Text: Marc Arys & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & Marc Arys  -  sbap 2020
 
2020 aerial view of Gatwick International Airport and the Gatwick Aviation Museum location
(Google Earth) 
 

Before heading home after our joyful stay at the seaside resort of Eastbourne, we headed north towards the Gatwick Aviation Museum, located next to Gatwick airport. This museum was originally started in 1987 as a private collection by local businessman Peter Vallance, and became a registered charity in 1999 with the objective of providing awareness of local aviation history and as an educational center for the general public, particularly for local students and schoolchildren. A close relationship exists between the museum and the Central Sussex College which uses the museum's facilities to provide practical training for the students taking aerospace courses.
This museum has a wonderful collection of British aircraft, showing the timeline from post war to cold war in aviation terms. This collection includes examples from some of the major British aircraft manufacturers of this period, such as Avro, Hawker, Gloster, De Havilland, English Electric, Blackburn and Percival.
The set-up of the museum allows you to get close and personal to the historical important aircraft of the cold war era, shows you the key role Gatwick played in the Second World War, let you discover how the power of flight changed through a nice set of engines, ranging from the piston to the modern turbo fan. There is also a nice set of miniature aircraft models to take you through aviation history.
In the outdoor picnic area you have a nice view of the natural surroundings and the outdoor displayed aircraft. And, as you are next to Gatwick airport, you can enjoy airliner movements as well
see our page : http://www.sbap.be/events/2019/044gatwick2019/044gatwick2019.htm.
One of the main attractions outdoor is the Avro Shackleton M.R.3 Phase 3 - "J" (WR982). During our visit we had the pleasure to be tour guided 'through' this plane by Sqn Leader Mike Rankin, who flew Shakletons during his career with the RAF. It was a most pleasant and very insightful tour indeed.

 
View of the Gatwick Aviation Museum
(Google Earth)
Gatwick International Airport activities
(Courtesy Gatwick Airport )
the natural surroundings
(Marc Arys )
(Marc Arys )
(Marc Arys ) (Marc Arys )
 
Indoor Museum
 
Exhibition of interesting archive pictures: Gatwick in the late 30's
(Marc Arys )
Douglas C-47B Dakota (44-74696) from BEA in 1950
(Serge Van Heertum )
Sikorsky S-76A and Sikorsky S-61N Mk II from British Caledonian 1980's
(Serge Van Heertum )
Historical overview of Gatwick : The begin
(Serge Van Heertum )
The pioneer and the development
(Serge Van Heertum )
Gatwick 1930's
(Serge Van Heertum )
During World War II
(Serge Van Heertum )
Post War: the 1950's
(Serge Van Heertum )
Modernisation and the jet era
(Serge Van Heertum )
The 1980's: modernisation, expension and rapid transit system
(Serge Van Heertum )
Dan Air London Airspeed AS;57 Ambassador
(Serge Van Heertum )
The Bristish Caledonian (1970 - 1988)
(Serge Van Heertum )
The Bristish Caledonian charm...
(Serge Van Heertum )
British Caledonian DC-10
(Serge Van Heertum )
Air Europe UK (1979 - 1991)
(Serge Van Heertum )
The national pride: Concorde under British Airways colours
(Marc Arys )
Link trainer
(Serge Van Heertum )
Entertainment for the youngsters
(Serge Van Heertum )
Fun for the childs
(Marc Arys )
Thematic exhibition like the Buccaneer
(Marc Arys )
Some declassed RC models: Corsair
(Marc Arys )
Sea Fury
(Marc Arys )
B-17G flying Fortress
(Marc Arys )
617 Sqn Lancater...The Dambusters
(Marc Arys )
Hawker Hurricane
(Marc Arys )
Spitfire Mk XIV with the 350 (Belgian) Sqn markings
(Marc Arys )
North American AT-6 Texan
(Serge Van Heertum )
Extra EA.300
(Serge Van Heertum )

Westland Whirlwind rotor servo control head
(Serge Van Heertum )
Westland Wessex instrument panel and HP Victor radar antenna
(Marc Arys )

Buccaneer target designator and aerial camera
(Serge Van Heertum )
ASV 21 radar and radar scope (Avro Shackleton Mk 3)
(Serge Van Heertum )

Blue Parrot radr ARI 5390
(Serge Van Heertum )
Buccaneer inertial platform and underwing 80 NM radar
(Serge Van Heertum )
Aden 30mm gun
(Serge Van Heertum )
Aden 30mm four gun system (Hawker Hunter)
(Serge Van Heertum )

AVPRO Exint pod concept
(Marc Arys )
RAF flying suit
(Serge Van Heertum )
 
Engines
 
The eyes of the Mamba...
(Serge Van Heertum )
Lycoming O-540
(Serge Van Heertum )
Continental 0-200
(Serge Van Heertum )
de Havilland Gipsy Queen
(Serge Van Heertum )
Blackburn Cirrus
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Merlin
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Griffon
(Marc Arys )
Bristol Hercules
(Marc Arys )
Bristol Centaurus
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Dart
(Serge Van Heertum )
Bristol Proteus
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Nene
(Serge Van Heertum )
de Havilland Goblin
(Serge Van Heertum )
Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Orpheus
(Marc Arys )
Rolls Royce Nimbus
(Marc Arys )
Rolls Royce Avon 208
(Marc Arys )
Armstrong Siddeley Viper
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Spey
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Avon 301
(Serge Van Heertum )
Blackburn Turbomeca Artouste APU (Auxiliary Power Unit)
(Serge Van Heertum )
Armstrong Siddely Gyron Junior
(Marc Arys )
Rolls Royce Conway
(Marc Arys )
Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire A7
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Olympus
(Marc Arys )
Rolls Royce Pegasus
(Marc Arys )
General Electric CF-6
(Serge Van Heertum )
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
Aircraft
 
(Marc Arys )
 
(Serge Van Heertum )
 
Hawker Sea Hawk F.B.6
The first variant of the Sea Hawk (F 1) designated as the Hawker P1040 first flew on 3 September 1948. The FGA 6's maiden flight was in 1955 and it entered service in June of that same year. Deck landing trials were carried out on HMS Eagle in 1952 after which it was declared to have "excellent" deck landing characteristics. The final variant of the Sea Hawk was very highly regarded by the pilots who flew it.
 
(Marc Arys ) (Marc Arys )
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
 (Marc Arys )
 
Gloster Meteor T.7
The prototype trainer made its first flight on 19 March 1948 and the Meteor T.7's maiden flight was on the 26 October 1948. The type entered service with the RAF in December 1948. Meteors were the first jet trainers in service and marked the end of the conversion from piston powered aircraft to jets. Over 680 Meteor T.7 aircraft were built with orders coming from the Royal Navy and overseas.
 
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
 (Marc Arys )
 
de Havilland Sea Vixen TT.8
The prototype of the Sea Vixen made its maiden flight on 26 September 1951. The production aircrafts maiden flight was on 20 March 1956 with the first front line squadron being equipped from 2 July 1959. The FAW. 2 variant first flew on 8 March 1963 and entered service with No. 899 squadron in December 1963.
 
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
(Serge Van Heertum )
 
de Havilland Venom F.B 50 MK. 1
The Venom succeeded the widely used Vampire. The prototype Venom (WV 612) first flew on 2 September 1949. Despite a cutback in initial orders, over 370 F.B.1's were built. A large number of these were used to equip squadrons based in Germany as a part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.
 
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Marc Arys )
 
 (Marc Arys )
 
Hawker Hunter T.7B
Sidney Camm became Chief Designer of Hawkers in 1926, and remained in that post until his death in 1966.
Camm and his team set to work, with a new design given the company designation Type 1067 which took shape in late 1948. Metal was cut for the first prototypes in late 1949, the first aircraft being finished in July 1951.
  
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
(Serge Van Heertum )
 
Hawker Harrier G.R.3
The Harrier, the world's first Vertical Take Off and Landing jet aircraft to enter military service. The first Harrier to fly was XV276 on 31 August 1966, this was one of six development aircraft. The first production aircraft (XV738) made its maiden flight on 28 December 1967.
 
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Marc Arys )
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
(Marc Arys ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
(Serge Van Heertum )
 
English Electric Lightning F53
The Lightning was small in export terms, only Saudi Arabia and Kuwait placed orders for an export version in December 1965. The single seat fighters were modified variants of the F.3's designated as F.53's. The variant had much needed additional fuel tank capacity with the addition of a long ventral tank. The United Kingdom F6 variant was later updated, based on the modifications embodied in the F53.
 
(Marc Arys ) (Marc Arys )

(Serge Van Heertum ) (Marc Arys )
(Serge Van Heertum )
 
Nose section of the English Electric Canberra PR.7 (WK146)
(Serge Van Heertum )
 
 
Outdoor Museum
 
(Marc Arys )
 
(Marc Arys )
 
Percival Sea Prince T.1.
The Sea Prince first flew on 24 March 1948. Two variants were ordered by the Fleet Air Arm - one version was to be used for communication and the other as a training aircraft. The trainer version was given the annotation of Sea Prince T1. Sea Prince aircraft were based upon the civilian Percival Prince.
 
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
 (Marc Arys )
 
Blackburn Buccaneer S1
The "Buccaneer' first flew on 30 April 1958, with service trials being carried out on HMS Victorious from June 1959. The aircraft entered service in March 1961 with 700Z flight and became operational with 801 squadron in July 1962. It equipped a number of squadrons, 700Z (1961-63), 736 (1966-70), 800 (1964-66), 801 (1962-65), 809 (1963-65). It was phased out of Naval service in December 1970.
 
(Marc Arys ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
(Marc Arys )
 
Hunter F.51 XF418
This ex-Danish F.51; previously E-430, was painted up as an Royal Navy Hunter GA.11 (the guns give it away though!) on arrival in the UK some years ago. Displayed for some time at Thorpe Park, the owners there soon got rid of their aircraft and it moved on via a collector to Peter's collection at Gatwick Aviation Museum.
 
(Serge Van Heertum ) (Serge Van Heertum )
 
(Marc Arys )
 

The Shackleton was a development of the Lincoln, on 2 September 1955 the Shackleton M.R.3 (WR970), made it's maiden flight. Superficially similar to it's predecessors (M.R.1 and M.R.2), the M.R.3 was in fact considerably different, so much that a new design number was allocated to this mark, the Avro 716. This Type 716 Shackleton M.R.3 was in response to crew feedback and observations. A new tricycle undercarriage was introduced, the fuselage was increased in all main dimensions and had new wings with better ailerons and also tip tanks. The weapons capability was also upgraded to include homing torpedoes and Mk 101 Lulu nuclear depth bombs. To reduce crew fatigue on 15-hour flights, the sound deadening was improved and a proper galley and sleeping space were included. Due to these upgrades, the takeoff weight of the RAF's M.R.3's had risen by over 30,000 lb (13,600 kg) and assistance from two Armstrong Siddeley Viper Mk 203 turbojets was needed on takeoff with a 5 minute limit. The Griffons had to be run at high power for very long periods after a heavyweight take-off so the Vipers were later cleared to run for four hours continuously so lower Griffon power settings could be used which reduced the risk of failures. The extra strain took a toll on the airframe, and flight life of the RAF M.R.3's was so reduced that they were outlived by the M.R.2's.

 
(Mike Badrocke vie web)
 
Avro Shackelton M.R.3 - Phase 3 - "J" (WR982)
Certified on 26 February 1958 and delivered to 23 Maintenance Unit (MU) on 4 March 1958. Allocated to 206 Sqn and coded 'B'. Despatched to Woodford on 21 April 1958 for investigation into engine fading incidents on free loan to Avro. Returned to St Mawgan on 13 June 1959 and reallocated to 206 Sqn. Moved to 49 MU in November 1959 for Phase 1 modification by Avro Contractor's Working Parties (CWP), which was completed in January 1960, when issued to 203 Sqn and coded 'G'.
To Avro at RAF Langar in November 1961 for the Phase 2 update, and retained for Phase 3 from 26 January 1962 on, when WR982 was handed over to the MoA Air Fleet. Following conversion and contractor's trials, WR982 was delivered to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down on 14 April 1964 for certification release of Phase 3 armament, including bomb-bay heating, auxiliary fuel tank jettisoning, special stores drops and an investigation into vibration problems.
On completion on 20 May 1965 the aircraft was allocated to HSA for refurbishing prior to RAF service. Arrived again at Langar on 25 May 1965 and on completion in November that year, WR982 was ferried to Kinloss and issued to 120 Sqn as 'A'.
Armstrong Siddeley Viper Mk 203 turbojets were installed by HSA from March till July 1966, when transferred to 201 Sqn and coded '1'.
To Kinloss for a wing change in February 1967, retaining 'J' code. Moved on to 60 MU from March till May 1967 for fitment of the STR 70 radar altimeter and allotted to the Ministry of Technology on 4 August 1967, on loan for Viper takeoff trials (with water and methanol) and clearance of the radar altimeter at the A&AEE.
Ferried back to Boscombe Down on 7 August 1967, WR982 remained until 28 November 1967, when the aircraft returned to Kinloss still as 'J' until withdrawn from service in September 1970 and flown to Cosford on 6 October 1970 for use as an instructional airframe at the N.2 School of Technical Training of the RAF, receiving the maintenance serial 8106M.
'J' was offered up for sale by the Ministry of Defence in 1988 in 'fair condition' and was purchased by Peter Vallance of Charlwood... indeed the same Peter Vallance who started the museum back in 1987...
 
Sqn Leader Mike Rankin
(Serge Van Heertum )
Bomb bay
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Griffon 58 (phase 3) V-12 engine
(Serge Van Heertum )
4 x de Havilland six-bladed constant speed contra-rotating propeller
(Serge Van Heertum )
Exhaust muffler
(Marc Arys )
Profile view of the nose and the propellers
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rolls Royce Viper 203 exhaust
(Marc Arys )
Boost engine (Viper 203) air intake
(Marc Arys )
Optically flat gunner's windscreen and ventral bomber observation window
(Serge Van Heertum )
Side view of the gunner post
(Serge Van Heertum )
Tailcone observation window
(Marc Arys )
Other view of the tailcone
(Serge Van Heertum )

ARI 18144 ECM aerial and flare discharger
(Marc Arys )
Port fin and rudder
(Serge Van Heertum )
Instrument panel
(Serge Van Heertum )
Left pilot
(Marc Arys )
Right pilot
(Serge Van Heertum )
Particular control wheel steering
(Serge Van Heertum )
The way to the forward observer post
(Serge Van Heertum )
Bombsight
(Serge Van Heertum )

Emergency indication - Detail of the FE panel
#1 (Marc Arys ) - #2 (Serge Van Heertum )
Flight Engeneer (FE) control panel
(Marc Arys )
Rolls Royce Viper turbojet totalizers
(Serge Van Heertum )
Port side signaler's station
(Marc Arys )
Tactical Navigator station
(Marc Arys )
Attack navigator's station and ploting table
(Marc Arys )
Master sonic station
(Serge Van Heertum )
ASV instruments
(Serge Van Heertum )
Secondary sonic station
(Serge Van Heertum )
Flares stowage rack - Rest bunks on the port side - Kitchenet
#1 & #2 (Marc Arys ) - #3 (Serge Van Heertum )
Rear port observer station - Details of the observer panel - Smoke marker
#1 & #3 (Marc Arys ) - # (Serge Van Heertum )
Load and clear
(Marc Arys )
'Blue Silk' radar equipment
(Marc Arys )
Tailcone access decking
(Serge Van Heertum )
Rear observer station
(Serge Van Heertum )
(Gatwick Aviation Museum via web)
 
 
If you are in the area, this museum is certainly worth a visit. More details can be found by a simple click on the banner
 

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