Friday, 9 May 2014

Visit to Brooklands

On Thursday 8th of May some of us were lucky enough to get a seat on the Rolls Royce Heritage coach for a visit to Brooklands Museum in Surrey. The weather forecast wasn't very good and the rain soon hit us as we were travelling down the M40 towards Oxfordshire and with delays the M25 we arrived at the museum around 11:00.

The museum is home to many iconic vehicles from horse-drawn busses to Concorde and there are a great many other interesting things to see. This blog concentrates on the aeronautical side and is intended to be more of a photographic report of the visit. There are however a few points worth a mention, the first of which being the overwhelming enthusiasm of the volunteers that can be found around most of the exhibits. Stories and information are abound and access to some of the airframes offers an insight into the technology as well as the use of the individual aircraft. One of the volunteers in the hangar persuaded me to shoehorn myself into the cockpit of two-seat Harrier G-VTOL, which many years earlier I had photographed, on several occasions, at various Farnborough air shows in the eighties.
The second point to make is that there are several replica aircraft, e.g. Sopwith Camel and Tabloid in the main display hangar, that provide a good visualisation of those aircraft that are no longer available in original form.
The third and final point is that some of the unique exhibits, such as the Lancaster Nose section and the fuselage of Swift F4 WK198 are out in the open as is Viking G-AGRU, which has its starboard engine with mounted propellor stacked behind it with some tarpaulin draped over the top.
Hopefully when the new hanger is built the unique and vulnerable exhibits can be brought indoors. There was even the suggestion of Eden Project like domes to house the larger aircraft, but that will cost a small fortune and is many years away, if ever!

BAC-111 Test Aircraft

First production Concorde

Loch Ness Wellington

Loch Ness Wellington


Canadian Lancaster Nose


P-1127 prototype
Roe 1 replica

Swift F4 WK198 *
In the second half of the seventies I was a member of the North East Aircraft Museum at Sunderland Airport (ex RAF Usworth and today the Nissan car factory). It was NEAM that rescued this important fuselage from a scrap yard and restored it as best as possible. The wings and horizontal tail surfaces had disappeared hence the current state of the restoration. WK198 was flown by Mike Lithgow on 25th September 1953 to a new World Speed Record of 1,184km/h. Including this fuselage, only six aircraft have survived

Yours truly trying Harrier T1 G-VTOL for size (too small)
Valiant starboard undercarriage leg


VC10 Cockpit
Viking G-AGRU (see link below)

Vimy replica that Steve Fossett flew to Australia

Viscount 800
Main museum building from motor racing's heyday

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