Sywell at 90: “You can fly well at Sywell”

5th November 2018

Located just five nautical miles from Northampton, Sywell Aerodrome has been in operation for 90 years, and has remained in private ownership since it’s opening. With three working runways and several aviation companies based on site, Sywell is going from strength to strength!
The Aerodrome roots date back to 1928 when Northamptonshire Aero Club, led by brothers Jack and Geoff Linnell, opened Sywell’s gates with three grass runways. The Aerodrome quickly became a magnet for private pilots and aviation events due to its vast land and public viewing areas.
Sywell Aerodrome was heavily used and a vital part of the rapidly expanding Royal Air Force in the 1930’s. This extended to the aerodrome being used during the Second World War for flying training, repairs to 1,841 RAF Wellington Bombers and flight testing 260 Lancaster Mk2 four engine bombers.


Sywell Aerodrome still thrives 90 years later, with light aircraft, microlight training, aircraft maintenance, privately owned aircraft and the hosting of annual events, such as the AAL Rally and Sywell Classic.

Here are five facts about Sywell Aerodrome that you didn’t know…

1) First ever Air Pageant was held in 1928

On the 29th September 1928, the Northamptonshire Aero Club held the “First Great Aerial Pageant” at Sywell Aerodrome.

2) Sywell was the first airfield to hold an all women air show

In 1931 Sywell played host to the world’s first all-women’s flying event. The ‘Flying Duchess of Bedford’ opened the event, which included displays and even air racing.

3) Training Camp for Tiger Moths during WW2

The aerodrome was used as a training facility for Tiger Moths during WW2. In fact, approximately 2,500 wartime RAF, Commonwealth and Allied pilots were trained at Sywell during the war.

4) A concrete runway was installed in 2009

Sywell applied for a concrete runway in 1999 to allow flying operations to continue during the winter, and it was not until 2009 that permission was granted after organisations, STARE (Stop The Aerodrome Runway Expansion) and CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) campaigned against this change during the period.

5) The Blades took residency after launching in 2005

Sywell Aerodrome has been home to The Blades since it’s formation in 2006 and is one of the spectator’s favourites to watch perform and fly passengers over the airfield. The world-renowned aerobatic display team and Red Bull Air Race team ( currently competing in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship’s) hold their Extra 300’s aircraft in Hanger 3 and occupy the attached offices. Sywell is also home to fellow 2Excel Aviation companies Geospatial and Scimitar.

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