1. Welcome to 28DaysLater.co.uk - 28DL - The UK Urban Exploring / Urban Exploration / Urbex Forums.

    Asylums and Hospitals, High Stuff, Industrial, Leisure Sites, Residential Sites, Military Sites, Mines and Quarries, ROC Posts, Theatres and Cinemas, Draining, Underground Sites, European and International Sites, Leads, Rumours and News, Kit, Clothing, Equipment, Photography and Video sections plus a lot more.

    Please feel free to browse this website as a guest. Creating an account removes some ads, allows you to post replies, start new topics and threads, and gives you access to more features including bookmarking, live chat, messaging and notification systems.

    Create an account | Login | Request new password

Report - RAE Bedford - April 2015

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Session9, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    100
    History

    In 1946 Thurleigh became the site for the second Royal Aircraft Establishment site.
    Two new runways were built 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.
    The site had several reasonably large wind tunnels, one supersonic and one large subsonic.
    It also had a 'drop tower', the drop tower is now used as a skydiving training venue.
    It was often touted as a possible site for the third London Airport (long before Stansted Airport took on that role).
    The local community was strongly opposed and many rural buildings were adorned with slogans such as "Thurleigh -NO!", "No! No! No!" and "Maplin Now".
    The supersonic tunnel was dismantled by 2005 and the building which held the fans and driving motors is now used as the set for the BBC popular science programme, "Bang Goes The Theory".
    The RAE was deeply involved in the development of Concorde and was also a centre for the development of the Instrument Landing System.
    Local villages were being circled by airliners in the middle of the night, with planes testing the ILS; the planes would take off, circle, and re-land continually.
    On 13 March 1961, a Hawker P.1127 (XP831), the prototype of what would become the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, took its first regular flight at RAE Bedford.
    Also in March 1967 the U-2 flew out of RAE Bedford.
    During the 1970s RAE Bedford became home to numerous flight simulators, originally using model belts and camera technology, but later utilising computers.
    In the early 1980s the Advanced Flight Simulator was constructed, allowing pilots to be immersed in a fully three-dimensional moving simulation.
    Also in the early eighties, RAE Bedford oversaw the development of the Short Take Off & Landing STOL system for the Sea Harrier (the most visible part of which are the up-curved ramps (ski-jumps) on the decks of Royal Navy aircraft carriers).
    This brought hundreds more takeoffs and landings that circled overhead which was ironic considering that Thurleigh has one of the longest runways in Europe and was previously one of the Avro Vulcan Bomber dispersal bases.
    In recent years, engine housings and wings were developed/tested for the Airbus.
    In April 1991 the Royal Aerospace Establishment (as the Royal Aircraft Establishment had been renamed) which operated the airfield at Bedford, was merged with other agencies to become the Defence Research Agency (DRA).
    The DRA would later become the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.
    In February 1994 the airfield was decommissioned after a lengthy study determined that flight operations should be centralised at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.

    The airfield has since been divided into two parts;
    The southern part is now known as Thurleigh Business Park, and includes the runway, which is currently used for the mass storage of new cars.
    The northern part is now Bedford Autodrome which also houses Thurleigh Museum.


    The explore

    It was about time that this local beauty spot was given a re-visit, so off we went to soak up some derp. Enjoyed this one, lots to look at in un-chaved condition. Explored with The Lone Shadow and a non member.

    [​IMG]
    1. The wind tunnels can be seen in the centre of this picture. These were dismantled shortly after the main tunnel closed and can be seen their scale is breathtaking - nearly three stories high in some places.

    [​IMG]
    2. The 'machine hall'. The propeller shape is a prop.

    [​IMG]
    3. A photograph from the early 1960's showing the main drive compressor. The walk way marked 'x' is shown for comparison in the next photo.

    [​IMG]
    4. The 'x' marks the high level walkway shown in the previous picture and together with yours truly who stands at 6' 4" plus, the scale of the tunnel can only be appreciated.

    [​IMG]
    5.

    [​IMG]
    6. Some props left over from tv/film sets.

    [​IMG]
    7.

    [​IMG]
    8. The other larger (13 feet i believe) wind tunnel exit. The plugs or bungs in their place are made from wood.

    [​IMG]
    9.

    [​IMG]
    10.

    [​IMG]
    11. Some good reading here.

    [​IMG]
    12.

    [​IMG]
    13.

    [​IMG]
    14. Towers of the generating plant. Interesting space behind these towers, as we found out!

    [​IMG]
    15. Control room for the generating station.

    [​IMG]
    16. One of my favorites of the day.

    [​IMG]
    17. Across the airfield (not literally!) we went for a peep at RAE Bedford's new Control Tower which had just opened in this picture of 1957.

    [​IMG]
    18.

    [​IMG]
    19.

    [​IMG]
    20.

    [​IMG]
    21. See of cars instead of planes.

    [​IMG]
    22. Nature now in control.

    [​IMG]
    23.


    Thanks for looking folks ! :)
     
    hamtagger, catbalou, JaneEyre and 8 others like this.

    Remove this ad by donating or subscribing.

  2. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    4,872
    Likes Received:
    1,580
    Good to see again :thumb
     
    Session9 likes this.
  3. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    111
    After a lot of more recent reports it's refreshing to see something like this- ace pics, well researched and explained. Top notch stuff sir.
     
    Session9 likes this.
  4. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,472
    Likes Received:
    1,503
    Home Page:
    Proper report that is.

    I'm surprised it's still in such good order.
     
    Session9 likes this.
  5. The Amateur Wanderer

    The Amateur Wanderer 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Messages:
    633
    Likes Received:
    680
    Banging report that, nicely shot! :thumb
     
    Session9 likes this.
  6. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Messages:
    1,059
    Likes Received:
    299
    Amazing report, the equipment looks in more or less mint
    Condition :thumb
     
    Session9 likes this.
  7. clebby

    clebby ( . Y . )
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    470
    Control room is tip top, nice one
     
    Session9 likes this.
  8. norfolkexplorer

    norfolkexplorer av u seen my marbels
    28DL Full Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    730
    Likes Received:
    163
    Home Page:
    Very nice, and great write up as well :)
     
    Session9 likes this.
  9. Camera Shy

    Camera Shy Old enough to know better
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,060
    Likes Received:
    675
    Nice one, defo good to see this pop up again.
     
    Session9 likes this.
  10. Fairdo's

    Fairdo's 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    9
    Now that's awesome, I luv an raf base....
     
    Session9 likes this.
  11. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Messages:
    2,725
    Likes Received:
    1,988
    Amazing, this is the best set ive ever seen from here. Imagine how pissed i was finding this a few months after Pyestock and turning up to find everything had been dismantled! Never managed the control room back then so need to go back really.
     
    Session9 likes this.
  12. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    93
    Full of win that. What a place and beautifully shot to boot :thumb
     
    Session9 likes this.
  13. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    195
    My all time favourite site! Good to see again. Didn't fancy the crane then?
     
    Session9 likes this.
  14. raisinwing

    raisinwing 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    396
    Likes Received:
    57
    Home Page:
    Fantastic report with awesome photos! :)

    Really like the archive shots :thumb
     
    Session9 likes this.
  15. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
    Regular User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    100
    Many thanks one and all for your kind comments :)
    Sure is a good mooch from a fascinating place and surprisingly un-wrecked :)
    Certainly in my top twenty :)
     
Draft saved Draft deleted
Loading...

Users Who Have Read This Thread (Total: 0)

Share This Page

Remove this ad by creating an account and logging in