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USAAF Station AAF-407
Thruxton Airfield - May 1945. Already large numbers of combat aircraft being stored at the airfield, parked wingtip to wingtip on the grass areas, prior to their being returned to the United States.
|Operator||Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
|Elevation AMSL||ft / 90 m|
During the war Thruxton was used primarily as a combat fighter airfield.
However, paratroops who participated in the Bruneval raid (Operation Biting) in which German radar technology was captured took off from here in Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers on the evening of 27 February 1942. Also, gliders used in the D-day landings operated from here.
After the war it was closed in 1946.
Today the site is occupied by the Thruxton Circuit.
While under United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) control, it was known as USAAF Station AAF-407 for security reasons, and by which it was referred to instead of location. Its station-ID was "TX".
Thruxton was transferred to the USAAF Ninth Air Force on 3 January 1944. On 1 March the 366th Fighter Group with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts were transferred to the airfield from RAF Membury. Operational squadrons of the group were:
Upon its release from military use, in 1947 the field was leased by the Wiltshire School of Flying. Over the next few years their training fleet was joined at Thruxton by substantial numbers of light aircraft.
Flight training at the airfield is now provided by Western Air (Thruxton) Ltd at what is now known as Thruxton Airport. The southwest end of the former 02/20 secondary runway is now used as an aircraft parking ramp with the airport facilities also being built on the former runway. The northeast end of the runway still exists, but is largely abandoned, with parts of it also used for aircraft parking. The airport uses part of the former main 07/25 wartime runway for takeoffs/ landings. A grass runway was built parallel to the 12/30 secondary runway, the wartime concreted runway being in a deteriorating state and unused.
Thruxton airfield is also the operational airfield for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance service.
Motorcycle racing started in 1950 with the famous Thruxton 500 motorcycle endurance race, followed by cars in 1952. The runway and perimeter roads formed the original circuit until a new track was laid in 1968 utilizing the former airfield perimeter track At 2.356 miles (3.792 km), the new circuit uses only the perimeter road with the addition of a chicane called Club and a series of three tight corners called Campbell, Cobb and Seagrave. All of the loop and pan dispersal areas have been removed.
There is no flying on race days but the airfield is used for flying during practice and test days on the motor circuit.
- Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now 1994. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-80-0
- Freeman, Roger A. (1996) The Ninth Air Force in Colour: UK and the Continent-World War Two. After the Battle ISBN 1-85409-272-3
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Thruxton Airfield at www.controltowers.co.uk
- USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers—1908 to Present
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