Fly to museum home page

News and News Letters.

Fly Home

The latest news is now available via our Facebook page. Summary shown here.


Latest news

8th June 2016: On the Sunday of this weekend is the first in a number of event days that the museum is organising. In conjunction with a local club, Horsham Historics, they are putting on a show at the museum. Other event days will be announced as they are firmed up.

Some last minute jobs are being completed on the Lightning and it shouldn't be long before the first runs take place. Some of this depends upon the availability of key engineering staff, getting them all togther at the same time is proving difficult, as usual! We have had a meeting with a paint supplier who has offered to assist us in supplying a very modern paint to enable us to repaint the Shackleton. As is often the case the time consuming job is the preparation not the actual painting. Any offers?

9th May 2016: With the museum having opened at Easter we can take a short break to catch our collective breaths after a hectic few weeks.

We had, almost at the last minute, to make a major change to our Gatwick displays to redo the first effort which unfortunately made the whole area look like a refugee from a junk shop! Now revamped to a clean logical look it will be expanded and enhanced as we go forward.

All of the airframes due to go inside are in except for the Buccaneer which will follow once we have removed the outer wings. This should happen in the next few weeks. The Lightning is progressing towards its initial engine runs. Again this should happen within the next few weeks. We are constantly being asked if the public can attend during these runs. Sadly, we are unable to have anyone except our engineering team present at the test runs, this is a public safety issue. However, once we are confident that all is well, we will announce date(s) on which the Lightning will be running for the public to be present. These will be special event days and we will be asking for additional entrance fees to cover the costs. Remember that 53-671 will be the ONLY F53 running in the world! Watch the web site and our Facebook pages for details.

Work has begun on Shackleton WR982(J), an issue with the flaps not being correctly rigged and drooping has been resolved. This involved removing the DA behind no. 2 engine. As a part of the process electrical power has been applied for the first time for many months and the hydraulic system charged and operated using a ground test rig. This means that the flaps are now raised (birds evicted!) and also the scanner radome has been lifted to the "up" position. More work will be carried out on the aircraft as we bring her to a point where she can be run again, hopefully later this year. Once again any public runs will be announced on the web site and via our facebook pages.

23rd February 2016: We are continuing the efforts to fit out the museum, our target date to open is the 25th of March, Good Friday. We will also be open throughout all of the Easter weekend.

25th January 2016: More steady progress towards the museum opening has been made in the last couple of weeks. One major event was the commencement of the dismantling of the Canberra PR3 WH773. She's on her way to a former RAF base in Germany she once flew from, Laarbruch. A small team started the breakdown process and we expect it will be completed in a couple of weeks.

We decided to paint the engine stands in a common colour. The colour chosen was a blue very similar to that used by the RAF for all ground equipment in the 1950's into the 60's. Almost all of the existing stands in the museum have been painted, that just leaves two or three more that are in storage awaiting new wheels to be fitted before getting the same treatment.

8th January 2016: Another momentus week at the museum, following on from moving the Hunter T7 into the building on a temporary basis, she has now been cleaned and repositioned. She now sits in her allocated slot and is not likely to move for a while. Whilst the work on the Hunter was impressive an even more gratifying day was Thursday the 7th of January, on this day the Harrier (XV751) was positioned in the new museum and perhaps even more amazing the Lightning F53 (ZF579) came inside probably for the first time since she returned from Saudi Arabia!

All of this progress is very satisfying and brings closer the day when we can re-open to an eager public. Although we cannot firmly commit to a day/date the date of "around Easter" is commonly heard! We certainly hope that this is acheivable and will be working hard to make it a reality.

22nd December: A major effort was made on Saurday the 19th to move the Vixen into the new building. We knew that it would be difficult due to the weight and the size of this airframe. As it turned out both fears were realised! First the poor ground she was sitting on tried to swallow the starboard wheel, there was a delay until it could be dug out. With the aircraft freed and moving to the end of the building progress was at last being made. The next obstacle was the soft approach area, even though this had been laid with road "scalpings" we suspected that the Vixens weight would not be supported by this material, despite being rollered many times. An initial pull onto the area confirmed our fears, the nose wheel dug in. That meant we only had one choice, to place steel plates under all wheels.
The aircraft was to be inserted into the building backwards, this meant a lot of steel moving and very slow progress.

So after many hours and long after daylight had departed she finally made a grand entry into the building scraping in by the finest of margins and was positioned close to her final spot.

As a bonus the Hunter T7 (XL591) followed shortly after, this airframe came in unclean to escape the winter weather, she will be pushed just outside, cleaned and re-positioned in the next few days, weather permitting.

 

11th December: Current status is that on the 28th of November three airfames were moved into the building, the Sea Hawk, Meteor and the Venom. Appropriately the Sea Hawk was the first to be towed into place.

Followed by the Meteor and the Venom.

The next airfame due to go in is the Sea Vixen, because of the space occupied by this aircraft other artefacts due to go at the northen end of the building have to moved in first, these include a number of engines. Some items that are destined to go in this area cannot be moved due to the building they are stored in not having sufficient access yet to remove them. This is being resolved and in the next few days all items due to be located in the northen portion of the building will be positioned. Once that is complete and they have been arranged, at least temporarily, the Vixen will be clear to move in. At this time it's unsure if that will happen this side of Xmas, but it may well do! Interestingly, the condition of the Venom wooden "pod" is already showing great improvement and is drying out well despite there being no heating in the building.

 

24th November: The painting of the buildings floor is complete. The first coat was applied on Friday the 20th of November, the second coat the next day and the final 3rd coat went on on Tuesday the 24th of November. Soon the airframes will be moved into their new home.

The museum volunteers paint the final coat on the floor

12th November: The building is just about completed. The electrical work is finished. The elecricians have carried out their tests and the certification process is complete, we now have full lighting, power and a working fire alarm system. The problem with the ramp to allow aircraft to access the building is not yet resolved. The floor has been prepared for painting and there are still a number of small jobs that need to be finished.

November: The building is almost finished, for the builders it's just the last few jobs need to be completed and then the remaining snags. The electrical work is almost complete. The electricity meter was fitted last week and it just remains for the elecricians to carry out their tests and certification testing before we can start using the supply. The ramp to allow aircraft to access the building is partially completed. The floor is being prepared for painting and should be completed this week. With a bit of luck another two weeks should see the building ready for the planning for the location of the exhibits.

 

It is with great pleasure that Gatwick Aviation Museum announces that with immediate effect it has appointed Ashley Colella as it's full time museum manager. Ashley is no stranger to the museum having been a volunteer and member of the engineering team for about five years. He will be responsible for the day to day running of the new museum and implementing the strategic objectives as defined by the trustees.


Ashley can be contacted by using the methods shown at the bottom of the page.

Once the new museum is up and running a new telephone number will come into force.


 

2nd September - After an encouraging start, work has slowed to a stop! So far the skeleton of the building and the roof have been mostly completed. The concrete floor was laid and since then little or no progress has been made. It's now 10 days since the floor was finished and it is supposed to take 6 weeks to dry completely in order for us to paint it with an epoxy finish. In the meantime the rains last week managed to flood three quarters of the newly laid floor. No remedial action was taken by the contractor, not even an inspection! We await the next installment of this enthralling drama with bated breath. In the meantime every day that the museum is closed we are losing revenue, not an ideal situation for any charity.

15th July - After a delayed start progress is at last being made on the construction of the new building.


22nd June 2015 - The majority of the materials for the building are now on site. Work has been completed on the footings for the side support steel. It finally looks like some progress is being made. However, a week after the deliveries not a single part of the structure has been erected. This has been a frustrating couple of months and it will be a relief when the construction begins.

New Building bits

Latest news - 14th April 2015

The BREEAM condition issue has now been resolved, a recent decision on an application made by us to cancel the condition has been approved. This means that we can now go ahead and start to construct the new building. The order for the new building has been placed and in 4 - 6 weeks the components should arrive with the builders estimatimg a completetion in about 7 - 10 weeks.

March - Demolition of the old building commenced on the 5th of January, including removing asbestos. This was completed by the end of February and we are now ready to begin the rebuild process. Just one small snag we have to comply with MVDC condition of conforming to the BREEAM standards. At present we have not managed to get over this hurdle so the construction of the new building is in suspension until it is resolved. BREEAM site

On the 3rd of December 2014 the museums latest planning application was approved by the local council.

Latest news - 16th October 2013

After a couple of issues which delayed the fitting of the No.1 Avon 302 into ZF579 it was finally bolted in on Saturday the 12th of October 2013. We should like to thank Russell Carpenter from Cranfield for loaning us a set of winches to make this possible.


2nd Oct 2013 - As we head for the end of the open season we have returned to do a little work on the airframes. Probably the major job that is ongoing is the engine fit on Lightning ZF579. She is due to have her Avon 302 engines fitted in the next few days. This would have been completed last Sunday but we found that the specialist engine lifting plates we had were for the wrong mark of Lightning. We should have that problem resolved this week and be ready to start again next weeek.

Work contines on the Shackleton WR974 as we continue to spares recovery and dismantle this old girl.

With the rationalisation of the museums aircraft exhibits comes the inevitable sad task of dismantling the airframes that have been purchased or earmarked for storage.


All of the airframes and parts that we had up for disposal have now been delivered to their new owners. The site looks remarkably bare now, one of the objectives of the exercise. On the 23rd of September the MVDC planning officer came for a site visit and to be shown our latest plans for the redevelopment of the main building.

Sea Prince 569 Fuse left for St Athan last Wednesday. The wings are yet to go but the engines and other parts have left GAM for Wales. Pembroke is mostly dismantled and should be off site this week. Work has been continuing on Shackleton WR974. By the end of last Saturday the tip tanks and outer wing sections had been removed. The tailplanes and fins removed previously have now been parted. The next step is the remove the propellors and outer Griffons.


Fairey Gannet XL472 departed Gatwick Aviation Museum on time at 18:30 on Friday the 30th August 2013.

On Thursday the 29th August, Fairey Gannet XL472 was loaded onto a low loader ready for her journey to St. Athan, S. Wales. This should take place early evening on Friday the 30th providing there are no problems on the roads along the route.

 

At almost the same time Sea Prince WF118 was being readied for the same journey, she has been dismantled and by Friday will be loaded ready to go.

 

Work is also progressing on the dismantling of the Pembroke, it looks like she won't be far behind the other two!


22ndAugust: Piston Provost WW442 was removed from site on Thursday heading for the midlands


JP XN494 was removed from site on Monday afternoon the 19thAugust 2013.


20thAugust: Work has commenced on the dismantling of Sea Prince (569) WF118 and the Pembroke XK885, it is anticipated that they will be transported in the next couple of weeks.

13thAugust: On this day two airframes are undergoing that process, the Fairey Gannet AEW 3 is partially dismantled and could be moved as early as this Friday evening (16th) to its new home in South Wales.

18th August: Gannet didn't move but is ready with the wings folded and outer sections removed.


Work has also begun on dismantling Avro Shackleton WR974, at present the future for this airframe is to be stored in a dismantled state to provide a source of spares for WR982, which will be kept running. There is a slight possibility that WR974(K) could be offered for sale once she has been spares recovered, should anyone be interested. Tailplanes removed