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Listed Wind Tunnel Buildings

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The Farnborough Wind Tunnel Buildings

There are three listed buildings on the historic Farnborough airfield site, now Farnborough Business Park, which contain the remaining historically important RAE wind tunnels.  The historic portable airship hangar has also been restored to become the centrepiece of the Park.

Building Q121

Construction of the building Q121 began in 1931 and was completed in 1935; at the time it was one of the largest wind tunnels in the World (see History and Development).

Q121 is usually referred to as the ’24 foot wind tunnel,’ designed to create a cylinder of high quality, precisely controlled air flow 24 feet in diameter.

This was created by a 30 foot diameter six bladed fan, each blade made from laminated mahogany.

Q121 was in operation until 1994 and is Grade 1 listed.















Building R52

Dating from 1917, this is the oldest wind tunnel building on the former RAE site.

R52 contains the wooden 4’x 3’ ‘Low Turbulence Wind Tunnel constructed in 1946 entirely from ‘Douglas Fir’ and designed to deliver extremely high quality air flow.

Among many other things, the tunnel was used to test early wing designs during the development of high speed flight.

The building was also seen on TV when the Antiques Roadshow paid a visit to Farnborough.






















Building R133

Building R133 houses the Transonic Wind Tunnel which was capable to air speeds up to Mach 1.25.

It was designed and built during WWII and played a key role in the development of supersonic aircraft, including Concorde.

R133 is currently not part of our Wind Tunnel Tours, but FAST is working closely with the Farnborough Business Park Management and Security Teams and we hope to be able to run limited tours of this tunnel in the future.

Please let us know if you would be interested.






















Balloon Hangar

Construction of a portable airship hangar originally began in March 1912 when the British Army began to test methods by which airships and support equipment could be deployed operationally.

The building seems to have stood at Farnborough as a single structure only in 1912 and 1913 and the shed was dismantled in 1915 after being damaged in a gale.

The components were subsequently used in the construction of two separate buildings on the factory site, the uprights were used in the Fabric Shop (Q65) and top section was used in the RAE Forge and Foundry (R51).

Following closure and decommissioning of the former RAE Factory Site in 1998, and representations from FAST members, the former components of the shed were salvaged during the demolition of R51 and Q65 and the Hangar Frame was restored to its former glory by FAST in order to form the centrepiece of the  Farnborough Business Park.





























Wind Tunnel Tours

See inside these magnificent and historically important buildings for yourself with our exclusive tours.

All proceeds go the preservation and promotion of Farnborough’s unique aviation heritage.

Farnorough Air Sciences Logo

Farnborough Air Sciences Trust

Trenchard House
85 Farnborough Road
GU14 6TF

Tel: 01252 375050