Spare Runways

Monday, 8th October 2007 by

If you happened to own an airfield, and you just happened to have some spare runways lying around - what would you do with them?

RAF Thurleigh was built during WWII and after the war became a development site known as RAE Bedford, until it was eventually decommissioned in 1994. Since then the airfield has been split into two sections; the Northern half is used for the Bedford Autodrome race track, and the runways are used as mass car-storage.

Last weekend I took a microlight flight over RAE Bedford for a closer look. I didn't actually fly the microlight (the pilot was doing that), I just sat in the back and bored the pilot with "Oooh, it's like a live version of Google Earth!" every couple of minutes.

Anyway, this extra insight enables me to tell you that most of the vehicles looked brand-spanking new, sometimes with 20 or so of the same model lined up next to each other.

Wombleton airfield was also built for WWII - operating as a Canadian Air Force "conversion unit", where pilots who were used to flying small 2 engine planes were trained to fly 4 engines instead. Unlike the Bedford facility however, somebody decided that one of the main runways should instead be used for pig farming.

Unless this is a top-secret facility involved in the genetic engineering of pigs that fly?

Thanks to d5skipper, Oliver Laumann & others and Trina