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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

The de­vice used to mea­sure the air­speed of a Con­corde, the log­books of royal flights and the con­tro­ver­sial pa­per frock worn by crew in the late 1960s are just a few of the trea­sures dis­played at the Bri­tish Air­ways Speed­bird Cen­tre Her­itage Col­lec­tion, which is of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to avi­a­tion buffs this 80th an­niver­sary year of BA’s pas­sen­ger flights be­tween Aus­tralia and Lon­don. The col­lec­tion, housed in a room flank­ing the “in­door street” of BA’s sub­urb-sized HQ at Water­side, near Heathrow, is staffed by mar­vel­lously knowl­edge­able vol­un­teers, many of whom are re­tired staff. With an ex­ten­sive pho­to­graphic archive, a cat­walk of uni­forms and price­less props such as the tele­gram re­ceived mid­flight by the new Queen from her mother, con­sol­ing her on the death of her fa­ther in 1952, the vol­un­teers re­count tales of in­no­va­tion and der­ring-do by BA and its pre­de­ces­sor com­pa­nies as they built air­craft and forged flight paths across the globe. Fly a jumbo in one of BA’s 17 flight sim­u­la­tors used to train pilots. From £399 ($869) for an hour’s sim­u­lated flight. More: bri­tishair­ways.com/en-gb/baft. The mu­seum is open week­days for pre-booked vis­its. More: ba.1.mu­seum@ba.com.

HE­LEN AN­DER­SON

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