About Seething Airfield
One of the aspects of Seething Airfield that visitors enjoy so much is its friendly welcoming atmosphere. One reason for this is probably the fact that the entire airfield is operated on a non-commercial basis by Club Members who enjoy showing visitors 'their' club.
The airfield in its current guise consists of 800 metres of the eastern end of RAF Seething, a former WW2 American Air base for Liberator Bombers, better known to the Americans as Station 146. Having lain derelict for a number of years it was 'discovered' by holiday entrepreneur and aviation enthusiast Jimmy Hoseason who was looking for a home for a new flying club. Since then the airfield has grown to become one of the few totally non-commercial airfields in the UK and is much admire in aviation circles for its fine facilities.
It boasts five hangars, all built by, and for, the club's members, a resplendent club house, and regularly hosts fly-ins and an annual charity air show. In the corner of the airfield is the restored wartime control tower which is now an excellent little museum and home to the 448th Bombardment Group Collection. (More information).
But the airfield's fine facilities cost much blood sweat and tears. When Waveney Flying Group moved in the runway was strewn with rubble and weeds and there was no club house, let alone running water. That was in 1960 and over the following years it slowly began to build its flying club. More than fifty years down the line and Seething Airfield and its facilities has become the envy of many a flying club.
Seething Flying Club
Wingtask 1995 Limited, to give the club its proper name, was born out of a requirement for the airfield to be operated by a limited company and thereby protecting its membership. The company was formed in 1986, to operate the airfield and the aircraft on behalf of the members of Waveney Flying Group, the owners of the airfield, leasing it to the new organisation. All flying and social activities now take place within Wingtask 1995 Limited, so day-to-day decisions on operational matters rests with current members, while those who were involved in the creation of the Flying Group and hold it dear still have a say in the overall direction which the airfield takes.
Seething Flying Club has a membership of around ninety flying members and approximately thirty social members all of whom enjoy the facilities this friendly club has to offer.
Members can also benefit from our team of volunteer instructors and examiners be it for ab initio training, re-validation, or expanding their aviation skills with additional ratings.
If you would like to find out more please contact the Membership Secretary here.
The main way in which we keep the cost of flying down is by maintaining and operating the airfield ourselves. Our members come to the airfield not just to fly, but to give any help which is needed - hopefully without waiting to be asked. (It is a requirement of club membership to play an active roll in club life). The clubhouse and hangars have been erected and fitted out by members, people prepare food, run the bar and kitchen, clean the clubhouse, clean and refuel aircraft, mow the grass, make visitors welcome, paint runway markings, organise social events and a lot else besides! Instructors are not paid, and neither are the Directors or Officers.
There are various members events throughout the year including talks with an aviation theme. Not all of them however bring along an example of their work such as that when we had a talk about the Apaches of RAF Wattisham, but they are all interesting nonetheless.
At weekends the club house and airfield is managed by Duty Pilots. Members on a rota basis man the fuel pumps and carry out housekeeping duties while a dedicated team of enthusiasts operate the fire and rescue service. We run first aid and fire courses to keep certificates current, and we organise open days, fly-ins, group outings, fly-outs, CAA safety evenings, quizzes, and social events. We also support the local community hosting visits by scout groups and other organisations, and are proud to be associated with a local Air Cadet squadron whose members relish the opportunity to be involved with a 'real' airfield.
Waveney Flying Group
There would be no Seething Airfield today without Waveney Flying Group which was founded in July 1960 by Jimmy Hoseason, Dickie Boulter, Gordon Craik and Bill Wix. At first the disused USAAF air base was leased from local farmers and it took four months to clear the runway of rubble and scrap. The first aircraft leased was a Miles Messenger, costing £4 per hour to fly. Gradually, by dint of very hard work, facilities were improved - a Tiger Moth was acquired and later a Rallye. The buying of the land began in 1963 and a clubhouse (a second-hand prefab) was erected, also a fuel installation and a hangar. A water supply came in 1965 and flush loos in 1966!
There were air shows here, with distinguished visitors such as Barry Tempest, Ken Wallis and Neil Williams. Stars dropped in (and occasionally entertained us) on their way to shows in Yarmouth - The Hollies, Mike and Bernie Winters, The Rolling Stones.
In 1967 training had to stop because of the new requirement for training fields to be licensed. This was acquired in 1968 and training recommenced.
At the old Control Tower a memorial to the USAAF 448th Bomb Group was established, and with veterans' financial support the Tower was restored in 1985/7. It is now leased to the Tower Association, with whom we have close links, and they hold regular reunions with our American friends. You can find out more about the Tower at their website: www.seethingtower.org.
The great October gale of 1987 finally saw the end of the roof of the old clubhouse, and a new building was financed by advance subscriptions and built largely by members. Two new hangars complete with turntables have been built, financed by their occupants but eventually to become the property of the Group.
During the summer of 2000 the group removed the original hangar that had served faithfully for many years. This has been replaced by a third modern hanger allowing room for the storage of six aircraft and a fire tender. The new building has a computer controlled turntable that, at the press of a button
positions its self at the correct position for the removal or storage of the desired aeroplane. The construction of the Hanger building was completed by an outside contractor, paid for by the group and by advanced charges paid by the users. However the fitting out and design and manufacture of the turntable was completed by members giving their time for the long term benefit of Seething.