The £19-million Aerospace Bristol museum and learning centre opened to the public on 17 October on the site of the Bristol Aeroplane Company factory at what remains of Filton airfield.
The industrial heritage museum — which received a £4.7-million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund — has been developed by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust to celebrate more than 100 years of aerospace design and engineering at Filton. Among an impressive collection of exhibits are the prototype Bristol 173 tandem-rotor helicopter, G-ALBN/XF785, which first flew in January 1952 and has never before been displayed in a major museum, BAC/Aerospatiale Concorde G-BOAF, which made the last ever Concorde landing at Filton on 26 November 2003, a Rolls-Royce (originally designed by Bristol Siddeley) Pegasus turbofanpowered Sea Harrier FA2, ZD610, and a Bristol Bloodhound surface-to-air missile.
A shipping container carrying the fin, undercarriage, Bristol Hercules engines and numerous other parts from a future star exhibit, Bristol 170 Freighter Mk31M NZ5911, arrived in the UK on 23 October following a sea crossing from New Zealand. It will now go into temporary storage in the huge Brabazon hangar at Filton. Following on is the fuselage, which in late October was in the hold of a roll-on/roll-off ship en route to Singapore. There it will be unloaded for transfer onto another ship, which will bring it to the UK. After arrival it will be moved from Bristol docks to Filton by night, and is expected to be home before Christmas. Acquired from Dwen Airmotive at Auckland (see News, Aeroplane February 2017), NZ5911 will become the UK’s sole example of this fondly remembered type.