Airfield's all set to fly into the pages of aviation history
After starting the Bristol & Colonial Aeroplane Company (BCAC) in Filton in 1910, Sir George White, a Bristol businessman, planned to build, test and then sell a French designed biplane known as a Zodiac.
White put a completed plane on show to the public at Olympia before sending it to Brooklands Aerodrome, near Weybridge in Surrey, for flight trials.
But with no facilities then available at Filton, BCAC set up a flight test base (actually three wooden sheds) at Larkhill, on Salisbury Plain, on land leased from the Army.
And so the first flight of the Boxkite, as White's pioneering new plane was known, took place on July 30, 1910, in Wiltshire, rather than Gloucestershire.
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The company's Salisbury Plain base, which also contained a flying school for new pilots, continued in use for some years.
The first flight into Filton, in 1911, was made from Larkhall by a 27-year-old French test pilot.
The Frenchman told people that he had taught George White's nephew, 18-year-old Herbert Thomas, to fly from Filton and then tested planes himself there instead of in Wiltshire.
If his story is true then that is how flying, as distinct from aircraft manufacture, began at Filton.
The first recorded flight, however, was by a military Boxkite plane flying from Filton to Amesbury, in Wiltshire, on June 10, 1911.
This historic one-and-a-half hour trip was, in all probability, the very first one to be recorded in an official aviation log book.
By the outbreak of the First World War, in 1914, Filton had three large hangars, a large grass apron and a runway.
A year later the Royal Flying Corps (later the RAF) opened a base at Filton with a flying school on what is now the Post Office sorting depot site.
Throughout the war aircraft were sent here for testing from other production sites.
The military facilities expanded and in 1929 the airfield became an operational base for the 501 (City of Bristol) Squadron, which would stay at Filton until 1957.
By 1936 the base had a barracks, mess facilities, workshops, a parachute store and technical buildings.
During the Battle of Britain, RAF Fighter Command had three squadrons based here at various times.
Following a Luftwaffe raid on the aircraft factory in 1940, a squadron of Spitfires arrived and the following year the grass runways were replaced by concrete.
By the end of the war, in 1945, the airfield was left with two concrete runways and a variety of hangars.
A few years later a runway extension for the Brabazon, a giant, propeller driven passenger plane, meant the demolition of nearby Charlton village, and the evacuation of all its residents.
The huge hangar built for the plane, still standing today, was the largest of its type in the world.
Following the disbanding of 501 Squadron, apprentices took over some of their buildings and Bristol University's Air Squadron used some of the RAF facilities, now mostly demolished.
The airfield reverted to commercial, rather than RAF, use in 1957
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, as the world waited with baited breath, a number of Vulcan Bombers were stationed here, on stand-by.
The runway was extended again in the late 1960s for Concorde.
Its first test flight took place in 1969.
In 2003 Concorde 216 (Alpha Foxtrot), watched by a huge crowd, made her final touch down at the airfield.
It's now been announced that Filton airfield is to close at the end of the year, bringing to an end 100 years of aviation history. Thank goodness, then, that there are now definite plans for both Concorde AND Bristol's Aero Collection to have a joint museum on the site.
This timely, well-illustrated book will delight all those who view the passing of the airfield with a mixture of sadness and pride.
Filton Airfield Through Time by Andrew Appleton is published by Amberley at £14.99.