Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum has reopened its outdoor spaces from the 18th April, Steve Bell tells us more about what to expect from the museum in the coming months
When the government’s exit steps from lockdown were published, the initial reaction was that we couldn’t reopen until May 17th (at least). A second consideration said that we have lots of space outside, why not open just that.
The problem was, and is, how many people would come just to see the outside collection. We had, and at the time of writing, have, no idea. Was it worth doing? After discussion, it was decided that we had nothing to lose, so we were going for it.
F100 Jet Fighter at NASAM
Then more discussion said, “can we take some of the inside, outside”?
Obviously, a lot of the exhibits are heavy and difficult to move. Others are fragile and not suitable. The two hangars do have doors that open a long way, allowing good views inside. Only one of each of those doors have been opened in the last several years though. Task one, see if we can get them open.
This proved far more straightforward than we had dared hope. Four doors on each hangar now easily (albeit they are heavy) open all the way. That’s part one completed.
Aerial shot of NASAM site
The next task, sort out what we can take outside. Various exhibits had been moved inside for restoration work over the winter, then came lockdown, so they weren’t all done; they are now! We have three “trailers”, and they are always moved outside for the summer, so out they went. This left some space in the main hangar. We had two microlights in store, these were carefully removed and taken around to the main hangar. They were stored” de-rigged”. One was quickly re-rigged, and we have demonstrated that three people can quickly get it out of the hangar and on display. It is big and cumbersome though! The second one took a while, and it hadn’t been rigged for many years. It took three people a morning to get it put together. It didn’t help that we seem to have three sets of wings and tails, but only one with all the connections necessary. Once put together, it is light and small; three people easily and quickly got it out of the hangar and on display. Now that we know how it goes together, we reckon we can rig or de-rig it in about ten minutes. We have a cockpit section originally used as a cockpit procedures trainer on wheels. That’s the next task; move that around to the front hangar.
What’s next? Come along and find out.