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Cover for Sywell Aviation Museum
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HEIDI! – 10 YEARS OF OUR UNIQUE HAWKER HUNTER AT SYWELLOn a bright but damp day on 2nd August 2012, unique Hawker Hunter F Mk 2 WN904 made her final journey to Sywell Aviation Museum as our first complete airframe.WN904 first flew in 1953 and entered service with 257 Squadron at RAF Wattisham. She had a short service life in common with the other F.2s produced, albeit even shorter than the others due to a landing mishap at RAF Kenley in 1955 which saw her running off the end of the runway, over a road and through a hedge. She was repaired but never flew again and spent much of her subsequent life as an instructional or display airframe as a result, spending the last 20 years or so prior to 2012 on display at the former RAF Waterbeach (Waterbeach Barracks), in memory of the long-gone Hunter squadrons of the 1950s that operated from there.WN904 wore dual 1 and 56 Squadron colours whilst there (though never flew with either squadron). Still owned by the IWM she moved to Duxford for a respray in late 1998 before returning to Waterbeach.By 2012 the Army were vacating the barracks and WN904 needed a new home. IWM put her up for disposal (they have an immaculate F.6 on display already) and thanks to their kindness they took a chance on our little Museum and donated her to Sywell. Museum Trustee Damien Burke took the lead as restoration project manager from the outset, with an initial rush to get her ready for the Sywell Airshow in late August 2012 (when she was saluted by the Red Arrows!). Since then her cockpit and ejection seat (which were fairly complete and original) has been completely restored and many missing items added from her gun camera to a complete nose RADAR unit, new canopy, cockpit ladder, intake blanks and 30mm ADEN cannon. Our friends at The Aeroplane Collection Hooton Park kindly loaned an original Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire jet engine which used to power her and Cambrai Covers allowed us to purchase at a hefty discount a bespoke outdoor cover for her for the winter months.Whilst the online ‘experts’ bemoaned her scruffy appearance, they were oblivious to all the hidden work that was going on but once that had been completed in 2018 Steve Kingman from Air Leasing kindly helped us repaint her into an accurate rendition of her original colours (those applied by IWM were inaccurate including one fin flash being put on backwards!). Ollie from Sprint Graphics was once again a star cutting the vinyl markings designed by Damien.She now wears, for the first time since 1956, the ‘Q’ code on the fin and nose gear door that she wore in service, and as a tribute to 257 Squadron and one of their pilots (Squadron Leader ‘Dickie’ Millward AFC), 257 Squadron bars and Chinthe on the nose (though she never actually wore these in service due to her early retirement).On her starboard side she is marked up in 263 Squadron colours as WN921 / ‘S’, to represent the only other Hunter F.2. squadron and in memory of a 263 Squadron pilot who lost his life in the real WN921 (Flying Officer Dennis Whiteman). His children (and Dickie’s brother) were present at her formal unveiling at our Grand Opening at Easter 2019. Indeed we have been lucky to welcome many visitors to sit in her including Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden! Ten years later, thanks to the hard work of Museum members and Trustees she remains the only complete Hunter F.2 in the world and is proudly known as Heidi (after a Trustee’s ex-girlfriend – since both are gorgeous to look at but very high maintenance!) Indeed she is the only ‘gate guardian’ aircraft in Northamptonshire.She was moved in 2021 following the arrival of our latest airframe – Handley Page Jetstream 200 G-RAVL from Cranfield and they both sit proudly in the Museum compound. Pretty soon, Jenny will look as smart as Heidi! But her journey to restoration would not have been completed without the support of the following: IWM Duxford, John Delaney, Welch’s Specialist Movements, Dave Thomas, Classic Jet Collection Bruntingthorpe, Dave Jackson, The Aeroplane Collection, Damien Burke, Susan Iskander, Geoff Millward, the Whiteman family, Donna Harding, John Sparks (St Athan), the late Nev Martin, Brooklands Museum, Steve Kingman & Air Leasing, Muirhead Leather, Michael and all at Cambrai Covers, Hooton Park Trust, Ollie at Sprint Graphics (three times!) See MoreSee Less
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Lovely day at Sywell with some exotic visitors including a Bullitt Mustang and Ford GT! See MoreSee Less
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BOXFILE HIDDEN SINCE 1945 CONTAINING PLANS FOR A SECRET NAZI ROCKET FIGHTER DISCOVERED BY SYWELL AVIATION MUSEUM – NEW HOME SOUGHT…A couple of years ago a gentleman kindly donated this mysterious black folder to the Museum with the express wish that they be sold to raise funds. We must admit its taken us a while to fully go through the folder but what a discovery!The anonymous box file, marked in German on the outside contained a huge number of plans for the Bachem Natter rocket fighter developed by the Luftwaffe late in WW2.The Bachem Ba 349 Natter was a point-defence rocket-powered interceptor, which was to be used in a very similar way to a manned surface-to-air missile. After a vertical take-off, which eliminated the need for airfields, most of the flight to the Allied bombers was to be controlled by an autopilot. The primary role of the relatively untrained pilot was to aim the aircraft at its target bomber and fire its armament of rockets. The pilot and the fuselage containing the rocket motor would then land using separate parachutes, while the nose section was disposable.The first and only manned vertical take-off flight, on 1 March 1945, ended in the death of the test pilot, Lothar Sieber.The folder seems to have been untouched since 1945 and by repute came from the RAE Farnborough having been saved from a skip. There are hundreds of detailled assembly drawings and schematics. They appear to be contemporary copies of the original plans but have handwritten annotations in English and German. As the Natter was essentially made of wood, you could build your own machine! The donor fully understood that whilst fascinating these plans do not directly relate to the Museum’s remit and wished for them to be sold. We have no idea of value or where or how to dispose of them – please contact us if they are of interest! See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Sywell Aviation Museum
Marvellous MOPARS at the Museum for a special visit! See MoreSee Less
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SYWELL AVIATION MUSEUM BOOK & MODEL APPEAL 2022Good morning folks! Its time to turn our minds to another Book and Model Sale akin to the very successful one we held earlier in the year!As we continue with our Jetstream restoration (her tailplane has been painted and is about to be fitted) we are keen to raise funds…With that in mind we would be very grateful for the donation of military/aviation books, model kits & accesssories, die cast models and more…. if we are lucky enough to receive sufficient donations then we may hold the sale towards the end of the year, failing which it will be early next, if you can help please drop us an email to sywellaviationmuseum@gmail.com or call 07968061708 – we can collect larger amounts 🙂 Many thanks as ever for your ongoing support! See MoreSee Less
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What a beautiful day! The SAM Motorpool are out in force so come along and see Audrey and Lily the Jeeps which kids can sit in for photos! Note the VBOA car event is taking place on the airfield but there’s no problem accessing the museum 🙂 See MoreSee Less
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We were very sad to read today that Bryn Fussell has passed away. His is an amazing story and we were delighted to welcome him to the Museum in 2017 when he was reunited with the Kimbell family (he stole their Auster from Sywell in 1950 when he was 19 and had escaped from Borstal and flew it to France despite never having flying lessons!) His is an amazing story – click on the link below to learn more – you won’t be disappointed!www.pilotweb.aero/news/pilot-profile-bryn-fussell-6275412‘When silence is best, be silent, and speak no daring word;When comfort and cheer are needed, let kindly things be heard;When help is required, be ready to work with willing hands;Prepared to do with pleasure whatever love demands.’Blue skies Bryn See MoreSee Less
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Huge thanks to our friends at the Classic Corvette Club UK who following their amazing event at the aerodrome last week presented the Museum with a whopping £630, being the proceeds from their Club raffle! Sincere thanks to Sarah Ketchin and Stuart Curtis – the latter seen here presenting the donation to Museum Trustee David Knight – see you all next year! 🙂 See MoreSee Less
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