Blackpool aviation museum to feature in BBC documentary

Blackpool's nascent aviation museum is set to feature on TV later this month.

Tuesday, 6th June 2017, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 8th June 2017, 3:28 pm
A BBC film crew visited Blackpool Aviation Museum at Blackpool Airport to film for a documentary about little known inventions of the Second World War.

BBC documentary crews were at Squires Gate’s Hangar 42 to film for a series looking at little known inventions which helped win the Second World War.

They were looking into a simple device invented by Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling which helped save Spitfire pilots in the Battle of Britain.

Volunteers gave a piece to camera on the development work undertaken at the Aircraft Research Centre in Farnborough to improve the fuelling of the famous Merlin Engine.

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The memorial Spitfire at Fairhaven Lake

The engine had a tendency to cut out in a steep dive due to the effects of negative G flooding the carburetor with fuel. Tilly came up with a solution – a small washer-like piece of metal which restricted the fuel flow allowing the engine to keep going in a dogfight dive.

Chairman of the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Display Team John Coombes said: “The innovative invention by Miss Shilling saved countless RAF Fighter Command lives during the Battle of Britain. The documentary will air on BBC1 on June 23 at 7.30pm.

“On the same night the team will host a memorial service at Fairhaven Lake at 6pm to mark the 75th anniversary of the loss of Sgt Alan Lever-Ridings and his Spitfire W3644 which is featured at the centre of the lakeside memorial. Alan was lost at 18:35 on June 23, 1942 when he was shot down by a Me109 off the Coast of Start Point in Devon.” He said fundraising will take place during summer to remove the Spitfire in October to undergo an inspection and repaint.

He added: “It is hard to believe that she will have been in situ for five years this August, she has stood up to the Fylde Coast weather well, but now we need to give her a refresh, ready for the 100th anniversary of the RAF in 2018.”

The memorial Spitfire at Fairhaven Lake