Welcome to the 4th Edition of the National Aviation Heritage Register (NAHR) developed with the generous assistance of Arts Council England.
The first edition of the NAHR, published in 1998, established a benchmark in heritage assets survey work. It set out three clear objectives :
- To promote improved standards of conservation and protection for preserved airframes, taking in to account their national significance.
- To provide an authoritative source of information on preserved airframes to assist funding agencies to identify priorities for preservation.
- To establish baseline data by which improvements in the conservation and protection of preserved airframes can be monitored and reviewed against the milestone targets in the National Aviation Heritage Strategy.
Since then changes in both the heritage sector and potential sources of funding have both highlighted the fundamental importance of the NAHR, particularly as the keystone of a National Aviation Heritage Strategy, and the need to review its terms of reference and format.
Terms of Reference
The scope of the NAHR has been widened. Airframes not on public display have been included for the first time, and the growing collections of hangliders, microlights, gliders and lighter-than-air having been given greater prominence. A number of leisure sports ‘record breakers’ are in preservations already, together with a number with importance, but there remains a recognized need for a more indepth survey and a guidance strategy to ensure that all important types are preserved.
The continuing role of the Warbird community in promoting the aviation heritage in its, perhaps, more accessible, form - keeping them flying - has been recognized by listing their aircraft in a new category ‘of interest’ which does not subject these privately owned aircraft, and the way they are operated, to judgement. It is notable that, of the aircraft noted as being ‘gaps’ in Sir Peter Masefield’s introduction to the first edition of the NAHR, almost all the progress in addressing this has come from the Warbirds sector, albeit with some co-operation from the nationally-funded museums. It is hoped that the Warbirds owners will appreciate the value of the NAHR and choose to ‘contract in’.
Other notable ‘gaps’ have been filled by the manufacture of reproductions, replicas and full scale model; often using some original parts. Whereas none of these sit comfortably with the original NAHR criteria, the case of the Boulton Paul Association makes it clear that all of these should be regarded as heritage assets. Thus the BAPC Register of ‘Anonymous’ Aircraft has been incorporated in the non-graded ‘of interest’ category also.
The BAPC Register of ‘Anonymous’ Aircraft was created in 1967 to track those aircraft, or similar heritage assets, that either had no registration or serial, or could not be identified. Since then fibreglass gate guardians and ‘recruiting aids’, and grounded hang gliders have been added to the Register. With the growing interest in collecting cockpit sections, including those which have never been part of a complete airframe, the Register is likely to be expanded further to include these. In 1981 a number of aircraft, such as the Bleriot XI and Blackburn monoplanes at Shuttleworth, were given civil registrations for the first time. Where applicable, database searches can be made using these as well as the previously allocated BAPC number.
It remains a BAPC aspiration to extend the NAHR to include other areas, notably the development of the BAPC National Aero Engine Register in to a full-graded NAHR component and rocketry.