Farnborough Air Sciences Trust
Safeguarding Our Unique Aviation Heritage
Wind Tunnels & Historic Buildings
A Tale of Three Historic Buildings and Five Windtunnels!

In the middle of the Farnborough's historic aviation site, now Farnborough Business Park, there are three listed buildings which are historically important in themselves but equally importantly, they contain five windtunnels, all of which played a central role in the development of aviation in Britain.

What are the Wind Tunnels and what do they look like?

A wind tunnel is a research tool used in aerodynamic research.  It is used to study the effects of air moving past solid objects - most notably aircraft.  The Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough was instrumental in wind tunnel research throughout the 20th Century.

24 foot low-speed wind tunnel.
This is FAST's official logo!
More about the logo image >>
An idea of scale!
Men working on the wind tunnel
You can read a short a history of the RAE's wind tunnels in our History and Learning Briefing No 13

Also, the results of the restoration work, led by the specialist restoration architectural practice Julian Harrap Associates are very impressive.

generalised history and operations of wind-tunnels can also be found on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_tunnels

And a good description of the history of the Farnborough Wind Tunnels and the Listed Buildings related to them can be found in this Rushmoor Borough Council Committee Report.
 A diagram of the view from above to show the way the air flows.
The man in the logo picture is standing not far from the letter "T" in the test area.
What Opportunities do the Wind Tunnels and Historic Buildings Offer Now?

In 2005 SEGRO (then Slough Estates), which owned the buildings, announced that three of the wind tunnels were suitable for re-use and would be available for commercial use once the restoration of the exteriors of the buildings was complete.  Commercial or educational organisations that have a need for a wind tunnel testing facility may find what they want in Farnborough!

There is a proposal by FAST for a science-based educational project in building R52.

Farnborough Wind Tunnels Brochure

In 2005, FAST - in collaboration with Slough Estates - produced a brochure about the opportunities for the wind tunnels and that original brochure can be downloaded here.

The descriptions in this brochure are aimed at technical and commercial people, with facts and figures and layout drawings etc.  A summary of the wind tunnels for a more general audience can be found in our History and Learning Briefing No 13
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