View Full Version : A 'Budgie' for Scotland

11th Dec 2003, 04:17
With the forecast of a Concorde for East Fortune - is the National
Museum overlooking Scottish relevance for Concorde's pulling power? Types like the 748 ,Islander and Sikorsky S-61 have done
far more for the Scottish economy and populace - a massive investment is required to both move and sustain the Concorde inside - will this mean no room for the less glamourous but worthy?

11th Dec 2003, 04:49
Couldn't agree more. The MofF at East Fortune does not even have a production version of the SAL Bulldog. I asked if they were going to acquire a production one when the RAF was selling them off and was told that the prototype was enough. The prototype is largely a converted Beagle Pup and is not really representative of a production aircraft - either by being made in Scotland or being in RAF colours (or one of the other export countries it was succesfully sold to). To me the production aircraft is far more important as it represents the finished product. The prototype is just a stage on the way to it.

Hopefully some of the multi-millions we hear about being spent on the MofF in the near future will be used to acquire and display exhibits which have a real relevance to Scotland's aviation heritage as well as Concorde.

11th Dec 2003, 06:17
Grow - Couldn't agree more - I would love to see the single Pioneer move to East Fortune along with a Scottish Bulldog.
The seems to be too much emphasis on jets that have a vague importance to Scotland i.e Harrier GR.1 when there are other machines of more interest.

11th Dec 2003, 23:33
Other than having been inherited from Strathallan I've never understood what the Miles Monarch, sole Miles M.18 and unique in UK GAL Cygnet have to do with Scottish aviation. They all rightly belong south of the border, and even better, to be restored and flying.

12th Dec 2003, 00:19
Oh well I'll argue the toss :)

If you fill EF up with just 'Scottish' aircraft at the expense of crowd pullers, and the place ends up going under from lack of visitors, how has that helped?

Concorde will pull in piles of extra visitors and bodies through the entrance mean the collection's longer term future is happier. I too don't see the real relevance to the Scottish theme of a Harrier or a Concorde but I can see their relevance to a kid who just wants to go and see some exciting jets. Most children will be far more interested in a Harrier, or going inside a Concorde, than they will be in looking at a second Bulldog that differs from the one they have only in paint job and a few details (child's eyes remember).

Slavish adherence to a particular collecting policy at the expense of crowd-pullers can only ever be a bad thing - and I have little doubt that the building to house Concorde will also house a few other items that would otherwise be stuck outside. I hear, for instance, that the Comet will come indoors too.

12th Dec 2003, 04:40
Damien - some could argue that the RAF museum's slavish collecting policy initially of RAF aircraft didn't do them a lot of harm!
The Museum of Flight is a national funded museum which receives funding from the Scottish Executive. The notion of having to attract extra income from 'crowd pullers' isn't really necessary.
Of course the museum has to pay it's way to some degree but the current plan calls for the Concorde to occupy the hanger housing light aviation purely on it's own - whilst the Concorde is certainly interesting does it justify having a complete hanger to itself?
The idea of having a Scottish built Bulldog has a lot of merit - by all means the prototype could be passed on to another
collection. Aircraft such as the Shackleton should form a part of the collection - the present collection whilst interesting holds some types which are of little relevance - maybe sell some and acquire types like the Heron ,Hurricane, Fox Moth and Islander

13th Dec 2003, 06:02
East Foryune has a strange mix of types. Certianally the full Scottish Aviation stable is a must. But I am very glad they have collected the Miles types, GAL Cygnet, Storch, Shelia Scotts PA24 and the Logonair Beech 18. All types that would have been ignored my most museums south of the border. The question is is it there to represent Scotlands aviation heratige or to educiate about the history of aviation.
PS I will get there one day, but I have been saying that for 10 years!

13th Dec 2003, 07:02
The reason for the depth and breadth of East Fortune's collection has more to do with availability than sticking to a Scottish theme. Pilcher's Hawk glider and an early Wright Brothers engine (donated by the Wrights) were acquired by the then Royal Scottish Museum in the early years of the last Century with a Spitfire coming in the 1970's. Once the decision was taken to create a fully fledged aviation museum the opportunity was taken to acquire virtually anything that was offered. As Farnboroughrob says this has led to the Museum having many important exbibits which might well have ended on the scrapheap. A prime example of this is the British Rockets collection - Blue Streak, Black Arrow, Black Knight , Prospero, Skylark etc. These were 1950s and 60s cutting edge technology on a par with Concorde which have as much relevance to Scotland as Concorde and which would have been scrapped and lost forever if the Museum had not had the foresight and space to accept them when they were offered. My fear is that they will become unwanted when the glamorous crowd puller arrives and cleared out to make space for her. No doubt they will be returned to one of the storage hangars and "preserved" but I expect the opportunity will be lost to display them alongside Concorde to demonstrate that Britain's expertise in aeronautical matters in the sixties extended beyond Concorde.

As Scotland's National Aviation Museum the Mof F has dual role in preserving and educating about the History of Flight in general and also the specifically Scottish aspects of it. Now that it has a good representative "History of Flight" collection (with plenty to appeal to the casual visitor) I would like to see it concentrating on the Scottish side of things bit more.


13th Dec 2003, 07:13
Interesting comments Grow - I visited for the first time this summer and found it a little bit lacking in direction. Certainly nobody can deny the desire to 'save' when possible but some of the aircraft in storage are vague in the extreme. The 'Storch' for example whilst interesting could have a similar story told by the
Pioneer down at Cosford . Other types like the Provost don't have a strong flavour - a complete Chipmunk would be far more appropriate.
They have a superb basis from which to work but I think more could be done to showcase Scotland's aeronautical heritage.

I have control
13th Dec 2003, 08:28
I worked at East Fortune for a number of years. Although it is nominally a national museum, until the past few years the Museum of Flight has been run on an absolute shoestring budget compared to the other national aviation collections. When you visit you are looking at the cumulative effects of 25+ years of tiny museums staffs who have worked bloody hard to try make bricks from straw as best they could. DamienB's comments are right on the money in terms of the reality of the situation, and he is the only person in the whole of this thread so far who has stopped to think about this from the perspective of the general public (as opposed to the narrow vision of the aircraft enthusiast) which comprises 99% of Scottish taxpayers and over 95% of the annual attendance at East Fortune.

13th Dec 2003, 17:38
Control - the certainly are restraints in terms of money received from government . However the current plan is that the hanger will be totally emptied and the occupied solely by the Concorde.
How many other collections can you think of where one new exhibit joins and many others are reduced to storage?
I am aware of your connection - the Chipmunk in particular
bears my fingerprints but she is one that is now out of sight.
The draw of a Concorde to the general public is undenyable
but it's also worth pointing out that it will require an enormous investment in the coming years to keep it in pristine condition.
The remit of preserving Scottish aviation history is of prime consideration. Whilst the non-aviation minded public does indeed
dictate by voting with their feet you could also argue that if you
need 'crowd pullers' to bring people in it would be possible to
have for example 'a jet' , 'a holiday jet' ,'a helicopter' and the particular type be of no importance. I think in some ways enthusiasts underestimate the general public's ability to be drawn
into and absorb the history of enhibits. The Turbulent for example
isn't awesome to look at but Scottish people can relate to it and I am sure they enjoy it - a far more sexier American single could be in it's place but it wouldn't be Scottish born and I think that does matter.

Having spoken to yourself on occasion I am sure your aware of my interest - to me types like the Hurricane play a large part in Scottish aviation history -whilst I cannot wave a wand I feel that possibly one positive effect of the Concorde grant might be an increasing interest in the activities at East Fortune and the potential for more money.

13th Dec 2003, 17:58
RileyDove. Is it really the case that they are going to clear Hangar IV of everything but Concorde so that it can sit in splendid isolation while everything else is stuck in one of the storage Hangars until they get funding and planning/listed building consent and permission to build on the site of a Scheduled Ancient Monument for a new Superhangar which could take ten years.

I Have Control. You are being very modest as the Museum really came on leaps and bounds in the years when (excuse the pun) you were in control.

I should also perhaps declare an interest and say that I worked at EF for a short while in the early eighties (long before your time) and was extremely impressed with what you subsequently achieved with the limited funds available to you. When I was there big plans were starting to be drawn up for expansion and I was really pleased to see how things turned out when I went back for the PFA Fly-In this year. (Having watched the Vulcan and Comet land in the early eighties it was a great thrill to be able to follow suit - albeit in a PA28.)

Finally for anybody contemplating visiting EF it is definately worth a visit - Concorde or not - so dont be put off by the apparent randomness or parochially Scottish nature of the collection. There is something there for everybody.