Bedford Aeronautical Heritage Group



This page last updated - 23/11/2023

  • Find us on Facebook

  • Welcome to our web site...

    An important item of News

    The Bedford Aeronautical Heritage Group has existed to inform people about the history and achievements of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Bedford. The Group has been managed by a team of former staff from that Establishment. The Bedford Aeronautical Heritage Group (BAHG) has been the Bedford “wing” of FAST, the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust.  

    BAHG members have contributed a number of specialist items to FAST: these are currently available here, but will in future form part of the FAST web site.

    There is a direct link to the Bedford pages on the Farnborough site through the link below: The link will take our vistors directly to our new home.

    The BAHG site is no longer maintained with updates and Newsletters. The site will continue at the discretion of the hosting authority. The content of our Archive have now been transferred to the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust. Our web site content is now included under the 'Museum' tab of the FAST site.

    !! This site will close formally on 31 December 2023 and will no longer be updated after that time !!

    Bedford Airfield and Wind Tunnel sites - major research facilities of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Bedford.

    BAHG aims to preserve the scientific and historical legacy of the Royal Aircraft Establishment Bedford and its successors through the retention and preservation of relevant archive material and artefacts. BAHG has been active since February 2008, when there was a danger that much historic material would be lost.

    RAE Bedford was the UK’s premier flight test and wind tunnel research establishment from 1952 until 2001.


    Short SB5 research aircraft in flight, July 1962

    Concorde model in 13x9 wind tunnel, June 1965


    Through this web site we aimed:

    . To outline the history, role and achievements of RAE Bedford.

    · To promote the work and activities of BAHG.

    · To provide information about material in the BAHG archive.

    · To attract interest and support from former RAE Bedford staff, and as many other people as possible, to encourage involvement with the work of BAHG.

    · To invite the donation of relevant material and artefacts to the archive for preservation and to collect personal recollections of life and work at RAE Bedford for the archive.


    The origins of RAE Bedford date back to 1944, and Aeronautical Research Committee Report No. ARC 7500 which recommended the setting up of a National Establishment for aeronautical research and development. The Government, in accepting the report, decided to set up the Establishment at Bedford. The NAE became the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) Bedford in 1955 and, after a brief life (1988-1991) as the Royal Aerospace Establishment, transformed to the Defence Research Agency (DRA) in 1991, to the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 1995 before further government policy changes led to the split in 2001 into the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and QinetiQ, a commercial company. This is the situation today.

    The NAE, and subsequently the RAE at Bedford, consisted of two main sites, the wind tunnel site (sometimes also known as Twinwoods) and the airfield site at Thurleigh. RAE headquarters was, of course, at Farnborough.






    The Group welcomes the support of former employees and anyone else who has interest

    Web design by FBM