Prevent the loss of irreplaceable UK Aviation History: Save Bruntingthorpe #SaveBrunty
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In March, Cox Automotive UK acquired C Walton Ltd, the operating company behind Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground.
As per the latest statement on https://www.bruntingthorpe.com/aviation :
"Please note that, following an acquisition of C.Walton Ltd by Cox Automotive, the Aviation business and Cold War Jets Museum at the Bruntingthorpe site are now closed and will not re-open.
It is recognised that this may be concerning news to some aviation enthusiasts. Cox Automotive is an automotive services business who do not work within the aerospace sector."
Cox Automotive will be using the site to store brand-new unsold and lease-end cars on behalf of car manufacturers and fleet management companies.
Notice has now been issued to some of the historic aircraft preservation groups (including the Cold War Jets Collection, Lightning Preservation Group, the Buccaneer Aviation Group, Classic British Jets Collection, GJD AeroTech and others) based at the site that they must leave before the end of 2020. For many of these groups, this is effectively a death-knell for their aircraft as they cannot be flown and to move them by road would be prohibitively expensive (reportedly as much as £300,000 for one aircraft). The enthusiasts who have kept these aircraft in working condition now face this insurmountable funding hurdle to prevent their aircraft, all their hard work and an irreplaceable part of UK Aviation and industrial heritage from being cut up for scrap. Even in the unlikely event that funds were found to move them, this would require dismantling the aircraft and would likely prevent them from functioning ever again.
Historically important aircraft in the Cold War Jets Collection such as the Vickers VC-10, de Havilland Comet, Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer, English Electric Lightning, Handley Page Victor and others are all potentially at risk.
I simply ask that Cox Automotive, C Walton Ltd and the other various stakeholders reconsider their approach and work with the groups representing these aircraft to broker a compromise that ensures that the aircraft can stay on site, even if it means a temporary halt to Cold War Jets fast taxi days to allow the site to be used for commercial car storage until such a time where these days can resume. I believe that such a solution would generate much positive PR for all involved parties with little impact on their commercial operation and save many unique aircraft from being scrapped.
The historic British aircraft based at this site represent some of the last working and best preserved examples of their kind and present a unique opportunity to witness a wide variety of historic jet aircraft moving under their own power in one place.
As an Aircraft Engineering Apprentice, I, like many of my colleagues in the sector were inspired by the museums and airshows we visited as children, many of which sadly no longer exist due to the safety restrictions placed on the UK airshow scene in the wake of the Shoreham Airshow Crash in 2015.
The museum and fast taxi events by the Cold War Jets Collection at Bruntingthorpe represent a unique and safe way to enjoy these historic aircraft on the ground whilst still preserving them in working condition for future generations.
We must act now to prevent further irreversible loss of our nation's proud industrial heritage.
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