In March 1942, No. 1448 (Rota) Flight arrived at RAF Halton as a lodger unit. They were shortly to become No 529 Squadron, tasked with assisting in the calibration of the Home Chain radars. This was done using Cierva autogyros (the immediate predecessors to the helicopter). Although these aircraft could not hover, they were able to fly very slowly and in very tight circles. This gave the calibrators a reference point on which to focus. Most of these were flown by pilots who had owned them pre-war and had gone into uniform to continue to use them for the war effort. Based at Halton they were approximately 80 miles from each of the coastal radar stations but well out of the way of the fighter bases.
On 27 March 1947, Mr Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Fadeev, General Secretary of the Union of Soviet Writers, and Colonel-General Milhail Mikhailovich Gromov, representing the Red Army Air Force, visited RAF Halton. They were greeted by AM Sir Ralph Sorley, AOC-in-C Technical Training Command, the Rt Hon Philip Noel-Baker, Secretary of State for Air
and MRAF Lord Tedder, Chief of the Air Staff. The visitors had come to see the aircraft apprentices in training; they visited the workshops, the classrooms, laboratories and library in Kermode Hall, the boys’ accommodation and attended a formal parade, complete with bands and Lewis, the goat mascot.
The programme was to have included a demonstration of all the aircraft types used by the home commands of the RAF but bad weather prevented all but a skeleton programme of flying. The highlight of this was a most impressive low-level, high-speed pass by a Vampire, flown by Flt Lt G H Carter AFC.