The Bustard Flying Club was formed by Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment [A&AEE] staff in 1957. With the help of the Kelmsley Trust and some working capital from the RAF Unit, two ex-Ministry Tiger Moths were acquired. With one restored to the civil register and certificated, flying started in 1958, operating from Old Sarum. The aircraft was used for pleasure flying and flying training carried out by Service instructors, with costs kept to a minimum.
In 1976 the Tiger Moth was replaced by a “modern” cabin aircraft – although the choice was limited by the requirement that it should have a stick and a tail-wheel! Hence Jodel DR 1050-M1 G-AYYO was acquired and remained the mainstay of the club for many years.
In 1989, the Commandant was keen to see a club at the Establishment. At the same time the BFC’s tenure at Old Sarum was becoming less and less secure. The invitation to move to Boscombe Down was accepted, not without some reservations about the loss of some freedom and the use of a pleasant grass airfield with its own special ambience.
Flying training was started again in 1990, first on Victa Airtourer G-ASYZ, later replaced by Beagle Pup 100 G-AWKO. In December 1995 the Jodel (G-AYYO) was sold (to a group of Club members who continue to operate it at Boscombe under Club auspices) and Cessna F172M G-SKAN was purchased as a replacement. Eventually the Pup (G-AWKO) was sold and replaced by Robin DR1180 Aiglon [G-ROBN].
In 2006 it was decided that the Club would benefit by returning to its aerobatic origins. The Aiglon was sold and now lives at Old Sarum; it was replaced by Slingsby Firefly Mk2-160 [G-BUUI]. Members were now legally allowed to turn a club aeroplane upside down after a 30-year delay!
The modernisation of the fleet continued in 2007 when the Cessna 172M was sold [again to some Club members who still operate it within the Club] and replaced by Robin DR100-120 [G-OYIO]. In due course the Robin DR400-120 was replaced by Robin DR400-140 [G-PVCV] in order to benefit from the better performance with the 140HP engine. The current fleet therefore consists of the Firefly T67 and Robin DR400-140.