It's been quite a while since we last visited the hangar, partly due to access issues but mostly due to the fact that as the aircraft will be moving to another location for display, there is no point in carrying out any more work on them before the move. Today, we were accompanied by a group from a small but established aviation museum who have an interest in acquiring the CG-4A Waco. We had a very productive meeting and hopefully in the fullness of time this will lead to the Waco having a new home with regular public access. Options are also being considered for the Horsa, with two groups currently offering realistic solutions for the housing and display of the aircraft. Unfortunately, none of these options for either of the aircraft involve the RAF Museum who are still conducting their collections review and are unable to accept any aircraft during the period.
We are greatly indebted for the support provided by RAF Cosford in their continued provision of safe storage for both of the aircraft. Following repairs to the roof of the hangar last year, it's a nice dry and snug home for the aircraft until they go to their new locations.
Well, over a year has gone by since the timeline was last updates and what progress has been made? Unfortunately, very little. The RAF Museum are conducting a collections review which will take a number of years and during the review they will not be accepting any additional aircraft. The Horsa and Waco remain in storage at RAF Cosford and although the AGT Trustees have been actively seeking a new home for them, these attempts have not produced any results. We have had helpful suggestions from a number of individuals as to where the aircraft might be displayed, but unfortunately no museums or organisations have shown an interest. The Horsa in particular is a large aircraft and both the Horsa and Waco need to be displayed indoors as they would rapidly deteriorate if left outside. Fortunately, RAF Cosford have been very supportive and continue to offer storage for what was initially expected to be a 6-month period. We are very much in their debt and are most grateful for their continued support.
The American 17th, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions used about 350 British Horsa's on operations in Europe. The Horsa had a much greater load carrying capacity than the American Waco CG4A. The Silent Wings Museum wants a Horsa. They have agreed to supply us with enough parts to build a Waco in exchange for us making complicated Horsa parts for them. DH Support Ltd of Duxford have provided the Americans with copies of the original working drawings and their Horsa is to be built in full view of visitors to their Museum. The American director visited us in October 2002 and two of our trustees fly to Lubbock soon. The Waco is a vital element of our Memorial, to illustrate British airborne operations at Sicily and in the Chindit operations behind Japanese lines in the Burma campaign.
In June 2001 Royal Air Force Station Shawbury, in Shropshire, offered hangar space for the construction of a Mk 1 Horsa by a team of volunteers living in the local area, and the station continues to support the volunteer team. Initially a section of Horsa fuselage, recovered after the war from a landing site in Normandy, was loaned for the volunteers to copy.
In the summer of 2000, veterans of the Midland Branch of the Glider Pilot Regimental Association decided that an appropriate memorial to airborne forces would be a complete Airspeed Horsa assault glider. This site follows the construction of this unique piece of aviation history.