Cushioncraft Coming Home!

Britten-Norman Cushion Craft CC7 (C/N 005) on sea trials in the Solent. New acquisition of Wight Aviation Museum

Britten-Norman Cushion Craft CC7 (C/N 005) on sea trials in the Solent

Wight Aviation Museum announce the good news that they have secured the Britten-Norman cushion craft CC7 XX102 C/N 005, the second to last built. Supporters have donated £1,100 so far, which will pay for the transportation from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to the Isle of Wight.

A loan has been secured to purchase the craft so fundraising continues apace to repay the loan.

Phil Phillips, regular contributor to this website, has supplied this photo of the engine bay of sister cushion craft of C/N 001.

Britten-Norman Cushion Craft CC7 Engine Bay, C/N 001

Britten-Norman Cushion Craft CC7 Engine Bay.

Phil did all the electrical wiring. He proudly says, “All my own work!”

John Kenyon, Chair of Wight Aviation Museum, has announced, “We are very grateful to people that worked on this craft for contacting us and offering to help us with restoration.
Additional support has been provided by the Hovercraft Museum, who has a sister craft CC7 in their museum at Lee on Solent, and Warwick Jacobs, the founding father of that museum. We really appreciate their help.
There will be a dedicated WAM Cushioncraft team on the ground at Sandown Isle of Wight Airport including our hovercraft guru Nikki Wilkes who has a vast knowledge and contacts we can tap into to support this project.”

“Finally, we still need a substantial amount of money, c.£15,000, to do a professional job of restoration to bring it up to a high quality museum exhibit and to repay the original loan. Please use the same platform listed below until 30 April to remit funds direct, so everyone can see the total climbing!

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/wightaviationmuseum/479553

Wight Aviation Museum - WAM - of Sandown Airfield, Isle of Wight, England

Wight Aviation Museum – WAM – of Sandown Airfield, Isle of Wight, England

The appeal will close on 30 April 2019 as BT has withdrawn their MyDonate support to Charities.
After this date we will be reopening the appeal on another platform, Virgin Money Giving.
Thank you all for your continuing support.”

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Urgent appeal – help to save historic British Air Cushion Craft

Britten Norman CC7 Cushion Craft of the Isle of Wight

Britten Norman CC7 Cushion Craft of the Isle of Wight

Wight Aviation Museum (WAM) has launched an urgent appeal to raise enough money to save an historic British Cushion Craft from being sold abroad. Originally built on the Isle of Wight at St. Helens, on the shores of Bembridge Harbour, this particular hovercraft is at risk of leaving the UK to an overseas buyer at auction in January. Read the full appeal below with details of how you can donate and help to keep this British invention where it belongs. Here!

Can you help us save a historic British Air Cushion vehicle from ending up overseas?

Hello, I am John Kenyon Chair of Trustees of Wight Aviation Museum, a UK registered charity and we are URGENTLY appealing for your help to rescue an important part of the Hovercraft story on the Isle of Wight. We are asking for donations to rescue an original Cushioncraft CC7 built here at St Helen’s Duver.

We need to raise around £15000 to cover the purchase, transportation and refurbishment of the Cushioncraft, which we will bring to the Island so the museum can put the craft on display to the public at Sandown Airport. Additionally we would like to use the skills and knowledge of those that were originally involved in its production who are still here and able to assist us.

Warwick Jacobs, Hovercraft Trust trustee.

Warwick Jacobs, Hovercraft Trust trustee. Copyright Anne Grant.

The reason for the urgent request is the unexpected availability of the craft. We had a call from Warwick Jacobs, who founded the world’s first Hovercraft museum in 1986. He said “My first thought was this naturally belongs on the Isle of Wight, paying tribute to the work of Britten Norman!” And our Trustees agreed!

We have to act quickly if we are to secure this icon of engineering excellence for British aviation heritage as it is highly likely this will be sold off to a potential buyer from overseas at auction in January.

Please donate now as much or as little as you can afford to return this Cushioncraft to the Island where it was made. This will be a fitting tribute to those who worked at St Helens and later went on to manufacture a wide range of hovercraft that continued right up its transfer to Griffon Hoverwork in 2008.

Finally should we not be successful in raising the total sum needed we guarantee that all money donated will be placed into restricted funds and will be used only to purchase further acquisitions for the museum.

For all those contributing to this appeal we will keep you posted with our newsletter so you can see the progress being made by our volunteers and members just email us at  wightaviationmuseum@gmail.com

Here is a bit more about the history of the CC7 Cushioncraft…….

Britten Norman Cushion Craft

Britten Norman Cushion Craft. Courtesy of Mark William.

In 1960 Britten-Norman Ltd began trials of their new “Cushioncraft” —their name for an air-cushion vehicle built which needed to be” flown” above the terrain. It was used initially to assess the potential of this type of vehicle for the carriage of bananas from plantations in the Southern Cameroons. Together with its associated company, Crop Culture (Aerial) Ltd, Britten-Norman studied the potential for the Cushioncraft in many different countries. These investigations revealed the possibility of a break-through market in transportation techniques by the use of air cushion vehicles which could accelerate the pace of development in territories where roads are non-existent and costly to build and where rivers are seasonally unnavigable. A very similar concept to that used to promote the BN Islander’s “Land Rover “capabilities in the air, and still in service today, all across the Globe. Cushioncraft was eventually sold to The British Hovercraft Corporation in 1972.

Remember too marine skills were used to develop the first aircraft and it was aviation skills that were used to develop Cushioncraft using reverse engineering concepts which is why the first hovercraft were flown….. by pilots!

If you need convincing about the unique importance of this craft that demonstrates vividly how aviation skills can be used to advantage in Land, Sea and Air applications, take a look at this Pathe News clip on our appeal pages on https://mydonate.bt.com/events/wightaviationmuseum/479553

Do please make a donation on line by credit or debit card its very quick and easy and you can do so anonymously if you prefer, but if you can accept your donation to be gift aided, this will benefit the charity by an extra 25%. BT does not take a penny out of your donation. They only charge us a card processing fee of 15p. For a Donation of £10 we get £12.35.

So thank you for helping us to conserve and display this important part of the Isle of Wight’s Aviation Heritage. You can find more on our website at www.wightaviationmuseum.org.uk

Black Arrow WAMs Home

Black Arrow arrival at Sandown Airport 13 July 2018

Black Arrow arrival at Wight Aviation Museum, Sandown Airport 13 July 2018

The replica of the Black Arrow has arrived at Wight Aviation Museum (WAM), minus the red ‘nose’ cone.

This is currently being manufactured on the Isle of Wight.  When completed it will make the road journey to Sandown Airport to finish the rocket assembly.

It will then be situated outside the museum as a distinctive sentinel, visible to all who arrive at the airfield.

There will be no mistaking the location of WAM amongst all the other hangars!

Alfred Buckham - The Sky Traveller exhibition at Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater, Isle of Wight October to December 2018

Alfred Buckham – The Sky Traveller exhibition at Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater, Isle of Wight

Go to the Notice Board for more details about organised tours from the mainland to aviation sites around the Island, including an opportunity to see the Black Arrow.

If you are already on the Isle of Wight then go to Wight Aviation Museum page for contact details of how to visit WAM.

Also on the updated Notice Board is news of events this Autumn including a fabulous photography exhibition in Freshwater, Isle of Wight. Vintage aviation images taken by Alfred Buckham are absolute gems of history, capturing a moment in time that has gone forever.

Buckham wanted to be an artist, until he saw pictures by JMW Turner. Alfred went home and destroyed his own paintings. He took up a camera instead. What he produced through his lens is of equal artistry to Turner.  The SKY TRAVELLER is not to be missed.

Also listed are details about a talk by a pilot with HM Coast Guard SAR Helicopter based at Lee-on-the-Solent.

What of the big event anticipated for 2019 – D-Day 75?

News that Government funding won’t be made available for Portsmouth, to stage a major event next June around the Southsea D-Day Museum, has come as a blow to Portsmouth councillors.

Bombed out but NEVER beaten !!! Re-enactment group at Southwick D-Day Revival event 2018

Bombed out but NEVER beaten !!! Southwick D-Day Revival showing the British Spirit. Copyright Anne Grant.

If this leaves plans for Pompey somewhat up in the air, the Southwick Revival stalwarts over the Portsdown Hill are almost guaranteed to put on something even bigger and better than their D-Day 2018 weekend. They won’t be beaten.

As the lady in this photo chalked onto her blackboard propped up under the green door of her Anderson shelter, ‘Bombed out but NEVER beaten !!!’    That’s the spirit, girl!

Go to the Notice Board for a review of what Southwick 2018 did to entertain and educate the crowds.

WAM -The Beagle Has Landed!

WIGHT AVIATION MUSEUM as issued this progress update.

Wight Aviation Museum - WAM - of Sandown Airfield, Isle of Wight, England

Wight Aviation Museum – WAM – of Sandown Airfield, Isle of Wight, England

For the aviation press you may be wondering why the Bulldog carries the registration G-AXEH which is of course at the Museum of Flight. Apparently a previous owner to the last one decided one side should be finished as the prototype whilst the other should be G-CCOA. One side now is beautifully stripped to Polished Stainless Steel and the other side we will probably put back in its last Cranfield University colour scheme

Beagle Bulldog 120 G-CCOA G-AXAH. Image courtesy of Wight Aviation Museum. You may be wondering why the Bulldog carries the registration G-AXEH which is at the Museum of Flight. A previous owner to the last one decided one side should be finished as the prototype whilst the other should be G-CCOA. One side now is beautifully stripped to Polished Stainless Steel and the other side will probably put back in its last Cranfield University colour scheme.

It was a wet and windy day when the team from Wight Aviation Museum, a registered UK Charity, arrived to move the Scottish Aviation/Beagle Bulldog 120 G-CCOA from its snug home shed in Freshwater to become the first exhibit, in what is to be a new aviation museum, opening this summer at Sandown Airport.

Richard Holleyman has lovingly built up an outstanding and unique aviation museum quality collection of over 500 individual exhibits. Set alongside the Bulldog fuselage there are photographs and artefacts from the first aircraft to land on the Island in 1910 piloted by Broadway Actor Robert Loraine, through the important embryonic Edwardian aviation period and into the 30’s, right up to the mid 70’s. Profiling the Avro 504, DH Rapide, Vickers Viking and the early days of flight and Sir Alan Cobham’s flying circus. The collection is illustrated with artefacts, logbooks, pictures, manuals and educational pieces showing how wooden aircraft were constructed and how rotary engines work.

It tells the story of the formation of dozens of small regional airlines located all over the country that eventually became British Airways. They were formed using DH Dragon, Dragon Rapide & Spartan Cruiser aircraft to inaugurate services from and to the Island and further afield. Specifically Island related, his collection includes timetables, tickets, route maps, first day covers from Spartan Air Lines, Railway Air Services and Portsmouth, Southsea and IOW Aviation. There is also much more material from all over the country.

Richard Holleyman Collection. WAM Team. Image courtesy of Wight Aviation Museum

Richard Holleyman, Lois Prior and WAM Directors. Image courtesy of Wight Aviation Museum

Wight Aviation Museum [WAM] is proud to have acquired this collection for the benefit of the public. Visitors will be able to see this fantastic collection, unrivalled anywhere else in the country, housed in a unique larger shed setting inside the hangar which will incorporate and mirror the original Freshwater environment. They will be able to see, touch and read professionally made copies of the originals and a DVD will tell the stories from each section of the museum, narrated by Richard himself, so visitors will be able to hear and to see history in the making.

Replica Black Arrow Rocket to be built at Sandown Airport by Wight Aviation Museum. Image courtesy of Richard Curtis.

Replica Black Arrow Rocket to be built at Sandown Airport by Wight Aviation Museum. Image courtesy of Richard Curtis.

We are also delighted to announce that funding has been agreed from IFPL to support the start-up costs of the museum and to build a full size, detailed replica Black Arrow R3 Rocket. The Rocket will be an Island business community partnership project involving Aluminium Marine Consultants, Vestas, CECAMM, Biltmore Printers and GKN. Saunders Roe were at the front of rocketry design and development in the 60/70’s and the Black Arrow R3 project launched Britain’s first satellite -Prospero – into space in 1971 and it is still up there! Once the build is completed the rocket will be mounted for public display at Sandown Airport for everyone to see.

Mary Ellis at Sandown Airport. Courtesy of Melody Foreman via internet source

Mary Ellis at Sandown Airport. Courtesy of Melody Foreman via internet source.

WAM will also be showcasing the Island rich aviation history through the people that made it happen, together with relevant artefacts. Special focus will be on our very own Island hidden heroes like ATA First Officer Mary Ellis and John Ackroyd. We will also be telling the story in timelines of our earlier aviation pioneers like Alliott Verdon-Roe, Harry Hawker, Tom Sopwith, Barnes Wallis, Sam Saunders, Howard Wright, Oliver Simmons, John Britten & Desmond Norman and Geoffrey Lilley so that schoolchildren can experience and connect with the aviation industry here on the Island by recognising its engineering and design excellence which continues right up to today.

We are grateful for the help & advice of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and are also partnering with Age UK Isle of Wight as part of their Men in Sheds project to build a Sandown shed based on Richard Holleyman’s woodworking workshop. There will be plenty of opportunity for volunteers to come and participate in all aspects of the museum and woodworking shop without the need to become a WAM member.

Spartan ZK-ARH flying over New Zealand

Spartan ZK-ARH

Finally, we earnestly hope that sufficient funds will eventually be found to return the airworthy Spartan 3 seater built in Somerton in 1934, back home from New Zealand to the Isle of Wight where she was built and where she belongs at the Wight Aviation Museum. We are setting up a separate fundraising page for this project which will be online soon at BT My Donate. Our ultimate plan is to eventually build a brand new museum at Sandown subject to inward investment and planning, which can display heritage aircraft like the Spartan with the world’s oldest BNAPS Britten Norman BN-2 Islander G-AVCN.

We are always on the lookout for aviation memorabilia from around the Island that might still be in sheds or attics to help illustrate our story so please contact us if you can help. Please also take a look at our website http://www.wightaviationmuseum.co.uk where you will be able to see how to join us as a member or to make a donation at BT My Donate or alternatively you can head to our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Contact number for Museum enquiries: John Kenyon 01983 872167
Email info@wightaviationmuseum.co.uk

Read more about Wight Aviation Museum here.

Wight Aviation Museum plan special Mary Ellis exhibition

Wight Aviation Museum Will Feature Mary Ellis “Centre Stage”

Wight Aviation Museum - WAM - Sandown Airfield, Isle of Wight, England

Wight Aviation Museum – WAM – Sandown Airfield, Isle of Wight, England

Wight Aviation Museum [WAM] has announced that it is to open a small, new Aviation Heritage Museum and Visitor Centre in the Spring/Summer 2018 at Sandown Airport.

Following the announcement on 17 January that Sandown Airport’s very own Mary Ellis has been conferred with the Freedom of the Isle of Wight, the museum is pleased to confirm that there will be a very special “centre stage” exhibition in the new museum to illustrate her achievements in WW2 and to honour her as the First Lady Airport Commandant in Europe of the Airport 1950-1970.

Replica Black Arrow Rocket to be built at Sandown Airport by Wight Aviation Museum. Image courtesy of Richard Curtis.

Replica Black Arrow Rocket to be built at Sandown Airport by Wight Aviation Museum. Image courtesy of Richard Curtis.

For full details go to Wight Aviation Museum page. Other exciting news about what is planned by WAM can be viewed there too.

To see Mary receiving the Freedom of the isle of Wight at County Hall, Newport, follow this link to OnTheWight video of the moment.