FARNBOROUGH WIND TUNNELS
Wind Tunnel Tours
The 2023 Wind Tunnel Tour Season is now CLOSED
but the waiting list for 2024 is OPEN
The 2024 Wind Tunnel Tour Season runs from 31st March to 27th October 2024.
Requests to join the waiting list can now be made at the link below. Let us know if you have a preferred date and/or time.
Tours can be made available every Thursday during the season starting at 10:00 and 14:00. While we will make every effort to meet specific date and time requests, some may not be possible due to circumstances beyond the control of the FAST team.
If you would like more information, please contact:
To register interest in joining a tour please complete the form at the link below.
What you will see
The historic Wind Tunnels at Farnborough are some of the few remaining buildings from the world famous Royal Aircraft Establishment. Saved from demolition by FAST and given listed status, these magnificent buildings were at the forefront of aerodynamic research and development from the early 1930s until 1994.
The buildings are not open to the general public and tours are operated exclusively by volunteers from the Trust with the kind permission of the Farnborough Business Park Owners and Management Team.
The Wind Tunnels Tour provides a close look at two of the remaining tunnels and will give visitors an opportunity to learn about the varied history, the impressive construction, the critical research work undertaken before, during and after WWII up to and including the supersonic jet age.
We are optimistic that special visits to the Control Room of the Transonic Wind Tunnel will become available during the 2022 season. These are likely to be limited to 5 visitors per session and further details will be published as early as possible. To register interest and help with the planning process, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A high quality souvenir booklet augments the tour and all proceeds go to supporting the ongoing work of the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust.
Tours include a high quality souvenir booklet and for the 2023 season will normally be available on Thursdays at 10:00 and 14:00. Each will be limited to a maximum of 15 visitors (larger groups can be accommodated on request, contact: email@example.com).
Morning Tour: 10.00 – 12.30
Please arrive no later than 09.45, the timetable is tight.
09.50 – 10.00 : Safety Briefing
10.00 – 10.30 : Introductory Talk
10.30 – 10.45 : Break
10.45 – 11.30 : Tour Part 1 – Group A Building Q121; Group B Building R52
11.30 – 12.15 : Tour Part 2 – Group A Building R52; Group B Building Q121
12.15 – 12.30 : Close and Questions
Afternoon Tour 14.00 – 16.30
Please arrive no later than 13.45, the timetable is tight.
13.50 – 14.00 : Safety Briefing
14.00 – 14.30 : Introductory Talk
14.30 – 14.45 : Break
14.45 – 15.30 : Tour Part 1 – Group A Building Q121; Group B Building R52
15.30 – 16.15 : Tour Part 2 – Group A Building R52; Group B Building Q121
16.15 – 16.30 : Close and Questions
The Tour follows this broad itinerary:
1. An initial gathering at the site in building R52, followed by an introduction to FAST and the volunteer team, ‘do’s, don’ts’ and full safety briefing.
2. An introductory talk about the history and operation of wind tunnels, followed by a short RAE archive film and an exhibition of wind tunnel models.
3. A close look at the ‘4 x 3’ low turbulence’ wind tunnel built entirely from wood in 1946.
4. A short walk to building Q121, the magnificent ’24 Foot’ Wind Tunnel’ opened in 1935 and in operation until 1994.
5. Tour of the preparation area, balance platform working section and ‘return circuit’ of the tunnel, including a close up look at the laminated mahogany fan.
6. A short walk across the site to the remains of the ‘Sea Plane Tank’.
7. Final gathering in building R52, subject matter Q&A, hand out of a high quality souvenir booklet and closing slide show.
For the 2023 season – March to October – visitor numbers are limited to 15 per tour and we kindly request a charitable donation of £20.00 per person.
A limited number of visits to the Control Room of the Transonic Wind Tunnel will be available during the 2023 season. These are likely to be restricted to 5 visitors per session and we kindly request a charitable donation of £35.00 per person. A waiting list is now open; to reserve a place and help with the planning process please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are committed to ensuring that our tours are accessible as possible to all visitors, regardless of disability.
Please note the following:
- Buildings R52 and Q121 are both mostly wheelchair accessible, either on the level or via ramps.
- Parts of Q121 are not suitable for those unable to walk and areas of R52 can only be reached via a flight of stairs. Nevertheless there is generally a good view of both tunnels from below.
- The walk between buildings is approximately 100m.
- Visitors may be asked to wear a lanyard holding a small flashlight in order to illuminate the passage on some parts of the tour.
- Walking visitors please be aware that, as a former industrial facility, the floor surface can be a little uneven.
- If you feel that your access to the tour will be enabled by assistance, you are welcome to attend with your own carer, without additional charge. (We regret that FAST volunteers are unable to act in this capacity).
- Accessible toilet facilities are available approximately 100m away in the Hub Building. FAST marshals will be happy to escort or direct you as required.
Parking & Getting Here
The car park is adjacent to the 24ft Tunnel; this is the tall grey building with the clock on the side facing the Farnborough Road.
Access is via the traffic lights on the Farnborough Road (A325) by Barons BMW Showroom. Whichever way you come along the A325, turn towards the tall grey building, go straight on past the BMW Showroom; straight over the crossroads passing The Gloster Pub on your left then take the next turn left.
There will be FAST volunteers on hand wearing yellow identification tabards to supervise parking and direct you to the tour reception area.
The nearest rail station is Farnborough Main.
Specialist photographic sessions with no commercial element, such as those that may be requested by individuals, photographic clubs, historical interest groups, preservation societies, educational establishments or youth related organisations, are also available.
There is no set agenda for these visits but a thorough inspection typically takes at least 4 or 5 hours, so we suggest a start time of 10:00, a short break at lunch time with the day ending at approximately 16:30. We prefer these visits to take place on a Thursday but other week days may be possible by arrangement.
We ask for a single charitable donation of £150.00, permission to use high resolution, properly accredited copies of the photographs in any FAST marketing and publicity materials etc. and for the photographer to sign a confirmation document stating there is no commercial intent, which can be downloaded from the link below.
Commercial Filming or Photography
For commercial Film, Television or Photographic shoots, formal permission and agreed commercial terms must be obtained separately from the Farnborough Business Park.
This applies to any activity where the aim is, directly or indirectly, to use the material produced at the wind tunnels for:
- Public display
- Any other commercial purposes, such as product advertising or brand marketing campaigns
- Exhibition and sale of images
- Inclusion in any published material including a book, periodical or magazine.
Policies & Admin
Any Other Questions?
Farnborough Air Sciences Trust
85 Farnborough Road
Tel: 01252 375050