Archive for February, 2012

Cosford Airshow to go ahead on Fathers Day

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The organisers of the annual RAF Cosford Air Show have confirmed that the show will go ahead on Sunday 17 June 2012.

In previous years the crowd at this event on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border have enjoyed a fantastic five-and-a-half hour flying display and 2012 will again see dozens of aircraft from all ages of flight coming together for an afternoon of entertainment.

And as well as the excitement in the air the crowds will also be able to enjoy a wide variety of entertainment on the ground with a fun fair, craft fair, market and aircraft exhibitions – as well as entry to the RAF museum. Much of the ground entertainment is indoors. So even if it rains there is plenty to see and do.

Tickets will be £25.00 on the gate, only cash can be accepted, but only £20 in advance. Tickets are free for children under 16 when they are accompanied by an adult. Advance tickets will go on sale in early March. This must be the best present yet for Father’s Day.

Over the next few weeks the organisers will be announcing details of the aircraft taking part but we expect to see many of the RAF stars appearing such as the RAF Falcons display tem and of course the world famous Red Arrows.

Full information on the show can be seen on the air show web site –

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Shropshire Model Show Set To Attract Thousands

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

1st April 2012

10.00am – 4.00pm

FREE entry

The popular Shropshire Model Show is returning to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on Sunday 1st April 2012. Open to the public from 10am, the show is expected to attract thousands of visitors from across the country. The event will bring together members of Shropshire Scale Modellers and its associated body, the Telford branch of the International Plastic Modellers Society, whose members provide many of the exhibits on display.

More than 80 clubs will be exhibiting intricately detailed models including aircraft, cars, bikes, trucks, Dr Who and Star Wars figures and many other science fiction related items. In addition to this the show will boast over 40 traders, in all of the Museum’s hangars, selling a range of materials and kits associated with the world of modelling including plastic kits in various sizes along with glues, paints and detail sets. There will also be a stall for the ladies, selling hand made cards, handbags and jewellery.

A tombola will run all day offering a range of excellent prizes. The show will also be hosting an open competition where modellers of all ages and abilities can enter their creations to win a much coveted award.

Organiser Gary Stevens of Ellesmere says:

“I am very excited and honoured this year as we have a trader coming all the way from Belgium, making this an international show now. One of our many attractions to attend this year is called project Iraq 2003 depicting a typical scene Somewhere near Basra shortly after battle. The model is 1/35 scale with working train, and the whole scene measures 3m wide and 1m deep.

The popularity of this show increases every year and there is something for all the family no matter what age.”

This show provides dedicated model enthusiasts the opportunity to display and show off the skills involved in making elaborate models, ranging from aircraft to boats and trains. Following the popularity and success of the Museum’s recent Model Making Half Term event, organisers are confident a new generation of modellers will attended.

Visitors will also be able to view the Museum’s three hangars and the National Cold War Exhibition during their visit. There is ample car parking available along with free park and ride, a restaurant, café and souvenir shop on site.

The Museum is open from 10am – 6pm (last admission 5pm). For further information, please call the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 01902 376200 or visit the Museum website at

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Through the Eyes of A Service Child

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Free to Enter Photography Competition for U.K. Service Children.

1st of March 2012

Following the success of the 2011 ‘Through the eyes of a Service Child’ Art competition, the Service Children Support Network in association with the Royal Air Force Museum is proud to launch their 2012 ‘Through the eyes of a Service Child’ photographic competition; the winning entries of which will be displayed in an exhibition at the Museum’s London site later this year.

The children of all personnel currently serving in any of the United Kingdom’s three Armed Services (Navy, RAF or Army) and their Reserve Units are invited to submit a photograph that reflects their experience as a Service Child. Entries are by age category: Aged 5 and Under; Age 6 to 9 years; Age 10 to 13 years; and age 14 to 18 years – with each child able to submit a maximum of 3 photographs per entry.

The Royal Air Force Museum will be awarding a generous selection of prizes from its shop to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed winners in all four categories with all 12 winners invited to a Prize Giving Ceremony at the Royal Air Force Museum London, to take place this summer, where they will be able to view their photographs on display to the public. These winning images will then be published in the Service Children Support Network’s calendar for 2013 raising valuable funds for the charity.

Keith Ifould, Director of Commercial Services at the Royal Air Force Museum comments:

‘For some service children it can be very unsettling when either their mother or father is away from the family home on active service. This can, in some instances, lead to children of Service Personnel facing added challenges in terms of their educational attainment or fitting in with their classroom peers who may have difficulty understanding the worries that Service Children have. The Service Children Support Network provides valuable support to educational professionals who work with Service Children, enabling such children to reach their full potential in the classroom whilst at the same time providing practical help and advice to the partners of active serving personnel.

Accordingly, I am very happy for the Royal Air Force Museum to lend its support to the Service Children Support Network in the promotion of its annual photography competition, and the subsequent creation of its 2013 calendar, in support of the charity’s work.’

For full details of how to enter the competition and its rules please go to:

The competition itself will run from 1st March 2012 until 15th May 2012, with judging of the competition taking place in June.

The Royal Air Force Museum operates at two sites. One London and Cosford, Shropshire. It is open daily from 10am to 6pm and admission is free of charge. For further details about the Museum and to find out when the Service Children Support Network’s Photography Exhibition will be shown at the Museum’s London site, please visit

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Colonel Richard Graham discusses the SR-71 Blackbird

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Former SR-71 Blackbird pilot Colonel Richard Graham (USAF Retired) will be making a welcome return to IWM Duxford on Sunday 11 March 2012.

Always a very popular speaker at IWM Duxford, Colonel Graham will be giving an overview of the SR-71 Blackbird programme at 11am in the Marshall Auditorium in AirSpace.

This talk will be followed by an extended question and answer session, where Colonel Graham will chat with his audience.

At 2pm, Colonel Graham will be hosting walk-around tours of the SR-71 Blackbird that he previously flew at RAF Mildenhall, which now sits in pride of place on display in the American Air Museum.

Following the tour, there will be an opportunity for book signings and to ask more questions.

The SR-71 Blackbird is regarded as one of the United States Air Force’s most important Cold War-era aircraft. It was classified as top secret for most of its operational life, flying covert missions from RAF Mildenhall from the mid-1970s onwards. The aircraft played an important role in military conflicts for nearly thirty years, being superceded only when spy satellites came into operation.

Colonel Richard Graham’s involvement with the Blackbird continued until his retirement from the United States Air Force in 1989 as a highly-decorated pilot with more than 4,000 hours of military flying experience.

Colonel Graham’s talks are always incredibly popular. Both events on Sunday 11 March are included in standard admission to the museum and, as usual, children aged 15 and under go free.

The Marshall Auditorium has a maximum capacity of 200. Entry to Colonel Graham’s talk is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The walk-around tour can also be joined on a first-come, first-served basis.

Join us to hear about the thrill and excitement of flying the SR-71 Blackbird as Colonel Richard Graham enthralls his audience with tales about this iconic and enigmatic aircraft.

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Knights Promise Historic Air Tattoo Visit

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Aviation history will be made this summer when a newly-formed Middle Eastern aerobatics display team makes its European debut at a UK airshow.

Al Fursan – The Knights – from the United Arab Emirates Air Force will display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on July 7-8.

Featuring seven Alenia Aermacchi MB-339A Italian trainer aircraft, the team first performed at the Dubai Airshow in November to mark the UAE’s 40th anniversary. The fighter pilots were trained in formation flying by the Italian Air Force display team the Frecce Tricolori, who also fly the same aircraft.

Alan Peaford, Editor-in-Chief, Arabian Aerospace magazine said: “The Al Fursan team surprised everybody at the Dubai Airshow in November when it made its first appearance with an incredible performance. The team’s international debut at Bahrain stole the show.

“Coming to the UK for the Air Tattoo is a major step up for the team and really puts the UAE pilots in front of a world audience. I believe they will surprise people with their skills and professionalism. We have seen what the UAE has done to change world perception in football, golf and horseracing – I think they might be about to do the same in the world of display flying.”

The Al Fursan aircraft are painted predominantly in black and gold to represent the desert’s golden sands and the black oil which lies beneath it. Smoke generators produce red, green, white and black smoke to represent the colours of the national flag.

Al Fursan team leader Lt Col Nasser Ahmad said: “The Al Fursan pilots and their Director, Brigadier staff pilot Khaled Omar, are privileged to represent their country at the world’s largest military airshow. For us, the Air Tattoo offers an important opportunity to exchange ideas, build relations and share our experience with other military display teams. It will be an honour to perform our aerobatic display in the UK in July which we dedicate to our new British and European friends. Equally, the Al Fursan team will be very proud to paint the lovely British sky with the colours of the UAE flag.”

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, head of the RAF, said he was pleased to welcome his Arab partners. He said: “I am delighted that Al Fursan has agreed to perform at this summer’s Air Tattoo. This will be the team’s first display in Europe and I can think of no better place for the team to demonstrate their flying prowess than at one of the world’s largest military airshows.”

Al Fursan will join a number of other international aerobatic display teams at this summer’s Air Tattoo, including the Patrouille Suisse.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: “During the past 46 years, the Red Arrows team has performed more than 4,300 displays, projecting both the professionalism and capability of the Royal Air Force around the globe.

That such a fledgling display team as Al Fursan, representing a comparatively young nation, should have the enthusiasm and confidence to make its European flying debut on such a significant stage speaks volumes. We are honoured to have been chosen by the UAE Air Force as the European airshow at which to demonstrate its military pilots’ close formation aerobatic skills.”

The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. Countries that have already confirmed they will be sending aircraft to the airshow include Brazil, Hungary, France, the US, Switzerland, Poland and Latvia.

Special Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

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Harrier GR9A now on display at Cosford

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

The New Year has got off to a flying start at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford with the arrival of a Harrier GR.9A serial number ZG477. This revolutionary vertical take-off, multi-role combat aircraft is now on display to visitors within the Museum’s Warplanes collection.

The Harrier GR.9A is a single seat, multi-role combat aircraft, capable of operating in extreme environments, at night, low level and from a variety of locations including deployed air bases and aircraft carriers. One of its more unique and well known features is the ability to take-off and land vertically. Fitted with a Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine, the aircraft is over 46ft in length, has a wingspan of 30ft and could reach a top speed of 661mph.

The first Harriers entered RAF service in 1969. This made Royal Air Force the first air force in the world to use this revolutionary aircraft and allowed the Service to access areas normally off limits to other aircraft. Before being withdrawn from RAF service in December 2010, Harriers were used by the RAF in close air support roles and were usually employed in direct support of ground troops. Also used for low or medium-level attacks using precision-guided, freefall or retarded bombs, Harriers were equipped with a variety of weapons including laser and GPS-guided bombs, infa-red missiles, cluster munitions and general-purpose bombs.

The Harrier GR.9A ZG477 now on display at the RAF Museum entered RAF service in August 1990 as a Harrier GR.7. It was initially stationed in Germany with No. 4 Squadron before being based in Turkey following the Kurdish uprising against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. In 1993 the Harrier force, including ZG477 took over policing the Northern Exclusion Zone in Iraq from Jaguar aircraft. The three Harrier Squadrons (No. 1, 3 and 4) were rotated on a regular basis until 1995.

In 1999 Harrier ZG477 was based in Italy with No. 3 Squadron during Operation Allied Force. The objective was to degrade and damage the military and security structure that Serbian President Milosevic used to depopulate and destroy the Albanian majority in the province of Kosovo. Upgraded to a Harrier GR.9A in 2004, ZG477 was fitted with a more powerful Pegasus engine and a terrain referenced navigation system as part of an Integrated Weapons Programme (IWP).

Between 2008 and 2009 it saw active service in Afghanistan along with seven other Harriers that were continuously available, with Missions flown in pairs, two pairs on day tasks and one pair at night. The main area of operations was over Helmand Valley, supporting UK Army and Royal Marines as well as other coalition troops.

On the 15th December 2010 all Harriers were grounded after a farewell formation flight, following defence budget cuts. In twenty years of RAF service, Harrier ZG477 ended its career with No.1 Squadron after completing 4,191.25 flying hours and 3,969 landings.

Al McLean, RAF Museum Cosford Curator says:

“We are delighted to be selected as one of only two museums to receive this final example of a uniquely innovative aircraft with a distinguished history. It enhances our display of Warplanes.”

Other aircraft due to arrive at the Museum later this year include the EAP and the Dornier Do-17. 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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Aviation Jewel Set for Diamond Display

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Sixty years since it first took to the skies, the most iconic aircraft of the Cold War era will be at this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo for a double celebration as the airshow marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Named The Spirit of Great Britain, the delta-winged Vulcan XH558 is the only remaining airworthy Vulcan bomber. Not only will it take part in the flying display on July 7-8 but it will take centre stage in the airshow’s Cold War Zone, enabling people to see it close up on the ground.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: “Anyone who hasn’t seen the Vulcan display really ought to while they have the chance. Those who have seen it, return again and again to experience its power, grace and beauty. It conjures up similar emotions to those felt by people who saw Concorde display. There’s a palpable sense of awe in the crowd.

Dubbed ‘the people’s aircraft’, Vulcan XH558 is funded largely by public donations. Not only is she the last flying Vulcan but she is also the only remaining airworthy example of the RAF’s famous Cold War V-Force, the UK’s strategic nuclear strike force which comprised Victors, Valiants and Vulcans.

The Vulcan, which first flew on August 30, 1952, has a special relationship with the Royal Family as the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Prince Michael of Kent have all piloted the aircraft.

Organisers of this summer’s Air Tattoo are working alongside the Royal Air Force to stage a number of special aerial tributes to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Countries that have already confirmed they will be sending aircraft to the airshow include Brazil, Hungary, France, the US, Switzerland, Poland and Latvia.

Special Air Tattoo Earlybird tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.

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A Day with the Red Arrows

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Airscene were recently invited to spend a day with the world famous Red Arrows display team.As editor, I of course jumped at the chance, unfortunately my full time day job as a civil servant meant I couldn’t take up the offer myself.

So instead I passed over the invite to one of my intrepid front line airshow reviewers – Dave Briers.

Dave spent this wednesday with the Reds at RAF Scampton – observing the pre-flight briefing, watching the team practice and indulged in his favourite past-time… photography.

Dave’s full report on the day can be viewed here…

As a famous brand of lager might say – probably the best airshow in the world!

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