This Museum has over many years built up an enviable collection of airframes and engines, it is also home to the No. 605 Squadron of the Royal Air Force tribute which includes not only collectibles but also a Vampire in the post War Squadron markings.
Fortunately this interesting collection along with a small number of aircraft and airframes is kept inside an excellent dry building, outside the story is not so good as the airframes are showing signs of suffering being exposed to the elements.
The Museum has an enthusiastic band of helpers, some highly skilled ex RAF engineers as well as students who spend many hours looking after the aircraft in their care. All concerned need to be congratulated for doing their best in very difficult circumstances, the ideal would be for the aircraft to be under cover, my own view is that the time has come when all aircraft collections should now aim to get the aircraft they look after into hangars, it is no longer a joy to see the aircraft slowly rotting away.
I hasten to add that I in no way criticise this Museum or any other, if money was not a problem then I know that the aircraft would be in the dry, but, for the 21st Century this should be the aim otherwise there will not be the aircraft around for future generations to enjoy.
I am particularly sad about the DHC2 Beaver which flew into Coventry when first acquired, it now sits forlorn, the engine seized, an example of a simple aircraft which could easily at little expense have been kept alive, now, in poor condition. A collection this size, including some very large aircraft, is I would imagine a nightmare to look after, an almost impossible task with limited funding.
On a positive note this is a collection which should be visited and supported, Coventry Airport has a long and interesting history and is home to Air Atlantique with the company operating a number of wonderful piston engine aircraft.
Alec Campbell at the presentation
14th September 2004.
A large group of ex Dunlop employees who were involved with the 'Dunlop Aviation Division' in the 1950s onwards were invited to be present at the Midland Air Museum, Coventry on the completion of the repainting of the DH Dove in company colours and registration of G-ALVD which was used for flights around Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. One of the guests of honour was retired company pilot at the time, 91 year old Alec Campbell now who was reunited with 'his' aircraft which he last flew some 40 years ago.
Mr Campbell started off with the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1942 flying many types of aircraft during the War, post War he joined Dunlop as company pilot, his flying career lasted some 20 years.
The original DH Dove, G-ALVD was exported to Pakistan in the late 1960s, its fate is not known, this aircraft is in fact G-ALCU which according to Barry James of the Midland Air Museum was once owned by an Indian Maharajah. In his short speech he thanked Dunlop Aerospace for their involvement in the project and reminded all who were present how much the Aviation Division of Dunlop were involved with Coventry Airport and the testing done by them in years gone by using a variety of different aircraft.