An aviation club based at Davidstow Aerodrome has sustained more than £250,000 of damage following a suspected arson attack.

A fire was discovered in the hangar at Davidstow Flying Club on Tuesday, April 11 at around 10.45pm, which resulted in two Ikarus C42 aircraft, a Van’s RV-R as well as various microlights including a Thruster, two Quantum flex wings and four lightweight flexi aircraft being destroyed in the blaze.

Six fire appliances from Delabole and Launceston Community Fire Stations attended the incident. 

Fire crews, some wearing breathing apparatus, used three main jets and one hosereel jet to extinguish the flames.

The owners of the aircraft were initially not allowed into the hangar whilst police and fire services carried out their investigations but certified flying instructor Gary Perry, who operates a flying school there called Air Cornwall, was permitted to survey the scene on Thursday and said he was “reduced to tears” by what he saw. 

It is the second fire Davidstow Flying Club has experienced in recent years. More than £30,000 worth of damage was previously caused after a fire in the main building, which destroyed three aircraft.

Mr Perry, who also lost his two seater training aircraft, an Ikarus C42 in the blaze, said: “I’m devastated. Not only have I lost my plane but I’ve also lost my business.

“I would like to say a massive thank you for all the fantastic, supportive and heart felt messages we have received from all over the UK regarding the appalling arson attack we had on Tuesday night. 

“We are all absolutely devastated and sickened at the horror and loss a low life individual can cause in just a few minutes. 

“This is the second time we have been targeted in as many years. 

“The first one in a satellite hangar 100 yards from our main building, one fixed wing and two lightweight flexi’s , total circa £30,000, plus the building destroyed. 

“This time, four fixed wing including two C42’s, an RV 6 and a thruster, two Quantum flex wings, and four lightweight flexi’s, circa £250,00. Plus whatever damages the building has sustained from the heat and smoke.

“I saw this all unfold as my security camera alerted me to an intruder in the hangar. 

“I called a member who lives very close by, and then saw the chap had started a fire in the middle section of the hangar, so I called the fire brigade. 

“Within two minutes it was raging and within five minutes it had melted my camera and that was that. 

“No words can describe how I personally feel at this time.

“As I have not only lost my fantastic C42B, but also my operating base for my school. 

“When the police lady opened the doors yesterday to let me see Bravo Yankee and all the other carnage caused to the other aircraft, I did actually cry. 

“Many thanks everyone, we really do appreciate your messages of support.”

Six fire appliances from Delabole and Launceston Community Fire Stations attended the incident. 

Fire crews, some wearing breathing apparatus, used three main jets and one hosereel jet to extinguish the flames.

The police and fire service carried out an investigation at the scene on Thursday.

The incident has left members “devastated”.

Graham Skinner said: “Davidstow Flying Club unfortunately has been struck again by an arson attack in which eight or nine aircraft have been lost, which is to be confirmed.

“The individual who has done this does not understand the loss, or its consequences. 

“One day when something like this visits his or her door they will. Aviators are passionate people putting their love of the air high on their life list. 

“Many of us have worked hard and given many many hours to be able to be called an aviator and be privileged to own your own aircraft. I cannot understand the mentality of this individual who just wants this to cease and stop others from participating in their love.”

Member Geoff Nudd, who lost his Ikarus C42, said: “Several aircraft lost including mine. It’s devastating for everyone involved.

Ness Maddock, who is also a member of Davidstow Flying Club, added: “I hope karma gets the person responsible.

“The upset, anger and the devastation it has caused for all of us effected by it is unmeasurable.”

Courtney Chambers said: “This is another devastating tragedy to a wonderful airfield and it’s dedicated members.”

A spokesman for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service confirmed: “Fire appliances from Delabole and Launceston Community Fire Stations were mobilised to a report of an aircraft hanger on fire. 

“When they arrived on scene, they could see flames and smoke issuing through the roof and requested a further fire appliance, which was sent from Launceston.

“The fire involved a hanger, measuring 70 metres by 10 metres, containing light aircraft and was extinguished by the fire crews, some wearing breathing apparatus and using three main jets and one hosereel jet. 

“The cause of the fire is suspected arson and the incident was left in care of Devon & Cornwall Police.”