The building was constructed the original office blocks at the site in the 50s, whilst everything else was added from them during 60 years of use. British Airways operated a training facility at Cranebank beside London Heathrow airport for many years. Students would be taught the insides and outs of air life across the whole campus, through theory teaching and practical methods, using motion simulator equipment and converted Boeing planes with dummies. Training was moved out of the facility to a new structure several years ago, and the discovery of asbestos meant that it was considered too costly to redevelop. Many things inside that were deemed of no value were left in situ, which included a flight simulator, cabin trainers and more. In the years since, the building and contents has deteriorated markedly as well as suffering from copper wiring theft that has destroyed most corridors and rooms.
After seeing this place online, it seemed too good to resist. On here, it gathered a lot of hate as being the tourist location of Christmas, but we couldn't see why. Being such a unique location, for us, something that we hadn't seen prior, we travelled down and spent a total of ten hours taking it in, before surprisingly making it back on the same day.
In the early morning light, we performed our typical overthinking strategy, choosing to wander down a flooded field unknowing of a path that ran right beside it. This led to wet feet for the entire day. Eventually, we reached the tall, intimidating fence ringing the premises, noticing various ball cameras on each important corner. However, this quickly became another overhyped defence as the cameras turned out to be old and the fence had an unreal amount of holes in it. Clear signs of a car patrol on the surrounding road pressed us inside the gaping structure in no time, where we began to progress towards the highest point to earn some sunrise views over London. It took a while and we realised how large the grounds are, but after getting lost a couple times, we found the towering central office block and headed up, the only thing bothering us was a fox whom we startled from his nap on an office desk.
From the roof. To the right, we had amazing views of Heathrow Airport and it's planes landing and setting off. On the other side, picturesque views of the city in the distance.
Starting in the office blocks, every room had something inside, but they soon got fairly repetitive. We brisky moved through, looking for points of interest.
Some decent decay in these offices and classrooms.
A mock plane for passenger related training.
Next, we headed to the lecture theatre building, which also housed the facility's canteen.
Posters of BA employees joyfully training aligned the walls. From the signage outside, it seemed like medical teaching would go ahead inside.
Kitchen, full of old equipment and cutlery.
Our next discovery were the many chambers with mothballed motion simulators still equipped inside. Although, the scrappers had their full process on the interior, they were still fascinating to see, being something that you would only really find in this sort of building. The campus contained 15 state-of-the-art simulators, ranging between different jumbo jets. Professional pilots could use them and move to a real plane, with zero flight time. The 4D experience would be extremely realistic, the machines able to mimic weather conditions, visibility, engine failure and taking off or landing at various airports around the world. It appears that they were left due to how outdated they were in comparison to modern technology as well as lacking portability.
The same simulator, one of a Boeing 747, now and then.
Inside the destroyed cockpit, compared to how it was in use.
An empty simulator chamber, with parts for a mock plane stored on it's floor.
Connected to the first sighting of simulators we had, the Training Centre offered some stunning natural decay, via multiple, untouched classrooms in a building battered by water damage.
One classroom studying the interface of a cockpit.
A connecting walkway to the modern building we found ourselves inside next, containing more motion simulators and bland offices.
Another chamber with a window facing directly onto security's cabin. We didn't go down into this one.
After a short passing through the modern block, we then ventured across the entire site to see what is probably considered the main attraction of Cranebank. This vast hall boasts 5 different mock planes that would have been used for practical demonstrations. It seems that each plane was designed to focus on specific events. Some had motion pistons and supports that indicated they would move around to imitate the certain task at hand. In the centre of the space, a converted, double decker Boeing 747 lay gathering dust.
Within the small plane, a 737. The cockpit boasted stickers rather than switches and gears as the simulator did, so it was probably an earlier stage for a learning pilot before moving on to the flight simulator.
Heading inside the two-storey 747.
Upstairs boasted the cockpit and more standard seats.
More planes at the back. They tended to get less realistic the further back we got, which suggested that the drills were less interactive in them.
That's all for the images. Here are the links to our two part video we recorded at this location. We cover the building's past, present and future through cinematics and narration:
Thanks for reading :)