365 Dauphin 2 1997/   

List of aircraft and events at Plymouth

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By Date | By Serial

1952-jun-02 Fleet Air ArmDragonfly HR.1VZ963
1952-jul-07 Royal Air ForceSycamore 3WV781
1954-aug-20 AccidentFleet Air ArmDragonfly HR.3WN499
2005-jul-19 SA365N2 Dauphin 2ZJ165
2006-mar-06 SA365N2 Dauphin 2ZJ164
2008-may-01 SA365N2 Dauphin 2ZJ165
2008-may-08 AS365N2 Dauphin 2OO-NHZ
2008-may-08 Bo105DG-BATC
2008-may-08 S-61N Mk.IIG-AYOY
2011-jul-22 SA365N2 Dauphin 2ZJ164
2011-nov-03 SA365N2 Dauphin 2ZJ165

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