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Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground is a privately owned airport in Leicestershiremarker near the village of Bruntingthorpe. It was opened as RAF Bruntingthorpemarker in 1942.


The facility became privately owned in 1972, developing into grounds suitable for high-performance car testing. Various circuits are available, from to loop; or the former runway, just under 2 miles (3 km) long. Bruntingthorpe also includes storage, security, and a covered hangar.

A Cold War aircraft museum also exists on-site, holding over a dozen jets used in various roles during the era. The museum is open on Sundays, and the aircraft (including the Lightning Preservation Group's pair of Lightning F6) will be brought out to demonstrate fast taxi and takeoff runs on open days. The most notable aircraft at the aerodrome is the Avro Vulcan XH558 that has been restored to airworthy condition. The first flight of the restored aircraft took place at Bruntingthorpe on 18 October 2007. It is planned to fly the Vulcan at airshows in the UK for the next 15 years before being retired to the Imperial War Museum Duxfordmarker.

As well as car testing, Bruntingthorpe offers storage of cars and aircraft, film production facilities, and military/civilian defence testing. Within the airport is a repair facility for Ferrarismarker and Maseratismarker. The site benefits from planning consent for Proving and Testing of Vehicles; but the consent has limiting conditions at weekends, namely cars should not exceed 70 mph nor six in number. Enforcement Notices have been issued (EN 282 and 105) to enforce the conditions following breaches in respect of weekend use and other non-permitted uses, such as "Track Days" and "Drivers' Dream Days".

Accidents and incidents

On 3 May 2009 during a "fast taxi" run, XM715 made an unplanned brief flight, reaching a height of between 20-30ft before being landed. The aircraft does not have a permit to fly. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) stated that they will not be conducting an investigation. The causes have been identified as the co-pilot failing to reply to the command 'throttles back', thus resulting in the pilot having to control the throttles himself, resulting in a brief loss of control of the aircraft, causing it to rise. No legal action is to be taken by the CAA against either of the crew aboard XM715 or the operators of Bruntingthorpe Airfield.

Bruntingthorpe has been used several times (and still is) to showcase cars for Five's Fifth Gear television series, and in October 2007 racing driver Jason Plato was rushed from the circuit following a serious fire in a Caparo T1 that occurred at an estimated during filming.

United States Air Force use

The United States Air Force used Bruntingthorpe from 1957 until 1962 as a heavy bomber base.

The facility was transferred from RAF control to the Strategic Air Command and a new longer runway was built in 1959 when the 100th Bomb Wing moved in operating the Boeing B-47 Stratojet.

Beginning in August 1959 the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing's 19th TRS from RAF Alconburymarker operated the Douglas RB-66B.

RAF Bruntingthorpe was closed when the USAF left in 1962.

See also


  1. ( Video of the flight)

External links

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