Aerodynamic start for winter talks

Liza McKinney viewing the Beagle aircraft factory exhibition at Marlipins Museum in September. Picture: Derek Martin DM16145389a
Liza McKinney viewing the Beagle aircraft factory exhibition at Marlipins Museum in September. Picture: Derek Martin DM16145389a

The Friends of Marlipins Museum’s winter series of lunchtime talks starts next week.

First on the list is an illustrated talk by Robert Leslie, entitled Memories of an Aerodynamicist: the Beagle and I at Shoreham Airport.

These aircraft were once built at Shoreham Airport. The British Executive and General Aviation Ltd, trading as BEAGLE, was formed in 1960 when the Pressed Steel Company created an aircraft design office and took over two separate aircraft manufacturers, Auster Aircraft Company of Rearsby, Leicestershire, and F.G Miles Ltd of Shoreham.

Initially, the three parts of the company operated independently but this did not last long and they were soon merged at Shoreham as Beagle Aircraft Ltd in 1962.

Robert Leslie started his aviation career as an apprentice with De Havilland, went on to work for Hawker Siddely at Hatfield and then joined the Beagle Aircraft company at Shoreham Airport in 1967.

Robert worked in the aerodynamic department, which was situated in a corner of the design department.

Robert was one of three working on the aerodynamics of the Beagle Pup aircraft and said it proved a great move as the work was much more varied than was possible in a large company.

Robert’s experiences included flight test observations and wind tunnel testing at RAF Farnborough.

Sadly, it all came to an abrupt end in 1970 when the government pulled the plug despite a book full of orders.

Liza McKinney, from the Friends, said: “Robert’s memory of an exciting time in Shoreham’s industrial history is fascinating and funny and shows the variety of employment offered to some 500 local people who rose to the challenge.”

The talk will take place on Friday, January 27, at 12.30pm in the upstairs gallery of the Marlipins Museum, with entry via the side entrance in Middle Street. The cost is £2 for members of the Friends, £3 for non-members.

The Wellington Wailers are returning to Marlipins Museum in concert on Friday, February 17, and tickets are available from Liza McKinney, email: elizabeth.mckinney@ntlworld.com.

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