NELSAM ~ October 2019

The North East Land Sea & Air Museum – NELSAM – sits on the former RAF Usworth and Sunderland airport site, next to the Sunderland Nissan factory, and comprises of the former Aircraft museum (NEAM), military vehicles collection, and the North East Electric Traction Trust (NEETT) is also based on the site. The museum houses over 30 aircraft and a wide collection of aero engines, as well as weaponry, vehicles and other historical exhibits, and is run by volunteers. Amongst the varied and unique exhibits is a cold war Avro Vulcan B2 Bomber, which flew into the former airport to become the first Vulcan to go into a private collection.

Sophie and I went off to visit there on a rather miserable-weather day, but we are intrepid! There was a fair amount of stuff in need of, and being, restored, so bits and pieces everywhere.

not quite ready to fly!

I took quite a few photos, as I do :), so these are just some of my favourites.

The Morane-Saulnier Type ‘Bullet’ was a streamlined aircraft designed for high speed, but was not easy to fly due to a combination of stiff lateral control, caused by using wing warping instead of ailerons, sensitive pitch and yaw controls caused by using an all flying tail, and a very high landing speed for the period. The airframe on display is a static mockup of an aircraft flown by Local hero Claude Ridley, who lived nearby in Sunderland and flew the Type N during the First World War. This Mock-up was made by the volunteers of the museum and school children with funding from the heritage lottery fund.
Do NOT paint Dayglow!!! πŸ˜€
The Sea Venom was the Royal Navy version of the Venom NF.2 two-seat night-fighter. The necessary modifications for use on the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers included folding wings, a tailhook and strengthened undercarriage. The first prototype made its first flight in 1951, and began carrier trials that same year. The FAW.22 version was the final variant for the Royal Navy and was powered by the de Havilland Ghost 105 engine. Thirty-nine of this type were built in 1957/58. Some were later fitted out with the de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missile.
Part of a new family of Alvis armoured six wheel drive vehicles introduced in the 1950s, the Saracen was fitted with the standardised Rolls Royce B series engine, in this case the 8 cylinder B80.
1st WW ammunition trolley used by Royal Ordnance depots and munition factories.
World War Two street scene, with shop fronts and displays set up to mimic what could be seen at the time. As well as replica shop fronts’, you can find some WWII artefacts, including uniforms, equipment and even search lights used to pinpoint enemy bombers!
Hawker Hunter F.51
Brookland Mosquito, ejector seat and a US airforce jet (not sure what it is).

That’s only a fraction of the inside of the museums hangars, but I’m wanting to keep this visit to one post! Here are a few from outside though as they were my faves.

Lightning- a fighter aircraft that served as an interceptor during the 1960s, the 1970s and into the late 1980s. It remains the only UK-designed-and-built fighter capable of Mach 2. The Lightning was designed, developed, and manufactured by English Electric, which was later absorbed by the newly-formed British Aircraft Corporation. Later the type was marketed as the BAC Lightning. It was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Kuwait Air Force (KAF) and the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). My Dad worked on these at RAF Binbrook in LIncolnshire, and RAF Coltishall in Norfolk.
The Avro Vulcan was a British delta wing subsonic bomber operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984. The Vulcan was part of the RAF V bomber force, which fulfilled the role of nuclear deterrence against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was also used in a conventional bombing role during the Falklands conflict with Argentina.
A replica classic Spitfire on loan. The beautiful single seat World War Two aircraft is on loan from the Spitfire Society, based in Devon. It is undergoing two month’s of refurbishment by local expert Stuart Abbott of Stu-Art Aviation Furniture.
The de Havilland Firestreak is a British first-generation, passive infrared homing (heat seeking) air-to-air missile. It was developed by de Havilland Propellers (later Hawker Siddeley) in the early 1950s and was the first such weapon to enter active service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Fleet Air Arm, equipping the English Electric Lightning, de Havilland Sea Vixen and Gloster Javelin. It was a rear-aspect, fire and forget pursuit weapon, with a field of attack of 20 degrees either side of the target.

This was an excellent museum and I can’t really do it justice in one post, but there is a full album HERE and all pictures are embiggenable with a click!

NELSAM has a great website with pictures and information on the history of each aircraft or museum piece so for any aircraft nerds here is the link right HERE


32 thoughts on “NELSAM ~ October 2019

  1. These kinds of museums touch a soft spot for me. My father designed a number of aircraft and fighter jets during his lifetime, including outer space stuff during Reagan’s Star Wars era. We used to go down to the navy ports to pick him up off aircraft carriers after his being out to sea who-knows-where for weeks or months. The continually evolving aircraft and warcraft are horrifying and fascinating – usage and technology. Historical preservation is so valuable. Lucky you to have such history nearby!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was hard on her – 4 kids. The first time out he moved us to an unknown neighborhood on the east coast from our little farm town in the midwest. He was in Nigeria for about a year. A few more moves found us in California. Times he spent were in Vietnam during our lovely war and other places with the Navy. At times she had no idea where he was and if she needed him she had to make a call – maybe he would get back to her, or not, depending on where he was deployed.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The sexiness of this post is out of charts! love planes. Is strange to think the Lightning the only U.K. designed plane to reach “only” mach 2. I always loved the Harriers, but seeing the specifications they reach mach 1. Is extraordinary and inspiring that your country has so many technological achievements through the history, and done in great style 😎

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehe, that makes me recall an episode of It Crowd with things made in Britain where everything ended in malfunction.

        I liked much to see a segment from U.K. cultural television. The creation not only by industries (as structural crystal for the bold buildings of Baron Norman Foster) but by particulars (a young lady designed a teapot that would not drop the content) is astonishing. Cheers : )

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The unidentified US fighter appears to be a F-86 Sabre, the USAF’s primary air superiority fighter during the Korean War. Thanks for reporting on this museum. I’d love to visit if I’m ever in that neck of the woods.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to steviegill Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.