THE FIRST MEMBERS of the public to enjoy a tour of Moray’s latest visitor attraction arrived in the form of hundreds of local school children.
Having secured a three-year lease from The Moray Council in September of the former primary school site at North Road Kinloss, Morayvia opened its doors on Thursday to 240 pupils from Kinloss Primary and Nursery schools.
Now the general public will be given their first opportunity to visit over the October school holiday period.
The centre Aviation Science and Technology Centre is offering a range of internal exhibits, initially with a Search and Rescue and Nimrod theme – but also with external displays of aircraft cockpits and a fire engine not forgetting a yellow SAR Sea King Mk 3 helicopter.
Additionally, there is a 7m inflatable planetarium funded by the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, which will run space and astronomy related features at set times.
The registered charity that is run by volunteers has already secured the last Nimrod aircraft at their former base at RAF Kinloss as a permanent exhibit for the centre. This aircraft was one of the SAR assets involved in the Piper Alpha disaster, and last year was named ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ with Royal approval.
The group has also has acquired several exhibits connected with the rich aeronautical, science and technology traditions of the region – including the iconic Sea King which flew their last missions for the RAF only last week.
Morayvia’s Chairman, Mark Mair, said: “We are delighted at the reaction we have received already from the Moray public over the three years we have been attending public events with our mobile aircraft exhibits.
“Support for our acquisition of a Sea King SAR helicopter from politicians, councillors, businesses and the public, not forgetting our own volunteers, has been nothing short of remarkable.”
The group’s CEO Stan Barber added “We believe that it is vital that those aircraft that have become part of the landscape in Moray are preserved so that future generations can see them close up and learn about the fantastic part they played in Moray’s history.
“Obviously, we have a few more aircraft on our ‘wish list’ but the least we can do is honour the men and women who have served so loyally by preserving the machines that have been so important to many thousands of people in Moray, the UK and beyond.
“But there is more to Morayvia than aircraft, as we are also working on other science and technology exhibits – such as our inflatable planetarium funded by the Baxter Foundation, which offers visitors a fantastic wrap-around audio-visual experience.
“We hope that children in particular will be inspired by our centre as it evolves to follow careers in science and engineering.”
On Thursday pupils visited the centre in three groups who were each given an hour-long tour of the facility.
The centre will be open to the public from Saturday until Tuesday, October 13 and then again from Saturday, October 17 until the following Tuesday before reverting to regular weekend opening from Saturday, October 24.