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New home for old planes
HISTORIC aircraft have found a new home as the relocated Boscombe Down Aviation Collection nears completion.
The last aircraft to be moved from the collection’s former base at Boscombe Down to its new hanger at Old Sarum was a Bristol Sycamore XJ380.
The helicopter had fallen into disrepair after being decommissioned and was restored by the collection’s team of volunteers.
They plan to repaint the aircraft so it can be admired by visitors to the museum.
A Hunter F6 has also been reassembled at the hanger and is standing on its own two wheels for the first time in five years.
It had been stored in parts at Boscombe Down while a decision about the future home of the collection was made.
Volunteers are now working to repair some minor damage and replace the aircraft’s missing panels before re-painting it in the light grey and red colour scheme of the Empire Test Pilots School based at Boscombe Down.
The aviation museum opened at Old Sarum Airfield on July 1 and tells the story of 75 years of test flight at Boscombe Down.
Much of the exhibition is hands-on and visitors are able to sit in the cockpits and dress up in authentic flying kit. The collection of aircraft, put together over 12 years, also includes a full-scale replica BE2b biplane, which was the first aircraft to use Boscombe Down in 1917.
There are also artefacts including dummy missiles, ejector seats and 1,200 model aircraft. Guides are on hand to talk about the exhibits and their importance in Britain’s military aviation history.
It is hoped the museum will attract up to 8,000 people a year, including many school parties.
Boscombe Down Aviation Collection is open to the public from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
For details visit boscombedownaviationcollection.co.uk .