Archive for November, 2012

Museum Curator Tracks Down Lost Historic Local Artefact

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

RAF Museum curator Andy Simpson recently followed a trail from Colindale to Stanbridge and unearthed a rare wooden carving once owned by Claude Grahame-White.

The carving which is in the shape of the Grahame-White logo, was built around 1916 and used as the central motif of the large electrical panel currently on display in the Watch Office at the Museum in Colindale.

After WWI the site was handed over to the War Office and became an RAF station (RAF Hendon). At some point in the site’s history, the carving was mysteriously removed.

Recently Mr Simpson uncovered documents from the Defence Land Sales and discovered that the item was actually removed when the RAF were vacating the site, in order to protect it from vandalism. Along with other items it was being kept at RAF Stanbridge

Following on from this Mr Simpson met representatives from RAF Stanbridge who were only too happy to return the carving along with other items so that it could be displayed in its rightful place.

The carving is currently at the Museum’s site in Cosford undergoing restoration work by our National Award winning apprentice Laura Pringle and will be on display at the Museum in Colindale next year.

Mr Simpson: “The discovery of the wooden carving is important as it represents the history of the local community. More than that it also completes the display of the electrical panel in the Watch-Office. We’re glad to have it back in its rightful place!”

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Airscene 2013 Photobook

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

The Airscene 2013 Photobook is now available for sale:

The photobook is made up of selected entries from the Airscene 2013 Airshow Calendar competition. As with previous editions, not every entry has been lucky enough to be selected for an appearance in the book, however a number of entrants do appear twice – such was the quality of their submissions.

In the 2011 and 2012 editions images were grouped by aircraft type and were accompanied by textual information in a few places. This year the images have been grouped by airshow – with images accompanied by the photographers name. In addition to the photographs, one page has been used to show off free Airscene Calendar (useful for winners to showcase their own work) and the final page details the fundraising Red Arrows prints that artist Terry Jones created earlier in the year to raise money for the Jon Egging trust and the RAF benevolent fund.

News on the next competition will be announced this week, in the meantime I hope you enjoy your book.

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

The 75th anniversary of RAF Cosford will be one of three special milestones marked at the RAF Cosford Air Show in June 2013.

The announcement was made by Air Show Chairman Wing Commander Mike Wilson at the launch of next year’s event, which will take place on Sunday, June 9.

Also being celebrated will be the 75th anniversary of the Spitfire entering RAF service and the 40th anniversary of the Jaguar aircraft.

Taking centre stage at the launch were four former RAF jets: two Jaguar GR3s, which taxied into position alongside a Jaguar T4 and a Harrier GR3. The Jaguar first entered RAF service in 1973 and was decommissioned in 2007.

Wg Cdr Wilson said he planned to build on the Air Show’s achievements in 2012 by making the event even more exciting in 2013.

He said there would be more military displays, a bigger exhibition area and hospitality areas catering for families and corporate guests. A special ‘Cosford Club’ will also be established, offering up to 200 visitors a unique opportunity to see behind-the-scenes and enjoy the Air Show from a prime viewing area. One lucky club member will also get the chance to take a ‘taxi’ ride in the back of a Jaguar.

Reinforcing the Air Show’s commitment to support local industry and business, Wg Cdr Wilson said that where possible, he will be looking to increase the £1.5 million boost given to the local economy by this year’s event.

He added: “If you come to RAF Cosford in June 2013 you will see respect for our heritage, the integrity to get the job done, an attitude that puts service before self and a desire for excellence in all that we do.”

During the launch, the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal Air Forces Association were each presented with a £15,000 cheque, the proceeds from this year’s Air Show. A further £5,000 went to local charities.

Among the guests at the event was Master Aircrew Chas McHugh, an aviation artist, who has designed the artwork for next year’s Air Show. Chas, who lives in Shropshire, has served in the RAF for 35 years. He is currently a helicopter crewman instructor.

Chas said: “It was great to learn that my design had been chosen as the official poster for next year’s RAF Cosford Air Show. It was a challenge to come up with the finished artwork but I am pleased with the results and I hope it will encourage the public to come along.”

Tickets for the air show, priced £20 in advance or £25 on the gate, will be on sale at from January but Gift Vouchers and enclosure places can be bought now. Standard admission tickets are free for children under 16 when they are accompanied by an adult.

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

People planning to attend next summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, who purchase their tickets before January 7, will enjoy a saving of up to £14 on the price of admission.

Special Super Earlybird tickets go on sale tomorrow (November 21) for next summer’s event, which takes place on July 20-21.

In a bid to keep tickets as affordable as possible for its many supporters, organisers have decided to cap the price of the Sunday admission ticket, adding just £1 on to the 2012 admission price. This means that a Super Earlybird Sunday ticket will be available until January 6, priced just £30.

This compares with the £35 cost of a Super Earlybird Saturday ticket.

Between January 7 and April 3, Earlybird tickets will be available priced £40 for the Saturday and £35 for the Sunday.

After April 3, the standard advance ticket will go on sale, priced £45 (Saturday) and £40 (Sunday). Each order after April 3 will be subject to a £4 admin fee.

The Air Tattoo’s Head of Marketing Helen Webb said: “We’ve introduced the new pricing structure to reflect the growing number of people who are looking for extra-value in these challenging times.

“By introducing specially-priced Sunday tickets and enabling all accompanied under-16s to come in for free, visitors can enjoy one of the UK’s greatest outdoor events next summer at an extremely competitive price.”

The Royal International Air Tattoo 2013 will bring together air arms from around the world in a celebration of aviation excellence.

Helen added: “Last summer’s Air Tattoo was a great success with new aerobatic display teams taking part, stealth aircraft and three new countries participating. We’re planning to match all that excitement with an equally thrilling airshow in July.”

For full admission ticket details and to see the wide range of optional upgrades designed to enhance your enjoyment of the Royal International Air Tattoo 2013, visit

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The First Air War in 100 Objects

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

With the Centenary of the First World War just 18 months away, the Royal Air Force Museum is asking members of the public what objects from its archives they would like to see displayed in a narrative that will explain the role of aviation in this momentous event. The most popular items voted for by the public will be selected to form part of a trail woven through a new permanent exhibition highlighting the personal experience of the young men and women of the newly formed Royal Air Force (and its parent organisations, the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service) and their contribution to the Allied victory.

Curators from the Royal Air Force Museum have selected 100 artefacts from its rich and diverse First World War collection, with each object specifically selected to tell a story about the experiences of those men and women, at home and overseas, who lived, fought, worked & died during this cataclysmic period.

The collection includes objects ranging from the Baron Manfred von Richthofen’s lucky charm – a blue glass dog – to Lt Frank McNamara’s Victoria Cross, awarded to the Australian pilot for rescuing a fallen comrade despite being gravely wounded himself. Members of the public are invited to vote for, debate and explain which objects should be given greatest prominence in the Museum’s new First World War exhibition (opening to the public in Spring 2014) by logging into the Museum’s Flickr and Pinterest Channels.

Peter Dye, Director General of the Museum stated that:

‘The Royal Air Force Museum is justifiably proud of its First World War collection, which contains the most comprehensive collection of aircraft from the period – anywhere in the world. Just as importantly, we also hold a large range of other artefacts that tell the stories of the thousands of individuals caught up in the dangerous, costly and traumatic struggle that became ‘The First War in the Air’. Over the past four years, the Museum has been developing its plans and acquiring objects to form the first comprehensive exhibition on the role of aviation, and the impact on those thousands of individuals who flew in or supported the air services – at home and overseas – during this momentous period.

To help us in our aim of making all the Museum’s exhibitions as accessible as possible, we would like to invite the public – our future visitors – to tell us which objects and their stories inspire them, and those that they would like to hear more about, by viewing our Flickr and Pinterest Streams. These views will not only determine the content of the exhibition but also enable us to engage with a much wider audience – many of whom we hope will be able to provide their own stories through the letters, photographs and artefacts left by relatives who served in the Royal Air Force, or supported its efforts, during the First World War.’

To view the above streams please go to and click on the picture links located at the bottom of any page of the website.

The museum would also welcome general input from the public about as part of a consultation process for the redevelopment of the Museum’s London site about the types of future displays visitors would like to see. This consultation document can be found on survey monkey by accessing the following link:

The Royal Air Force Museum London is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission is free. For further details about the Museum please call 020 8205 2266 or visit

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RAF Museum celebrates 40th birthday

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

40 years ago to the day, Her Majesty the Queen officially opened the Royal Air Force Museum.

Between then and now, the Museum has welcomed over 10 million visitors and has grown from 4 hangars and 40 aircraft to 6 hangars with over 100 aircraft on display.

It has been a focal point for the local community of Colindale and across Barnet and furthermore has taken the lead in national celebrations such as the 100th anniversary of flight and the 90th anniversary of the RAF.

The Museum has also attracted a wide range of visitors from political giants such as Margaret Thatcher, to A-list celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Brian Adams and of course members of the Royal Family.

In 2001, free entry was introduced and visitor numbers have subsequently shot up with many more people taking the opportunity to visit.

School visits are as popular as ever and the Museum’s Access Learning and Development run activities that tie in with the national syllabus.

Today the Museum stands stronger than ever with a vision promote understanding about the Royal Air Force and its contribution to the defence of our nation and a safer world. And to move forward and engage it’s local community and national and international visitors.

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Museum Opens Conservation Centre to Public

Monday, November 5th, 2012

12th to 17th November 2012

10.15am to 1.00pm

FREE Admission

The Royal Air Force Museum 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 12th to Saturday 17th November. Visitors will be able to view the progress being made on the Museum’s bombers, the Handley Page Hampden and Vickers Wellington, plus other aircraft and artefacts in various stages of restoration.

Introduced into RAF service in 1938, the Handley Page Hampden TB.1 P1344 was originally designed as a medium bomber. During the early months of the Second World War the Hampden’s defensive armament proved inadequate and it suffered heavily in the daylight raids of that time. It continued as a night bomber until 1942 when it was replaced by the Halifax and Lancaster. Some Hampden’s were converted to torpedo bombers whilst the Museum’s Hampden suffered a rather different fate. The aircraft was en-route to Murmansk in Russia for convoy defence duties as part of 144 Squadron when it was shot down on 4th September 1942 during its transit flight. Three crew members died, although two survived to become prisoners of war (P.O.W’s). The wreckage lay on the Kola Peninsula, Northern Russia until 1989 when it was rediscovered. The RAF Museum acquired the airframe in 1991.The Hampden is one of the Museum’s longest running conservation projects.

Over the last few months the Hampden’s rear fuselage section has progressed considerably under the direction of Apprentice Ella Middleton. The corrosion work on the starboard side is nearing completion allowing the restored original fixtures and fittings to be reinstalled. Also, on the rear fuselage section, the structural repair to the aft frame has been progressed and should be completed soon; this is a significant part of the project with it being the interface between the rear fuselage and the tailboom section. The tailboom will be the next major part of the aircraft to undergo restoration; the coming Open week being a good chance to see its condition before the work starts.

Conservation Centre Deputy Manager Darren Priday says:

“A lot of effort has been put into the Hampden over the summer months; hopefully, regular supporters of our Open Week will see a change in the way the aircraft is now looking”.

Also on display will be a specially commissioned painting, produced by artist Ian Conway. The painting depicts the final moments of Hampden X2983, shot down over Garonne, France. The painting was commissioned by Ian Tunstall, whose father Pilot Officer DG Tunstall, was killed in the crash along with navigator Sgt Barclay; Sgt’s F Bailey and B Dixon both survived the crash and ended up as P.O.W’s. During the Museum’s Open Week, artist Ian Conway and Mr Tunstall will both be visiting the Conservation Centre and will be speaking with visitors about the painting. Proceeds from the painting will be going to the RAF Benevolent Fund.

Visitors will also have the rare opportunity to speak with the skilled Technicians and Apprentices and view current projects including the on-going refurbishments of the Hawker Siddeley Kestrel, the Range Safety Launch as well as the two aircraft featured above.

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. For further information, please contact the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 01902 376200 or visit

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Celebrate with a Model Birthday Party

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Children’s Birthday party packages : £13.50 per person

If you’re searching for a new and unique celebration for your child’s Birthday, why not consider holding a fabulous flight themed party at the Royal Air Force Museum London? Celebratory packages are available for children with each child receiving a party bag containing a 1:72 Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a model kit to take home and build, courtesy of Airfix.

What more could any future pilot ask for than to have a Birthday celebration at their favourite museum with their friends and closest family members? Suitable for children aged 5 and above this all inclusive package takes the hassle out of organising their big day whilst providing your child and their party guests with an experience rich in memories that they will cherish for years to come.

This self-guided party has an exciting activity trail that guides children around our London site, helping them discover our unique aircraft and historic exhibits in a fun competition ; before they enjoy our hands on interactive area of Aeronauts where they can learn, through play, how aircraft stay up in the air.

After the trails are complete, birthday guests will enjoy a Birthday Party Lunch consisting of your choice of hot main meal, with a carton of either orange or apple juice before enjoying a tantalising bowl of jelly and ice-cream – all served on a specially reserved party table decorated with a celebratory table cover and balloons for the birthday boy or girl.

Each child will also receive their own goody bag containing a Red Arrows or Fairy Glider, Rocket Launcher, Gloss Pen and packet of sweets; whilst the Birthday Boy or Girl will receive an additional gift to help them celebrate the day. All this is for a very affordable £13.50 per child.

However, if this wasn’t great enough value the Museum has recently teamed up with family favourite Airfix, to include a Spitfire 1:72 scale model kit including paints and glue in every Birthday party goody bag – a fantastic memento for each child to cherish – and a great opportunity to continue the party atmosphere at home by having your child’s friends come over and make their own Squadron together as part of a fun day together.

Paul Hudson, Head of Marketing at the Royal Air Force Museum, states:

‘ I would like to take this opportunity to thank Airfix and Hornby for their assistance in enabling us to provide even greater value to our Birthday Packages for children. I believe that the above package represents fantastic value for any parent looking to provide their child with an affordable birthday celebration that their child and young guests will cherish for years to come.’

If you would like to take advantage of this great offer please call 020 8358 4849 or visit the Museum’s website at The Royal Air Force Museum at London is open daily from 10 am.

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