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Swedes underground

Roger Cook/Pynelea Photo Bureau digs through his allotment

A new aviation themed museum is taking shape just outside Gothenburg, Sweden. The museum is named 'Aeroseum' and is committed to preserving the underground hangers once used by the Swedish Air Force at Säve airfield, next to Gothenburg City Airport.

Going underground
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The site consists of two rock shelters. The first, constructed in 1942, measures 8,000 square metres. The second, covering 22,000 square metres, was built in the 1950s and is nearly thirty metres below ground. Both were built as protective hangars for the Göta Wing F9 of the Swedish Air Force. The second site was constructed to withstand a nuclear blast and is fully self-contained to allow aircraft to be taxied in, serviced, fuelled, re-armed and taxied out. The whole complex is protected by massive steel and concrete sliding doors and there is a spray wash system to clean aircraft of contamination as they taxy in to the hangars. The second series of hangars was first used by Saab J-29s and has seen use by all fighter types operated by the F9 wing up to and including the Saab J-37 Viggen.

Aeroseum will show the history and development of aviation from Icarus to contemporary fixed and rotary wing flying, civil and military, Swedish and international. Visitors will not only be able to see the exhibits but will be able to help in the building or restoration of aircraft. Above the bunker site on the surface will be a flight themed adventure park. All of this will take time to grow but it is proposed that the King of Sweden, Carl XVI, will rededicate the site in the Autumn of 2005 with the Aeroseum opening to the public in Spring 2006.

Aircraft are now being delivered and assembled at Säve. At the time of my visit in August 2004 there were several Allouette II and III helicopters, mostly ex-Swedish Air Force but also an ex-RNLAF Grasshopper (A-495). There were a pair of Saab J-35 Drakens that gave a real sense of how the underground facilities would have operated. A Saab J-37 Viggen arrived in November 2004 and more aircraft will be moved in during 2005. Larger aircraft will be displayed above ground in the adventure park. When complete the whole museum site will display over fifty aircraft.

 

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