Over 70 years of aviation experience at Blackpool
Westair has been involved in aviation since the 1930s when it was started by Walter “Wally” Westoby. At the time we were flying out of an aerodrome based at Blackpool’s Stanley Park; some of the aircraft hangars still exist as part of Blackpool Zoo.
During the Second World War Wally was sent to Canada, teaching Navigation for the RAF. By the time Walter left the RAF in 1947 the airport had moved to Squires Gate, where it is today. Shortly afterwards Denis Westoby, Wally’s son, started to fly.
After the War, Westair began operating pleasure flights in De Havilland Rapides giving tourists visiting Blackpool a chance to see Blackpool Tower from the air.
In a time before low cost air travel, UK tourists would spend their Summer holidays in Blackpool and Westair would offer the opportunity for people to fly in an aeroplane which, at the time, was an extremely rare experience. The Rapides seated 10 passengers and would give trips around the tower and back.
Westair became one of the first authorised Cessna dealers in Europe, using the flying school as a means of teaching new owners how to fly their new aircraft. As well as supplying new Cessna aircraft, Denis was operating as the Earl of Sefton’s personal pilot. Trips often involved flying into small grass strips on racecourses so that Lord Sefton could watch his horses run.
Denis also flew a great variety of celebrities on charters, from famous comedians, Eric Morcambe and Tony Hancock, to sporting celebrities such as golfer, Arnold Palmer and jockey, Lester Piggot.
70’s and 80’s
In 1974 Denis’ son, John, got his pilot’s licence. John initially started instructing and then moved on to flying a 401 for Johnson’s cleaners.
Westair also operated a charter service and a regular service in a King Air to Stansted to give people in the area a quick route down to the capital.
90s’ to Present
In recent years Westair has specialised in providing operational support and crew for corporate aircraft. These include group owned corporate jets. Currently Westair is providing crew to BAE Systems, flying regular services from Walney Airfield in Cumbria across the country in King Airs.
In 2008 Jonathan, John’s son, became the fourth generation of commercial pilot in the Westoby family and is now instructing in the Flying School.