The airfield was created on Goodwood Estate land which was donated by Freddie March, the 9th Duke of Richmond, the renowned amateur racer and aircraft engineer to assist the war effort. Known as RAF Westhampnett, it was active from July 1940 to May 1946 as a Battle of Britain station, and home to 43, 129, 145, 602 and 616 Squadrons, operating Hawker Hurricanes, P-51 Mustangs, and Supermarine Spitfires.
Flying training began at Goodwood early in 1940 when young pilots were taught operational flying techniques in Hurricanes and Spitfires.
The charismatic Douglas Bader flew his last wartime flight from Westhampnett during which he had to abandon his stricken Spitfire over Northern France. Today a full-size bronze statue stands as a tribute to Bader at Goodwood.
It was also from RAF Westhampnett that the first operational sorties by the Fighter Groups of the US 8th Air Force flew in combat with the allies, one of the first sorties being the infamous Dieppe raid.
Spitfires.com has it's main office and hangar at Goodwood aerodrome in Sussex. The grass runways, its history as a Battle of Britain airfield and its proximity to the English Channel (only one minute away in Spitfire!) make it the ideal location from which to experience a flight in a warbird. As a part of the Goodwood estate that is well know for events such as the Festival of Speed, The Revival and Glorious Goodwood (now known as the Qatar Goodwood Festival) there are plenty of great establishments in which to eat, drink and stay should you wish to stay for longer than the day.