One of the UK's most historic airfields closes for business this week. Bristol's Filton airport ceases to be an operational airfield from Dec. 21, 2012.
For those unfamiliar, this is where the Bristol Airplane Company had its headquarters, producing such evocative aircraft as the Brabazon and the Britannia, and earlier military aircraft like the Blenheim and Beaufighter. However, Filton's place in history will always be associated with Concorde, as this is where the 10 British aircraft were assembled and test flown. Lesser known are some early helicopter designs such as the Sycamore and Belvedere. Bristol merged into BAC, who became part of BAe and later BAE Systems.
Filton is also home to a major Airbus presence, mainly involved in design, engineering and support of wings for all Airbus models. In the last 25 years Filton airfield has had a variety of roles, including USAF F-111 maintenance in the 1980s, A300/A310 freighter conversions in the 1990s, and 747 storage and maintenance in recent years. BAE Systems is the current owner of the site and intends to sell it off for housing and business developments, though Airbus will remain on site.