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 call it touch and goes. When you have so many aircraft practicing, it really got hectic. The 9,000-foot runway was divided into three lanes of 250 feet 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 airfield.”
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.
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.
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.