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BAC TSR2: Cockpit section

c1963, Brooklands Aircraft Factory, On long term display

The contract for the TSR2 low-level, 'tactical strike and reconnaissance' aircraft was one of the main factors behind the formation in 1960 of the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) with its Headquarters at Brooklands. Arguably the finest military aircraft ever produced by the British aircraft industry, TSR2 was first flown from A&AEE Boscombe Down on 30/9/64 with Roland Beamont as test pilot and Don Bowen as navigator. With the controversial cancellation of the entire project by the British government on 6/4/65, the sole airworthy TSR2 prototype (XR219) and all jigs, tools and unfinished airframes at Brooklands and Warton were scrapped. Only two incomplete prototypes, XR220 and XR222, escaped destruction and are now preserved at Cosford and Duxford aviation museums.

This unique surviving 20ft long TSR2 cockpit section was specially built by the BAC at Weybridge in c1963 for thermal test work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. It was then retained for further RAE heat trials related to Concorde and other projects. Largely forgotten outside Farnborough, it became surplus to requirements by the mid-eighties and was ultimately donated by the Defence Research Agency (formerly RAE) Farnborough and delivered to Brooklands Museum by National Rescue on 13/8/92. The exhibit was refurbished externally by Museum volunteers and loaned briefly to British Aerospace Warton for display purposes in 1998. The cockpit interior unfortunately lacks all original fixtures and fittings.

DATA: (Complete aircraft) two Bristol Siddeley Olympus 320 turbojets; wing span 37ft (27.1m); length 89ft (11.3m); height 24ft (7.3m); weight 57, 200 lbs (26,000 kg); max speed Mach 2.25 or 1,485 mph; combat radius 1,150 miles (with 2,000 lb bomb load); two crew.