The Aviation and Aerospace Archives Initiative

The Aviation and Aerospace Archives Initiative


Latest general meeting of the AAAI

Notes on Meeting of the Aviation and Aerospace Archives Initiative, Monday 11 July 2022 

1. General introduction from Tony Pilmer (TP) regarding the work of AAAI

2. Introduction to the Networks for Change (NfC) project and its three strands.

Philippa Turner (PT) introduced the NfC grant. The AAAI applied to The National Archive (TNA) for this grant to increase and strengthen the network. The grant has three strands: first strand: Survey and Guide to Airline Operators Guide; second strand: redevelopment of website; third strand: conference

2.1 Each strand is being managed by a subcommittee lead by the following people:

Survey - Lucy Bonner, Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Website – Tim Powell, TNA

Conference – Tony Pilmer, Royal Aeronautical Society and Philippa Turner, TNA

2.2 Bulk of the money will go to a consultant to go out to archives to survey the collections and some to website redesign

2.3 Conference strand – last thing chronologically – to be hosted autumn 2023. An opportunity for members to come together, launch of the guide, keynote speaker and practical activities.

2.4 Match funding – the grant requires an element of match funding to be made up of volunteer contributions of the Steering Group and members. There is also the possibility of a member’s organisation providing conference space.

3. Airline Survey

3.1 Lucy Bonner introduced the survey. Get a consultant to review material that has been created by Airline operators. The best use of the surveyor's time will be to physically survey the material. We are doing preparation and research of where material might be/are so the consultant can do the physical work. Autumn this year to recruit a consultant. Once a survey is complete, a guide will be created in line with the manufacturers' survey. Associated companies to be included in the survey as in the manufacturers survey.

LB has asked members to contact her directly with any leads for location of material. She would like this process to be complete in August. LB doing proactive emailing to potential archive services.

LB was asked how much information she required from respondents. LB stated that any information is useful, it doesn’t have to be a full listing, it could just be a note to say what it is. The pre-survey element is to give an indication of the types of records that we’re expecting. The surveying team will provide best practice guidelines on listing material.

Following organisations as sources: Air Britain, Croydon Airport Society, Science Museum, Brooklands (Masefield collection can be accessed through Peter), British Airways Archive, Coventry Archives, West Sussex Record Office, RRHT in Derby.

Paul commented that a list of the airlines would be useful. LB: Alison has put together an Excel spreadsheet of the airlines that already exists. LB to enquire with Tim about putting the list on the website.

Peter Davison commented that a family tree of airline operators would be useful and suggested asking BA to see if they have a family tree.

4. Conference:

4.1 PT introduced the conference and gave an overview of a suggested structure.

Title: To Infinity and Beyond, 2023. Building on the previous conference. Some possibilities for venues, but nothing decided as yet.


Starting at 10/11.


Keynote: organisation/researcher how they have used the original survey

10-15 min papers – archive sector/historians/made use of the survey. Panel discussion/questions


Paper on the history of civil aviation – highlighting areas that haven’t been covered by historians

Launch of the guide

Wrap up sessions/tours of the venue if in a museum

Stalls for different archive services/networking

TP noted that the day is aimed at both historians and those who look after collections.

4.2 Suggestions of a venue: Science Museum at Wroughton (it was noted that the National Collection Centre would be open 2024). A university, possibly Cranfield.

4.3 Training element of conference – a suggestion of training guides on the website rather than at the conference. TP noted that training guides are already on the website.

4.4: TP asked the group for suggestions about future online meetings.

4.5: Suggestion for speakers for the conference– Freddie Laker archives, Capt. Dacre Watson,

5. Report on actions from the last meeting.

Tim Powell: our governance document has been updated

PT: volunteer hours – Philippa will keep a spreadsheet of how many hours have been done. Name, hours, description of what they are doing. Will indicate where the hours are being used and can indicate where we need more input etc.

LB: Appeal for historian to contribute to the survey committee – no progress on this

LB: Asks people to let her know of any places she can advertise the survey. Peter Davison to advertise the survey with AHUK on Facebook.

TP: call for content for the AAAI website. If members have any short articles/advertising please contact Tim Powell

6. AOB

6.1 Paul raised a question regarding the archives of the CAA. Tony Pilmer: Material held at TNA, to RAeS and Air Britain. Tony Pilmer encouraged Paul to contact him via

6.2 Discussion of a Jet Age Museum enquiry regarding the location of aircraft manuals and sharing them between museums. It was noted that AHUK have a Facebook group where people can ask each other about parts etc. Paul noted that copies of amendment lists, Air Publications and updates would be important to share as well.

6.3 Introduction from Beverley Harrison, Honorary Secretary and Archivist of the British Women Pilots' Association (BWPA)

7. Ways in which members could contribute to the AAAI

Tony Pilmer noted the following ways in which members could contribute to the AAAI:

• Contribute to the Airlines Survey (contact: Lucy Bonner

• Contribute to the manufacturers survey - Have a look at the website for more information Aviation & Aerospace Archives Initiative – (

• Blog posts for the website

• Jiscmail – questions and support

• Becoming a member of the steering group or committees

8. Date and time of the next meeting

 to be arranged.

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