Project to recreate WW1 'Strutter'
Assembly of Strutter 2 at East Fortune. Pic by Bob Thomson, APSS.
A PROJECT to build an aircraft known as one of the great unsung heroes of the First World War - nearly 100 years after the last one was manufactured - reached a milestone following a successful test assembly at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune.
The Aviation Preservation Society of Scotland (APSS) project to build - using the original plans and, as far as possible, original techniques and materials - a new Sopwith 1½ Strutter took a significant step forward when the completed wings, fuselage and tail were mated together in a test assembly at the National Museum of Flight last month.
Several examples of the Strutter were based at East Fortune during the First World War. Visitors to the museum can view progress on the project most Wednesdays and Thursdays during the summer months.
An APSS spokesperson said: "For more than a decade, we have received encouragement and support on the Strutter project from National Museums Scotland, not least in the provision of workshop space at the East Fortune site.
And the museum came up trumps again when APSS needed a larger space in which to assemble the components and measure up the rigging wires.
"So, last month, visitors to the museum were fascinated by side-by-side displays in Hangar 4 of craftsmanship from the earliest days of aviation and one of the icons of late 20th-century technology, as the Strutter took shape in the shadow of the museum's Concorde.
"The Strutter components have now been disassembled and are back in the APSS workshop at the museum of flight for further detailed work, including preparations for the arrival of the engine later this year."
APSS was founded in 1973 to promote the preservation and conservation of aircraft and aviation-related artefacts across the whole of Scotland. It has always been based at the former East Fortune airfield, where its volunteer members have made significant contributions to the conservation work at the museum and to the development of the collection as a whole.
The APSS members dream of seeing a Strutter once again flying in the skies of East Lothian, as Royal Naval Air Service versions did when based at East Fortune to defend the North Sea coast, should be realized within the next few years, in good time for the centenary of the Strutter's first flight in 1916.