ABOVE: The event was very well-attended over the course of the day
Northamptonshire-based Sywell Aviation Museum has officially opened its doors for its 22nd season with its annual Easter Saturday re-opening ceremony. The event was exceptionally well populated, with an estimated several thousand visitors making the most of the sunshine, stalls, visiting aircraft, classic vehicles, live music and living history groups in attendance.
Although last year’s grand re-opening also benefited from favourable weather, the constant queue of cars outside the event was testament to a show of support that, in the words of the museum’s treasurer Keith Breadmore, “far exceeded last year”.
Run entirely by volunteers, the award-winning museum opened in 2001 “dedicated to preserving aviation history in Sywell, Northamptonshire and surrounding counties”. Notable exhibits include the world’s last remaining Hawker Hunter F.Mk.2, the ex-Cranfield Handley-Page Jetstream and a de Havilland Chipmunk cockpit experience. Inside, exhibits are refreshed every year, although finite space restrictions mean further expansion isn’t an option.
Recent additions to the collection include a P-51D Mustang Merlin engine, another example of which could be heard on the flightline outside as Peter Teischman’s P-51D ‘Tall in the Saddle’ roared into life. A total of 35 visiting aircraft included a Taylorcraft Auster, Beagle Pup, Piper Cub and the oldest flying North American Navion in the UK, 1946 N4956C.
The museum will now be open until October on weekends and bank holidays, and also during Tuesday and Wednesday during the summer. Group visits can also be arranged by request.
IMAGE: CHARLOTTE BAILEY