Posts Tagged ‘Sywell Aviation Museum’

Operation Moonraker – Sywell Aviation Museum’s new aircraft!

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Sywell Jetstream

With the collapse of Handley Page Aircraft Ltd in 1970, Terravia Ltd/Jetstream Aircraft Ltd formed at Sywell and purchased 21 incomplete Jetstream MK1 airframes. They were then roaded from Radlett to Sywell. Several aircraft were completed before production moved to Leavesden under the auspices of Scottish Aviation. All remained in primer. The aircraft type was a major success following the acquisition of SA by British Aerospace and was further developed over the next 30 years from the Series 200 on to the Jetstream 31, 32 and 41. Many remain in service.

HANDLEY PAGE HP.137 JETSTREAM 200 MK1 G-RAVL SERIAL NUMBER 208

First flew on 17/4/1969. Registered as N1035S – To Cal State Airlines – C.1970– Purchased back by Jetstream Ltd Parent company Terravia Ltd and moved to Sywell as their demonstrator.

In 1971 she became the Jetstream Ltd demonstrator aircraft based at Sywell and participated in Daily Express National Air Race On 12th June 1971 between Biggin Hill and Sywell – and won! Flight Magazine noted:

“The Jetstream Mkl flown by Capt Bill Bright, streaked dramatically past the finishing line like a hunted fox” The trophy was presented by Douglas Bader.

On 22nd February 1974 she was re-registered as G-AWVK to Racal Decca Navigator Ltd as sales demonstrator and test bed then sold to Cranfield University in July 1990 and registered as G-RAVL.

She was retired in 2000 and was used as part of the University’s Aircraft Crash Investigation Course until recently. With the retirement of their current Jetstream G-NFLA her future was uncertain and she lay abandoned at the end of the runway at Cranfield.

Contact was made by Sywell Aviation Museum in late 2018 and the University very kindly agreed to donate her to the Museum for use as a classroom. The University has a long history of helping redundant airframes into preservation and their donation means that she can be used as a teaching aid again.

The Museum believes G-RAVL – now known as Jenny the Jetstream to be the third oldest Jetstream in existence and only a couple of serial numbers off the famous Apollo Airways Jetstream used in the opening sequence of the Bond movie – Moonraker….hence the name of the plan!

The project took 2 years to come to fruition. Handley Page clearly never intended for their work to be taken apart and Jetstream wing spars are notoriously difficult to access and work on. Extensive depanelling took place and then, without warning we were devastated to learn she had been broken into and items stolen including instruments, windows and even the pilot’s seat cushions!

Then COVID hit effectively putting the whole project on hold. Work carried on sporadically during 2020, with her tailplane and elevator, wing control surfaces and propellers being removed for transport.

So what are our plans? Well the Museum has taken over 16000 young people round the aerodrome over the last 20 years and we need a classroom! We have never before been able to put children INSIDE an aeroplane and the Jetstream will be perfect for that – she is even equipped with Airstairs.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

On the morning of the 23rd March 2021 the aircraft wings were removed and she was transported back to Sywell, where she last visited in the 1970s, and is in the process of being reassembled.

When fitted out inside and repainted she will wear a refreshed colour scheme of G-RAVL on one side with Cranfield titles and G-AWVK on the other with Racal Decca titles. She will be a much valued asset to the Museum and will improve what we can offer our visitors – especially our younger ones- AND we have saved a piece of British aviation heritage which otherwise would have gone for scrap (and was at genuine risk of doing so!)

So what’s next? We need the following to begin to restore her:

Jetstream passenger seats, Jetstream interior panels Jetstream fuselage windows

We are looking for someone or a company to help trim her out inside since as part of her use as a training aid her interior aft of the cockpit has been stripped out. If you can help with retrimming and fitting out her interior we can proudly put your logo on her fin!
And we need your support – moving her was the biggest project the Museum has ever undertaken – if you would like to donate please contact us or we welcome your Paypal donations to sywellaviationmuseum@gmail.com

The Museum has been hit hard by COVID and plans to reopen on the 12th June 2021 and will then reopen each weekend and bank holiday between 1030-1630hrs and Tuesday and Wednesday between 1200-1600hrs until the end of September.

Before that the Museum has a book and model sale on the 22nd May 2021 between 1000-1600 and we welcome your donation of model kits and accessories to sell to raise funds.

With sincere thanks to The University of Cranfield, , Dave Thomas and all at Sywell Aerodrome

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

SYWELL AVIATION MUSEUM GRAND OPENING CANCELLED

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Sywell Aviation Museum

Dear all, sadly as expected the Sywell Aviation Museum Trustees have decided to cancel the Grand Opening on 11th April 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The safety of our visitors and our own trustees and members remains paramount at all times so we’re sure that you will understand our decision.

Further, the Museum will remain closed throughout April and May but we aim to reopen on Saturday 6th June 2020 (without a Grand opening) subject to the situation with coronavirus at that time.

We’re really disappointed too as we have worked really hard over the closed season to get ready to welcome you all and of course the lack of income will have an impact on us as well.

Nonetheless nothing is important as everyone’s health and we’d like to thank you all for your continued support and interest in Sywell Aviation Museum.

We hope to see you later in the year and in the meantime wish you and yours all the best. Stay safe!

The Sywell Aviation Museum Team

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

The Sywell Aviation Museum Grand Opening 2020 – 11th April 2020

Friday, February 21st, 2020

Sywell Aviation Museum

The Sywell Aviation Museum reopens for its 19th season as traditional, on Easter Saturday – 11th April 2020. The free event includes visiting aircraft cockpits, military vehicles, re-enactors and more and maybe some aerial visitors!

Open from 1030-1630 hours the Museum is then open for the season every weekend and bank holiday between 1030-1630hrs until the end of September and every Tuesday/Wednesday between 1200-1600hrs from the end of May to the end of October.

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

Sywell Aviation Museum Scoops Heritage Award

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Sywell Heritage Award

On 4th July 2019 the Sywell Aviation Museum was awarded The Peoples’ Choice Award for Best Museum at the Northants Heritage Awards held at Holdenby House, Northants. The award was voted for by members of the public and the Museum fought off stiff competition from much larger municipal museums and stately homes secure the most public votes. Many thanks to all those who voted!

Photo – Mike Goodman and David Knight receiving the award

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

Hunter F2 ‘Heidi’ Restoration Complete

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Hawker Hunter at Sywell

On the 20th April 2019 the Sywell Aviation Museum Grand Opening saw the final unveiling of Hawker Hunter F.2 WN904 ‘Heidi’ after her 6 year long restoration. Only 45 F.2s were made – WN904 is the last complete example. F.2s were only flown by 257 and 263 Squadron. Heidi was flown exclusively with 257 as ‘Q Queenie’. VIP guests attended with a close connection to the F.2. On 6th March 1956, Flying Officer Denis Richard Courtney Whiteman took off on a routine night time cross country training flight in Hawker Hunter F.2 WN921 of 263 Sqn from Wattisham. He never returned and no wreckage was found. He was 23 years old leaving two young children. His daughter, Mary-Ann Andrews contacted the Museum last year when she discovered SAM had an F.2 and wanted to come and see it.

At the opening she and her brother Peter were witness to a surprise as whilst the Hunter’s port side is marked as it would have been in service with 257 Sqn, the starboard side has been finished in the colours of 263 Sqn, as WN921, their father’s own aeroplane, as a memorial to him. A short dedication by the Vicar of Sywell and Mears Ashby and the sounding of The Last Post followed.

Geoff Millward also attended as a VIP as his brother Dick Millward probably flew Heidi when on 257 in the 1950s before moving on to an illustrious RAF career.

The jet was formerly part of the IWM collection displayed on the gate at Waterbeach until the barracks closed in 2012 when she was gifted to the Sywell Aviation Museum as their first ever complete airframe. She has been restored as close to stock as possible including the addition of her radar, gun camera, restored ejection seat, cockpit and gunsight under the supervision of project manager and Museum Trustee, Damien Burke. Roundels and squadron markings designed by him were kindly supplied by local firm Sprint Graphics. Funding has been entirely through donations from the public and sales of donated model kits and aviation books (for which the Museum is always grateful).

Sywell Aviation Museum is now open every weekend and bank holiday 1030-1630 and Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 1200-1600hrs until the end of September. Group Bookings available outside hours. email sywellaviationmuseum@gmail.com or call 07968061708 for more info.

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

2019 Events at Sywell

Monday, January 21st, 2019

Sywell aviation museum

27th January 2019 – TALK – Mike Hallett – W/C H BLACKBURN 1430 Cirrus Room

17th February 2019 – TALK – Brian Mann – THE AVRO CANADA STORY 1430 Cirrus Room

24th March 2019 – TALK – P Fitxgerald – IN PRAISE OF THE C130 – 1430 Cirrus Room

14th April 2019 – TALK – Cliff Hill – SPITFIRE MT627 TBC – 1430 Cirrus Room

20th April 2019 – Sywell Aviation Museum GRAND OPENING 2019

20th-23rd June 2019 – British Aerobatic Championships

27th-28th July 2019 – ATOMIC Festival*

30th August – 1st Sept 2019 – LAA Rally*

14th September 2019 – Young Aviators Day

21st-22nd September 2019 – Sywell Classic Pistons & Props

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

Sywell Aviation Museum – Heidi’s final push!

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Hunter 'Heidi' at Sywell

Work has been ongoing throughout 2018 to finish the 6 year restoration of its unique Hawker Hunter F.2 WN904 nicknamed ‘Heidi’ at Sywell Aviation Museum. Currently the only ‘gate guardian’ aircraft on display by a Museum in Northamptonshire the 1954-constructed jet is the only complete F.2 variant left in the world.

Museum staff have applied a fresh coat of paint to her upper surfaces and it remains now to complete her markings in time for her unveiling at the Museum’s Grand Opening on the 20th April 2019.

With that in mind the Museum would be grateful for any donations of military/aviation books, model kits or diecast models to help raise sufficient funds to complete her restoration by April.

If you’re able to help please contact the Museum at sywellaviationmuseum@gmail.com or call 07968061708

Sywell Aviation Museum Grand Opening

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Sywell Aviation Museum

Saturday 26th March 2016

Easter Saturday is the traditional Grand Opening for the Sywell Aviation Museum’s new season and this year the event returns bigger and better than ever before! Military vehicles, re-enactors, aircraft cockpits and some surprise aerial visitors (maybe even a warbird or two) make it a fun day out!

The event starts at 1030hrs and runs until 1630hrs. Parking is extremely limited so please arrive early and car share!

Following the Grand Opening the Museum will be open as usual every weekend and bank holiday from 1030-1630hrs until the end of September. In July, August and September, the Museum opens on Wednesday afternoons between 1330-1630hrs.

Entry is free – donations welcome – parking is also free but limited! We are taking bookings for out of hours group tours.

For more information please visit www.sywellaerodrome.co.uk/museum.php