RAF air controller to speak to Aero Club

By Gary Vacin


            F 86

          A British-born Sun Lakes resident who served as a Royal Air Force (RAF)  air traffic controller for U. S. Air Force fighter jets at a British base during the Korean War will be guest speaker at the Sun Lakes Aero Club (SLAC) gathering Monday, Feb. 16th at the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror room.

          The session begins with coffee and camaraderie at 6:30 p.m., followed by the presentation at 7 p.m.  The public is invited to attend.

          Roy Partridge will relate his experiences in the control tower at RAF Manston.  During the Cold War, the U. S Air Force used RAF Manston as a Strategic Air Command base for its bomber, fighter and fighter-bomber units.  Partridge directed  takeoffs and landings of USAF F-80, F-84, and F-86 jet fighter aircraft engaged in training missions in preparation for deployment to Korean bases.

          “It was unusual in that our control tower was situated at a lower elevation than the runway the planes were using,” Partridge said.  “We could not see the aircraft when they touched down because of approach obstructions.”

          Partridge also will discuss Manston’s role as an RAF base for British Hurricanes fighter aircraft defending London during the Battle of Britain;  also as the first training base for the RAF’s bouncing bomb tests on the coast in preparation for the Dambusters raid over Germany.  The base was the first to use a fog investigation dispersal  system (FIDO) designed to remove fog from the airfield by burning it off with gasoline.

March 20, local aviator  Mike Still will describe his experiences building and flying a ¾-scale replica of the P-51 fighter.

          Now in its 21st year, SLAC sponsors programs the third Monday of each month November through pril at the Sun Lakes Country Club. The programs are open to all persons interested in aviation. More information on the club is available from Cannon Hill, 509-539-7857 or Gary Vacin, 298-7017, or at the club’s web site, www.sunlakesaeroclub.org.