An airfield three miles North East of Haddington, East Fortune was originally commissioned as a Royal Naval Air Station in 1916. It was used for coastal patrols over the Forth area by Avro 504s and airships.
The field became an RAF station in 1918 and it was from here in July 1919 that the airship R34 lifted off for the first east/west crossing of the Atlantic.
In 1922, a number of buildings and a portion of land, which had been part of the airfield, were given over to create the East Fortune Hospital. This acted as a tuberculosis sanatorium for the south east of Scotland.
In 1939 East Fortune became a satellite landing ground for Drem. Two years later the site became a night fighter Officer Training Unit equipped with Beaufighters and Blenheims and in 1942 it assumed a new role for strike training using Beaufighters, Beauforts, Blenheims and Mosquitos. After the war, East Fortune was closed down and was intended for use by the USAF, but it was never used and the site was sold in 1960.
East Fortune operated as Edinburgh’s airport for a brief period in 1961 while the facilities at Turnhouse were rebuilt. Buildings on the opposite side of the airfield from the hospital began to be used by the Royal Museum of Scotland for storage in 1971 and this developed into the Museum of Flight, which opened in 1975.
The Club was originally formed as the “Edinburgh & Lothians Radio Model Flying Club”, changing to “East Fortune Aeromodellers” in 2002. The site on East Fortune Airfield is a portion of the original WWII perimeter track, which the nearby motorbike club have upgraded to form a competition-standard race track. The hard runway therefore has an immaculate surface. In 2003, mindful of ever-increasing safety requirements, the Club introduced restrictions on fixed-wing flying on Sundays while the nearby Sunday Market was open. Certain small-scale exemptions from these restrictions were made in 2005. East Fortune has a Clubhut with ample seating with a large viewing window facing the runway. The hut also has an anemometer, windsock, and a large collection of aeromodelling magazines.
In 2005 the Club identified an alternate flying site at Mount Lothian (near Penicuik). This grass site is continuing to be developed as the Club’s alternative site for when East Fortune is unavailable due to race meetings utilising the track.
Wednesday evenings during British Summer Time are the Club’s formal time for the teaching of beginners at East Fortune, with regular flying on Saturday afternoons at East Fortune and Sunday afternoons at Mount Lothian. Currently, annual events include a Barbeque and Fly-In at Mount Lothian in the Summer, and two Fun-Flys at East Fortune after Christmas and New Year.
Enter your postcode or address in the box below and click on Get Directions. A Google map with directions will open in another window and take you to the site entrance gate which is just before a hump back bridge. When you reach this point turn right (about 45 degrees) off the public road onto a mud/gravel track to enter the East Fortune site past a farm-style tubular gate which should be open, and which has our painted wooden sign on it. An approximate postcode for this point is EH39 5JZ (being the postcode for the adjacent “1 New Houses, East Fortune”). Follow the mud/gravel track until you reach a closed second pair of tubular gates in front of you, which will be padlocked shut – this is as far as you can get before someone lets you in. Please use the Contact Us page if you want to arrange a visit.