The replica Vickers Vimy based at the RAF Museum at Hendon is due to leave the site and be placed in storage.
The aircraft was built by the Vintage Aircraft and Flying Association to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Alcock and Brown’s 1919 transatlantic flight. It was completed on 30 May 1969 and on 3 June it took off on its first flight.
Sadly, around two months later the replica was being prepared for flight when it caught fire. The fire, which is thought to have been caused by concentrated sunlight on the fabric of the wing, resulted in extensive damage. However, the replica was successfully rebuilt as a static exhibit and has been on view to the public at the RAF Museum’s London site since 1972.
Both the Vickers Vimy and Sopwith Tabloid will be moved to the museum’s Reserve Collection in Stafford, where they will remain for the foreseeable future.
The move is part of a project to refurbish the Grahame-White Factory Hangar, which closes on 3 March while the building work takes place. The collection is expected to reopen in November. www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london