The countdown has begun to an ambitious £6 million project to create Scotland’s first-ever aero space centre in Kinross.
The Kinross-shire Partnership, a rural development company funded by Perth and Kinross Council, this week unveiled its vision for Aero Space Kinross, an educational hub and visitor attraction focusing on aviation and space flight.
A feasibility study has already been undertaken and a body set up to take the idea forward.
Aero Space Kinross (ASK) will be the trading subsidiary of a new Scottish social enterprise, Aero Space Scotland Educational Trust. The aim is to create an ‘iconic’ new leisure venue that will attract people from all over Scotland.
It would include a fully immersive 3D planetarium; a flight motion simulation; lecture theatre; an exhibition telling the story of flight, astronomy and space exploration and a restaurant and coffee shop.
The plans have been in the pipeline for a year and have the backing of some of the most prominent names in space and aviation. They include Deirdra Baker, a St Andrews-based fundraising consultant who once worked for NASA and was married to an astronaut, and aerospace expert Professor Andrew Rae.
Now ASK is embarking on several months of forging relationships with potential trusts, foundations, corporate bodies and government agencies in their quest for funding.
Former glider pilot Alisdair Stewart, chairman of the Kinross-shire Partnership, told the Herald that a site had been identified in the west of Kinross that was ideally placed to attract visitors from all over Scotland.
“We have a number of light aviation facilities in Kinross-shire and aviation is part of the heritage of the wider area, with airfields at Balado, Crail and Leuchars,” he said.
‘‘We want to make this a centre of excellence for the industry.
“There is a superb space centre in Leicester but that is the only other one in the UK – this would be the first in Scotland.
“It has been an amazing journey so far but with a project on this scale the biggest challenge will be obtaining funding.
“Much hard work lies ahead before we know whether or not the concept will ‘fly.’”