Biggin Hill flying to the future
by Marco Cillario Fri 16 December 2016, 3:26 pm
Biggin Hill Airport is to establish a world class aviation college.
Plans for the London Aerospace & Technology College (LATC) were announced during an international lecture marking the 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
The new academic facility will be established over the next 10 years by Biggin Hill in partnership with London South East Colleges and Bromley Council.
The aim is to address the aerospace skills shortage in London and the global scarcity of aero-engineers.
A core focus will be the training of mechanical, electronic and service engineers and technicians. This will start with entry level courses already provided by London South East Colleges at the Bromley campus, then progress to specialised courses designed with industry partners, including business aircraft manufacturers, leading to degrees and higher level apprenticeships.
The announcement came a few days before the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum project won the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which is to award a fund of almost £2 million towards the scheme.
The council and the museum trust will now submit more detailed plans to the HLF’s London committee for final agreement in June 2017.
The museum aims to preserve the memory of the role the airport played as a RAF base during the second world war and safeguard the future of St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance.
It is estimated that the project will cost more than £5 million, with £1 million already secured in addition to the HLF funding. The project team said other potential sources of funding had been identified.
The museum trust’s patron, Randolph Churchill, said: “Biggin Hill was at the forefront of action to defend our skies in the Battle of Britain.
“In recognition of the important part it played in that battle, my great grandfather, Winston Churchill, personally led the fundraising campaign for the Chapel’s construction in 1951, to be a permanent shrine of remembrance to those who gave their lives for our freedom.
“This important museum will remember ‘The Few’ and honour the many, ensuring that Biggin Hill’s internationally significant heritage is preserved in the nation’s memory.”