Collections: The Riches of East Fortune
- By John Sotham
- Air & Space magazine, January 2001
(Page 2 of 2)
This is typical of the museum’s philosophy of keeping the focus on the larger story of aviation’s development. The museum displays the oldest aircraft in Great Britain, the 1896 Hawk glider designed by Percy Filcher, alongside modern jet fighters; “Within 60 years [of the Hawk] we can show people an airplane that can fly at two times the speed of sound,” Smith says.
Another representative of a notable aviation milestone is the nose section of an English Electric Canberra that made the first round-trip transatlantic flight within 24 hours. The Canberra’s return trip took 10 hours, three minutes; by contrast, when the R34 airship made its historic transatlantic round trip 33 years earlier, the two journeys took 108 and 75 hours.
East Fortune houses space hardware too, including a section of Blue Streak, the first stage of the Europa rocket, which was designed to launch nuclear weapons but was ultimately developed to boost satellites (a job it never got to do).
Outside, a de Havilland Comet, which is often open for tours, and an Avro Vulcan rest on a long-abandoned taxiway. The two aircraft serve as lonely sentinels, guarding the old hangars until next year’s Festival of Flight and fly-in bring the drone of engines back to East Fortune.
** Editor's Note: Revised on 4/12/10 to correct Hess' flight destination from England to