History of TG Aviation
TG Aviation was started by Ted Girdler, his son Mark and Wife Joyce. Originally from Deal Ted was the son of a miner and joined the RAF in 1953, up until 1975. When he left he became a director for Tayside Aviation in Dundee.
In 1982 Tayside had brought some brand new Cessna's for training, but they had a paint problem and needed to be taken to Leavesden. Ted and Mark flew the Cessna's down to get re-sprayed and on one of their trips flew into Manston to visit Teds parents. On this visit they started talking to people at the airfield and discovered there was a large porta cabin for sale, with the idea of living closer to Teds parents and setting up their own flying school, Ted brought the porta cabin and flew back to Dundee to tell his wife. At this point there was already a part time flying school running at Manston, Thanet Flying Club, which had its own small porta cabin and 3 C150s.
When the Girdler family began to make plans to move to Manston they came across the problem that although they owned the building at Manston the ground it was sat on had been granted to someone else, so they had to sell them the building. All was not lost, the civilian airport owners at the time were refurbishing a Piper Aztec ready to acquire an AOC (Air Operators Certificate) for the aircraft, as Ted already had an AOC he leased the aircraft and TG Air Taxi charter was started. Whist Ted flew the charter flights, Mark ran the operations and worked part time for the then flying club, which had started flying full time.
In December that year the flying club came up for sale, Ted, Joyce and Mark signed the papers on Christmas eve that year. They brought Thanet Flying Club along with its porta cabin and 3 Cessna 150s. At this point the original building that Ted and Mark had purchased on their first visit into Manston was now available, so they also purchased that along with the ground lease, this then became TGs first clubhouse. They continued to use the old flying club porta cabin as an engineering office and rented a small corner of the large hangar for any work that needed to be carried out.
Ted continued to fly his charter flights and set up instructor courses, with some successful candidates joining the TG team at the end of their training and teaching alongside Ted and Mark. It was now Joyce's job to run the operations of the front desk. By February 1983 they had also applied and been awarded the RAF scholarship contract to train the scholars for 30 hours each. From here they began to replace the c150s with c152s and build the fleet up to 7 training aircraft, Ted even sold his Jaguar to buy one of the Cessna's!
A couple of years down the line and the part of the hangar they were renting for engineering work was now unavailable, so their next venture was a Romney Hut. The hut was quite small and the Cessnas wings would fit by a couple of inches, but the warriors had to be on skates and taken in sideways!
So in 89 we signed the lease for the clubhouse and hangar land, and started building. The hangar was built first and then the clubhouse. This also included an underground fuel tank, large apron and grass parking. The day we moved into the clubhouse we were a little short on furniture, taking just what was in the porta cabin. In June 1991 we had the official hangar opening, with an actor from coronation street doing the honours!
We remained at Manston until it sadly closed in 2014. The flying school has now has 4 generations of the Girdler family involved in its operations.
These are some news paper clippings from our scrap book. Dating back to 1983!! I have attached pictures and I am hoping your be able to zoom in on them to read, if not underrated is a short but about each article. With articles on our oldest members (85 years) and our youngest members gaining their PPLs.