Archive for January, 2010

RAF Museum Director General Dr Michael Fopp to Retire

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Dr Michael Fopp, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum for the last 22 years, will retire in June 2010, but will be retained by the Museum to assist a fund-raising campaign for a new visionary project to commemorate and celebrate the enduring legacy of the Battle of Britain.

“Michael Fopp has led the Museum for many years with a commitment and energy which is unsurpassed”, said Air Chief Marshal Sir John Day. “The Trustees and the Royal Air Force owe him a great debt of gratitude for making the RAF Museum the success it has become.”

“I am delighted that he has agreed to maintain his involvement in the Museum in his retirement in order to help with our next major visionary project”.

“I have worked for the RAF Museum for more than half my life and I am delighted that, even in retirement, I will still have a role to play in its success and development”, said Dr Fopp, who is also looking forward to his year as Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators during 2010/11.

Dr Fopp’s career has been marked by an energetic approach to all aspects of curatorship and development with, for example, the Museum’s collection management systems making millions of objects held by the Museum available to the public via the internet.

In recent years, major projects at Hendon have included the “Milestones of Flight” and Grahame White factory buildings and at Cosford the opening in 2007 of the immensely successful National Cold War Exhibition, shortly to welcome its one-millionth visitor.

Although remaining in the employment of the Museum until June 2010, Dr Fopp will hand over his post at the end of January 2010. His duties will be undertaken by Peter Dye, currently Deputy Director General, who will be appointed Acting Director General from 1 February 2010. The process of appointing a permanent successor to Dr Fopp will start immediately.

RAF Photo Exhibition To Kick Up A Storm

Monday, January 18th, 2010

The winning images from the Royal Air Force’s Photograph of the Year Competition will be on view to members of the public at the RAF Museum from 16th January 2010.

Start date: January 16th

End date: April 16th

Entrance: FREE

The Royal Air Force is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain this year and, as their finest visual communicators prepare for their skills to be in high demand covering a summer of national activity, the RAF Photographers are showing off their latest winning pictures at a unique exhibition of RAF Photography at the RAF Museum in North London opening on 16th January.

The Royal Air Force currently has approximately 180 trained photographers all of whom have undertaken a 28 week training course at the Defence School of Photography at Cosford, which provides them with the skill and expertise to gain an NVQ Level 3 standard in Photography.

RAF Warrant Officer Andy Whittle, said: “These men and women have superb technical ability and take great pride in their role, striving to attain the highest standards of work in areas as diverse as aerial reconnaissance, portraiture, video, digital imagery, and ceremonial as well as completing tasks in support of the police, post crash management, engineering, medical and dental branches.”

Subject categories range from ‘The Royal Air Force Experience’, production of a single photograph that depicts personnel conducting their day-to-day work to ‘Equipment’ which gives photographers the exciting opportunity to display their skills by capturing the Royal Air Force’s world-class kit. The ‘Sport’ category reflects the Royal Air Force’s commitment to provide opportunities for personal development, leadership and teamwork through both social and competitive sports. There is also a category for the amateur military photographer.

More than 1400 images were entered in the 2009 Competition which made the selection of winners extremely difficult. Judging this year was conducted by Mr Adam Sorenson, Daily Mirror Photographer, Mr Dennis Nicholls from Nikon UK and Mr Stan Stabler, a retired Royal Air Force photographer. All were unanimous in their appreciation of the very high standard, quality and diversity of work produced by both Service and civilian photographers. In total over 50 photographs will be on display in the RAF Museum, electronically beamed onto glass screens located in the ‘RAF Today’ area of the Milestones of Flight Gallery. The exhibition will be on show at the Museum’s London site until 16th April when it will then transfer to the Museum’s Cosford’s site in Shropshire.

The Royal Air Force Public Relations “Photograph of the year”, the picture which best represents the image, reputation and profile of the Royal Air Force, was taken by Cpl Scott Robertson of the Mobile News Team, Headquarters Air Command. His photograph reflects the recent deployment of the Tornado GR4 in support of operations in Afghanistan.

“It’s fantastic to win the most coveted award of the competition! It’s not every day this happens but you aim for it every day. You want every photograph you take to be Photograph of the Year. It’s good feedback for what we do at Headquarters Air Command as this is our bread and butter.”

Presenter of the awards, Air Vice-Marshal Carl Dixon: “The imagery is inspirational. The RAF is a Service which is opportunity rich in potential and all areas of RAF life have been well represented.

They have clearly spotted the moment and grabbed it through their lenses – my message to them is “keep them coming” because photography is one of the most important ways of keeping today’s RAF in the public eye.”

Entry to the Royal Air Force Photographer of the Year Exhibition is free of charge to visitors; as is entry and parking to the Museum. The exhibition will be shown daily from 10am to 6pm until April 16th. For further details please visit or dial 020 8205 2266.

Hawker Hurricane to Support Windsor Tattoo

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Designed by the legendary Sir Sydney Camm in 1934, the Hawker Hurricane played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain, downing more enemy aircraft than the more widely known Supermarine Spitfire. This year, the Yorkshire Air Museum’s full size replica of the Hawker Hurricane will be transported to the magnificent setting of Windsor Castle, where it will form a centrepiece display for the Windsor Tattoo, taking place between the 12 and 15th May.

This display not only celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain but also supports a campaign instigated by Sir Sydney Camm’s only grandchild, Elizabeth Dickson, to establish a scholarship fund to mark Camm’s towering achievements as one of Hawkers most prolific designers. At one time, during the 1930’s, eight out of ten aircraft within the RAF were designed by him, including the Hawker Hart, Hind and Fury. However, despite being described within the aviation industry as the ‘Isambard Kingdom Brunel of aeronautical engineering’, Camm’s contribution to victory in WWII and post war defence has not received the recognition from the British public that he richly deserves.

Elizabeth Dickson describes her grandfather as a quiet and reserved man, not given to ‘blowing his own trumpet’ and actually had to be persuaded to accept his knighthood. Camm, who was born in Windsor and joined Hawker in 1923, continued to develop aircraft such as the Hawker Hunter, which in 1951 was the fastest aircraft of it’s time, and then became the pioneer of vertical take off and landing jet flight with the revolutionary Hawker Harrier, which is still in service more than 40 year’s after Camm’s death in 1966. The Harrier became famous for its impressive role during the Falklands War and an example of the aircraft can be seen at the Yorkshire Air Museum.

Ian Reed, Museum Director, comments: “We are very proud to have been invited to support the Windsor Tattoo and bring our Hawker Hurricane to Sir Sydney Camm’s hometown. The scholarship fund that the event will also promote is an excellent way to ensure Camm’s achievements can inspire future generations of aeronautical engineers. Work is now in progress to repaint the Hurricane and bring it into pristine condition for this superb event.”