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This Summer Visit Gatwick Aviation Museum

Apr 27, 2008
Ever wondered if you're the only one having a bad day? That was how I was feeling last week whilst looking at the public facilities at some of the top UK Airports. I wanted to write an article for my blog, so I went on to Cybertraveling. I have been in and out of Gatwick for years but I didn't know of any place of interest outside the perimeter fence.

I was pleasantly surprised to read about the Gatwick Aviation Museum. Run as a charity, this is an exciting place, good enough for a family outing. The museum is on the North West of Gatwick Airport very near Charlwood village.

First I would like to say something about this fast expanding airport. As the second largest airport in the United Kingdom, BAA Gatwick Airport is also noted for being the world's busiest international single-runway airport. Over the years, Gatwick has grown both in stature and reputation. Current route network boasts of 250 worldwide destinations and nearly 90 airline partners. Not a small achievement for an airport with only two terminals and one runway.

There are plans to expand the airport through sustainable development. This includes investment in facilities and services such as the air passenger bridge (considered to be the world's largest), the extension of the baggage claim area in the South Terminal and the further development of car parks.

The Gatwick Aviation Museum is Peter Vallance's collection of aircraft in Charlwood, Surrey, on the outskirts of Gatwick Airport. A museum collection, this facility is supported by donations and gate collections from visitors. For a long time this facility has tried to attract public funding without success. With or without funding, this place is a little gem.

The facility is attracting many flight and aviation enthusiasts from within the UK and abroad as well. This far flung interest has seen the facility receive international recognition. The Gatwick Aviation Museum officially became a member of the European Aviation Preservation Council in November 2003.

This Aviation Museum has a unique collection of British Aircraft from the "golden age" of British aircraft manufacturing. From the end of WWII until the 1970's British aircraft designers produced some of the most innovative and advanced aircraft of the day.

The Gatwick Aviation Museum features a unique collection of British Aircraft. In this collection there are examples from the major manufacturers of this period. Amongst the list are classic names including, English Electric, Avro, de Havilland, Hawker, Fairey, Blackburn, Percival engineering companies. The models on display include more than 20 planes ranging from the legendary Buccaneer, Canberra, Ercoupe, Gannet, Harrier, Hunter F.51, Hunter T.7, Jaguar, Lightning, Meteor, Pembroke, Provost, Sea Hawk, Sea Prince, Sea Vixen, Shackleton, Venom, Victor Nose and Whirlwind

The display includes the legendary Jaguar. Britain and France developed the Jaguar jointly from an initial concept of light trainer and close-support aircraft. It was a major showcase during the Gulf War. Many would remember the clips of this plane swooping down and dropping bombs at supersonic speeds. This model is easily identifiable for its desert pink colour and overwing Sidewinder missiles. The jet fighter has been sold in many countries in Africa, Middle East, India and even South America.

Visits to the Museum outside of the published times, must be confirmed in advance. This ensures that someone is available to show you all of the aspects of the museum and the exhibits. You can support this facility by donating directly, visiting or by becoming a member. Membership comes with regular newsletters, updates and entry throughout your membership period. The money raised goes to supporting, maintaining and restoring the aircraft.
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