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Moving Aircraft at Brooklands

The Brooklands Museum has undergone some major changes in 2004 which are linked to the development of the site around the museum, but also because of a major new addition: a Concorde. To learn more about this, you can visit these pages: Concorde at Brooklands

Now about the developments, it boils down to the fact that the former airfield will get a new purpose, and this means that the two airliners that were parked there had to be moved inside the museum grounds. Now the reason that this hadn't been done before was that both the Vanguard and the VC10 wouldn't fit across the available bridge. This problem has been solved by constructing a shallow ramp over the existing bridge which spreads the load and lifts the aircraft high enough for the wings to clear the surrounding structures.

In preparation for the move both aircraft were weighed, to make sure that the ramp was constructed to the right specs. The rest of the story from here will follow the photographs as they will tell it best.


Photo M. Strick

Photo M. Strick

Photo M. Strick

Photo J. Downey

1. Weighing the VC10: pulling the VC10 forward onto the scales using resident off-road recovery vehicle 'Milly Tant'.
2. The nose gear positioned correctly on the scales.
3. As well as the main gear.
4. As everybody knows these things go better when you have a comittee to oversee operations, even aligning a tow bar!


Photo J. Downey

Photo A. Lambert

Photo R. Wilson

Photo S. Green

1. The aircraft movements and preparations started a while ago. Once the area between the Strat chamber and the acoustics building was clear the Viscount (minus outer wings) was (temporarily) moved into the spot where the Varsity used to be, this having moved next to the 1-11 already.
2. Now before the Vanguard was moved across the river, on 29th May 2004 the opportunity was taken to taxi her on the runway one final time.
3. As the new location will prohibit movement, this will have been the last time a Vickers Vanguard ever moved under her own power.
4. Using the small BA tug seen on these photos the Vanguard was pulled onto the runway a few days later.


Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

1. Positioning the Vanguard.
2. Together with the VC10 (once again being positioned using 'Milly Tant'), the two aircraft were left on the runway for a few days.
3. This was a fitting goodbye, the aircraft were standing on the runway from which they made their first flights all those years ago. Soon that runway will be no more.
4. The two airliners parked on the runway.


Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

1. The aircraft together on the runway.
2. View from the VC10.
3. The VC10 at the threshold of the runway, this is where she also stood on 16 October 1964 just before her first flight.
4. The VC10 standing on the Brooklands runway.


Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

1. The VC10 on the runway.
2. Seen from the front, it looks like a strange creature now!
3. On the 4th June 2004 the Vanguard was the first to cross the bridge. In the meantime the Viscount and Varsity had been moved from their temporary resting places to the new aircraft section, situated in the old car park.
4. The ramp was constructed so that the weight could be borne by it, but also to enable the wings to clear the flight ticket office which is to the left of this photo.


Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

1. The Vanguard was then towed to its allocated position.
2&3. The VC10's turn came a few days later on 7th June 2004. First she was towed towards the bridge.
4. A larger tug was used to pull her backwards onto the bridge.


Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

1. The BA tug was used now to steer the nosewheels.
2. Until the mainwheels were almost leaving the ramp.
3. At that point this machine was manouvred underneath a specially built cradle that fits under the main-gear bogies.
4. Using this 'crawler' the aircraft could be safely moved towards the parking area as it enabled tighter turns to be made.


Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

Photo S. Green

1&2. Turning and slowly moving towards the parking area.
3. Close up of how the 'cradle' fitted beneath the main gear.
4. The three large Vickers airliners together in the new aircraft park. The 1-11 and Concorde will join them there.

 

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