Farnborough Air Sciences Trust
Safeguarding Our Unique Aviation Heritage
Our Current Aims

FAST continues to work to safeguard Farnborough's significant contribution to aviation throughout the 20th Century, in co-operation with the owners of the site and Rushmoor Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and other organisations.  The Trust established its current museum in 2003 and continues to work towards making other historic buildings, including the wind tunnels, accessible to a wider public.  FAST is also a collections trust with a duty to conserve and display the archive collection given to it by the Ministry of Defence on the closure of the Farnborough site. 

FAST aims to continue the work of archiving and documenting the enormous volume of records, exhibits and artefacts and to gradually make it available in exhibitions and on-line.  FAST also greatly values the first-hand expertise of ex-RAE staff which can be added to the resources that could be applied to making a world-class educational visitor centre.  FAST is also currently collecting further artefacts, records, photographs and memorabilia etc from local companies (QinetiQ etc) and from the local and wider community who have direct or family connections with RAE Farnborough and its outstations.

FAST has obtained, in November 2013, official Arts Council Museums Accreditation in conjunction with the Science Museum (the Trust's Curatorial Advisor) and Hampshire County Council.


How Does FAST Operate?
  • At the heart of FAST is a Charitable Trust - The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust.  A chairman and board of trustees provides policy and leadership and is responsible to the Charities Commission for the normal legal duties of any charitable trust.  Supporting the Trustees are three organisations and many volunteers:
  • The FAST Association (FASTA) - The Association runs and controls the membership and its aims are to support the Trust by raising funds and being a focus for the support given by volunteers. The members produce a newsletter and have their own section of this website >>

  • Ex-RAE Apprentices - run their own organisation and are very active in maintaining contact with one another and running events. They run their own RAE ex-apprentices' website >>

  • FAST BAHG (Bedford Air Heritage Group) - RAE Bedford was established by the government after WWII, initially as the National Aeronautical Establishment, to provide enhanced facilities for aeronautical research.  The war-time Thurleigh airfiled was totally rebuilt for advanced flight testing, with a brand new 10,000ft long, 300ft wide runway and the potential to be even longer.  Naval aviation was undertaken using experimental catapults and arrester gear.  Several supersonic and subsonic wind-tunnels were constructed.  The airfield closed in 1994 but research work continued until 2008.   A small group of ex-RAE Bedford volunteers are complementing the FAST Archive work at Farnborough and archiving a wide range of Bedford records (film, photo and reports) as well as setting up public access to the records and artefacts.


The Future

FAST wishes to see :
  • Continuing activities to celebrate over a Century of aerospace research and development on the nation's most historic aviation site
  • The collation of the unique RAE technical, scientific and social history and ensuring public access to the complete heritage collection
  • Developing on-line presence to make the huge FAST archive, expertise and resources more readily available
  • A focus for other collections and serious historical research
  • FAST's world-class collection of exhibits, records and artefacts cared for and displayed
  • Stimulation of greater public awareness and understanding of the aerospace sciences
  • The historic buildings restored and cared for in an "Historic Quarter" setting having a special feel differentiating it from the business park in which it sits
  • Unique facilities for educational and heritage visitors in and around the historic buildings
  • The addition of new exhibition storage and educational facilities to help inspire future generations
  • Inspiration for future generations

How Will FAST Get There?
  • Build on the success of protecting the most significant buildings with listed building status
  • Actively promote the appropriate development of the surroundings of the listed buildings
  • Work with Rushmoor Borough Council on planning applications - FAST is an approved consultee
  • Work with local companies involved in Aviation to broaden public interest in Farnborough's Aviation Heritage
  • Assess educational and commercial market for wind tunnels
  • Actively care for the Collection and promote its use
  • Seek funding for the realisation of projects
  • Continue to develop the availability of on-line resources
  • Provide educational opportunities in aviation subjects for local schools and Colleges


FAST and FASH

Farnborough Air Sciences Heritage Ltd (FASH) is a company formed in 2007 whose main responsibility is the running of the Museum Building (G1 Trenchard House) and its grounds.  FASH currently leases the site from the owners.  It raises finance to enable FAST to use the Museum and site on a rent and utilities free basis.
FAST Vision, Aims and Operation
A small selection of our volunteers
More on volunteering >>
Our Original Aims

When FAST was formed in November 1993 its focus was to save Farnborough's historic Main Factory Site from wholesale demolition.  It seemed then that the nation and the world was about to lose an important piece of aviation heritage.

FAST saw a unique opportunity to revitalise the birthplace of British Aviation as an Air and Space Sciences Centre of international cultural importance.

The core of the concept was to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology from Research Agencies and the Aerospace Industry to create an evolving exhibition offering an exciting range of specialised features (flight simulators, interactive displays, space technology, industrial showcase etc).

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Where possible, surviving historic buildings would be used thus linking the past, present and future of this world famous site.  FAST successfully campaigned to save key buildings on the ex-RAE site. As a result, six buildings, including four major wind tunnels, were Listed by English Heritage, two at the highest Grade 1 levels. The site owners subsequently restored the external fabric of the buildings at a cost of many millions of pounds, and re-erected, as a result of a FAST initiative, the unique 1910 airship hangar. Later, in 2008, FAST established the Cody Pavilion at its museum commemorating Farnborough's most famous and influential aeronautical pioneer.