In History

Boscombe Down Aviation Collection

A Volunteer’s Story by Gerry Smyth, Boscombe Down Aviation Collection

It started, for me, on a misty July morning back in 2012, when all the aircraft were moved from Boscombe Down, six miles down the road to a new home at Old Sarum under police escort. This was nothing to do with national security, just the business of avoiding the rush hour.

Once the aircraft were safely installed in the new hangar, the work started. The show casing of the museum and the skilled work of restoration is carried out by volunteers wielding different skills. From guiding visitors and ensuring their safety to repairs and restoration, these volunteers enable the museum to go from strength to strength.

The expansion of the museum and the restoration and presentation of the aircraft relies on the availability of volunteers. From heavy metal work and welding skills forming frames and support stands, to delicate electrical rewiring - fabricating complex shapes using fibre glass materials and most of all, light alloy repairs and manufacture, If we haven’t got it then we make it!

For children with ambitions to become a pilot, this museum offers a unique opportunity to kick start these ambitions. The BDAC offers a ‘hands on’ approach. The visitor, young and old, can sit in most cockpits and handle the aircraft controls and switches, dress up in authentic flying clothing and wear fighter pilot helmets while listening to the local airfield radio in real time. The visitor can sit solo in a fighter jet cockpit or side by side in training aircraft. Passenger aircraft can accommodate whole families. If you should want to dream of becoming a helicopter pilot, then we can provide that also.

As long as you walk and not run, there are very few restrictions in our museum.

Our aim is to preserve the past for the future. Come along and we will show you.


Boscombe Down Aviation Collection
All are welcome to our museum of test flight UK.

Collection of aircraft, cockpits, replicas and models weapons and trials equipment to show the story of flight and flight test in the UK. The cockpits are mostly open and you can sit in and use the controls.



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