History of the Aeropark

 

The AVA, Aeropark Volunteers Association can trace its roots back to the Loughborough and Leicester Air Museum that formed in 1977. After four short years the group closed and a new organisation, The East Midlands Historic Flying Group formed with the main purpose of getting Varsity ( WL626 - ex 6FTS from RAF Finningley ) flying again.

Once again the group failed to get a foothold due to insufficient funding but in 1984 a new group - the AVA formed with the help of the Local Councils of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire who along with a large input of funding from NCP Car Parks helped established the AVA and the Aeropark on a site on the Eastern perimeter of the airfield at Castle Donington.

Exhibit Arrivals

Avro Vulcan B2A arrived from RAF Waddington in 1982 and its future was secured for the AVA after an eleventh hour intervention to prevent it being reduced to scrap. The AW Argosy ( G-BEOZ ), Britten Norman Sheriff, and Westland Whirlwind ( Bristow colours ) arrived shortly afterwards.

Once again the whole effort was thrown into disarray when the airport announced apron and runway extensions in 1994 and the park was closed. However through the dedication of a handful of AVA members and the team at the airport, a new site was found at the North Western corner of the airfield close to the Donington Park Motor Racing Circuit. The new Aeropark was opened in August 2001 following a substantial investment programme by the airport.

The new site is managed and run by the AVA volunteers and all entrance fees are put back into the Aeropark including the purchasing of new aircraft exhibits and maintaining the existing ones.

The AVA has purchased and built a genuine World War II Romney building on site and we are now in the process of building another which will be larger than the existing one. The existing romney houses a working display area, aviation memorabilia and artefacts, office, stores and a toilet block. The addition of the new Romney will allow us to display the more delicate airframes which are not suitable for external display.

The Aeropark also includes two viewing mounds parallel to the runway at East Midlands Airport and remains one of the regions top aviation attractions, offering uninterrupted views of aircraft on the runway and taxiways.

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