East Yorkshire UK

Hedon Aerodrome iconic image

THIS PHOTOGRAPH of an aeroplane coming in to land at Hedon aerodrome in 1931 is one of the enduring images of Hedon’s historical link with its airfield. However, many people in the town will be surprised to learn that the aeroplane was one of only five ever produced and yet one of these still survives today!

Civilian Coupé light aircraft heading back to Hedon

Our famous photo was taken by a Hull Daily Mail photographer on Saturday 28th February 1931 at the Hull Municipal Aerodrome (so-named because the land was leased by the Hull Corporation).

It was the first plane, the ‘Civilian Coupé 02’, produced by the Civilian Aircraft Company of Hedon and was considered to be at the cutting edge of aviation comfort and design. Flight Magazine in April 1931 reported:

At the present moment the Civilian Coupé is the only machine catering for this market and it therefore has the field to itself.”

Click the attached images (PDF files) from Flight Magazine 1931 to show more images of the Civilian Coupé. They are courtesy of the The Flightglobal Archive:

It was expected that the Company would eventually produce at least one plane per week. However, in 14 months only five were built and the Company went bankrupt and was closed by April 1932.

One of the planes survived. A Civilian Coupé 02, was bought by a customer in South Wales and hangared at Cardiff Airport. After being stored for more than 40 years, the plane was restored and moved to the Biggin Hill airfield.

It has been confirmed (see Comment below) that this is the same aeroplane as in our iconic photograph? It can be viewed here on: Shortfinals’s Blog at http://shortfinals.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/a-short-lived-civilian/

9 replies »

  1. I was born in 1931, in 1934/5 my dad took me on the cross bar of his bike to see what I was told was the inaugural KLM flight at Hedon airfield. It landed at 8mins. past 6.00pm. in the dark ,therefore it must have been early or late in the year, being late due to fog over the North sea. It was a single radial engined bi-plane, the pilot in a cockpit under top wing And passengers (all 4 of them) in fuselage with 3 small square windows, if this wasn’t the inaugural KLM flight, what did I witness?

  2. Thanks for this article – I always wondered about its early history. I’ve only ever known the site as a speedway track when our dad used to take us to watch Geoff Duke. Nearly a couple of decades later circa 1960 when my brother jointed the Territorial Paras, we used to sit in our garden in Princes Avenue and watch the TA lads being taken up into the air standing on a wooden basket slung under an old barrage balloon. There was a “hole” in the middle of the basket where each recruit had to sit when it was his turn to reliquish his tight hold of safety and shout “Geronimo” as he pushed himself off to hopefully float down to terra firma.

    • I lived at Paull during the 1950s and 60s, although only a small child at the time I remember the barrage balloon. A group of children, including myself would walk up to Saltend just to watch the parachutes, it was so exciting watching the men emerging from the basket and floating down to earth.

  3. As the author of the Shortfinals blog, I can confirm that the aircraft I took a photograph of, and the aircraft in your iconic image, are one and the same. It was my pleasure to write about G-ABNT, and I shall be writing another piece (and using another one of my photographs) this time about the aircraft’s Genet engine in the near future. Many thanks for your blog!

  4. Hedon airfield. I went there to an air show in about 1934 and saw the KLM Fokker Airliner land en route to Liverpool . Thereafter there was the usual assembly and flying displays of mostly RAF bi planes, like the Gauntlet, Hind, Audax and Gladiator, a Whitley and a Heyford flew past, plus the usual civilian aerobatics and Amy Johnson flew in just before we all went home !!

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