Gatwick Aviation Museum


Gatwick Aviation Museum
View plus logo of Hangar at Gatwick Aviation Museum
Gatwick Aviation Museum is located in Surrey
Gatwick Aviation Museum
Location within Surrey
Established1987 (1987), re-opened in 2016 (2016)
LocationVallance By-Ways, Lowfield Heath Road, Charlwood, Surrey, RH6 0BT
Coordinates51°9′10.32″N 0°13′3.74″W / 51.1528667°N 0.2177056°W / 51.1528667; -0.2177056Coordinates: 51°9′10.32″N 0°13′3.74″W / 51.1528667°N 0.2177056°W / 51.1528667; -0.2177056
FounderPeter Vallance

The Gatwick Aviation Museum is located in the village of Charlwood, in Surrey, United Kingdom on the boundary of Gatwick Airport.

Some of the aircraft were capable of running their engines on event days, it was intended to get as many aircraft as possible restored and into working order however the dismissal of many of the volunteers with the experience and knowledge has thrown this into doubt. Hopefully the museum will not become another static display where these once might beasts of Aviation heritage sit out their final days in silence.

The Avro Shackleton MR3, Blackburn Buccaneer S1 and English Electric Lightning F.53 can[when?] perform engine runs on event days.[1]


Originally started in 1987 as a private collection by local businessman Peter Vallance, the museum became a registered charity in 1999[2] with the objective of providing awareness of local aviation history and as an educational centre for the general public, particularly for local students and schoolchildren. A close relationship exists between the museum and the Central Sussex College which uses the museum's facilities to provide practical training for the students taking aerospace courses.[3]

The museum has a varied collection of aircraft, aircraft engines and over 500 aircraft models. The museum also has displays and artefacts related to local aviation history particularly Gatwick Airport. Aircraft may run their engines during museum open days.

The museum had been in dispute since July 2011 with Mole Valley District Council concerning planning permission, as, despite its co-location with Gatwick Airport, the council has refused permission for a permanent museum site due to a concern over the height of the proposed new building and the location within the Metropolitan Green Belt.[4] Vallance lodged a planning appeal against the decision in January 2012,[5] which was dismissed in June of that year. On 14 January 2013, Vallance died during heart surgery. Since then the museum has been run by a charitable trust set up by Vallance to cover this eventuality. The museum, as of 2015, had planning permission approved.[6]


In 2016, the new museum building opened to the public.[clarification needed] It houses some of the aircraft formerly kept outdoors, unfortunately half the collection, including some noteworthy examples, were disposed of by the trust in 2013.[7] A shop, refreshment area, flight simulator and information on the history of Gatwick Airport can also be found in the building. The museum is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.[8]

Vallance Airstrip

Vallance Airstrip was a small grass runway located in the grounds of the Gatwick Aviation Museum. The Field is inside Class Delta Airspace with traffic continuously departing and arriving on Gatwick's runways which are situated roughly 400 Meters South of Vallance. The airfield was named after the founder of the Gatwick Aviation Museum: Peter Vallance. The Airfield usually served light general aviation aircraft due to the short length of the runway. Before flying there pilots must get permission and a briefing from the owners of Vallance Airstrip, Terminal Control Gatwick and Gatwick Aerodrome Control. Unfortunately the airfield was closed late 2018 / early 2019 due to a risk adverse attitude.

Aircraft on Display


The Buccaneer S.1 outside the Gatwick Aviation Museum
The Sea Vixen, Hunter T.7, Harrier GR3 and Lightning F.53.
Accessible Canberra Nose Section

Engines on Display

The General Electric CF6 turbo-fan gas turbine outside the museum.
Some of the engines on display.

See also


  1. ^ "Museum Website".
  2. ^ "Charity Commission".
  3. ^ "Owner of Gatwick Aviation Museum 'ready to fight' for new buildings". Surrey Mirror. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Air museum bid refused take off". Crawley Observer. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Gatwick Aviation Museum owner lodges planning appeal". Dorking Advertiser. 26 February 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  6. ^ "Gatwick aviation museum plan appeal dismissed". Redhill and Reigate Life. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  7. ^ "GALLERY: Inside the new Gatwick Aviation Museum in Charlwood". 8 March 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  8. ^ "News and Newsletters - Gatwick Aviation Museum". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  • Registered Charity No. 1075858
  • Ellis, Ken (2006). Wrecks & Relics. Hinckley: Midland Publishing. p. 211. ISBN 1857802357.
  • Gatwick Aviation Museum - Official Guide

External links

  • Gatwick Aviation Museum