By appointment to her majesty the queen - manufacturer of steel framed buildings A.C Bacon Engineering Ltd

International Aviation Academy - Norwich

A world first...

A. C. Bacon Engineering Ltd worked closely with Norfolk-based Main Contractor R. G. Carter Ltd, to provide the world’s first aviation academy.

The International Aviation Academy – Norwich (IAAN) is a brand-new, purpose-built training academy that will create the next generation of aviation professionals, offering training for all areas of aviation. Situated adjacent to Norwich City Airport, facilities include a full-sized operational Boeing-737 aeroplane, with a helicopter arriving in due course; allowing students unrivalled accuracy in aviation simulations, honing their skills on the real thing. 26 degree-level students began training in April and will be joined by a further 100 engineering students at the beginning of the new academic year in September.

A. C. Bacon Engineering, of Hingham, near Norwich, were brought on-board to supply and erect more than 300 tonnes of steelwork, plus 8100 square metres of composite panel roof and wall cladding.

Measuring 91 metres long x 46 metres wide, the project design involved retaining the existing steel latticed trussed structure from a 1930’s Second World War hangar, but discarded all the cladding and the hangar doors. The roof profile changed from the original ‘saw tooth’ design to a dual pitch profile.

To create the new roof profile a series of new steel rafters span the entire width of the hangar. A series of steel stubs were initially bolted along the length of the top boom of each truss to accept these new rafters. Using one mobile crane positioned alongside the hangar, the new rafters were then lifted into place as complete sections and bolted to the stubs.

The conversion plans divide the hangar into two distinct parts – one half being an ‘Emulation Zone’, housing the aeroplane and workshops, the other half being ‘The Academy’, with learning accommodation arranged around a central atrium.

As well as the new roof steelwork, A. C. Bacon erected several mezzanine floors for classrooms, new elevation steelwork and a one-bay extension to the western gable end. The gable end is designed to be demountable so it can be removed approximately once every five years, when the 737 will be replaced with a newer aircraft.

Aviation Skills Partnership chief executive Simon Witts said he was delighted the academy would put Norwich firmly back at the centre of the UK’s aviation industry. “This is a world first - it’s the first time that the training required for aviation has been brought together in one building. We class Norwich as one of the birthplaces of aviation in the UK. 100 years ago, Norwich was busy building 5,000 aircraft for the First World War effort. The aviation industry is a viable one in Norfolk and this is a great opportunity to build on that.”


The Academy was officially opened 5th August 2017 by pilot and TV star Carol Vorderman MBE RAF VR (T) who is honorary ambassador group captain for the Air Cadets.

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"Their proactive management of design detailing for steel and cladding is excellent; helping us, whilst impressing the design team consultants"