On 23rd December 1953, the second prototype Bristol Britannia took off from Filton's runway. Just over a month later, on 4th February 1954, G-ALRX belly-landed on the Severn Estuary mudflats after a dramatic in-flight engine fire. Thanks to the skills of test pilot Bill Pegg, none of the thirteen people on-board were hurt, however the aircraft's reputation was little bruised by the impromtu landing. 'RX was damaged beyond repair when the tide came in, but the forward fuselage section lived on as an instructional aid until 1995, when it was acquired for preservation by the Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust and loaned to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust.
|Britannia G-ALRX during dismantling on the Severn mudflats.|
On 23rd December 2013, exactly sixty years since its first flight, ownership of the Britannia was transferred to the Bristol Aero Collection in a ceremony at Filton, when the Collection is in store. The Britannia is now guaranteed a future in the Bristol Aerospace Centre, the planned museum at Filton, which will open in a few years time.
|Roger Hargreaves (left), chairman of the Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust, hands over Britannia G-ALRX to Oliver Dearden (right) of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust.|