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Farnborough Air Sciences Museum


National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Reports





















Formed in 1900, the NPL’s first Superintendent of the Engineering Department was Sir Thomas Stanton from 1901 to 1930. One of NPL’s earliest areas of research after its foundation was in the magnitude and distribution of wind forces on structures such as bridges and roofs. Stanton realised that invaluable information could be obtained from experiments on small models in an artificial current of air.

In 1908, following the first aeroplane flights in Europe by the Wright brothers, Stanton was invited to apply his methods to various problems of aeroplane and airship design. He pioneered the use of wind tunnel testing for this purpose and in 1919 the Duplex wind tunnel was completed.

Thus the first scientific research into aviation was carried out at the NPL laboratories and wind tunnels.  The first wind tunnel at Farnborough was a copy of the NPL tunnel. As research at Farnborough increased over time, a strong collaboration was formed between NPL and the RAE, which remained until the demise of RAE in 1992.

Enquiries & Access

If you wish to see any of our archives or artefacts, or to enquire whether we have a particular item, please see Enquiries & Access for details and forms.


Saturdays, Sundays and
Bank Holiday Mondays
10.00am - 4.00pm


The 2024 Wind Tunnel Tour Season is now running until 27th October 2024. Details at Wind Tunnel Tours>>


FAST Talks have now resumed, please see FAST Events for details.


Trenchard House
85 Farnborough Road
Hampshire GU14 6TF

Tel: 01252 375050
(Office manned Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays & Bank Holiday Mondays)

Arts Council Accredited Museum