Sywell Aviation Museum Grand Opening

Sywell Grand Opening

Easter Saturday 16th April 2022 Sywell Aviation Museum’s Grand Opening and 21st Birthday Party

SAM first opened its doors in 2001 in three Nissen huts dismantled from RAF Bentwaters and re-erected at the Northamptonshire aerodrome. It expanded twice in 2011 and 2012 with two more huts having been added. 2012 saw the addition of its first complete airframe – unique Hawker Hunter F.2 WN904 from RAF Waterbeach courtesy of the IWM.

After an epic effort, their second airframe Handley Page Jetstream 200 G-RAVL arrived from Cranfield University in March 2020 and since then much work has been done to restore her. The Museum is actively seeking Jetstream parts including seats and interior trim or related memorabilia.

In 1970 with the demise of Handley Page, Terravia Ltd set up Jetstream Ltd at Sywell to continue production of the type. RAVL (then N1035S) was bright back from the USA by the CEO of the company – Captain Bill Bright – for use as a company demonstrator. Indeed he flew her to victory in the 1971 Daily Express National Air Race in June 1971 between Sywell – Biggin Hill.

The Museum was able to track down his children who remember flying on holiday in the machine in the early 1970s. Now living in Spain, Marcus and Rebecca Bright attended the event as guests of honour to be reunited with the aircraft they last saw 45 years earlier.

In addition to a huge number of military and classic vehicles and re-enactors, the Museum welcomed resident and visiting aircraft including a Miles Gemini & Messenger, a brace of Austers, Avro 504 and Fokker DR1 replicas, Beagle Pup prototype, DH Leopard Moth, Piper Cub, Yak 50 and a pair of DH Chipmunks!

This free event was a fine way to mark over 2 decades of opening during which time the Museum has never charged an entry fee and relies on donations to survive.

The Museum is very grateful to readers for their kind donation of military/aviation books, model kits and accessories and diecast models earlier in the year which helped raise funds at a recent book sale – more are always sought to help fund the Jetstream restoration – if you can help please get in touch.

The Museum is open weekends & Bank Holidays 1030-1630 until the end of September and Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons 1200-1600 from Mid May to Mid October. Entry is free, donations welcome.

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

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