Airshow ‘50th’ Book Set To Fly Off Shelves

November 25th, 2020

Air Tattoo at 50

Over the past 50 years, millions of people from across the globe have marvelled at the incredible aviation spectacles that have seen the Royal International Air Tattoo grow to become the world’s greatest airshow.

For the first time ever, the complete history of the Air Tattoo, from its birth in 1971 to the present day, has been captured in a beautifully illustrated book written by renowned aviation journalist Ben Dunnell and features hundreds of dramatic photos, many taken by some of the world’s leading aircraft photographers.

Charting the growth of the Air Tattoo from its modest beginnings at North Weald airfield, the book describes how a small band of volunteers with a shared passion for aviation – and encouraged by legendary aviators including Battle of Britain ace Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader and Concorde test pilot Brian Trubshaw – went on to create one of the most loved and respected airshows in the world.

Split into decades, the book describes how special links forged in the 1970s with the Royal Air Force, NATO and the US Air Force (USAF) paid dividends and helped attract a mouth-watering array of international military aircraft to the airshow’s second home, RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire. The fall of the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s further cemented the Air Tattoo’s reputation as it enabled a number of special ‘debuts’ by Eastern Bloc aircraft rarely, if ever, seen in the West.

By then, hundreds of volunteers were helping stage the event, a number which grew to around 1,500 following the switch to a new home at RAF Fairford in 1985. This move, combined with the enduring support of the RAF and USAF, helped open the door to a wealth of exciting aircraft including the stealthy B-2 Spirit and F-117 Nighthawk, F-14 Tomcat carrier-borne fighters, B-52 and B-1 bombers, V-22 Osprey tilt-rotors and the latest Typhoon, F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II combat fast jets – among many others.

Author Ben Dunnell said: “The Air Tattoo has always been the place to be — and that goes right back to its earliest days. As a meeting-place for the world’s air arms, united in friendship, this show is unrivalled. What’s more, it has actively helped foster new alliances . . . as well as being a very exciting event, of course. In writing this book, that side of the Air Tattoo’s history has been as important as all the great personal memories.”

Insightful, fascinating and at times humorous, Air Tattoo 50 – The Story of the World’s Greatest Airshow (RRP £30+p&p), is being published to mark the airshow’s 50th anniversary in 2021 and is available from www.airtattoo50book.com. As well as extensive coverage of the dazzling array of international aircraft that have taken part in the airshow, the book charts some of the challenges it has had to overcome, such as losing its home at RAF Greenham Common in 1983, the death of co-founder and creative driving force Paul Bowen in 2004, establishing a new parent charity, the RAF Charitable Trust in 2005, and the airshow cancellations in 2008 and 2020.

Air Tattoo founder member and former airshow director Tim Prince said: “So many people from across the globe have been involved in the building of this remarkable gathering of international aviators and their aircraft into a highly respected and valued annual event. This wonderful book gives an insight into this impressive Royal International Air Tattoo ‘family’ which, over some 50 years, has worked tirelessly to uphold its reputation as the best, whilst at times, with its motto of ‘it can be done’, overcoming some pretty daunting challenges.”

The Christmas gift that gives twice

November 19th, 2020

RAF Museum Christmas Gift Box

Instead of participating in predictable gift swapping this festive season, give your loved one a gift with meaning, something that will continue to give beyond Christmas Day, by also supporting the work of the Royal Air Force Museum.

The Museum’s Adopt an Artefact programme provides the ideal opportunity to find an unusual gift for the person who has everything, as well as making your money go a little further by giving to charity. The artefact adoption process is quick and simple, order online at www.rafmuseum.org and cut out stressful shopping trips.

A Christmas Gift Box from the Defence Catering Group is the latest artefact to be made available for adoption, alongside more than 60 other objects ranging from tiny badges with major honours, to clothing that is more than just a fashion statement. The Christmas Gift Box package sent to RAF personnel serving overseas at Christmas is a timely reminder of the Christmases that many families have spent apart, and the importance in bringing a touch of home and Christmas joy to the ones you love, wherever they may be.

This RAF tradition began in 1914 when Princess Mary supported the creation of a fund to pay for a Christmas gift box to be sent to every serving member of the UK Armed Forces. Originally made of brass, its contents included smoking materials, chocolate and a photograph of the Princess. The Museum’s Christmas Gift Box available for adoption was distributed to RAF personnel serving in Iraq, and contained food, toiletry and novelty items including a stress ball, flashing red nose and a Christmas card, echoing the sentiments behind the 1914 one, while helping to maintain morale for those deployed away from home at Christmas.

Those adopting an artefact in the run up to Christmas will receive a Christmas card and the option to add a bespoke RAF Museum gift for just £7.50. Choose from a Christmas bauble, snowflake mug, festive fudge, or advent calendar. All adoptions with the additional gift placed by the 18 December are guaranteed to arrive in time for you to present your loved one with their card and gift on Christmas Day.

Make your gift stand out this year. Whether you adopt the Christmas Gift Box for someone you can’t be with on Christmas Day, the Burma Star for someone you look up to, or perhaps a lucky mascot to give courage and hope to inspire a dear friend, these alternative gifts with fascinating stories are not something you see in your average Christmas stocking! If your Christmas tradition includes hours of playing games with family, our Playing Cards with Hidden Maps would make the ideal adoption for the one who always finds a sneaky way to win! For the chocoholic in the family who cannot resist reaching into the sweet tin, the Chocolate and Sugar Confectionary Coupon Card adoption means there is no need to feel guilty about the calories consumed. Adopt an Artefact in the name of someone you love, and know that your gift will keep on giving, as support from adoptees will help the Museum to continue sharing the RAF Story, past, present and future, while engaging and encouraging learning.

Starting at £25.00, adoptions last for 12 months starting from 25 December. All adoptees will receive a digital adoption certificate and photo of their adopted artefact, along with exclusive updates and information on your chosen object throughout the year. Recognition of your adoption will feature alongside the object on Collections Online, the Museum’s new digital collections system, where you can add a dedicated message along with the name of adoptee. For more details on how to Adopt an Artefact and to browse the items available, visit www.rafmuseum.org.uk/support-us/adopt-an-artefact.

You can also show support for the Museum by purchasing a gift from the Museum’s onsite and online shops, packed with a wide selection of items, including many unique designs.

This season’s must have accessory you can’t be seen without, and a great stocking filler, is the Museum’s bespoke reusable face mask, available in Spitfire and Second World War Pilot designs, just £6.00 each. For the little ones, the Sunderland flying boat bath toy for just £6.00 is an ideal alternative to a rubber duck, while our Spitfire plush toy for £20.00, Red Arrows Die Cast model for £16.00 and flying suits available in green and Red Arrows designs for £35.00, are all great gifts for budding pilots of all ages.

If you’re looking to kit out your loved one with some new clothing this year, browse a varied selection of t-shirts, jumpers and jackets online, including a Spitfire motif V-neck jumper for just £35.00. Wrapping up warm this winter won’t be a problem with the RAF stripe scarf for £34.50, and the new black leather roundel gloves for £49.00. Finish off the look with a Spitfire Ace pilot watch for £35.00, or RAF wings sweetheart silver brooch for just £30.00. To view the full RAF Museum Shop range visit www.rafmuseumshop.com.

The Museum is planning to re-open its doors to visitors on Saturday 5 December (Government guidelines permitting) with a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Newark Air Museum Reintroduces Order & Collect System For Shop Sales

November 11th, 2020

Newark Air Museum Shop

The Newark Air Museum (NAM) is a registered charity and throughout and Since the second Covid-19 lockdown was introduced its been looking at ways of selling aviation kits and books, with the aim of raising vital funds for its charitable activities.

We have therefore decided to reintroduce the Order & Collect system like we did in the summer and this will start to operate on Saturday 14th November, 2020.

Like before we have taken some photographs of the key sections of the Museum Shop to try and provide an idea of what is in stock. Copies of these can be requested via a page on the museum website http://www.newarkairmuseum.org/latest-news

The main product areas are listed as:
Italeri Aircraft Kits
Revell Aircraft Kits
Airfix Aircraft Kits
Airfix Quick-Builds
Tamiya Aircraft Kits
Assorted Aviation Books
Modelling Paints & Accessories

Anyone deciding to make a purchase can ask for the items to be reserved for collection at a convenient time on the days that the Shop is open – purchases will need to be made by card payment over the telephone, or by cash when you come to collect the item(s).

We have completed a set of Covid-Secure Risk Assessments for the Collection Area in front part of the site and full details about this process are listed on the website. Social distancing measures will be in place and Covid-Secure procedures will be used and normal access routes to the Collection Area will be in operation i.e. off Drove Lane via the entrance next to the Motor Auction Site.

A queuing area will be set up outside in the car parking area; N.B. there will be NO access to the wider museum site, display buildings or café.

We appreciate that this is not a perfect solution, but it does act as a step towards reopening again and also it gives us a chance to fully evaluate how social distancing measures might need to be implemented in the Museum Shop when we try to open normally.

All profits from the Museum Shop are covenanted to the museum to help fund its on-going development; so rather than shopping online or elsewhere please pay us a visit soon and help support your aviation heritage!

RAF Museum Celebrates Sikh heritage

November 10th, 2020

WO Bally Flora

The RAF Museum is pleased to announce that WO Bally Flora MBE has donated three of his service turbans.

The donation includes two examples of the current issue, Warrant officer’s and Airman’s Turbans, introduced during 2006 and the earlier light blue style of Turban as worn by WO Flora when he first joined the RAF.

Two of these turbans will go on display in our Head Dress display at the main entrance of our London site in time for Diwali – this Saturday 14 November.

WO Balbir Singh Flora MBE
Warrant Officer Balbir Flora joined the RAF when he was 17 and worked in Logistics. He now works as part of the RAF Special Engagement Team, previously serving as a logistics supplier. The aim of this team is to engage with diverse communities, to change perception of the Armed Forces and promote the RAF as an alternative career.

The RAF Museum is currently closed. We are planning to reopen our doors on 5 December, so pre-book your tickets now at www.rafmuseum.org

British Airways 747 Retires to Dunsfold Aerodrome

October 22nd, 2020

747 retires to Dunsfold

Dunsfold Aerodrome is delighted to confirm a second 747 will be taking up residence on the airfield from today, Thursday 22nd October, where it will begin its new life as a TV and film set.

The retired British Airways 747, registration G-CIVW, will depart from Cardiff Airport as flight number BA9178E, landing into the Aerodrome in Surrey at 14:15*.

Jim McAllister, Chief Executive, Dunsfold Aerodrome, comments: “The 747 is a unique and important piece of aviation history and we are excited to be taking delivery of this retired aircraft at Dunsfold Aerodrome. Whilst G-CIVW will no longer fly, the aircraft will be preserved and given a new lease of life in the world of TV and film, training and special events.”

The aircraft, affectionately known as the Queen of the Skies, was built in Everett in the United States and entered the British Airways fleet on 15 May 1998. Its last flight was on 11th June 2020 from Bournemouth to Cardiff and, since then, the aircraft has been stored at Cardiff Airport.

G-CIVW will keep its Chatham Dockyard livery which was first introduced in June 1997. The livery takes its name from the Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent and was based on the original flag used by Admiral Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The Chatham Dockyard livery was created for BA by the Admiral’s Original Flag Loft factory in Chatham which had made flags for more than 400 years.

The aircraft, like many other 747s, has ties with the world of film, having flown many actors worldwide in its cabins and visited film set hotspots like Los Angeles and New York. In its new role it will feature more prominently in front of the camera, used to mock up interior and exterior shots for TV and film.

With an aviation heritage that includes the development of military aircraft such as the Harrier, Hawk and Hunter, Dunsfold Aerodrome is the perfect fit for the generation-defining 747.

Please note that due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Aerodrome will not be open to spectators for the 747s final flight and landing.

To watch a live stream of the landing please go to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/dunsfoldparkofficial/

Brooklands Museum receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

October 14th, 2020

Brooklands Museum

Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey has been awarded £950,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Brooklands Museum is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Based on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit and the most prolific aircraft manufacturing site in Europe, Brooklands Museum attracts visitors who are looking for an experience that immerses them in British history, in the place where it actually happened. The stories of the men and women from Brooklands’ pioneering age to the heyday of British aviation and pre-war motorsport, are celebrated throughout the Museum, giving up-close access to an incredible collection of cars, planes and historic buildings. Each visit is brought to life by the over 800-strong workforce of dedicated volunteers, whose knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for Brooklands are the backbone of the visitor experience.

Like many organisations up and down the country, Brooklands Museum continues to face financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The next six months will be exceptionally difficult as the winter season and uncertain lockdown restrictions prevail. The funding has been awarded to cover the Museum’s projected losses until Spring 2021 and to provide a cash reserve to cover up to eight weeks’ running costs.

Brooklands Museum Director and CEO, Tamalie Newbery said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this funding. Brooklands is an award-winning museum and now we will be able to remain open to visitors and carry on our work preserving the Brooklands site and collection. As an independent charity, income from visitors has always been our main source of funds, so the Covid epidemic has been very tough. However, we have been delighted by the public’s response since we reopened in August and this grant means that throughout this winter and beyond, people will be able to continue coming here and discovering the inspiring stories of what people accomplished here.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:
“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Brooklands Museum is open Thursday to Sunday and every day during half term (week of 26th October). Tickets must be booked in advance at www.brooklandsmuseum.com.

Brooklands Museum is part of Visit Britain’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ scheme and adheres fully to official Covid-19 guidance with the appropriate safety measures in place for its visitors.

Aircraft conservation work goes on show at RAF Museum Cosford

October 14th, 2020

Wellington restoration at RAF Museum Cosford

Date: 9-14 November 2020 / Time: 10:15am-3:00pm (time slots) / Cost: £6.00pp (under 11s free)

Visitors to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will have the opportunity to step inside the Conservation Centre and take a look behind the scenes at aircraft conservation projects, during the annual Open Week from 9-14 November.

In addition to getting up close to current projects, including the refabrication of a Wellington bomber and the reconstruction of the Handley Page Hampden, those visiting during the Open Week will have the chance to speak with the teams who carry out the vital work.

A new arrival in the Conservation Centre and a highlight at this year’s event is the Hawker Tempest II. The Tempest was transported by road from the Museum’s London site in February and will undergo some remedial work by the team at Cosford. The Museum’s example served with No. 5 Squadron RAF, based at Peshawar (now part of Pakistan), before being transferred to the Royal Indian Air Force in 1947. Providing close-air support to the Indian Army, the Tempest remained in front line Indian service until 1953. It was later acquired by the RAF Museum and has been on public display in London since 1991. This is the first time the aircraft has been to Cosford and visitors attending the Open Week will have the first glimpse.

The newly restored Second World War Westland Lysander III (S.D.) fuselage, and the almost complete Handley Page Hampden fuselage, will soon be moving to the RAF Museum’s London site for public display. The Open Week in November will be the last opportunity for aviation fans to view both aircraft at Cosford.

The Lysander has now been restored to its former glory after undergoing three years of conservation work including a new fabric outer skin and complete repaint. As the only surviving Special Duties variant of its type, the Lysander is now painted in No 161 Squadron Special Ops colour scheme, reflecting its service towards the end of the war in non-operational special transport services.

Nearing the end of almost 30 years of restoration, the Hampden is one of only three examples of the type remaining, recovered from a crash site in northern Russia in 1991. The aircraft now has all four fuselage components fully assembled, attached and painted in its original 144 Squadron colour scheme and serial number. The Hampden restored at Cosford is the first complete fuselage section in the UK since the mid-1940s. Visitors to the open week will have the exclusive opportunity to view the cockpit and inside the fuselage from the wing box area, where they will see all the crew positions.

The Open Week is also an opportunity to see the on-going restoration of the Vickers Wellington. One of two remaining Wellingtons, the aircraft at Cosford is the only complete example of its type. Members of the public who have followed the story of the world’s last surviving Dornier Do 17 will be able to get up close to the aircrafts forward fuselage and learn more about the project.

The Conservation Centre will open from 9-14 November between 10.15am and 3.00pm each day, with 45-minute time slots. The number of tickets available for each time slot are limited and must be booked in advance. Tickets are now available to purchase via the Museum website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford, admission is £6.00 per person (children under 11 are free and must be accompanied by an adult).

To ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, there will be several precautions in place. Measures include the introduction of time slots and limiting the number of tickets available, and social distancing markers and barriers will control the number of individuals in each area.

The Museum’s display hangars will open from 10.00am until 4.00pm. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Aerospace Bristol receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

October 14th, 2020

Aerospace Bristol

Aerospace Bristol has been awarded £514,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Aerospace Bristol is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Aerospace Bristol reopened its doors to the public on 1 August. The grant from the Culture Recovery Fund is vital in allowing the museum to remain open and continue to provide the opportunity for people to enjoy and learn about the region’s rich aviation heritage, including Concorde.

The grant will protect key jobs and skills and allow Aerospace Bristol to resume its learning and community outreach programmes. It will also enable the museum to further develop its digital content, adapting for a ‘post-Covid’ world.

With a comprehensive range of Covid-19 safety measures in place, Aerospace Bristol is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Executive Director, Aerospace Bristol, Lloyd Burnell, said:

“We are delighted to have received this grant from DCMS Culture Recovery Fund which should safeguard the future of Aerospace Bristol, our wonderful collections of objects and archives, our important learning and community engagement programmes and, of course, jobs and skills. We look forward to continuing to welcome visitors to the museum, especially over the upcoming October Half Term”.

www.aerospacebristol.org

RAF Museum calls for personal acts of Remembrance

October 11th, 2020

Remembrance at RAF Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum is inviting the public to remember service personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice during their tours of duty, by contributing a personal act of remembrance, either a poem, short story, or by designing a poppy, that will feature in a virtual display at both RAF Museum London and Cosford over the remembrance period.

Write a poem or short story about remembrance and share it with RAF Museum audiences. All the entries received will feature in a digital display within the Museum’s hangars in London and Cosford, and the two best entries will be incorporated into the services being held at the Museum on Remembrance Sunday.

Or why not make a poppy that will feature alongside the poems. Use the free poppy template available to download from the Museum’s website, or create your own design using the materials you have at home. Whether you knit or crochet your poppy, or cut out and colour in the template, all designs received will be included in the display.

Those wishing to take part can find further information and free remembrance templates on the Museum’s website rafmuseum.org. The activities will run throughout October and participants have until Sunday 1 November to submit their poetry, story or a photo of their poppy by emailing remembrance@rafmuseum.org.

The RAF Museum’s annual Service of Remembrance will be held on Sunday 8 November, with the number of visitors attending limited and with other restrictions in place. A recording of the service will be shared online on 11 November.

RAF Museum London:
A small service will take place on Remembrance Sunday, with invited guests from the local community. The service will include readings, and the sounding of ‘The Last Post’ followed by a two-minute silence. Wreaths will be laid by volunteers and local community representatives. Measures will be in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved.

RAF Museum Cosford:
The Service will be led by RAF Cosford Station Chaplain, Wg Cdr Wynn, and will include readings and the sounding of ‘The Last Post’, followed by two minutes of silence. Wreaths will be laid by representatives from RAF Cosford and the RAF Museum in honour of those who have fallen in the line of duty.

To ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved, this years’ service has been adapted in accordance with guidance from Public Health England and the Government. A limited number of free tickets are available for the event and must be booked in advance at www.rafmuseum.org. Ticket holders are asked to arrive at Hangar 1 on Sunday 8 November by 10:30am, ready for the service to commence at 10:45am.

The Museum is now open daily with a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Another Puma arrives at Newark Air Museum

October 1st, 2020

Puma at Newark Air Museum

On Thursday 1st October 2020, another Puma fuselage arrived at Newark Air Museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire, close to the county border with Lincolnshire. This arrival was accompanied by a significant collection of Puma spares.

The collection of donated items was transported from its former location in the south of England, to Newark as part of the museums’ efforts to effect a complete rebuild of Aerospatiale Puma HC Mk 1 helicopter, XW208.

As well as the Puma 9L-LSG fuselage, other significant items that arrived for the project were: a rotor head, gearbox, rotor blades, tail booms, tail rotor blades and troop seats. As with the arrival of XW208 back in February 2018, this latest collection and delivery project was completed by local contractor Gillivers Haulage.

“We are extremely grateful for this latest significant donation of parts”, commented museum trustee and XW208 rebuild expert, Kev Graham, he continued. “The first job will be to undertake an extensive spares recovery programme from the fuselage.”

He concluded, “Once this has been completed we will start refitting the recovered items to XW208 with the aim of making it the first complete Puma HC.1 to be displayed in the UK!”

www.newarkairmuseum.org