When is an airfield not an airfield?
Can Microlight sites be included as an airfield; what about gliding sites or airships or 'decoy' airstrips? I would include them, especially as many of them were 'proper' airfields originally.
How does one define a seaplane 'airfield'?
How does one 'verify' that an airfield did exist?
Here's something I wrote in Airfield Review many moons ago.
What’s in a name?
If we had existed in the 1930’s, we should no doubt have called ourselves “The Aerodrome Research Group”, rather than “The Airfield Research Group”.
And while we are on the subject of fashions in technical terminology, how, why and when was it, that aeroplanes became aircraft?
I recently stumbled upon the answer in an Admiralty file, at the Public Records Office, when researching something entirely different. A letter, dated 3rd November 1942, from the Offices of the War Cabinet, addressed to the Private Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, says the following:-
“The Prime Minister has expressed the wish that in future, the words aircraft and airfields should be used instead of aeroplanes and aerodromes.
I would be grateful if steps could be taken to comply with the Prime Minister’s wish so far as concerns your Department.
I am writing in similar terms to other Departments who have much occasion to use these terms.
Early in 1943 came the ruling that the area used for the operation of seaplanes was to be described as a “seaplane base”.
A letter dated 15th June 1943 authorised the additional term “airport” but emphasised that the British would definitely not use the word “airdrome”, that was in vogue with the USAAF at the time.
So it seems that Winston Churchill really liked to get into the nitty-gritty detail, (or whatever they called that at the time).
The CAA have a generic definition which basically says :
An aerodrome is any area of land or water set aside for the safe landing and takeoff of aircraft.
Not the exact wording but as close as I can remember.