Saturday, 17 December 2011

Latest Acquisition

This week we have taken delivery of a Mk1 Seaspray Radar system, comprising of a scanner, transmitter, receiver, signal processor and control indicator, for our Navy Lynx prototype XX910.

Now all we need to do is decide how to use it. Ideally we would like to exhibit it next to the aircraft but our ever growing collection means we have limited space. The other option is to fit the radar to the aircraft for safe keeping, and for the purpose of completion. Decisions, decisions. Practicality versus preference again!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

John 'Jeep' Cable

Last week we began looking through a box which enclosed numerous items relating to John 'Jeep' Cable who died in the Cierva Air Horse crash with Alan Marsh in 1950.

The box encloses log books and personal scrap books incorporating many photographs, including some of the famed 'Heli Jeep'. We have yet to go through the box in detail but look forward to making more sense of the contents.

The strangest part of looking through the scrap books is knowing that they were once handled by Cable himself, and even stranger is working through the photographs and actually starting to recognise the faces of people as they move through their lives and careers. Add the smell of old paper to this experience and you have a true 'goosebumps' kind of moment.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Santa To Fly Into Weston-super-Mare

Its all ‘chocs away’ at The Helicopter Museum this Christmas as Santa’s Flight School comes to town.

The Weston-super-Mare attraction is playing host to a special family event that grants children, not only the chance to meet Santa Claus but to have a go at flying his famous sleigh as well.

“There will be a life size sleigh replica hooked up to a giant screen” explained ‘Head Flight School Instructor’, Simon Tolley. “Children will be able to climb into the famous sleigh and literally fly their reindeer over a virtual Weston-super-Mare.”

To supervise proceedings, Santa himself will also be dropping in to meet the crowds and offer the would-be Christmas pilots some tips on how to steer reindeer.

He will be flying down from his famous Toy Factory by helicopter and landing on the museums helipad on the morning of the event. He is scheduled to land at 11am (dependent on weather both here and at the North Pole) and is looking forward to greeting all the children from the local area.

Also on the day there will be charity stalls selling toys, books and presents. There will also be games for the younger visitors, open cockpits and helicopter flights in the afternoon (additional cost). Seasonal fayre will also be served throughout the day from the Museum cafe.

The event takes place on Sunday 11th December and children can visit for free (max 2 per single adult).

Friday, 18 November 2011

Nice Pair of Bristols!

I could not resist sharing this cartoon, prepared by our very own Barry 'Greg' Gregory.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Inscape Landscape - An Exhibition of Art by Rachael Lomas

To tie in with the 30th Anniversary of the Falklands War, West Country artist Rachael Lomas will be exhibiting a selection of artwork that reflects the Falklands environment and how it affected the progress of the conflict. The exhibition aims to interpret the 'Inscape' of the troops and how they become 'one' with the environment emotionally.

Rachael Lomas' exhibition will run alongside a factual display detailing the roles played by helicopters during the 1982 conflict.

The exhibition will run from 1st February to 22nd July.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Naval aviator - Lynx landing

I couldn't resist sharing this footage of a naval aviator landing a Lynx on a ship in rough seas.

9 year old fundraiser supports North West Air Ambulance

On October 22nd and 23rd nine year old Kevin Dutton will be helping the North West Air Ambulance at a fundraising event taking place in Blackpool. Other visitors will include a UH-1H and OH-6A helicopter.

I wrote about Kevin a while back as he has his own website - 'Huey Fan Club UK'. Kevin recently posted some photos from his visit to The Helicopter Museum which can be seen here:

G-AVNE update - replacing the nose section

Fortunately, the sun has been shining today and provided the perfect environment for taking G-AVNE's nose section (with sand filters) outside for a good clean.

The good news is that it is structurally sound, there is evidence of corrosion (unsurprisingly) but after being cleaned we are confident that some anti-corrosive treatment should keep trouble at bay.

Once it has been treated, it can be refitted to the aircraft along with the tail section that was removed for similar treatment.

It is really satisfying to reach these milestones, however they are a stark reminder that the next part of the project looms - the floor in the cabin needs to be taken up which is a huge task alone, but the nerve-wracking part will be finding out what is underneath..........

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Behind the Scenes - a busy week to come

Next week will be busy for us as we embark upon two very different training events.

On Wednesday the collections team will be learning how to fully utilise our collections management database which should provide the opportunity for some interesting debates about how we organise our artefacts. The truth is, building a database of what you have is a huge undertaking and it presents so many challenges. Recently we have been debating 'object vs concept' in various guises and it all relates to us having to anticipate how researchers are likely to want to access our information. Some fascinating, and heated, discussions have been had!

Thursday will see us take a more 'hand-on approach as a number of us will be spending the day with a conservator, learning about different ways to care for metals. This could prove invaluable to members of our aircraft preservation team - even those who may think they already know it all!!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Our Gyroboat in action!

Take a look at this piece of footage from the Scottish Screen Archive - Collections Volunteer John Clews just stumbled across footage of the Bensen B8 Gyroboat, which would later come to the museum as a gift from the Brooklands Museum.

It really is so good to see parts of our collection in their former lives!

Friday, 16 September 2011

An update from the Collections Office

As I write, the noise of air raid sirens and low flying bombers surround me as the sound systems are tested ready for tomorrow evening's annual Hangar Dance. Not the usual soundtrack to a days work in 2011 I must admit!

As ever, the last few weeks have been busy here in the Collections Office. Our temperature readings are indicative of the fast approaching Autumn/Winter period which provides us with a great opportunity to reflect upon what we have achieved in the past year and what we hope to achive in the coming year.

It can be incredibly difficult to quantify collections work, however we are elated that we are very close to having catalogued 3,000 objects on our electronic database (MODES) which is 3,000 more than we had 3 years ago! Even better news is that the pace is picking up now that many of the initial teething problems involved with implementing a new system have been overcome.

I am fortunate enough to work with an innovative and dedicated team of volunteers, all of whom bring with them different knowledge and skills. Between us we are making good progress and next month we will be visited by Nick Pearce-Smith from the MODES Users Association who will help us develop our cataloguing skills further.

The coming year will be incredibly busy for us as we start to photograph objects in our collection and utilise these within the electronic database, and I hope to begin to make some of these images available for viewing on this blog too so watch this space!

And now...back to work!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Forthcoming lecture - 24th September 2011

As part of our regular 'Spotter's Weekend', David Gibbings will be giving a daytime lecture at 11am in the Museums Lecture Room entitled 'The Evolution of the British Helicopter Industry'. The lecture will include a section on G-LYNX which is on display in the museum's main hangar. 
David Gibbings is a retired Career Flight Test Engineer and aviation historian, lecturer and artist. He worked  for 38 years testing helicopters with over 3000hrs flying time as flight test crew.
He also worked on the Fairey Rotodyne, the remaining parts of which are on display at the museum, and has a specialised interest in similar projects. 
There is no additional charge for the lecture, only standard museum entrance with free entry to all friends of the museum with a valid membership card and Gift Aid return visitors.
Spotters Tours will be held over the weekend at various times throughout the day.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Internet fame for 9 yr old with Huey obsession

 These links take you to some articles about Kevin Dutton, an enthusiastic 9 year old, and to his own website which details his interest in the Huey helicopter.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Help required!

As part of our ongoing effort to catalogue our extensive collection, one of our core objectives is to ensure that the information we record is easily retrievable.

One aspect of this process of organisation involves terminology control, which can become extremely complicated given the numbers of manufacturer collaborations and variants of the numerous models of helicopters that have been built, or proposed.

We now need to build up a definitive list of engine manufacturers, in the same way that we have for helicopter manufacturers. It would be good to know of anywhere which may have such a list already rather than start the long process from scratch unnecessarily. Any thoughts/comments welcome.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

National television coverage for The Helicopter Museum

Brian Dowling and a crew from ITV's 'This Morning' spent some time recording at the museum today and a feature will be included in a show to be aired later this week.

It's back - the Sue Cullum Toy Collection

Examples of toy helicopter are now available for viewing in our new exhibition cases.

Part of the 'Sue Cullum' collection was on display prior to the burst of a water pipe that consequently damaged the exhibition cases holding the collection last Winter. Some old favourites and some examples previously held in our stores are now on display here at the museum.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Stars of Time - 31st July 

Take a look at the highlights from last weekend's Stars of Time event!

Napier Gazelle Engines

This week saw the departure of 3 Napier Gazelle engines from the museum which were taken by the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust (RRHT) to their workshop in Bristol. The engines are 3 of 8 engines which are being stripped down to retrieve the best components which will then form, hopefully, 4 good engines for exhibition.

It is intended that, once the project is complete, 2 of the engines will be installed in our Belvedere XG452 and a third engine will be an independent exhibit. The fourth, final, engine will be retained by RRHT as an exhibit.

The project is being worked on by volunteers at RRHT who are currently spending 2 days a week stripping down the engines they already have there. The 5 engines which were already at RRHT's workshop were bought by The Helicopter Museum from a private individual in Gloucester. Two of the engines were previously being used for tractor racing.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Stars of Time - 31st July

Last minute preparations are underway today to ready ourselves for the 'Stars of Time' event running tomorrow from 10am - 5:30pm.

For more information on what's in store visit
If you don't already have tickets you can get them on the door tomorrow....

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Forthcoming acquisitions.....

The last week has been busy is terms of offers of objects for donation. The latest offerings include manuals and a selection of spares from Yeovil College, a large Gulf war spec Lynx model from MBDA in Stevenage and the remains of a home made small helicopter from a retired Flight Lieutenant in Shropshire.

Furthermore, we have just been contacted by one of our Friends in Germany to offer some tools for the Hughes 300.

The next challenge is to get it all to the museum....