Thursday, 31 May 2012

Gazelle engines update

The Helicopter Museum enjoys a fantastic relationship with many organisations, one of the strongest in recent times being Rolls Royce. As mentioned in previous posts a Rolls Royce engineering team are currently in the process of refurbishing a number of Gazelle engines for the museum. The project has progressed a great deal in recent months and is beginning to draw to a close, the second engine being completed and the third engine well on its way. As you can see from the pictures below the standard is exceptional.

To put the above images in context below is a pictures of the finished second engine compared with the third engine before restoration work had started.

We look forward to receiving the completed engines in the not to distant future and thank the team at Rolls Royce for all their hard work.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Weston airfield research

In recent weeks one of our very own archive volunteers has begun research on Weston airfield. After reading a number of items in the stores and gaining a better grasp on the history of the airfield, he searched through the archives media store to find some fantastic photos. Here are his findings;

Work began constructing Weston Airport in 1936 as an attempt to increase tourism in the area. However with the outbreak of World War 2 the airport was handed over to RAF control, in 1940 3-runways (1 paved and 2 grass) were laid out, once under RAF control the airport was renamed RAF Weston-super-Mare.

RAF Weston-super-Mare was perfect for RAF Locking, providing the base with fully functional airfield less than 1-mile away.

The Helicopter Museum was officially opened by HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York in 1989 with the clear mission of restoring and preserving historical aircraft.

Today the site remains abandoned and disused, the only last surviving ruminants of what once existed here are scattered pill-boxes and derelict buildings. The main hangars were converted into a business park and are now home to Worle Platoon of the Somerset ACF.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – a once in a lifetime opportunity.

If you would like to savour the luxury of Her Majesty The Queen’s own helicopter, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will be available over the Bank Holiday weekend of June 2nd – 4th, when The Helicopter Museum at Weston-super-Mare opens up its Royal Wessex helicopter to visitors.  Be sure to bring your children and your camera too.

The Museum is the only one in the country that has two Queen’s Flight helicopters in its collection, which Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family personally flew in.
For conservation reasons access to the interior of the aircraft is usually denied but the Museum has decided to make an especial exception for a very limited period to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Queen’s Flight Wessex will be open from 11am until 4pm on Saturday 2nd  to Monday 4th June.  The Museum itself will be open from 10am to 5.30pm.

Friday, 4 May 2012

UK competition winner to perform at the museum

An extra special performance will take place at the The Helicopter Museum on 19th May as part of the Helicopter Museum's Commemorate Falklands Weekend.  Visitors to the museum will not only be able to visit a living history encampment and military vehicle display on site, view an open air Falklands combat re-enactment and 'test fly' over 30 flight simulators but they will also be treated to a live performance from singer/songwriter Katie Morgan.

Katie, who hails from Pembrokeshire was a runner up in the 2011 International UK Songwriters competition, recently won the national unsigned acts competition on SkyHigh Radio and is currently touring the country. She will be performing live at the event and singing a selection of Falkland's era 80's favourites and a mix of her own songs in tribute to the veterans who fought in the 1982 conflict.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

New arrival at the museum

The Helicopter Museum has recently taken delivery of one of the most iconic aircraft ever produced, a JetRanger helicopter. Always on the lookout for the unusual, THM has secured an Italian-built AB206 example, delivered in September 1974 by Agusta Helicopters to the Italian state police, the Carabinieri, and based at Pratica di Mare, near Rome for security and law enforcement operations for more than 30 years.  The aircraft (serial MM80927) has been carefully restored in recent months by workers at the AgustaWestland facility in Frosinone. 
Following re-assembly the JetRanger is expected to be on display at the Museum by this weekend.