Rolls Royce & Solent Sky Museum

A highly recommended visit if you haven’t been, was the recent visit to Solent Sky Museum where 17 members were able to have the Museum to themselves and found out all about the incredible story of aviation in Hampshire and the Solent region.

It is also the home of the Hampshire Police and Fire Heritage Collection, along with a sobering display about how badly damaged Southampton was during the Blitz.

Hampshire and the Solent region were the centre of the world for aviation research and development between 1910 and 1960.  More than 26 aircraft manufacturers made this area their home and built everything from biplanes to spacecraft, and of course the legendary Spitfire.

It was also home to the largest flying boat operation in the world, which was THE way of travelling to the British Empire on week-long aerial cruises, and members were able to climb aboard giant SHORT SANDRINGHAM S.25/V – VH-BRC, Beachcomber flying boat (a few misnomers there!) to visit the Flight Deck.

Pay them a visit when you are next in the area as there are many worlds firsts that came out of this region and the Isle of Wight.
• The world’s only jet-fighter-flying boat,the Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 – TG263, and one of the most unusual experimental aircraft ever built.
• A replica of The Avro 504 – a First World War biplane.
• The Britten-Norman BN-1F single-seat ultralight aircraft built on the Isle of Wight in 1950.
• The Saunders-Roe Skeeter two-seat training and scout helicopter that was developed and produced at Southampton Airport.
• and The Southampton University Man Powered Aircraft (or SUMPAC) which became the first human-powered aeroplane to make an officially authenticated take-off and flight on 9 November 1961. It was designed and built by Southampton university students between 1960 and 1961 for an attempt at the Kremer prize, but it was never able to complete the ‘figure-of-eight’ course specified to claim the prize money.
• The Wight Quadruplane (Replica) – ‘N546’ is a British single seat quadruplane fighter aircraft built by J Samuel White & Company Limited (Wight Aircraft) on the Isle of Wight during World War I.

Members also went through for the 2nd visit to Rolls-Royce, who were very amenable when it became clear we had more than the suggested quota for a bespoke tour, and let us have 2 tours  – both of which were thoroughly enjoyed by members and their guests.

The attention to detail that goes into these cars is phenomenal and at the end of the tour, members were invited to sit in a few of the sumptuous cars that stood sentry in the lobby of their impressive premises near Goodwood.

A week later, we reciprocated with a tour in our collections centre and were fascinated to see some footage in our own Archives of the Rolls-Royce factory when it was still up in Crewe and seeing the vast changes in the way things are now done on the production line!

On that note, if you haven’t done a tour of our Collections centre – Pop through, bring a guest or invite your car club through – they are equally informative! Booking details for these and the Social Programme events, appear in your monthly Newsletter.

See some of you at Aston Martin Works in June!

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