Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A living museum: Airbase

So, 2 years after the trip described in my previous post, the other day I went with a friend to Airbase! It's all different now, however. It's an organized display of classic aircraft, complete with cafe, shop, and access to some of the aircraft, with even a flight or two. And for an air "museum", it's absolutely fantastic!

It's a "living museum", that is all the aircraft are either airworthy or nearly airworthy, and it makes for a unique experience.
 The aircraft are kept in one of two hangers or outside, in the main hangar there were many great old aircraft, a Dragon Rapide, Avro Anson, Venoms, a Twin Pioneer and more...

In the other hangar (which was blocked off, it appears to be the maintainence hangar), were other aircraft including the recently acquired Gloster Meteor. Outside, there was a DeHavilland Heron, a DC-3, a DC-6, a Canberra, and 2 aircraft that were open that day: a Nimrod and a Shackleton.
The Nimrod was, for me, particularly interesting (see cockpit above) as everything was still in working order, and most of the military fittings were still in place. Not that anyone would be able to work out how to start the engines, so really it's OK having everything live!
The Shackleton is also 'alive', in fact it had an engine run the day before. (Shackleton images below)
 So what do I think of the overall Airbase experience? It's worth every penny. The ability to wander around such a large collection of old but operational aircraft is unique, this combined with some interesting talks with people on board and the offer of flights in these beauties, makes Airbase a must-see, for aviation enthusiasts and novices alike.

Later in the week I'll have a report from the DC-6 Diner next to the Airbase...
Need I say more?

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