Our History

The Bruntingthorpe Airfield was constructed for use during the Second World War and for the next 6 years was used extensively by Sir Frank Whittle’s Powerjets company for the early test and development of jet engine aircraft.


An extension and rebuild of the airfield by USAF was completed over the 4 years between 1954 and 1958, making the site suitable for new purposes.


The USAF use the site as a strategic heavy bomber base until 1962 and use the code name ‘Big Thunder’ – a name we have continued to use for our events team.


Major news breaks as a B-47E aircraft flying from the USA to Bruntingthorpe accidently drops an unarmed atomic bomb on USA soil.


The first and only air show organised by the USAF is hosted at Bruntingthorpe.


Control of the airfield reverts back from the USAF to the UK MOD. The site is infrequently used by the RAF for activities such as training flying crews in Victor tanker conversions.


The Rootes Group acquire the site for use in automotive test and development.


C. Walton Ltd purchase the site and continue to run test and development programmes for the automotive sector while maintaining the active runway for inbound and outbound flights and storage purposes.


C. Walton Ltd opens the Bruntingthorpe Aviation Museum and begins to collect retired Cold War Jets.


The museum has a collection of 23 jets, open to the public and maintained by a group of enthusiastic volunteers.



Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire is the current home of C Walton Limited, Manheim Auctions, Big Thunder Events, Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground and the Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, featuring the iconic Cold War Jets Collection as well as a number of other automotive businesses. All situated within the 670-acre site, there is something to meet the needs of each of our customers. Our wide range of facilities allow us to cater for any type of event, from the standard to the obscure, and thanks to our 3.2km straight, Bruntingthorpe still operates as an active airfield.

ISO 9001 Certified (BIAS)