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Found 4 results

  1. RAE Bedford 8x8, 3x3 Windtunnels and RAF Thurleigh Tower - Apr/Dec 15 The Explores The first visit was intended to be a quick recce as there had been nothing from the place for a few years, so naturally assumed it was sealed tight... but bloody hell are we glad we checked the place out! Explored with @Session9 and @The Lone Shadow over 2 days last April and accessed the 8x8 tunnel building and the ATC tower at Thurleigh the next day. The 8x8 building complex itself it situated within a live industrial area complete with active security driving/walking around and people/cars generally coming and going constantly. Even the main test area had live offices at one end with PIR’s covering that part stopping me from getting to the bottom of the massive ladders that led to the roof. I found out months later that these were inactive, twat. Various companies have warehouses or office space pretty much encircling the target building so access was lets just say a little tricky! At one point we squeezed and shuffled through pigeon shit and wheelie bins only to find it eventually led back outside again much to our amusement. A bit of perseverance and we were in. The History The origins of RAE Bedford date back to 1944, and Aeronautical Research Committee Report No. ARC 7500 which recommended the setting up of a National Establishment for aeronautical research and development. The Government, in accepting the report, decided to set up the Establishment at Bedford. The NAE became the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) Bedford in 1955 1. Authority to proceed with the construction of the 8x8 Tunnel was given in 1949 and it achieved its first run in 1955. Capable of operation at subsonic speeds and at supersonic speeds from a Mach number of 1.3 to 2.5, the air was driven by a 12-foot diameter, ten-stage axial compressor powered from an 80,000hp [60 Megawatts] electrical source. The advanced aerodynamic capability and quality of the tunnel was such that it was extensively used over a period of forty-six years and served many overseas customers, both military and civil, as well as meeting the British need. Finally surplus to requirements in 2002, its 10,000 tons of steel have hopefully been usefully recycled. All that remains today is he empty infrastructure that contained the tunnel and compressor.... Aerial stock image of the now 'Twinwoods' site.. 2. 3. The first control room we were excited to stumble across, a series of blinded viewing windows allowed personnel to monitor the main compressor hall. Hadn't a wide angle lens then so only a couple of iPhone pano's really and i wish i'd spent a bit more time photographing this bit.. 4. 5. 6. So, i took a wander down the hallway and came across a load of empty bland offices on the left and some interesting bits on the right.. 7. Supply area.. 8. 9. Further down the corridor (which myself and @Urbexbandoned found sealed on a visit months later) I got excited when i read this sign.. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. Moving on from the main site lies the old RAF Thurleigh ATC tower. The Airfield is now packed full of vehicles, new and old, some of the older ones victims of the scrappage scheme but i wasn't hugely interested in these and we headed towards the tower itself via a few other barrack shaped buildings and a wooden radar pylon... 15. These didn't look worth the effort... 16. The tower... Jumping back to Apr 15…we decided to take a look at the ATC tower which was basically situated on the same site but on the other side of the massive multi-runway airfield. A long walk past some smelly sheep and a few dives into the bushes thanks to some farmer spreading equally smelly shit around the neighbouring field, eventually we were at the tower. On first inspection the place looked like it had been recently sealed with nice fresh looking boards all around but with a bit of head/ball scratching and a leap of faith from The Lone Shadow, myself and Session9 were in… We didn’t bother with zillion cars parked on the runways as there were transporters and humans in hi-viz kicking around most of the time.. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. Fast forward to November 2015, Myself and @Urbexbandoned returned once again to check out the 3x3 Tunnel building.. 23. 24. 25/26. 27. 28. 29. 30. The 3x3' Control Room.. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. As always thanks for looking and feedback always appreciated : )
  2. History Thurleigh was built for RAF Bomber Command in 1941 by W & C French Ltd in 1941. On 7th September 1942 the 306th Group started to arrive; with some of their B17s flying in the following week. From October 1942, the 306th Group mounted a long and arduous offensive suffering many losses. The Group finally completed their long war on 19th April 1945 which was their 342nd mission; the second highest for any B17 Group. During its time at Thurleigh over 9,600 sorties had been flown with the loss of 171 aircraft in action and over 22,500 tons of bombs were dropped. In 1946 construction work began on the airfield to turn the site into what became known as the Royal Aeronautical Establishment, Bedford. The airfield was finally closed in 1997. (History borrowed from Nelly) The Explore Explored with Session9 and Hamtagger, this was the second site of the day. A long walk into the middle of nowhere - A load of sheep, a farmer cutting grass or crops and a large car graveyard was ahead of us before approaching the control tower area. I recently acquired a pair of mint condition WW2 binoculars and was dying to use them. This was their first explore, and funny enough they came in very handy for checking out the tower for entry points from miles away as well as potential onlookers, security patrols, etc. Upon arrival, it was sealed pretty tight and entry seemed unlikely at first. After a bit of rummaging around amongst a load of unrelated rubbish outside, we used something makeshift along with a leap of faith to shoehorn ourselves inside. Looks like this place has been kept relatively free from youth vandalism, many windows and doors were still intact and the place lacked usual tagging normally found more inner city. Most of the rooms have weathered well over the past 18 years, with algae and moss growing on various parts of the walls. The contrast of green growth, yellow backdrop and a browning rusty texture make well for a point and shoot let alone a crisp DSLR set. Top floor contained all the telecommunications equipment along with remnants of signal flares. 2nd floor from top contained the wall board with all the flight information and included various documents and information, other floors contained geological information and weather reports. Overall, a great and interesting explore. It is very rare to see somewhere that has deteriorated largely through weather and time rather than some little shit throwing bricks through the windows and wrecking the place. Pictures Thanks for viewing The Lone Shadow
  3. RAF Thurleigh Air Traffic Control Tower The Explore After a double visit to the RAE Bedford Windtunnel testing site, we decided to take a look at the ATC tower which was basically situated on the same site but on the other side of the massive multi-runway airfield. A long walk past some smelly sheep and a few dives into the bushes thanks to some farmer spreading equally smelly shit around the neighbouring field, eventually we were at the tower. On first inspection the place looked like it had been recently “sealed†with nice fresh looking boards all around but with a bit of head/ball scratching and a leap of faith from The Lone Shadow, myself and Session9 were in Didn’t bother with zillion cars parked on the runways as there were transporters and humans in hi-viz kicking around most of the time.. The History Thurleigh was built for RAF Bomber Command in 1940 by W & C French Ltd. Its first use was by NO.160 SQN RAF, forming on 16 January 1942. Thurleigh was one of 28 fields listed for use by the U.S. Eighth Air Force on 4 June 1942, tentatively designated station B-4, and was allocated on 10 August 1942. With the essential construction completed, the 306th Bombardment Group deployed to Thurleigh on 7 September 1942. The group flew the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft, and remained at Thurleigh until 1 December 1945. That was the longest tenure of any U.S. air group at a UK base. Starting in 1946, construction work began on the airfield to turn the site into what became known as the Royal Aeronautical Establishment, Bedford. The runway was extended in the post-war period to accommodate the Bristol Brabazon aircraft (which required a very long runway) that ultimately never went into production. One local road was dropped into a cutting so that it would not sit above the level of the runway. All this airfield activity justified a Control Tower of this size… The Pictures Taken in 1957 (not really, was a few weeks ago ) 2/3. On the long walk to the tower we went past this rickety wooden construction with the bottom of the ladder entwined with thick thorny shit.. 4. Also this collection of buildings which didn't look worth the effort accessing.. 5/6. On to the ATC Tower itself.. 7. Main Tower Control.. 8. 9. 10. 11/12.. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19/20. 21. Central Stairwell 22/23. Lurking in the ladies.. 24. As always, thanks for looking and feedback always appreciated
  4. Thurleigh was built for RAF Bomber Command in 1941 by W & C French Ltd in 1941. On 7th September 1942 the 306th Group started to arrive; with some of their B17s flying in the following week. From October 1942, the 306th Group mounted a long and arduous offensive suffering many losses. The Group finally completed their long war on 19th April 1945 which was their 342nd mission; the second highest for any B17 Group. During its time at Thurleigh over 9,600 sorties had been flown with the loss of 171 aircraft in action and over 22,500 tons of bombs were dropped. In 1946 construction work began on the airfield to turn the site into what became know as the Royal Aeronautical Establishment, Bedford. The airfield was finally closed in 1997. This is the control tower
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