MAPSL is a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee, having no share capital and solely comprising volunteers from the Medway Branch of The Royal Aeronautical Society, whose aim is the restoration and preservation of historic aircraft and artefacts for public display.  MAPSL is registered in England under the Companies Act No. 02331464.


Medway Aircraft Preservation Society Ltd., AFIS Unit, Rochester Airport, Maidstone Road, Chatham, Kent, UK. ME5 9SD

Our History

1975:- The Medway Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society was formed in 1938 but closed in 1947, when Short Brothers moved from Rochester to Belfast.  It was re-formed under the auspices of Elliott Brothers (London) Ltd.  The Branch has continued with the support of the company through the Marconi and GEC Groups and currently as part of BAE SYSTEMS.

1977:- The Medway Branch, RAeS formed an Aircraft Preservation Group, under the leadership of Lewis Deal, with the initial desire to have a Short Sunderland on display in the aircraft's birthplace.  Unfortunately, that venture was unsuccessful.  The first project was the restoration of the Spitfire Mk XVI TB752, which had been the gate guardian at R.A.F. Manston.  Space was found behind Hangar 3 at Rochester Airport  to undertake the project.  The aircraft was returned to the RAF 18 months later in 1979 and housed in a purpose-built memorial building at Manston in 1981.  Hurricane Mk IIb LF751 / BN230, which had been the gate guardian at Bentley Priory, was later restored by the Group to join its colleague in the memorial building, which is the second most popular public attraction in Thanet, Kent.  The Group provided considerable help in the fund raising for the building and its extension.


The Ministry of Defence soon realized that such gate guardians throughout the country had great potential value and rapidly ordered them all to be housed indoors for restoration.  As a result, many of these priceless aircraft are now either flying or are on static exhibition, a happy development triggered by Lewis Deal and his small team.  The Group's success did, however, pose a problem.  When restored, such aircraft began to acquire six-figure values for their owners, way beyond the financial competence of the Medway Branch, RAeS. 

1988:- The Aircraft Preservation Group became a limited company when Medway Aircraft Preservation Society Ltd (MAPSL) was formed.  Since that date, in addition to complete aircraft, many engines and other aviation artefacts have been restored.  Three aircraft have been restored to flying condition, but the majority have been only for display.  MAPSL has also restored many specialist components for other groups restoring vintage and wartime aircraft in the UK and abroad.

The company has undertaken the restoration and preservation of a number of aircraft and aero engines all-important in his country's aviation Heritage many to be seen in museums others are still flying.  All work is voluntary and non profit making, although the owners of the items under restoration are requested for a contribution towards the materials used and the workshop overheads. 

Over the years, the principal customer has been the Royal Air Force Museum, which has honoured MAPSL by allowing it to take whole aircraft from its wonderful collection for preservation at Rochester Airport.  Only MAPSL has this privilege.  One of the more recently restored aircraft  is the world's only pre-War Spitfire, a Mk 1 (K9942) flown by Flt Lt J Nicholson VC, who was the only fighter pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the epic Battle of Britain.  MAPSL has also restored the unique Fairey Battle and Boulton Paul Defiant.

MAPSL preserves aircraft for public benefit and also restores them to their original condition, as required for historical accuracy, involving much research.  All members are volunteers, whose effort and skills, worth six figures in a typical project, makes many restorations affordable, which would otherwise not be available to the public.

To date the company has completed, for flight or public exhibition, a Gloster Meteor Mk IV, Republic Thunderstreak F-84F, Piper Tripacer PA22, Northrop Drone, Fairchild Argus, R-R Merlin engines Mk 20, 35 and 500, Daimler Benz 603, Junkers Jumo 003 and Bristol Hercules XII engines, parts of the four-engine Short Sunderland and Stirling aircraft, complete Spitfires Mk XVI, PR Mk Xl, MkVb and Mk 1, and two Hawker Hurricanes, Mk II, a Short Sherpa (fuselage), Tempest (wing) and a Bristol Sycamore, the first air-sea rescue helicopter.  The photo reconnaissance Mark XI Spitfire now owned by Peter Teichman at North Weald.  It is the only mark of this Spitfire Flying in the world and was the star of the documentary " Operation Crossbow" recently on television.


At its Rochester Airport premises, the company encourages public interest in preservation work and in the handing-over of important aircraft, in which the Mayor and other dignitaries participate. The company is keen to devolve skills to younger people and has hosted school parties and young people on work experience.  

MAPSL operates as a Limited Company, limited by guarantee and with no share capital and is registered at Companies House.   It is operated with a board of seven directors.  It is compliant with its legal requirements for all aspects of its operation, posting audited accounts, and all aspects of workshop practice are covered by a set of policy documents. 




His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, invested Lewis Deal (Managing Director) with the MBE at Buckingham Palace in 2002.


Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, became an honorary member of MAPSL following her visit in 2010.  She later agreed to become a Patron of MAPSL.


Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, inspected MAPSL-restored Spitfire TB752 and Hurricane BN230 at the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum at Manston.


Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, inspected both the Spitfire and Hurricane at the museum in 1992


The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was presented to MAPSL by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Kent, The Viscount De L’isle MBE DL in 2010.