Royal Naval Air Station Henstridge or RNAS Henstridge (HMS Dipper) is a former Fleet Air Arm base located 7 miles (11 km) west of Shaftesbury, Dorset (Now Somerset) and 12.4 miles (20.0 km) east of Yeovil, Somerset in South West England.
The main part of the land (355 acres) was purchased in August 1941, after which building of the airfield and the marsh lane accommodation site commenced, it was commissioned on April 1, 1943 as HMS Dipper, principally as number 2 naval fighter school, on the 11th September 1942, another 18 acres was acquired at the adjoining gibbs marsh area for an aircraft repair and maintenance site. The design and lay-out of the airfield was quite unique, having 5 runways, 2 of these being east west lay-out (07-25) both 1000 yards long, the northern runway incorporated a dummy deck landing strip, complete with under-ground arresting gear with four above ground arrestor wires, which was a duplicate of that installed on HMS Implacable for training of aircraft carrier landings, these mainly being carried out with the Seafire, a naval version of the spitfire with folding wings. The site also had its own cinema and stage hall
March 1952 the airfield became inactive and was placed under care and maintenance, during 1953 Air whaling (now Bristow group) used the facilities for repairs to the whaling fleet of helicopters until moving out in June 1958.June 1957 it was finally closed as a naval establishment, from 1958-1960 the entire site was sold off. 27 June 1980 the BBC purchased the whole site and applied for planning permission to erect at the airfield a shortwave radio station consisting of 21 self-supporting towers holding aerial arrays and ancillary buildings on a 300-acre site. The station would transmit overseas radio services to Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and perhaps South America the application failed and the BBC sold the land during January 1987 The airfield is also the home of the wessex strut, a general aviation club formed in January 1977, which holds an annual fly in and other events their first fly-in was on 17 April 1977 and attracted 107 aircraft. As of today the only usable runway is the north 07-25 runway, extant with the concrete dummy deck, and the underground machinery chamber, it is also the home to a large number of light aviation enthusiasts aircraft as well as the Yakolevs aerobatic display team and the Dorset and Somerset air ambulance
The current airfield is operated by EGHS and is an unlicensed airfield. The only usable runway is 07/25 tarmac/concrete 750 mts long x 6 mtr wide. Henstridge radio can be contacted on 130.250 MHz, it can be found at the south eastern stub of the Yeovilton MATZ
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