Situated in the heart of Midrand on some 40ha, Grand Central Airport was born early in the year 1937. Mr Harry Shires, the man behind the scenes of African Flying Services, South Africa’s largest private air transport concern at that time, bought land as a speculative deal. He gave permission for a few enthusiastic flyers to form a flying club.
Until 1939 there was much activity at the small Aerodrome where Muriel Shires became South Africa’s youngest flying pupil, whose instructor was none other than Miss Doreen Hooper, the country’s first woman flying instructor.
When the war came, Grand Central’s activities were curtailed, but very soon afterwards enthusiasm flared anew. Mr Eddie McConnell, manager of African Flying Services, in which company the ownership of the club was vested, helped to set the wheels in motion once again. However, in 1951 African Flying Services were forced to come to the decision that they could not see their way clear to continue with the flying tuition and the consequence of continual losses.
Mr Bokkie Erasmus came to the rescue and offered a site at Randjesfontein, and thus Louis’ Field became the home for the then 130 club members. It was a short lived era however, as Mr Shires made an offer to the club to return to Grand Central and in April 1952 were back in their place of birth once more.
In 1964, Dr Mickey Finn, who later went on to purchase the land, had the initiative to expand Grand Central. (Hangarage was charged at R25 per month which included landing fees.)
Over the years Grand Central saw more expansion, becoming home to commercial and private operators, training schools and maintenance organizations.
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