After weeks of planning born of an idea
from Duxford partner and assistant FISO Peter Loweth and MA Alan “Addo” Addison
the visit to Aeroseum (www.aeroseum.se/english)
Early (0500 early!) on Wednesday 18th
March 2009 we assembled at London Stansted airport for the flight with Ryan Air
to Goteborg-Säve (City) airport. One hour
forty minutes after departure we landed at Goteborg-Säve airport. Very quickly we were being met by
one of our hosts for the day Thomas Berggren; Thomas is a friend of Peter
Loweth and a volunteer at Aeroseum. We piled into two mini-buses laid on by our
hosts for the short drive to our first stop the Police Air Support Unit
something very close to my heart. Here we met the ASU boss and the on-duty crew
as well as Per Lindquist a police inspector/pilot who had taken a day’s leave
to ensure he met us. The Swedish police have five bases with seven EADS/eurocopter
EC-135T2+ helicopters two of which are based at Goteborg- Säve. The police in
After forty minutes it was time to move on to our next stop the Search and Rescue Unit (SAR) who operate a Sikorsky S-76+ from the base on the southern side of the airfield at Säve. We were met by a very bleary eyed pilot who went on to explain that he and the crew had been out all night on an SAR mission and were asleep when we called. Not wishing to keep him from his sleep for too long we had a good look at the helicopter and took what pictures we wanted.
Police EC-135T2+ and SAR S-76+
Back into the mini-buses and off to what the locals call the “cave” this is Aeroseum we were a little early for the staff at Aeroseum so Thomas took us up on to the top of the cave so that we could get an idea of the size of this place. It is enormous covered in trees shrubs making identification from the air or even at ground level neigh on impossible. It was time to enter the cave which is actually a de-classified Swedish Air Force bunker built in the 1950’s and carved out of solid rock.
60 tonnes each of nuclear proof door
Two views showing the steep descent into the cave
The base of the bunker is some 30 metres below the surface and entrance. To get into the bunker you have to walk down a steep gradient then turn a sharp right angle where you are met by two huge doors each weighing in at 60 tonnes. Once these doors are closed you and everything inside are sealed in airtight, water tight and most importantly in the days when constructed nuclear proof. Every few metres down the slope to the bottom of the cave are water/foam sprinklers in case there was ever a fire underground. The site is formed of two shelters one of 8,000 square metres and one of 22,000 square metres relatively speaking a village underground. The bunker is self sufficient for up to 90 days in case of a nuclear holocaust. The entire underground structure is lined with concrete but there is an air gap between the rock and the concrete and heating maintains a year round constant temperature so that only shirt sleeve order need be worn.
To start our visit we were provided a
very tasty lunch which is a traditional Swedish recipe of Ärtsoppa (pea soup) with fresh crusty bread –
doesn’t look too appetising until tasted then it is delicious. A strong liquor accompaniment
was also provided which again is part of the tradition on a Thursday in
Fed and watered it was time to look at the exhibits in the museum part of Aeroseum an Aviation Enthusiasts delight awaited us. There are aircraft from the First World War to the mighty Saab AJ-37 Viggen which has only recently been retired from the Royal Swedish Air Force being replaced by the JAS-39 Grippen. Thomas informed us that the tail of the Viggen had to be folded when the aircraft taxied up and out of the cave as it was too tall when upright. For most Aviation Enthusiasts this was a “quality” visit rather than a quantity one. Time passed very quickly and alas all too soon it was time to go back to the surface where the light was already beginning to fade but not before we had one special photograph taken.
RHAG & IWM-D personnel on top of a J-35 Draken
We landed back at London Stansted just
before 2200 hours the same day which for most of us was close on a 20 hour day
by the time we had reached our homes. For one however it would have been in
excess of 24 hours so he decided to stay the night in
If you are considering visiting Aeroseum
flights were with Ryanair from London Stansted to Goteborg-Säve (now called Goteborg/Gothenburg City
airport) and cost at the time about £64-00p, the transport entrance fee and
meal were a further £20-00/SwK 240 and RHAG made a charitable donation of £5-00
each toward the maintenance of the museum. Full details by contacting Alan
All photos are copyright © of the author unless otherwise stated.