Lucas Aerospace - Honiley, Jan 2018

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zombizza

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LucasAerospace operated out of the former RAF Honiley site after the airfield was decommissioned in 1957. They departed some time around 1990 and now the airfield is owned by Prodrive who do all sorts of driving/racing/testing stuff on the airfield itself, with these former test cells hidden away in the undergrowth at one end of the site.

An Internet friend of mine shared me this, his adventure, and asked me to post it for him ;o)
Plans came up at the weekend for a trip to visit an old pal of the Mrs. If I did the driving, I got to spend two hours of 'me time' out with my camera before sunset hit. I spent an hour scouring Google maps for something relatively close to where I was going to be spending the rest of the evening. I spotted this cluster in amongst some trees and thought this could be a suitable remote spot for a solo stroll (remoter places like this tend to have less unsavoury characters around).
I did some research and had that mixed feeling when you discover it something well-known. A mix of disappointment that you haven't found something new but also that you know that you will hopefully see something.
I contacted a former member who told me on a visit a couple of years back everything had been sealed and there was new fencing. This was pretty depressing news but I thought I'd go and take a look just for the sake of having a walk. I approached the place through the trees to discover that indeed the place is fairly well covered with heras fencing and all windows and doors have been boarded up quite well. Perseverance paid off and I eventually found a chink in the armour.
It has all been pretty smashed up since earlier photos of the place and it's quite hard to see as there isn't much light getting in. The whole time I was there there was the distant sound of shotguns which made me feel uneasy.
On the way out I thought I heard a car engine relatively close. I decided to get my drone up to get some aerial shots of the place. I went over to the front of the site and spotted Mr security looking out of his Land Rover. Somehow he had discovered I was on site (unless it was a routine patrol) He had obviously spotted my bird and was looking very annoyed. I flew it back and forwards from the site and beyond and he followed it in his car. Every time I flew back to the site this obviously made him realise I was somewhere inside. He was a pretty huge guy and obviously was too scared, or simply unfit , to come in and tackle me on his own and the next thing I saw was the flashing blue lights of the old Bill approaching at speed along the same road. At this point, I landed, packed up and melted into the trees. It felt kind of ridiculous having an emergency police call out for this old derelict place.
Some interesting old photos are on the web which are good for comparison. It would have been nice to see this just after closing.

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Historical pictures-

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Aerial-
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There he is-arms akimbo (he honestly got in and out of his car and drove up and down that road 3x following the little black dot UFO in the sky)-
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Time to Leave-
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It really was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours in my own company.

 
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MD

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Those old photos are a great find, the place has gone downhill since i went
 

16vDeak

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I know a fair bit about this place! I happen to work with a guy who worked at prodrive for years before he left in 2004, this placed used to be intact and he would often stroll down while on vehicle test etc. Sadly travellers got onto the site and stole various things, and it did then see a spate of vandalism over the years. His farther in law actually worked at Lucas before it closed down.

My brother was a member of the clay pigeon club next to it that has since closed down. He had a wander into the woods to check it out after i mentioned it but never had a chance to get in. He mentioned before that other member of the club have got quite arsy with people trying to get in... This place has always been one i've wanted to do so it's given me some fresh hope in having a look!
 

UrbanX

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Awesome report! Brilliant write up, and fantastic photos. I love functional MoD architecture like this! The historic pictures are amazing too. Thank you so much for sharing!
 

prettyvacant71

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Love all them old film pics:) Bet this site would have been great if it weren't so trashed, still there's some good bits left to see, like them splitters:)
 

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