Post a thread

Post a report or anything else to the forums

See latest posts

Latest posts across the community

Contact Staff

Our team are here to help if needed

Great Britain Royal Aeronautical Establishment Bedford, Jan - Sept 2019

KPUrban_

Twat With A Camera
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
235
Reaction score
271
Points
63
Location
Cambridgeshire
Website
www.flickr.com
RAE Bedford
Throughout the late 1930's and early 1940's there was a mass growth and interest in the UK for aircraft both in commercial and military usage, accelerated by the ongoing world war. It didn't take too long the realise that for the development of technologies there would need to be somewhere for the development to take place.
Set up as the National Experimental Establishment it was originally planned for the already existing Farnborough site to take up the role as the testing facility. It was later decided that the site would be based in Bedforshire, making use of the existing RAF Thurleigh airfield and basing the wind tunnels and other facilities at the Twinwood farm.
A6602%20airfield.jpg


The site would be later named the National Aeronautical Establishment in 1945 later the Royal Aeronautical Establishment Bedford in 1955.

Construction began in 1947 to convert the airfield with works such as the runway extension taking place with the windtunnels starting to appear in 1946 with most construction work running into the late 1950's. The sites housed four windunnels, 3ft x 3ft, 3ft x 4ft, 13ft x 9ft and 8ft x 8ft, a runway and control tower along with the accompanying structures.
RAE 8by8.jpg
The 8ftX8ft tunnel viewed in 1982 (Images from https://www.bahg.org.uk/)

Today the 13 x 9 tunnel is still in active use, with RedBull employing the tunnel in development of F1 racing cars/

The tunnels saw heavy usage in the years to come working on almost all Aircraft projects in the UK and some worldwide. Mainly due to the vast knowledge of those employed and advanced facilities which the site provided quoted as being "the finest research and development establishment outside the U.S.A." by Author Percy in his book of RAE bedford.

The early 70's saw a team of high speed researchers relocated, from Teddington whilst the laboratories were rebuilt, to RAE bedford.

concorde_modelsml.jpg


The wind tunnels saw development of aircraft such as the Concorde as well as the Hawker Siddeley Harrier as well as military rockets and weapons.

RAF Thurleigh was prominently used for developing flight systems and later aircraft designs including helicopters.
Systems such as Tactical Landing Guidance, MADGE (Microwave Aircraft Digital Guidance Equipment), Area Navigation and Flight management, Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) which all have links to their development at the airfield.

Today
As of 1994 thurleigh airfield no longer served the RAE and has since become a storage ground for recalled cars.

The windtunnels have become part of the Twinwoods estate with some being re purposed for industrial usage and other (as mentioned) being re used for leisure or different forms of research. The other building have sat vacant with parts of the tunnels being demolished.

The Explores
So, where to start.
I'll begin the report sometime back in Spring 2019. After having failed the main 8x8 windtuneel we had been left empty handed and thus decided to give the former Thurleigh control tower a try, following a lengthy walk in the rain we made it and after some questionable climbing we were in.

Ground Floor
47121160814_9f158377a4_b.jpg

The Stairwell
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2fZFWC2]47910520681_ebbf1fe557_b.jpg
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2eMWhqJ]47121164154_bb578e77a3_b.jpg

The Top
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2eAKfrc]46994529765_6254bf0bfe_b.jpg
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2eAKfQt]46994531115_16398a3c9a_b.jpg

The 3x3 Lab
For this part of the report I take us back to January, our first attempt of the infamous site. It had been a rather long travel and after a tight squeeze and climb we had found our way into the 3x3 Laboratory. This building is the most decayed of the 4 in this report and perhaps the most empty. Once in and set up thngs went to crap as my D5100 decided that it would rather be an expensive paperweight than a camera. So I was left with no choice but to use a friends.

I assume there might have been a turbine here?
[url=https://flic.kr/p/23Q8W6r]39926145643_2cb51264d4_b.jpg

Putting things in scale.
[url=https://flic.kr/p/QFhDo4]31949715747_76554d1b50_b.jpgTestChambers


More vast nothingness.
39926146213_33f7613f70_b.jpgCollapsed

Some documents.
31949715027_82055b436b_b.jpg


Pigeon filled control room.
39926297913_cde2feef34_b.jpg

31945053237_a56e79c797_b.jpgTestDesk_01

The Cooling Fans
Now, September 2019. Due to the nature of the sites size it was likely that it would have to produce its own power to supply the power hungry equipment inside, I assume these fans would have had some relation in this.

This was one of the eight or so fans so one photo should be enough.
48928472056_e0f76bf4d4_b.jpgAir Cooled

The 8x8 Lab
The final structure on this report is the big one 2 control room and some interesting features.

The Windtunnel Hall
DSC_7114-HDR.jpg
DSC_7121-HDR.jpg

48742253078_89d5554977_b.jpgExhaustion

48739166916_a0c35a34a4_b.jpgHighest In Control

Windtunnel Control Room
48742583701_12dc6e013e_b.jpgThe Dictators Chair
DSC_6980.jpg

48742500943_0efebdbaa9_b.jpgExperimental
49084502172_73d206d608_b.jpgMind Control

The power supply Control Room (I assume)
48738632506_0af5c7d0c6_b.jpg
[url=https://flic.kr/p/2htqk9q]48880693316_17ab11d19a_b.jpgDeSynchronized

DSC_7079.jpg


And with all that, that'll be all.
KP
48732927773_41336b7e0b_b.jpgHorsing Around V2

.​
 

AndyK!

Forum Admin
Staff member
Forum admin
Joined
Mar 17, 2013
Messages
1,629
Reaction score
1,464
Points
113
Location
Grimsby, UK
I never tire of seeing this place, has a little bit of everything. Great pics too.
 
OP
KPUrban_

KPUrban_

Twat With A Camera
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
235
Reaction score
271
Points
63
Location
Cambridgeshire
Website
www.flickr.com
I never tire of seeing this place, has a little bit of everything. Great pics too.
It's almost perfect in my opinion. Would like to see it at least preserved perhaps as a listed building. Thanks a lot man, still more photos waiting to be edited from here.
 

Dubbed Navigator

Webmaster
Staff member
Webmaster
Joined
Aug 17, 2015
Messages
1,945
Reaction score
575
Points
113
Location
Leicestershire
Now that is impressive, but I must admit to being a bit miffed. I visited Thurleigh years ago and didnt even know this part existed. The only thing a bit "different" about it was the storage of the car scrappage scheme. Think the cars in the background here are different to that?

Awesome place. Well done.
 
OP
KPUrban_

KPUrban_

Twat With A Camera
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
235
Reaction score
271
Points
63
Location
Cambridgeshire
Website
www.flickr.com
Now that is impressive, but I must admit to being a bit miffed. I visited Thurleigh years ago and didnt even know this part existed. The only thing a bit "different" about it was the storage of the car scrappage scheme. Think the cars in the background here are different to that?

Awesome place. Well done.
Thanks man. The main airfield is littered with recalled cars with there being 2017 plate cars on there. The control tower has been done a few times before hand but went quiet for a bit until I gave it a go.
 

obscureserenity

Moderator
Staff member
Forum moderator
Joined
Jan 14, 2017
Messages
522
Reaction score
434
Points
63
Location
Brighton
Great report! Really well documented and good job getting into all the different buildings :) Thanks for sharing this with us!
 

hamtagger

Full member
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Messages
4,269
Reaction score
1,181
Points
113
Location
Lincoln
Nice job there! Good to see the power control room open again. It was locked tight for 3 or 4 years :)
 

The_Raw

Forum Admin
Staff member
Forum admin
Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
4,038
Reaction score
1,980
Points
113
Awesome stuff. Good work getting round all the different bits :)
 
Top