Helicopter museum begins project to improve facilities
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 March 2018
A project to improve The Helicopter Museum’s visitor facilities has got underway.
The scheme, which has so far been self-funded by the museum and could cost around £300,000, will see the entrance which includes the shop, café and some aircraft replaced by a new extension to the Weston attraction’s Duke of York Hangar.
The buildings have been some of the first things seen by visitors since 1988 but were always intended to be a temporary measure.
Museum founder Elfan Ap Rees said: “We are running out of undercover space for aircraft and have planning permission for another hangar, but the condition of the visitor services building is deteriorating to such an extent we have got to make it a priority.
“We are aware the building we are using for people to come into is not very attractive.”
The extension will also house a new exhibition showcasing the world’s oldest helicopter, the Hafner R2 Revoplane which was built in Austria in 1930.
The shop and café have been relocated to the main display hangar for the duration of the work.
The project is the second major renovation to be carried out at the museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of helicopters, after £134,000 was spent on transforming its pilot block and control tower to show off Weston’s aviation history.
The Helicopter Museum, which opened in 1958, has also been recognised at Weston Chamber of Commerce’s annual business awards when it won the prize for innovation.
The museum is also gearing up for a series of major fundraising events to help finance the extension.
Visitors will have the chance to meet birds of prey and watch bubble shows during a family fun day on March 25 before the World at War Weekend takes place on April 7-8.
A collection of classic American cars including a Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Charger will be on display on May 13 for the museum’s popular Cadillacs and Copters day.
The museum will be open as normal while the work is taking place.