Aviation Day 2017 Report

17 October 2017

Sunday 15th October was Aviation Day, an event that hadn’t been staged for a couple of years. The morning began with visitors lining the air strip at neighbouring Mercedes-Benz World to welcome in seven De Havilland Tiger Moths made up of members of the Tiger 9 Display Team.

We believe this is the largest group of ‘Moths’ to assemble at Brooklands since the aerodrome closed for domestic and commercial use in 1939 and included a very rare Moth Major, originally built in 1934. Shortly after they were parked up, a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter, piloted by Museum Volunteer Gary Savage, flew in and joined the line-up.

Visitors were then able to go air side to see the aircraft and helicopter and chat to the pilots. Back on the Museum site, the first preview tours of the new Flight Shed and Aircraft Factory buildings got underway; visitors could see inside the restored Wellington Hangar for the first time and how the final preparations are progressing towards the official opening in November.

At midday all eyes were on the Finishing Straight as the engines were demonstrated on five of the Museum’s live aircraft: firstly, a trio of replica Edwardian monoplanes constructed by Museum Volunteer Julian Aubert, then the Sopwith Camel and finally, the mighty twin-engined Vickers Vimy biplane. This was followed by a demonstration run up and down the Finishing Straight from the Museum’s own aero-engined 24ltr Napier-Railton.

In the afternoon Jenny Lockyer performed her one-woman show ‘Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out’ based on the famous British aviatrix, followed shortly afterwards by a children’s workshop based around the story. In the Paddock running all day was an impressive gathering of pedal planes; also believed to be a Brooklands record, they numbered 24 in total.

Organisations setting up their displays for the day were The Joystick Club with cockpit simulators and YES (Youth and Education Support) brought along a stunning scale model of an aircraft frame made by primary school pupils as part of their Build-a-Plane project. Lasham Gliding brought the Museum’s Bira glider, which was displayed with two ex-Bira racing cars currently on loan in the Jackson Shed – the 1933 MG K3 and the 1951 V12 ‘O.S.C.A’ engined and re-bodied Maserati.

There were further aircraft engine runs and Aircraft Factory previews in the afternoon and visitors then made their way across to the airstrip to wish the helicopter and Tiger Moths farewell as they prepared for their departure.

More photos of the event can be viewed online here.