||Brooklands Centenary - Brooklands Museum, Surrey 16th
Review - With many thanks to the support of Mercedes-Benz World, the
Brooklands Museum hosted the Brooklands Centenary Festival over the weekend
of 16th-17th June celebrating 100 years of pioneering motoring and aviation
at the Surrey site.
Brooklands was involved in the birth of aviation from the beginning and
pioneers A.V.Roe, Tommy Sopwith, Louis Bleriot, Harry Hawker and Barnes
Wallis were all active at the site. In World War Two Hurricane fighters and
Wellington bombers rolled off the production lines while post war the
Vickers Varsity, Valiant, Viscount, VC-10 and BAC One-Eleven were built and
flown from there, underlining the sites historical significance.
Visitors could view progress on the restoration of Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIa
Z2389 being undertaken by Museum Trust volunteers. The Hurricane was
built and delivered to the RAF in late 1940 and its RAF service included
time with 71 ‘Eagle’ squadron. In 1942 the Hurricane was one of 2,952 sent
to Russia to serve with the Red Air Force and it was shot down while in a
dogfight over Siberia with Luftwaffe Me109Fs and Me110s. The pilot, injured
in the right shoulder by a bullet that just missed the armour plating,
managed to crash land Z2389 and survive. The airframe was recovered to St
Petersburg in 1996 and acquired by the Museum in 1997, the first historic
aircraft to be purchased for a UK museum with a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.
The aim is to restore the Hurricane to its 1940 configuration in ‘live’
condition with the engine working and aircraft able to taxi under its own
power. The airframe is now virtually complete and the current focus is on
the engine services including fuel, hydraulic and electrical systems. The
engine itself is being worked on by the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust, Derby
as, although the engine and starter motor now turn without problems an
interior clutch issue is preventing the starter motor engaging. Another
‘hurdle’ is the lack of usable propeller blades. The team has been
generously given one working blade and have manufactured two more out of
wood for static display once the engine is mounted, however, they are in
desperate need of either a full propeller unit or at least three working,
balanced blades to enable the Hurricane to taxi.
The amount of work that has gone into this restoration is staggering. A
quick estimate put the figure at 67,200 man-hours so far, and the level of
detail achieved, including areas that will not be viewable once it is on
display is truly humbling.
During the day one hundred years worth of cars and motorcycles graced the circuit, including
the racing car ‘Babs’ powered by a 27 litre V-12 American Liberty aero
engine. Parry Thomas was killed in the car in February 1927 when
attempting the Land Speed Record on Pendine beach. The car remained buried
in the sands until recovered and rebuilt in 1969 by Owen Wyn. The Liberty
engine powered aircraft such as the De Havilland DH.9A medium bomber
produced at the end of World War One.
A selection of related vintage aircraft took to the skies during an hour
long display on the Saturday afternoon recreating the atmosphere of ‘those
magnificent men in their flying machines.’ Despite abysmal weather
across the south of the country several machines made it to display in
blustery conditions including unique 1935 built Miles Hawk Speed Six G-ADGP,
1939 Rearwin Cloudster G-EVLE, Doug Gregory in SE5A reproduction ‘F141’ G-SEVA
and Sopwith Triplane replica ‘N500’ G-BWRA. Sadly the Brooklands Museum
Trust’s Vickers Vimy reproduction was unable to participate and higher than
expected visitor numbers on the Sunday prevented the fixed wing aircraft
from displaying due to safety considerations. However, the team at
Brooklands should be congratulated in celebrating such a significant
milestone in fine style.
back to airshow
photographs from 2007