This is a really local land mark for me, I live on an estate called Panshanger which has a long history, although its now quite a modern part of town!!
The Airfield was built as a decoy to lure bombers, now a thriving GA airfield.Many of Britain’s airfields date from World War II and many played an important role in that conflict. Some have made it through to the 21st century. Panshanger Aerodrome is one of the few that’s survived but only after a determined effort by the current operator and owner of the flying club based there, Israeli pilot Haim Merkado.When Haim took over in 1993, as an out-of-work commercial pilot, it was the height of a UK recession, not perfect timing for a new venture. What’s more, the airfield was in a state of disrepair, full of debris and with an illegal gypsy camp. Determination and the help of club members meant that Haim managed to overcome these problems and nowadays Panshanger is a thriving recreational airfield.
Above is a shot of the totally derelict control tower before the whole airfield was renovated.
In 1993, there was just one resident aircraft, 13 years later there are 35. A lot more has changed as well. The grass runway has been relaid at a cost of £25,000. A ramshackle collection of WWII buildings has been converted into a modern clubhouse with café, BBQ and outside seating. The clubhouse is full of training and flight aids including an Elite Pro Panel flight sim. Maintenance is now available on site – run by former Hatfield engineer Stuart Reeves.What hasn’t really changed is Haim. Anyone who has met him knows that you either get on with him famously, or not at all. He’s a big character, extrovert, direct and often a bit abrupt. He can seem overbearing at first. But the members of Panshanger’s club, North London Flying School , are incredibly loyal to Haim – to the point of piling in with their specialist skills to help develop and renovate the facilities.
Today the Airfield is a thriving venture with a cafe area and garden.Every Sunday we are constantly disturbed by pilots practicing airobatics, it always concerns me when I hear them stalling the engines as part of their routines, I think it happens far too close to my home!