There are several business based at Cotswold Airport with Air Salvage International (ASI) being one of them. ASI store and scrap civil airliners from all around the world, this drawing in a lot of interest with aviation enthusiasts. With the airline business declining in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Airport saw many aircraft movements for airliners either in for storage or scrapping such as several British Airways Boeing 747-400; this was a huge attraction to aviation enthusiasts around the country seeing them all lined up one behind the other. There are still a handful of Boeing 747’s in storage on site today which can be seen from the AV8.
Also based at Cotswold Airport are several flying schools which often fly mircolights and light aircraft in and out on a daily bases, the Airport does occasionally see the odd private jet arrive and depart as well. The Airport has a fantastic viewing area next to the control tower where can you view and photograph all this activity from, this area is also located next to the AV8 restaurant which is open daily making a great family day out to watch the planes come and go!
Preserved Aircraft at Cotswold Airport
At Cotswold Airport are a handful of preserved aircraft such as our Buccaneers XX894 and XW544 and cockpit XW550 which were moved from Leicestershire/Bruntingthorpe in August 2020 so we could continue blasting them along a runway for future generations to experience. TBAG are based airside on G-site which is not accessible to the public. However, you are able to view the aircraft from the G-site gate and even from the AV8 (but this depends if aircraft being stored on the North Apron or not). Please keep and eye out on our media pages for any upcoming events as some allow you to come on to G-site which gives you the opportunity to get close and personal with the aircraft.
Also on G-site are the two Canberra PR.9s XH134 and XH135 which retired to the airport in 2006 alongside Canberra XH131, now at the Ulster Aviation Society in Ireland. The airframes were brought by Delta Jets, but due to them collapsing shortly after, they changed hands to the airport. In 2012, the Mid-air Squadron purchased the two Canberras with a vision of returning one to flight. After surveying the airframes, XH134 was the best of the two for returning back to the skies, this meant XH135 sadly became the spares ship. After many months of restoration work, XH134 (now G-OMHD) took to the skies once again by 2013 and gained an overall silver colour scheme. The Canberra was often seen flying with one of two Hunters also owned by Mid-air. G-OMHD was put on the airshow circuit in 2014, but sadly made its last flight by the end of the year due to Mid-air collapsing. A small team at the airport managed to exercise XH134 every now and then but other things soon became more of a priority with it last running in 2016. Due to XH134 and XH135 not receiving maintenance for several years, they are sadly not in the best state anymore. With the Canberras now under TBAGs care, we hope to start treating them to some TLC very soon, but we did at least manage to give them both a wash during the busy year of 2021 which made them look much more presentable!
On display at the control tower is Folland Gnat XP502 which Delta Jets acquired in 2000. The airframe was mainly used for spares but it did receive a repaint into the Red Arrows colour scheme (even though XP502 never flew with the display team) and went on display by the control tower. Since then, XP502 has been repainted again to represent XR540 which did fly with the Red Arrows and can been seen outside the control tower in a take off position. With XP502 now under TBAGs care, we hope to give it some TLC in the near future!
In between the control tower and the AV8 café you will find Hawker Hunter T.8C XE665. The aircraft was purchased by Delta Jets in the late 1990s to be used as spares for their flight worthy Hunters. After Delta Jets collapsed it changed hands to the airport. In 2012, the Mid-air Squadron purchased the airframe to used as a static exhibit and so re painted it in an overall silver colour. XE665 took a brief visit to Goodwood Revival before moving back to Kemble as this was the first time their Canberra XH134 displayed at a show since returning to flight. Mid-air sadly collapsed in 2014 leaving the airframe in the hands of the airport again. XE665 was then put on temporary display by the control tower for some years. XE665 is now under TBAGs care, and the volunteers have since charged up the nose leg and towed it too its previous display area after the airport decided they’d like to have it on permeant display by the control tower, which is where it can be seen today.
Bristol Britannia XM496 ‘Regulus’ is a privately owned aircraft looked after by the Bristol Britannia XM496 Preservation Society. Retiring to Kemble October 1997, this being the last ever flight of the Bristol Britannia. The airframe managed to hold a few static runs after retirement but this eventually stopped overtime. XM496 is now on display at C-site and is well looked after by a group of dedicated volunteers who have recently treated it to a repaint.
In October 2020, British Airways Boeing 747-436 G-CIVB made its last flight from London Heathrow to Cotswold Airport for retirement. Huge efforts were made by the airport to try and preserve the aircraft due to it being painted up in the retro Negus colours for BAs centenary back in 2019. A few weeks after its final landing, it was confirmed that ‘Negus’ had been saved from the scrapman. In 2021, the 747 was towed to the AV8 café to a new concrete pad where it is now the centre piece of aircraft preservation at Cotswold Airport. G-CIVB is currently having a make over in the economy section to become a corporate events space and museum.
Most recent to join is the British Phantom Aviation Group (BPAG) who announced in December 2020 that their new home would be Cotswold Airport. BPAG own two Phantoms, FG.1 XT597 and F-4J(UK) ZE360, plus FGR.2 XT905 which is under their care. During 2021, the group managed to road move XT905 followed by XT597 a month later from Wymeswold to Kemble, and it is hoped that ZE360 will be moved from Manston to Kemble in 2022 when their restoration projects will begin! The two Phantoms currently at Cotswold Airport can be seen by C-site opposite the Britannia.