ABOVE: The 3.88m diameter fuselage could carry up to 94 troops

Solway Aviation Museum has launched an ambitious fundraiser to rescue and preserve the world’s last surviving Blackburn Beverley aircraft, the final example of only 49 ever built.

An estimated £60,000 is needed to dismantle Beverley XB5289 from its current location of Fort Paull, Hull, and transport it to Carlisle Airport. Here, it will be reassembled and restored by Solway Aviation Museum’s highly experienced team of volunteers. The money raised will help fund the lifting and transport costs for the significantly sized sections of aircraft, as well as preparing the new site.

“This is a last gasp rescue mission for the Beverley,” explained museum chairman Dougie Kerr, elaborating that XP259 has faced an “uncertain future” since the closure of the Fort Paull museum in 2020. Although a private individual saved the aircraft from the scrapman, Solway Aviation Museum’s intervention has ‘at last provided an opportunity to see the Beverley saved as part of Britain’s heritage’.

The Blackburn B-101 Beverley is the only land-based transport aircraft built by Blackburn. The first prototype conducted its maiden flight in 1950 and was flown by six squadrons of RAF Transport Command between 1956 and 1967. However, with foreign orders not forthcoming, the type was withdrawn from service.

At the time of writing, the crowdfunder has reached nearly 30% of its target.

IMAGE: THE SOLWAY AVIATION SOCIETY