Latest NELSAM News...

May 18 - New path and hardstanding

Work has been undertaken to put down hard standing and a new footpath down the side is some of the buildings. It's all looking good now, thanks to all the hard work of all those involved! The Hard standing area will be used for the F100 once it is moved out of Hangar 1, allowing for a re-structure of the exhibits and workshop areas.

Feb 18 - New Exhibit, Abbot self-propelled Gun

Another new exhibit has now arrived on site! This is an Abbot self propelled gun, and is a significant addition to our collection, as it was manufactured up the road at the Vickers plant in Elswick, Newcastle.

Jan 18 - New Exhibit, Hurricane Project

A new exhibit arrived late this month - a replica Hawker Hurricane which we hope to finish off as an ongoing project for the museum

Feb 16 - Interview with Cabin Crew Member Chelsey Filby

Filmed on our very own Trident "Aircrew Interview" speak to Chelsey Filby about her life as a cabin crew member, discussing a day in a life scenario, training, passengers and the type of aircraft she works on.

The full video can be found on YouTube here.

May 15 - Saro Skeeter AOP.12 joins our collection


After careful consideration by its Collections Review and Disposals Recipient Selection Committees, the RAF Museum is pleased to announce the transfer of Saro Skeeter AOP.12 XM555 to North East Land Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM)..

The Skeeter is a two-seat training and scout helicopter which was produced by Saunders-Roe ("Saro") of Cowes and Southampton. It has the distinction of being the first helicopter to be used by the British Army Air Corps (AAC) and several Skeeter AOP.12s were operated by the Central Flying School of the Royal Air Force. This particular example was ordered in 1957 and its service history was primarily with the AAC. After being declared non-effective in the late 1960’s it was allocated to various RAF stations across the country for training or display purposes before finding a home in the early 1980’s at the Aerospace Museum RAF Cosford – now RAF Museum Cosford. In 2003 it was transported to the Museum’s London site for display before entering storage in 2010.

Ian Thirsk, Head of Collections RAF Museum: "We are delighted to have found such a worthy home for the Skeeter in NELSAM and look forward to building our relationship with them. The Museum’s disposal policy reflects our on-going commitment to carry out disposals in a responsible and ethical manner and after due consideration on a variety of bids we deemed NELSAM to be well suited. We wish them the very best of luck and look forward to seeing the Skeeter on public display soon."

Dr Hugh Newell Chairman NELSAM: "The recent expansion of the museum is designed to explain the extreme changes in the armed forces and the general population during the 20th Century by presenting as complete a range of artifacts both civil and military as we can display. The Saro Skeeter represents the introduction of the helicopter into the air observation role of the British Army and the acquisition of the helicopter greatly enhances our ability to describe the fusion of land and aviation assets to our visitors. We are extremely grateful to the RAF Museum for this gift to enhance our displays."

Dec 13 - Extension for Tram shed progresses

3rd December - Work is well underway on the latest museum extension, our tram shed. The tracks have already been set successfully with the steel framework structure going up very quickly indeed

©Kevin Betts

©Kevin Betts

Nov 13 - 607 (County of Durham) Squadron display opens

On 9th November, a fitting weekend saw 15 Veterans from 607 (County of Durham) Squadron turn out to witness the official opening of the museum’s display room dedicated to their Squadron. They mounted a guard of honour while the Mayor and Mayoress of the City of Sunderland and local MP Sharon Hodgson cut the ribbon. An ex-RAF Bulldog courtesy of Steve Warren made a number of impressive flypasts, the squadron association Chairman, Dr John Arris presented the museum with a squadron trophy.

©Dave Gregg

©Brian Dixon

May 13 - Trident lifts out of the car park!

May 11th was another significant milestone in the project to save Trident G-ARPO.
After arriving at the museum in the summer of 2011, the aircraft has sat in the car park whilst we awaited a space to put the aircraft on display. This was fine, as we were able to get on with interior restoration work. However, today we arranged to have the aircraft moved to its new position. Starting early, our team gathered and MSD Cranes came along to begin the procedure of lifting the aircraft.
Since there was a telephone wire running across the car park, it took three lifts from MSD’s two cranes to inch G-ARPO along and clear of obstruction. Then it was a final lift to position it in clear view inside the museum’s entrance, alongside their other key exhibits – the Lightning and Vulcan. The move takes us a step closer to allowing the public on board the aircraft once we have completed the interior. We will also begin to focus on the exterior as we aim to rub down, prepare, and paint the fuselage (volunteers needed!)

May 13 - 1st Tram for NELSAM arrive

Over a year after it departed Blackpool for a new life in preservation and having been stored in the interim in temporary outside accommodation, Balloon 721 has now made a further journey to the site of its permanent home in Sunderland.
Owned by the North East Electric Traction Trust, 721 is one of several trams destined, ultimately, to be displayed in a brand new museum created on the same site as the North East Aircraft Museum. With finance having been secured for the construction of a depot and materials, such as track, now acquired ready for construction to begin, the work of bringing the collection, currently housed in several locations, together in one place has now begun. 721 has been stored in a secure warehouse yard in Scotch Corner since leaving Blackpool but, on the morning of May 7th, it was loaded by the hauliers who own the yard and made the relatively short journey north to Sunderland.
After an uneventful journey it was safely unloaded and placed on the site of the new depot, which will now be constructed around it, finally providing undercover accommodation for the tram. The tram will then be repainted, losing its current faded black and gold Pleasure Beach advert, which will disappear under a coat of red and white, applied in the Routemaster style carried in Blackpool by sister car 701 between 1991 and 1993.
Of the four major preservation groups which currently have a selection of former Blackpool trams stored outside, the North East Electric Traction Trust are the first group to make tangible progress towards creating a permanent and secure home for their valuable assets, a credible achievement for a relatively new organisation. The remainder of the trams owned by the group, Centenary Car 647, Twin Set 674+684, Budapest 2576 and 2577 and Graz 210 are likely to remain in their current locations for a few more months but, once the depot is completed, a task expected to be completed by the end of the summer, they too will join 721 in Sunderland. Negotiations are also continuing with other preservation groups, which could see the collection expanded as well as the possibility remaining that 721 could run at Heaton Park when work on its transformation is completed.
After suffering several delays in their plans, the North East Electric Traction Trust are now firmly back on track and the move of 721 is the most tangible piece of evidence that their ambitions will shortly reach fruition and a valuable new tourist attraction will be created, providing a safe haven for some important trams and allowing them to be appreciated to the public once more.

Nov 12 - New vehicles arrive

The museum recently welcomed two new vehicles into their collection. The first a a 1942 Austin K2 Heavy Pump unit ex Stockton Fire Service. The K2 was chosen as a standard type appliance for the new National Fire Service as a result of the problems caused by the different fittings used by local authority brigades. After a little effort the engine was made to run.

The second is a unique Dennis F12 based fire tender made by special order for Middlesbrough Fire Service to cope with the low bridges around the docks. Originally built with an open top it was modified by fitting a removable fibreglass top a few year later, this was removable by four firemen and at a low bridge it was removed left under guard whilst the engine proceeded to the fire!

We are grateful to the 124 REME TA for the transportation

Jul 12 - The airmen of the North-East project launches

The museum has embarked on a very ambitious project to document as many biographies as possible in honour of those airmen and women from the North East of England who served their country during the two World Wars, many of them making the ultimate sacrifice.

An index of over 2,000 names has already been uploaded to our research pages. The individual history will be added as information becomes available & would certainly appreciate any information you may have to help complete their story.

Jul 12 - Flying Fleas at the Bridges

To advertize the upcoming Sunderland airshow as well as NELSAM, the museum sent their Flying Flea for display at The Bridge's Shopping Centre, Sunderland. The Flea will be joined by large scale Mosquito and Spitfire models

©Kevin Betts

Jun 12 - Sci-Fi Experience and Fathers Day weekend

Over the weekend of 16th/17th June the museum was transformed into a Roswell style crash site. See our events page to read how those for all ages enjoyed this 'out of this world' experience.

©Kevin Betts

Jun 12 - Falkland War Commemoration weekend

To mark the 30-year anniversary of the Falklands conflict the museum held a ceremonial weekend over the weekend of 2nd-3rd June. More photos can be found on our events page

©Paul Hughes

Apr 12 - First event of the year goes off with a bang!

To celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 86th birthday the museum planned a 21-gun salute in her honour. Although the weather wasn’t favourable and prevented the firing of all 21 rounds, fifteen shots were fired from our 25 pounder gun. Overall the day was a big success with a good number of visitors turning out for our first event of the year. More photos can be found on our events page as well at our Facebook site

Big Bang! (©Kevin Betts)

Mar 12 - Blitz Street Scene nears completion

Our walk through display to portrait a street scene during World War Two is nearing completion. The blitz-era display which taken over 14 months to complete is aimed at giving visitors an insight into what life was like during this period. Included is a general store and wreckage from a real Luftwaffe Heinkel He111 bomber which crashed in the area.

©Kevin Betts

Jan 12 - First exhibits arrive for the relocated Military Vehicle Museum

The first three vehicles for the relocated Military Vehicle Museum have arrived at their new home. The museum wishes to acknowledge and thank 124[TEE] Recovery Company and 102 Battalion REME [V] for their generous assistance with the move

Jul 11 - Trident 'Papa Oscar' arrives

On Sunday 31st July 2011 the big day finally arrived when Trident 1C G-ARPO 'touched down' at the museum. After a huge effort including significant fund raising, the 'Save the Trident' group reached a major milestone in their quest to save and preserve the airframe when it was delivered to the museum from Durham Tees-Valley airport. Although the airframe has been saved the hard work isn't over and a major task to re-assemble and preserve to display conditions will need to be resourced and paid for. If you can help in anyway, please contact the 'Save the Trident' group

©Neil Lomax

See the Save the Trident website for further information regarding this exciting project.