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Strathallan Museum

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The Strathallan Museum was an aircraft museum located at Strathallan Airfield, near Auchterardar.

The Strathallan Aircraft Collection closed August 7, 1980, following the sale of most of its aircraft.

Also known as the Strathallan Aero Park:

A collection of historic aircraft mostly from the World War II period, including a Lancaster, Lysander, D. H. Comet and Shackleton. There is a continuous programme of rebuilding historic aircraft to flying condition, often in view of the public. Other aircraft on display include a Fairey Swordfish, Fairey Battle, Bristol Blenheim and the original Rolls Royce Flying Bedstead, a prototype of the Harrier Jump Jet. A facsimile wartime living room, a large collection of aero engines dating from 1916 and an armament display are also housed at the museum. A video-cinema shows flying films and there is a children's play area. Picnic area in the grounds.

- Publicity material

Discovering this closure came as major surprise, and shock! Having attended one large display held there, and only visited the collection proper once, its loss only became apparent during a discussion regarding its lost aircraft, on a thread the Museum of Flight hosted in the 1990s. The collection had slipped my mind over the years, being off my regular routes, and getting too absorbed in my family/work/business. Unfortunately, that one visit was before I became attached to a camera, so I only have memories, although the display was captured in 1979. From memory, the collection was extensive and impressive, and the one memorable item was the flying-bedstead Harrier development rig.

With little information remaining or available, this page considers the site where the museum was located, and provides links to a number of the former exhibits. There are no doubt others out there, so please feel free to add them, we'll edit them into place for you.

Site visit 2001

Visiting the site in 2001, curious to see what remained, revealed that the buildings were still there, if largely deserted. The hangar space is home to the airfield's skydiving activities, but the remaining office and administration space seems to be largely unused. At the time of the visit, one of the rooms appeared to have been used for one of those abhorrent American-style sales campaigns for an unknown item - the detail could not be identified, but it seemed to be some sort of home cleaning product. The posters etc pinned to the walls all seemed to be aimed at brainwashing the participants into generating cascading sales by enrolling more and more members, promoting more and more competition between existing members to drive up their quotas, win performance bonuses, and campaign awards. In other words, nothing more than a pyramid-selling campaign. Wonder how it went?

The location was also home to a recording studio called Jam Factor A, and the original gates to the entrance had been replaced by wrought-iron designs featuring the name of the studio, and a selection of musical motifs in line with its activities. Clearly no longer in business, there are some web links to their efforts, which all seem to pre-date 1999. Their local Job Opportunity still survived on the web in 2006, but had gone by 2007:

The Jam Factor "A"
Buchanan Works, Strathallan
Auchterarder PH3 1LA
Music & Film, Employees 1 – 15
Brendan M Craig, Company Secretary
[email protected]
Tel: 01764 664679 Fax: 01764 663386
Range of Vacancies: Sound Engineers
Preferred Degree: As relevant to range of vacancies

A band called Tram recorded part of their debut album Heavy Black Frame there in the late 1990s, but now seem to have folded, and made the following note about the studio, see their link at the end:

The other songs on 'Heavy Black Frame' were recorded in Auchterarder, Scotland, in September '98 at the 'Jam Factor A'. The studio is on the site of a disused airstrip. It was a strangely haunting place, in the middle of nowhere, with the wind blowing a wind sock left over from its days as an airstrip. Only Paul, Nick (myself) and Clive went to Auchterarder to record the remaining songs for the album.

A punk band called The Newton Grunts also recorded there, see their link at the end.

Strathallan Airfield itself remains in regular use, and is home to a number of skydiving activities. I won't be joining in though, as the news seems to report more incidents there than I'd be comfortable with.

Strathallan reviewed

  • Images of Strathallan from the past
    Fortunately, this site has a number of images taken by someone who had privileged access to the Strathallan collection, and they provide a memorable impression of the location and exhibits.
  • Filtered link to airliners.net for strathallan
    While it does return almost 40 related images, I feel the need to apologise for directing anyone to this site. Despite being a good resource, it carries much invisible adware, and my browser regularly grinds to halt while accessing the images, necessitating a reboot to clear the problem.
  • Filtered link to myaviation.net for strathallan
    As with the previous site, this one may provide a service in as much as it provides hosting for the images referred to, but other hosts do the same for free without pages covered with highly animated and eye-diverting flashing Flash graphics, gambling adverts and semi-naked pneumatic females advertising dating services. My apologies again.

Strathallan Collection - dispersal

  • Spitfire Mk.IX MJ772 N8R G-AVAV Strathallan Collection 1971-74
    Reg G-AVAV on August 9, 1967, for film Battle of Britain. To Strathallan Collection between 1971 and 1974.
  • Spitfire Mk.XIVc NH904 N8118J N114BP Strathallan Collection January 1977-79
  • Spitfire Tr.IX ML407 G-LFIX Sir W.J.D. Roberts/Strathallan Collection August 1971-79 (The Grace Spitfire)
    Like many Spitfires, ML407 found herself involved with the film The Battle of Britain and after filming was sold to the Strathallan Collection. Engineer Nick Grace found her in a total of seventeen tea chests, and acquired her in 1979.
    • Mk.IXe ML407
      The aircraft made its last service flight on July 8 1960, and became an instructional airframe. It was stored disassembled at Baldonnel from 1962 to 1968 when it was sold on March 4 to N Samuelson for use in the movie Battle of Britain (although it did not appear). The aircraft was sold in 1970 to Sir William Roberts and moved to Shoreham, from where it moved several times before it became part of the Strathallan Collection. The aircraft remained in storage in a disassembled state. It was acquired by Nick Grace for restoration on August 9, 1979, and registered as G-LFIX on February 1, 1980.
    • Spitfire T Mk IX PV202 IAC-161
      She returned to the UK in March 1968 after being bought by NAW Samuelson, but after four years in storage was acquired by Sir William Roberts for his Strathallan Collection. PV202 was sold to Nick Grace along with ML407 in 1979, but was the to pass to Steve Atkins, who had also tried to buy the aircraft from the Strathallan Collection.
      Following her restoration, PV202 was returned to her 412 Sqn markings, and took to the air from Dunsfold on February 23, 1990, with Pete Kynsey at the controls. Once airworthy she was sold to Richard Parker as G-TRIX, who then sold her to Rick Roberts.
      Sadly, PV202 was involved in a tragic accident at Goodwood on April 8, 2000, that left pilots Norman Lees (a former Falklands War Sea King pilot) and Greg McCurragh dead.
      The second restoration of PV202 was undertaken by Historic Flying Ltd in mid 2002, the first time they had restored a crash damaged airframe, as he impact of the crash had left the airframe badly twisted. The aircraft was fitted with a Data Analogue Analysing System, the second to have such a system fitted, the first being Spitfire Mk XIV RN201. Engine and flight data are monitored by computer, providing the engineering team with information which can provide advance warning of potential problems. A cockpit carbon monoxide sensing system was also installed, to warn both pilot and engineers if the gas goes beyond safe limits. An original Rolls Royce Merlin 66 was sourced, overhauled and rebuilt to zero time condition by a team of engineers at Universal Airmotive, Chicago. The original raised rear canopy had been replaced by a lower profile item in the first restoration (as with ML407), however the aircraft's original IAC raised rear bubble canopy had been found, and was restored. The aircraft returned to its former 1950s Irish Air Corps colours as IAC-161, and was re-registered as G-CCCA to give it a new identity in 2004. IAC-161 returned to the skies on January 13, 2005.
  • Avro Shackleton Strathallan 1978
    Pictured at Strathallan Aircraft Museum.
    • Avro Shackleton T.4 Strathallan August 8, 1984
      This early Shackleton was last used by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. Unfortunately it was broken up after the demise of the Strathallan Collection, though its nose has survived with the Midland Air Museum in Coventry.
  • Westland Lysander V9552 G-AZWT Sir W.J.D. Roberts/Strathallan Collection October 1971-98.
    Restored to airworthy, Strathallan. Registered as G-AZWT, June 9, 1972. First flight Dec. 14, 1979. Flew as V9441/AR-A. Withdrawn from use Mar 1987. Stored 1987-1997. Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden 1998-2002. Delivered from Strathallan to Duxford for restoration Oct. 12, 1997.
  • De Havilland Comet Mk2 XK655 G-AMXA Strathallan Collection 1974-90
    XK655 was sold to the private Strathallan Collection, Perth. The price paid was said to be £4,000 including delivery in good order. Unfortunately on August 21, 1974 on approach, just short of the runway, at approximately 20 ft, a sudden severe down draught caught the aeroplane and it hit the ground hard. In doing so it broke off the starboard undercarriage and skidded some 2000 ft along the runway and, veering off the runway, it came to a halt just short of the hanger where it was to be housed! The collection was later broken up and the nose relocated to Gatwick as a display item.
    • Short item and period pictures
      In 1974 joined the Strathallan Collection until disbanded in 1990. The Comet was broken up, only the nose section remaining. In 1995 it was sold to Gatwick Airport for display purposes on the Spectators Terrace.
    • XK655 on runway after undercarriage failure at Strathallan August 29, 1974
      XK655 G-AMXA. Shown the day after its undercarriage collapsed on delivery to the Strathallan Collection’s grass airfield at Auchterarder, Perthshire, following its retirement from 51 SQN, RAF Wyton. It was one of three R2 reconnaissance aircraft that flew with the squadron. It was eventually broken up when the Strathallan Collection was dispersed, but apparently its nose survives at Gatwick.
    • De Havilland DH-106 Comet C.2R August 8, 1984
      XK655 (cn 06023) Broken up when the Strathallan Collection closed down. This Comet had the distinction of having landed on the grass airfield at Strathallan, though its undercarriage was damaged in the process.
  • Hudson VH-AGJ A16-199 Strathallan 1977-81
    April 19, 1973; Departed Sydney on delivery to the Strathallan Aircraft Collection, Auchterarder, Scotland. Flown by Lionel Van Praag. May 10, 1973; Arrived at Strathallan. March 25, 1977; Re-registered G-BEOX to Sir William Roberts. July 14, 1981; Purchased by the RAF Museum at the auction of the Strathallan Collection. Displayed at Hendon in RAAF markings as A16-199. Aircraft still retains its survey configuration i.e. non-standard nose glazing, metal skinned canopy and no turret.
  • De Havilland DH-98 Mosquito TT35 Strathallan Early 1980s
    G-ASKB / RS712 Engine covers are off for an engine test. Dedicated to the regular Mossie crew; in memory of Harry Robbins and to George Aird.
  • De Havilland Vampire T.11 (DH-115) Strathallan August 1980
    XE897 Parked at the Strathallan Air Show. Painted as XE897, which was written off Oct 1959, actually XD403.
  • Veteran Lancaster returns to UK to join Strathallan Collection
    • Avro Lancaster Mk. X AR Strathallan August 8, 1984
      G-BCOH This Lancaster formerly served with the RCAF as KB976. Unfortunately it was badly damaged when a hangar roof collapsed at Woodford, England in 1987. It was last reported as due for rebuild by Kermit Weeks in the USA, using parts from other aircraft also.
  • Miles Messenger M.38 2A 6370 G-AJOC
    Messenger M.38 2A 6370 G-AJOC Stored Ulster Northern Ireland 1998. Known History: G-AJOC was built in , and issued with its CoA on June 3, 1947. It was registered to CE Hickman at Wolverhampton. The second registered owner was AG Belcher at Staverton, from August 1953 until December 1962 when it transferred to RJ Sanders (Farms) Ltd at Sywell. The next owner was SB Jolley at Dyce in May 1969. The CoA expired on May 18, 1972, and the aircraft went to the Strathallan Collection from Dunottar in 1975. The aircraft was sold to the Ulster Folk Museum by Christie's for £400 on July 14, 1981. However, it was stored by the Strathallan Collection on behalf of the UFM until it finally arrived in Ulster, County Down in October 1993, and was stored until April 1998.
  • Article about February 15, 1993, fire at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
    On February 15, 1993, fire destroyed 6 of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s aircraft: Spitfire, Avenger, Auster, Turbo Commander, Stinson and their Hurricane IIB, known as YOA. The Hurricane represented the aircraft of No. 1 Fighter Squadron, RCAF, and was actually built in 1942 by Canadian Car and Foundry at Fort William, now Thunder Bay, Ontario. The IIB, with wings stressed to carry up to 1000 lb of bombs and four more guns than standard (a total of twelve) became the Hurri-Bomber, a tactical fighter-bomber used mostly in daylight ops until the Dieppe Raid of August 18, 1942, which marked its last major European operation.
    This particular aircraft never saw active combat, being declared surplus in 1952 with a grand total of 86 hours flying time. After restoration, it served in the film The Battle of Britain, seeing nearly 80 hours of flying time in the company of other famous Hurricanes and Spitfires. It became the first acquisition of the Strathallan Collection of Scotland from which it was acquired by CWHM in 1984.
  • Fairey Swordfish Mk.I W5856
    Purchased by Sir William Roberts and brought to Scotland to join his Strathallan Collection. In 1990, British Aerospace bought the remains of Swordfish W5856 from the Strathallan Collection, and having restored it to pristine flying condition, presented it back to the RNHF in 1993. In September 1996, W5856 was adopted by the City of Leeds.
    This aircraft, a "Blackfish" built by Blackburn Aircraft at Sherburn-in-Elmet, first flew on Trafalgar Day October 21, 1941. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet for a year and was returned to Fairey's Stockport factory for refurbishment. Used for advanced flying training and trials, the aircraft was sent to Canada where it was again used in a training role and stored in reserve after the war. Passing through the hands of at least two civilian operators after disposal, she was purchased by Sir William Roberts and brought to Scotland to join his Strathallan Collection. Bought by British Aerospace for presentation to the Swordfish Heritage Trust, the partly-restored airframe went to BAe Brough for complete restoration to flying condition, the work being completed in 1993.
  • De Havilland DH-82A Tiger Moth cockpit G-ANFV dated 1980
  • Strathallan's Piston Provost WV493
  • Strathallan's Miles M14A Hawk Trainer G-AHUJ 3 April 5, 2006
    Pictured on April 5, 2006, G-AHUJ. The last remaining aircraft from the great Strathallan Aircraft Collection sits in the corner of the Engineering Hangar surrounded by agricultural debris.

Museum of Flight (East Fortune) - acquisitions from Strathallan

Strathallan Airfield

Jam Factor A Recording Studio

External links

Related Canmore/RCAHMS and ScotlandsPlaces (SP) entries:-



Aerial views



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