Lasham Airfield
"QLA" redirects here. It is also sometimes used as a metropolitan area airport code for all airports in the Los Angeles area. Lasham Airfield ( IATA: QLA, ICAO: EGHL) is located 3.6 miles (5.8 km) north-west of Alton in Hampshire, England, in the village of Lasham. The airfield frequency is 131.025 MHz. The airfield is owned by the world's largest gliding club, Lasham Gliding Society. Pilots of powered aircraft visiting the airfield require prior permission and a briefing on its hazards: in particular dense concentrations of thermalling gliders (up to 100 gliders can be in the vicinity at once), winch cables up to 3,000 feet (910 m) above the ground, and occasional movements of large jet airliners. Over-flying aircraft are requested to not fly below 3618 feet (1100m) QNH.

History
The airfield was constructed in 1942. Aircraft based at Lasham during World War II include the Hawker Typhoon, De Havilland Mosquito, B-25 Mitchell and Supermarine Spitfire. The squadrons based at Lasham during the war (apart from one- or two-night stays) were:
  • No. 107 Squadron RAF Mosquito VI, arrived 1 Feb 1944; departed 23 Oct 1944
  • No. 181 Squadron RAF Typhoon IB, arrived 5 Apr 1943; departed 6 Jun 1943
  • No. 182 Squadron RAF Typhoon IB, arrived 3 May 1943; departed 2 Jun 1943
  • No. 183 Squadron RAF Typhoon IB, arrived 3 May 1943; departed 30 May 1943
  • No. 305 (Polish) Squadron RAF Mitchell II and Mosquito VI, arrived 18 Nov 1943, departed 30 Oct 1944
  • No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF Mitchell II, arrived 30 Aug 1943; departed 18 Feb 1944
  • No. 412 Squadron RCAF, Spitfire VB, arrived 7 Mar 1943; departed 8 Apr 1943
  • No. 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron RAF Spitfire VB, arrived 14 Apr 1943; departed 29 Apr 1943
  • No. 613 (City of Manchester) Squadron RAF, Mosquito FB.VI, arrived 12 Oct 1943; departed 30 Oct 1944
A notable operation was by 613 Squadron. On 14 April 1944, at the request of resistance workers, six Mosquitos led by Wing Commander Bateson bombed the Central Records Registry of the Gestapo in the Hague from a height of 50 feet (15 m). The accuracy was such that the incriminating records were burnt. There was loss of life amongst the Dutch and German staff, but there were few civilian casualties in the nearby streets. On the nights preceding and following D-Day, the Mosquitos of 305 and 613 squadrons carried out low level attacks on enemy supply lines and armoured positions in Normandy to assist the allied landing forces. The airfield ceased to be an operational RAF station in 1948, though General Aircraft Ltd continued testing military gliders there. On 14 September 2006, a memorial at the entrance was dedicated to those who served at Lasham between 1942 and 1948. In 1950 the Army Gliding Club was re-established by Major Tony Deane-Drummond, then an instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. It operated at Odiham Airfield but after two accidents, the Commandant of Sandhurst ordered it to suspend operations. In early 1951 he ordered Major Deane-Drummond to restart the club at Lasham. In the meantime, the Surrey Gliding Club and Imperial College Gliding Club were both seeking a new home, because Redhill airfield had many other users. The Surrey club and Imperial College therefore moved to Lasham in August 1951. Lasham Gliding Society was established in 1958 to unify operations and it later signed a long lease on the airfield from the Ministry of Defence. The airfield's boundaries were reduced but it still occupies over 500 acres (200 ha). The Defence Research Establishment later maintained a satellite station at Lasham but the dishes, one enclosed in a large white dome, have now been removed. Most of the buildings from World War II have now been demolished. Derek Piggott was Chief Flying Instructor at Lasham during much of the period from 1953 to 1989. Ann Welch, Nicholas Goodhart, Frank Irving and Peter Twiss were also members for many years. In 1999 the Society bought the freehold of the airfield from the Ministry of Defence, making the final payment in 2001.

Lasham Gliding Society
The airfield is home to a gliding club, Lasham Gliding Society. 210 gliders are based there which are used by 640 full members. The airfield is in constant use throughout the year and regularly hosts national and regional gliding championships. Oerlinghausen Airfield claims to be the world's largest gliding club with "around 25,000" glider launches annually whereas Lasham launched 25,746 gliders in the year to 31 October 2010 . There are approximately 55,000 aircraft movements (departures and landings) annually (roughly the same as Southampton Airport). LGS's 90 instructors train new pilots at all stages from Ab initio through to competitive cross-country flying. The training fleet consists of the following types:
  • ASK 13 (nine basic trainers)
  • ASK 21 (two glass fibre trainers)
  • Duo Discus (advanced trainer)
  • DG-1000 (advanced trainer)
  • Discus (three single seaters)
  • Grob G-102 (three single seaters)
  • Scheibe SF-25 Falke motor glider
  • Grob 109 motor glider
There are 186 other gliders at the airfield operated by private owners and by affiliated gliding clubs: Imperial College Gliding Club, University of Surrey Gliding Club, Southampton University Gliding Club, The Crown Service Gliding Club and the IBM Gliding Club. Lasham Youth run a Saturday Evening gliding course during the summer months which is open to everyone, providing an environment where young members can fly with people of similar ages.

ATC Lasham
In 1954 Dan-Air established a subsidiary, Dan-Air Engineering, at Lasham Airfield to service its own fleet and aircraft belonging to other operators. From the 1960s to 1980s, Lasham hosted a number of unusual aircraft - notably one of only two surviving Avro Yorks (G-ANTK in Dan-Air colours) - and was the resting home of aircraft from around the world which came to be scrapped. Dan-Air ceased trading in 1992, and after a period of operation by FLS Aerospace, the facility has now been let by the society to aircraft maintenance company ATC Lasham. The company uses the main runway several times a week to bring in airliners for overhauls. In late 2008, in light of the global credit crunch and a rise in the price of aviation fuel, a number of airlines went bankrupt. ATC Lasham agreed to provide storage for repossessed leased aircraft, including those from XL Airways UK, Futura International Airways and Zoom Airlines.