Flying Training at Sywell
Fixed Wing Pilot Training
Fixed-wing pilot training started at Sywell Aerodrome with the arrival of Brooklands Aviation Ltd back in 1935 to fulfil pilot taining 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, later being taken over by Hendricksons Inc. of Chicago and becoming Hendrickson Europe Ltd, who are still a tenant on the Aerodrome today, producing Truck and Trailer suspensions for Heavy Goods Vehicles. 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.
The club operated until summer 2014 and after a hiatus has been reborn as a joint venture between Sywell Aviation Ltd and 2Excel Aviation - welcome to 2Excel Training! Two AT3-100 two-seat aircraft and a Cessna 172 four seater currently make up the fleet.
Helicopter Pilot Training
The Sloane Helicopters Flying School operates a wide range of courses from their purpose built facility overlooking the airfield. There are both individual and group lecture rooms - together with facilities for relaxation including a kitchen! Co-located with the company's busy Operations and Engineering departments, there is ample opportunity to draw on the experience and expertise of others to improve the learning experience.
The Chief Flying Instructor (Joe Moore) has a team of experienced Instructors that are available seven days a week. Basic training usually takes place on the fleet of Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters before moving onto the larger aircraft in Sloane's Charter fleet, which includes JetRangers and Agusta A109s.
For more information please ring Sloane on 01604 790595 or visit their web site.
Microlight Pilot Training
Flylight Airsports operates a centre of excellence for microlight tuition in the UK, and are one of the largest schools in the country. Their highly competent and professional staff include a number of microlight World Champions.
Their CAA-approved instructors can train you in your choice of fixed or flexwing microlights, from initial trial lesson, through to final General Skills Test and licence application. They also offer advanced training for existing pilots in radio telephony, competition preparation, instructor training and examination, etc.
For more information please ring Flylight on 01604 494459 or visit their web site.
Flight Radiotelephony Training
Irwin Baker at Flylight offers flight radiotelephony (FRTOL) training - please visit his web site for more details.