RAF air controller briefs Aero Club


Roy Partridge (right) was guest speaker at the Sun Lakes Aero Club gathering

February 20. Here he is shown with club president Cannon Hill. Photo by J.R. Scheidereiter


        The role of a Royal Air Force base during the Korean Conflict was the topic

of a presentation to the Sun Lakes Aero Club February 20.

          Sun Lakes resident Roy Partridge served as a controller at RAF Manston

during the conflict. The 20-year-old British born Partridge directed takeoffs and

landings of USAF fighter jets engaged in training missions in preparation for

deployment to Korean bases.

          Partridge said the USAF assumed control of Manston for an eight-year period

during the 1950s. “One of the busiest times was the practice of take-offs and landings,

Partridge said.  “We called it circuits and bumps.  I think you Americans called

it touch and goes. When you have so many aircraft practicing, it really got


          “The 9,000 ft. runway was divided into three lanes of 250 ft. each.  Two of

the runways were controlled by the tower, while the other lane was for

emergencies on which any aircraft could land without making contact with the


          Partridge said Manston was one of few airfields that featured FIDO (fog

investigation dispersal) equipment, designed to remove fog from the runway

by burning it off with gasoline.  Drums of gasoline were located on both sides

of the runway.  Jeeps would drive by and ignite the gas, so the heat produced

lifted the fog from the runway.

         The club will conclude its spring activities April 17 with a presentation

by Warren Wallace, who will describe his flying career as a Canadian Royal Air Force

and airline pilot.        

. Now in its 21st year, SLAC sponsors programs the third Monday of each

month November through April at the Sun Lakes Country Club. The programs

are open to all persons interested in aviation.