Manchester University Air Squadron was formed in 1941 under command of Wg Cdr E Rhodes. The Squadron originally rented buildings in Manchester, flying and link trainer instruction was carried out at RAF Ringway. Initially flying was mainly air experience in operational or communications aircraft but, by the start of 1945, regular flying instruction was given to potential aircrew in Tiger Moth aircraft.
In 1951* the Tiger Moths were replaced by Chipmunks just prior to a move from Ringway to Barton Airfield. Several changes of Town Headquarters ensued, including a short period when a disused cafe was pressed into service as a Mess and classrooms. Strong links were forged with the university. The Squadron badge, approved by the King in 1951, incorporates the serpent from the Manchester University coat of arms.
The Squadron moved its flying operations from Barton to Woodvale in 1953 and reequipped with Bulldog aircraft in 1973. The unit was renamed Manchester and Salford Universities Air Squadron in April 1975 to accommodate the new status of Salford University. Originally established for 48 flying students the squadron was downsized under DCS in 1995 to provide training for 38 students from within the universities of Manchester and Salford. Following the reorganization of the UAS system in 2005, the squadron is established to provide training for upto 53 students.
After the restructuring of the UAS system in 2005 the combined strength of MASUAS and 10 AEF (Air Experience Flight) provide air experience and instructional flying to all students, not just prospective Air Crew. The MASUAS Squadron Commander assumes the role of OC Flying at RAF Woodvale, with OC LUAS (Liverpool UAS) as the Station Commander.
*Thanks to Michael Fadil who corrected the date from 1946. Michael was still flying the Tiger Moth in 1950 during a MASUAS Summer Camp.