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our exceptional history

The Squadron was founded in 1966 by three members of the Royal Yacht Squadron who considered that a similar organisation was needed for aviation.

These founder members were the Hon. Hugh Astor, Air Commodore The Hon. Sir Peter Vanneck and the Hon. Anthony Cayzer.  Sir Douglas Bader, James Baring, Ivor Faulconer, Professor John Houlder, the Earl of Verulam and Lord Waterpark joined them as the six Founding Members.

1966 - the early years

The Air Squadron was born on 1st February 1966, during a black-tie dinner given by Anthony Cayzer for eight friends, all of whom shared a common passion in flying. Within its first year, the Air Squadron had completed a foreign trip, had a new aerobatics competition in its name and a total of 33 members (four of whom were highly decorated WWII fighter pilots). There were links with the Government, commercial and military aviation, veterans of the Army, Navy and Air Force, the Tiger Club, the Royal Aero Club and Royal Aeronautical Society, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, the Royal Yacht Squadron, the City of London and Livery Companies.  In 1970 a further trophy for Best Homebuilt Aircraft was added.

1981 - spreading wings

This was a significant period for the Squadron. Sorties evolved from social weekends in France to longer more challenging transcontinental trips.  A sharper focus on the Squadron’s charitable work came in the form of the Geoffrey de Havilland Flying Foundation (GdHFF).  The Squadron became more involved with the military, and forged new diplomatic and cultural dimensions furthering the Squadron’s purpose and sowing seeds of friendship worldwide.

1994 - new horizons

Moving from strength to strength, the Squadron now numbers 130 members. Trips including to South Africa, the USA, Ukraine and a 50th Anniversary Trip around Britain would continue the long-held spirit for adventure.  In 2016, the title of “Royal” was granted. There was a growing emphasis on the work of the GdHFF in the communities and promoting aviation (now known as the Royal Air Squadron Charity), in particular to help young people (including those from disadvantaged backgrounds) to fulfil their ambition to fly or develop aeronautical skills.  The Royal Air Squadron awards several foreign swords of honour and numerous awards annually.