Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, Farnborough, Hampshire
FAST (the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust) was founded in 1993 to safeguard Farnborough's aeronautical heritage. Based on the historic Farnborough airfield - which is also home to the famous airshow - the FAST Museum has an beautiful collection of airframes and huge collection of artefacts.
Many thanks to Alec Brown for his assistance in compiling this feature and supplying the photographs.
Farnborough and the RAE
Farnborough in Hampshire is situated close to Aldershot - the home of the British Army - and during the 20th Century it grew into the foremost location for British aviation research and development.
It has become forever linked with the 'The Royal Aircraft Establishment' (RAE) - from the first airborne cameras and flying clothing to high altitude 'space suits', night vision aids, head-up cockpit displays and the first carbon fibre experiments - the list of Farnborough's aerospace contributions is endless.
Click here for more information on the RAE.
The civil enclave at Farnborough Aviation Site was operated by Farnborough Business Aviation until 2003, when the MOD stopped operations at Farnborough and was taken over by TAG Aviation, who now operate Farnborough Airport.
In 2003 a new business aviation airport was established, with all experimental aircraft moved to Boscombe Down. Commercial defence research continues to be carried out in the adjunct Cody Technology Park by research firm QinetiQ.
The museum overlooks the airfield at Farnborough and most of the exhibits are located outside and are in good condition, so photographing the airframes should present no problems. There are some unique aircraft including an Aerospatiale Puma (below), a prototype Sepecat Jaguar (top) and a well restored English Electric Lightning (above).
Visitors should also take the time to explore the museum buildings which contain wind tunnel test models and jet engines - including cutaway sections are to be found. A real feature is the extensive collection of 1:72 scale plastic models of RAF types over the years. This is one of the most comprehensive collections I've seen and include some real rarities.
Housed in a a separate, light, airy building is a replica Cody biplane (left), a design from 1908. It has been painstakingly built by volunteers from plans and is the highlight of the museum. You can wander up close at look at the craftsmanship of the early aeroplanes.
Entry is free and the museum is open at weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays. A small shop and picnic area, with volunteer staff who are most helpful and knowledgeable make the FAST (Farnborough Air Sciences Trust) Museum well worth a visit.
Situated south of the M3, follow A331 for Aldershot, then follow A325 to Farnborough.
Click here for a google map.
Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, Trenchard House, 85 Farnborough Road, Hants, GU14 6TF
Tel: 01252 375050
Saturdays and Sundays 10:00am to 4:00pm