This is a tribute to the proud history of probably the most famous runway in the country, Filton Airfield, which closed on December 21st 2012. BAE Systems, the current owner of the site, allowed 1st Take exclusive access to cover the day-to-day running of the airstrip, enabling us to film aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Beluga on some of their final visits to Filton. The documentary also benefits from rare archive footage and an interview with Sir George White, the great-grandson of the man who brought aviation to Bristol.
The site’s reconstruction in 1946, to accommodate the Brabazon, proved vital to the success of the runway. Until its recent closure, it allowed the largest passenger plane in the world to enter Filton on a regular basis: that in itself was a credit to the owners of the airfield and their staff.
The documentary shows the very short landing capability of the A380, and how efficiently the ground crew linked the aircraft to Filton’s tractor unit. Another interesting and unique feature shows the aircraft being manoeuvred across the Avonmouth-Filton railway line.
You will also see how a set of A400M wings was transported by lorry from the wing shop to a special loading system, which conveyed it to a Beluga aircraft on the north side of the runway. The runway’s closure means that finished wings now leave Filton by road to Avonmouth, and are then conveyed by sea to St Nazaire in France. From there, they are transferred to the Beluga and flown to Seville in Spain.
Filming of air traffic was also an interesting experience as the A380 was captured entering Filton airspace from the Control Tower. Fire fighting has always had great importance on any airfield and we were there to cover a full practice of a mock aviation disaster by the Filton Fire and Rescue Team, covering the entire site including the runway.
Film dating back to 1910, probably the earliest footage ever taken in the city, is also included. In addition, there are take-offs and landings from the period 1910 to 1920, featuring the Bristol Braemar. There is also a summary of the major First Flights that took place at Filton - Brabazon, Bristol Type 188, Bristol Type 221 and Concorde – and the last supersonic flight of Concorde GBOAF on November 26th 2003.
As an added bonus, you will also enjoy coverage of what proved to be the last ever air display at Filton, on a glorious September day in 2010.
This is an unmissable souvenir for anyone who is interested in aviation, past or present.