Archive for November, 2011


Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

From the Vulcan to the Red Arrows, the Lancaster to the Typhoon, all the action from this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo flying display have been captured on an exciting new DVD released this week.

The official Air Tattoo 2011 DVD features displays by many of the world’s greatest aircraft as they perform on one of aviation’s greatest stages. Highlights include the USAF A-10, the, the Frecce Tricolori, Team Viper and the RAF’s Tornado GR4 Role Demo.

There is also the opportunity to see just why Maj Murat Keles, pilot of the Turkish Air Force F-16; Capt Michael Brocard, the French Air Force Rafale display pilot; and the crew of the Italian C-27J Spartan, took top honours at this summer’s Air Tattoo’s flying display awards. Stunning in-cockpit footage offers the viewer a pilot’s-eye-view of many of the displays as aircraft twist and turn above RAF Fairford to the delight of thousands of spectators.

Altogether, 219 aircraft, representing 27 air arms and 17 nations took part in RIAT 2011 and among those featured on the DVD are some of the ‘stars’ on static display including the rarely-seen Ukrainian Su-27 ‘Flanker’ and the debut appearance of the RAF’s future strategic tanker aircraft – the A330 ‘Voyager’.

With narration by one of the UK’s most respected aviation journalists and Air Tattoo commentator, Ben Dunnell, the official RIAT 2011 DVD provides an informed, entertaining and occasionally moving insight into the modern military mindset.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: “Even for the seasoned enthusiast, it can be hard to take in all the action the Air Tattoo has to offer. Our official DVD is an opportunity to fully appreciate the sheer power, agility and operational capabilities of many of the world’s greatest aircraft – both past and present.”

Sold in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, the official RIAT 2011 DVD is priced £16.95 and can be ordered online at or by calling 0800 297 1940.

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Friday, November 11th, 2011

Tickets for next summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo go on sale today with prices not only frozen but – for a limited period – lower than they were this year.

A limited number of special ‘Super Earlybird’ tickets for the July 7-8 event go on sale at 10am on Friday, November 11, priced £29 each. This represents a saving of £10 on the standard 2012 advance admission ticket price – and is £5 cheaper than this year. The £4 book fee has also been waived.An Air Tattoo spokesman said: “Next July will see us stage an RAF tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee and we want as many people as possible to join in this special celebration.

“Not only can people make a huge saving by purchasing tickets now, but we will also continue to offer free parking and allow all accompanied under-16s free entry. At a time when many of us are counting the pennies, we were determined to ensure the Air Tattoo continues to offer families value for money.”

Organisers are urging people to note that next summer’s Air Tattoo, which is staged in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, takes place earlier than usual, on July 7-8, because of the London Olympics later that month.

The spokesman said: “Like the Olympics, we’ll be featuring the fastest, the most agile and those with the greatest endurance – albeit in the world of aerospace rather than sport.”

The limited number of Super Earlybird tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday, November 11 from or by calling 0800 107 1940. They will be on sale until January 4, subject to availability.

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VIP Guests To View Wellingtons Progress

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

14th to 19th November 2011

10.15am to 1.00pm

FREE Admission

Cosford’s award winning conservation centre will be opening its doors to visitors for exclusive behind-the-scenes access to aircraft conservation work from Monday 14th to Saturday 19th November. A number of VIP guests are expected to attend the Conservation Centre Open Week taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford next week, to view the progress being made on the conservation of the Museum’s Wellington Bomber.

Special guests include Mary Stopes-Roe, daughter of Barnes Wallis, designer of the Wellington Bomber’s famous geodetic structure. Mary will be visiting the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre on Thursday 17th November to view the aircraft her father helped design and will be hosted by the Centre’s Manager.

Other VIP guests include Wellington Pilot, Ronald Cooper aged 90, who will be visiting on Wednesday 16th November. Mr Cooper flew in Wellingtons during the early 1940’s was posted to the Middle East, Italy, Germany and then to Palestine in July 1944 where he worked as an instructor teaching pupils how to fly Wellingtons. On Tuesday 15th November Mary Bonigal, who fitted the Irish Linen fabric to Wellington’s during the 1940’s, will meet with the Museum’s team of skilled Technicians and Apprentices helping to restore the Wellington to her former glory to discuss the process.

The Museum’s Wellington MF628 first flew on May 9, 1944. In 1948 it was converted from bomber to navigation trainer and designated a Wellington T.X – removal of the nose gun turret being the most obvious of many modifications. During 1954 the aircraft took part in the filming of “the Dambusters” both as a camera-ship and with a brief appearance in front of the camera. It was sold to Vickers in 1955, and then presented to the Royal Aeronautical Society in mid-1956. Delivered to the RAF Museum in 1971, the nose-turret was re-installed, and the Wellington then displayed in the Bomber Command Hall at RAF Museum London until July 2010. It was then dismantled and transported to the Museum’s Michael Beetham Conservation Centre at Cosford for long-term refurbishment.

As part of this major refurbishment the Wellington will be re-covered and repainted. The fabric that was previously covering the Wellington has been carefully removed and a limited amount has been made available exclusively to RAF Museum Shop customers. Each piece of fabric comes with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity. For those wishing to own a piece of this iconic aircraft’s history, sections of this fabric will be on sale during the Open Week. It is also available in the Museum Shop and online through the Museum’s website.

Other aircraft and artefacts on display during Open Week include the Handley Page Hampden TB1 and Range Safety Launch. This may also be the last opportunity to view the conservation efforts on the Mk1 Sopwith Dolphin which is nearing completion.

Admission to the Conservation Centre Open Week is FREE and from 10.15am to 1.00pm each day. Cosford’s main Museum will open daily from 10am. The next Open Week is planned for November 2012. For further information, please contact the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 01902 376200 or visit

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Museum to commemorate The Fallen on Remembrance Sunday

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Sunday 13th November 2011

Service to commence at 10.45am

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be holding a Remembrance Service paying respect to those Service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during their tours of duty.

For those wishing to pay their respects, the Museum will be holding a Service of Remembrance in Hangar 1 on Sunday 13th November. The service will be lead by Rev (Flt Lt) John Baptiste, C of E Chaplain RAF Cosford, in front of the Comet, with Air Training Cadets and RAF personnel present. During the service there will be readings by Wing Commander J Tomlinson, OC Aeronautical Training Wing DCAE Cosford and Dave Leek, Chairman of the Aerospace Museum Society.

All visitors to the Museum are welcome to join the service for this Act of Remembrance and are politely requested, if they wish to attend, to assemble in Hangar 1 no later than 10:30am ready for the Service to commence at 10.45am. A bugle will mark the beginning of 2 minutes silence with the sounding of The Last Post.

Organiser Nina Mitchell, says:

“It is a privilege and an honour for the RAF Museum Cosford to host such a poignant service, where visitors can pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave service men and women. Following the service, visitors will be able to view our Remembrance Book which lists the names of RAF Aircrew who lost their lives during the Battle of Britain in 1940.”

The Museum is open daily from 10am and entry to the Museum is FREE. For further information, please call the Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford on 01902 376 200 or visit the museum website,

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VIP Unveils Comper Swift

Friday, November 4th, 2011

The Royal Air Force Museum yesterday officially unveiled the Museum’s latest acquisition, the Comper Swift CLA.7 G-ACGL. The aircraft was unveiled to invited guests including relatives of the aircraft’s designer and of original owner in the Museum’s Hangar 1, where it is now on permanent display to the public.

During the unveiling guests gathered by the Comper Swift for a welcome speech from the RAF Museum Director General, Peter Dye. Immediately afterwards the aircraft was unveiled by special guest Alex Henshaw Junior, son of Alex Henshaw Senior, the original owner of the aircraft. The Swift was flown by Henshaw Senior in several air races around the country including the Kings Cup Air Race in1933 where he won the Siddeley Trophy. Other V.I.Ps at the launch included Comper Swift Aircraft Designer’s grandson, Mr Stephen Perry and its Engine Designer’s daughter Mrs Shirley Ann Manser.

Designed by Nicholas Comper, an ex-RAF Flight Lieutenant in the early 1920’s, the first prototype Swift flew in 1929. Whilst designing the Swift, Comper drew on his experiences with the Cranwell Light Aeroplane Club (CLAC), a group founded by Comper as an extra curricular activity for RAF Apprentices. Members of the CLAC also included Frank Whittle and George Stainforth plus many other individuals who became legends within the RAF.

Only 41 Swifts were ever built and they were only available in two colours – red or blue of which the Museum’s is red. Most were fitted with a Pobjoy R type engine and they were popular in air racing throughout the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. At only 5ft high, 17ft long with a wingspan of 24ft the Swift could reach a maximum speed of 140mph. Big enough for just one person, a Swift was flown solo by Mr Arthur Butler between England and Australia in 1931 establishing a new record time. Another was flown to South Africa and only just missed out on the record.

Henshaw Senior sold the Swift G-ACGL in 1934 and it passed through four more owners before reportedly being scrapped in 1942. Henshaw went on to become Chief Test Pilot at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory and test flew more Spitfires than anyone else. The remains of the Museum’s Swift were saved and secured by various groups until 2008 when its parts donated by Mr Stanley Brennan of Manchester to the Royal Air Force Museum. The aircraft has recently been restored by Skysport Engineering, Bedfordshire. There are now only eight remaining Swifts; four in the UK, one in Argentina, two in Australia, and one in Spain.

The Comper Swift is now on permanent display at the RAF Museum Cosford. The Museum is open daily from 10am and admission is free of charge. For more information on the Museum, visit or call 01902 376200.

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Museum staff help construct charity pedal car

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Staff at RAF Cosford, assisted by staff in the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford have created a pedal car in the form of a World War Two Hurricane aircraft. The pedal car will be entered into a 24 hour charity cycle car race taking place in St Etienne de Chigny in the centre of France. A team of four from RAF Cosford will travel to France for the race in August 2012 hoping to raise money for RAF Charities whilst winning the best design for their pedal car.

Designed and built by a team of staff in Mechanical Training (Airframe and Propulsion Training) at RAF Cosford, the original concept and idea to enter the race came from Malcolm Hill, an instructor at RAF Cosford. Malcolm is hopeful that the unique design and the history behind the Hurricane it replicates will be enough to secure the top spot.

The paint scheme used on the pedal car represents the aircraft flown by Pilot Officer Paul Richey who was stationed during the early days of World War Two at Chateaudun near to where the pedal car race will take place. Once the framework was completed, the pedal car was handed to the Museum’s skilled Aircraft Technician – Surface Finish Engineer to recreate Pilot Officer Richey’s aircraft. The body of the car and the demountable wings were then covered in authentic material ‘Irish Linen’ and doped to strengthen the fabric. It was then painted in the authentic Hurricane colours of the period with the markings of the aircraft flown by Pilot Officer Paul Richey before being handed back to Mr Hill and Cpl Ree.

Surface Finish Engineers, Michael Rose and Tony Pass say:

“We were more than happy to assist for such a good cause and hope the team are successful and raise a lot of money for the Help 4 Heroes Charity Appeal.”

The construction of the pedal car occurred at RAF Cosford during staff lunch breaks and was funded through donations from the Mechanical Training staff tea bar. Members of staff used a discarded post bike from workshops at RAF Cosford. Additional much needed parts were sourced through Halfords in Telford, who agreed to also provide additional spare parts for the competition.

The pedal car has been designed to comply with the French ‘Voitures Pedales’ regulations. Before the race in August it will also be entered in a shorter race in England, in early 2012, as a ‘shake down exercise’ to ensure everything is in working order before the main race. The intention is that the victorious pedal car will be used by the RAF Cadet force at the Birmingham International Tattoo in their ‘Red Barrows’ display. The Tattoo will take place in December 2012.

For further information on this charity event and the team taking part in the race, please contact Malcolm Hill at RAF Cosford on 01902 377386. For more information on the Museum visit

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