Jets line-up for 30th celebration

The Cold War Jets collection at Bruntingthorpe

The Cold War Jets collection at Bruntingthorpe

Historic aircraft from the Cold War era lined up for a special photo opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of a family’s ownership of a district airfield.

The Walton family bought Bruntingthorpe airfield in August 1983 and set about building its impressive collection of military aircraft alongside the growing business.

Today the airfield boasts more than 20 aircraft inits VCold War jets collection, while the proving grounds, vehicle engineering and de-fleet centre provide employment for more than 100 people.

The Cold War jets collection – plus some of the huge VC10s which landed there recently following retirement from RAF service – were lined up on the two-mile-long runway for a photo to commemorate the anniversary.

The collection includes the English Electric Lightning, Canberra and Comet, while the airfield was also where the Avro Vulcan XH558 was restored to airworthy condition.

David Walton, managing director of Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, said: “Each and every one of these aircraft has its own significance in terms of the defence of our country and our military operations around the world.”

Built for the RAF in 1942, Bruntingthorpe was a heavy bomber base during the Second World War and after the war was used for top secret tests by Sir Frank Whittle’s Powerjets firm.

In the 1950s it was given to the United States Air Force, which built the two-mile-long runway for its nuclear bombers.

From 1973 to 1983 Chrysler UK used the site for vehicle testing. It was then bought by the Walton family of David, his sister Elizabeth, and brothers, John and Pete.

David said: “From the very start we were keen to maintain the link to the aviation heritage of the site and encourage the growth of the Cold War Jets Collection as well as developing the site as a valuable and important element in local business and commerce.”




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