Work starts on Norfolk aviation testing facility

Mirus CEO Ben McGuire.

Mirus CEO Ben McGuire. - Credit: Derron Tomlin

Construction has begun on a £4m aviation safety testing facility at Hingham.

Mirus Aircraft Seating held a 'ground breaking' ceremony on Friday, November 26 to officially start the building of the new centre at its current 2,500m² site.

The new facility will be used to test the safety of seats used in airliners. It is the largest of its kind in the UK and represents a significant investment for Norfolk's growing aviation sector.

Mirus, which was founded in 2015, will now see its headquarters extended by 407m² following a £250,000 grant from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Business Fund.

CGI of what the new test facility at Mirus will look like.

CGI of what the test facility will look like. - Credit: Mirus

The company currently works with Airbus, TUI Group and AirAsia and has sold more than 100,000 of its flagship Hawk seats.

CEO Ben McGuire, who has a history of working in the car industry, including with Tesla and General Motors, said: “As we start constructing the largest commercially-available, state-of-the-art testing facility in the UK, today marks the moment Norfolk is put on the map in the aircraft industry, as it will rival some of the very best facilities across Europe."

The facility, which is planned to be open by summer 2022, will feature a state-of-the-art, dynamic test sled, which is used for crash tests. 

Seattle Safety Aircraft Seating Sled 2021

The facility will feature a state-of-the-art, dynamic test sled, which is a bespoke device used for destructive or non-destructive crash test replication. - Credit: Seattle Safety

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Mr McGuire has "global ambitions" and said the facility will bring 13 more jobs to add to the current team of 50.

He said the industry has been hit hard following the pandemic and that he had to shed 50pc of his workforce as a result.

Speaking about the importance of the business, he said: "It's much bigger than people realise, at the moment there are two commercially available testing facilities in the UK.

Inside HQ's at Mirus in Hingham.

Inside HQ's at Mirus in Hingham. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

"We will be the biggest available test facility in the UK.

"It's quite a significant statement to have this level of engineering and expertise in this region."

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman was among those gathered at the ceremony on Friday and commended the company for doing "something extraordinary".

Mirus CEO Ben McGuire with MP George Freeman in front of digger starting work on ground for the new test facility.

Mirus CEO Ben McGuire with MP George Freeman in front of digger starting work on ground for the new test facility. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

The Mirus team, CEO Ben McGuire, technical Director Adam Challenor, MP George Freeman gathered for the ceremony.

The Mirus team, CEO Ben McGuire, technical Director Adam Challenor, MP George Freeman, plus friends and partners of Mirus, gathered for the ceremony. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

He said: "Innovation nation means making more of these things happen.

"It's key to the UK economy, it starts here, locally.

"We have brilliant innovation, we have a cluster here of oily fingered and digital focused engineering."

David Bowden, quality engineer at Mirus, with the CMM machine.

David Bowden, quality engineer at Mirus, with the CMM machine. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

Peter Eldridge, chairman of Hingham Town Council, said he hoped the expansion will bring opportunities for young people.

Peter Eldridge, chairman of Hingham Town Council.

Peter Eldridge, chairman of Hingham Town Council. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

The site will also be available to other businesses and sectors who require testing services.

Mirus has started a recruitment drive to hire technical, engineering and support roles to join them in running the facility.

Inside the factory at Mirus Aircraft Seating.

Inside the headquarters at Mirus Aircraft Seating. - Credit: Sarah Hussain


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