Engine running pens – Listed Grade II

The engine running or detuning pens were originally built to test the aircraft engines for the Hunter.

Three pens were arranged in a curve. One has been completely removed.

Of the two remaining; the unique example survives that was used to test all ‘jump jets’ or VTOL. The VTOL pen is lined with metal sheeting and sound absorption. Channels below ground take extract for the jets nozzles. Historical significance is for the development of the ‘jump jet’, P1127 through to the Harrier. All aircraft engines were tested and run here before being assembled and shipped worldwide.

The two engine running pens were given Grade II Listed Building status in December 2017.  Historic England’s detailed Listing report

The first P.1127, XP831, in the ground running pen at Dunsfold with Rolls-Royce representative John Vowles in the cockpit.  Photo courtesy BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum
Pen Construction 1960’s: BAE Systems via Brooklands Museum
Hawk 200 in Engine Running Pen (1980s) (courtesy Brooklands Museum archive)

Engine running pens

 

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Compass Swing Base

Circular concrete platform marked out in degree divisions accurately aligned with local magnetic north. The aircraft is placed on the pad in a series of angular positions and the reading of the aircraft’s magnetic compass is compared with the true heading on the pad. The aircraft system is then adjusted to match and any unresolvable residual errors are recorded. This process is called ‘swinging the compass’. A magnetic compass on an aircraft is influenced by the magnetic materials and components in the aircraft. Nearly all airfield had such bases, but they are now rare due to commercial pressures for space.

Compass swing base


Please note: The aerodrome is private land and an active airfield. Access is not permitted to some of the buildings and features and we strongly discourage access without permission.

Bofors Gun Emplacement

Bofors Gun Emplacement
Bofors Gun Crew Hut
Bofors Gun Emplacement

Please note: The aerodrome is private land and an active airfield. Access is not permitted to some of the buildings and features and we strongly discourage access without permission.

Control Tower

WWII Watch Office stands in the centre of the northern side of the main runway industrial heritage. The majority of these types of buildings on airfields have been removed.

Latter known as a Control Tower, the visual control room [VCR] was added to bring it in line with air traffic control – steel framed clad with anti-glare glass. Precast concrete stair internally.

Designed by the architect: Frank H Lambert and has the Dwg No: 12779/41. It is a rare example that includes the latter Air Traffic Control (ATC) to second floor.

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1950s Control Tower interior
1951 ControlTower

Dunsfold Control Tower
2016 Dunsfold Control Tower
1986 Dunsfold Control Tower