Archive for February, 2016

Major Shackleton Repaint Being Planned

Monday, February 29th, 2016


It has been announced by the Newark Air Museum that at the beginning of April it will be embarking on one of the most ambitious repainting projects it has ever undertaken; on Avro Shackleton WR977. This will be carried out with major support of the aircraft’s owners, the Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association’

Unlike previous repainting work on museum aircraft, scaffolding work platforms will be installed around the Shackleton. This will allow the de-corroding, rubbing down and repainting to be carried out is a safe and efficient manner.

The current plan is to install scaffolding around half of the Shackleton and to focus the work effort on this section of the aircraft. Once the work has been completed the scaffolding will be repositioned on the other side of the aircraft, where the balance of the work will be completed.

To support this work programme and to minimise the length of time that the scaffolding is on hire, the museum has launched an appeal for volunteers; with the aim of working on the project as and when the weather allows, seven days a week. Details of the appeal can be found in the News & Events section of the Newark Air Museum website 

Avro Shackleton WR977 was moved from RAF Finningley in spring 1977, just prior to Her Majesty the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Review of the Royal Air Force. WR977 is believed to be the longest serving Shackleton Mk3 Phase 3 airframe to have flown with the RAF.

Sywell Aviation Museum Grand Opening

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Sywell Aviation Museum

Saturday 26th March 2016

Easter Saturday is the traditional Grand Opening for the Sywell Aviation Museum’s new season and this year the event returns bigger and better than ever before! Military vehicles, re-enactors, aircraft cockpits and some surprise aerial visitors (maybe even a warbird or two) make it a fun day out!

The event starts at 1030hrs and runs until 1630hrs. Parking is extremely limited so please arrive early and car share!

Following the Grand Opening the Museum will be open as usual every weekend and bank holiday from 1030-1630hrs until the end of September. In July, August and September, the Museum opens on Wednesday afternoons between 1330-1630hrs.

Entry is free – donations welcome – parking is also free but limited! We are taking bookings for out of hours group tours.

For more information please visit

Dambusters Evolution is Focus of University Lecture

Monday, February 29th, 2016

617 Squadron

Date: 10 March 2016

Time: 6.30pm

Cost: FREE

The role of No. 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force, better known as the ‘Dam Busters’ will be the focus of a lecture taking place at the University of Wolverhampton next month. The lecture entitled ‘Planned Development or Haphazard Evolution? No. 617 Squadron, 1943-45′ will be presented by Dr Robert Owen, the Official Historian of the No. 617 Squadron Association. The lecture is a continuation of the joint partnership between the University’s Department of War Studies and the Royal Air Force Museum and takes place on Thursday 10 March 2016.

In this lecture, Dr Robert Owen will discuss the backstory to the units operations during the Second World War and the decision to keep them in existence as a precision-bombing unit. For the remainder of the Second World War, they carried out precision attacks using new and unconventional weapons, culminating with Barnes Wallis’s deep penetration bombs, ‘Tallboy’ and ‘Grand Slam’.

Many of the Squadron’s eventual operations emerged as the result of an inability to execute initial planning due to unrealistic expectations of weapon performance, delays in the development of a new weapons and political intervention. The Squadron played a major role in the assessment of weapons, equipment and new techniques and were often given alternative targets, taking advantage of their capabilities and to address specific issues. During its comparatively short period of active service No. 617 won 2 Victoria Crosses and more than 150 other decorations.

The numerous accounts written detailing the Squadron’s history fail to take into account many of the factors that determined its role and concentrate on the operational record and the weapons used. The result is a distorted and incomplete perception of the Squadron’s development and a misconception of its full contribution to the bomber offensive.

This lecture will identify the various policy and decision making bodies and examine their role in selecting weapons and targets for the Squadron. It will explore the issues which determined the role played by the Squadron, including changes in Air Staff policy for Bomber Command, choice of targets, the development and production of weapons and tactical requirements. Comparison is made between the planners’ original intentions for the Squadron and the final operational record.

The Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies form part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme for 2016. ‘Planned Development or Haphazard Evolution? No.617 Squadron, 1943-45′, is the first of three joint lectures taking place at the University of Wolverhampton this year.

Dr Ross Mahoney, RAF Museum Aviation Historian said:

“The RAF Museum is once again delighted to be working in conjunction with our colleague at the University of Wolverhampton to bring the Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies to a wide audience. The year’s first lecture is about one of the RAF’s most famous units, the Dambusters. The lecture will highlight No. 617’s development beyond the famous Dams raids of 1943 and open up a new understanding of the Squadron’s contribution to the Second World War.”

Dr Peter Preston-Hough of the university’s Department of War Studies said:

“We’re delighted to be part of this prestigious series of lectures, which promises to provide an interesting insight into this area of history.”

This FREE lecture will be held in the main lecture theatre (MC001) at the University of Wolverhampton at 6.30pm on Thursday 10 March. As spaces are limited, organisers advise visitors to book their tickets in advance via the museum’s website to avoid disappointment.

For further information about the museums research programme or to book your FREE ticket to the lecture, please visit the museum website

Raptor Set to Bare Teeth At Air Tattoo

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

F22 Raptor - RIAT

One of the jewels in the crown of US military aviation will make a welcome return to the Royal International Air Tattoo in July to demonstrate some of the unique capabilities of the world’s firstoperational fifth generation fighter.
The display by the US Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-22A ‘Raptor’will be among the highlights of the airshow, which takes place at RAF Fairford on July 8-10.
It was at the Air Tattoo six years ago that the Raptor last showed off its impressiveagilityin the UK made possible by the stealthy F-22’s thrust-vectoring engines.

RIAT 2016 will witness another display of this thunderous machine’s might, in the hands of Maj Daniel ‘FFits’ Dickinson. He comes from the F-22 Demo Team, provided by the 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.

In 1991, the F-22 was declared the winner of the US Air Force’s Advanced Tactical Fighter contest to find the next generation of air superiority fighters with the first production-standard example taking to the air six years later. It entered service in December 2005.

A combination of stealthy characteristics, helping keep the F-22 invisible to hostile radars, and a vastly advanced sensor suite are intended to ensure that the aircraft can counter any air-to-air threats without being detected.

Not only is it a formidable air-to-air platform, but also a very effective air-to-ground asset with precision-guided weapons, as shown during the F-22’s combat debut over Syria in September 2014.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said airshow visitors should prepare themselves for a display routine that showcases powerful, precision aerial manoeuvres and the professional qualities of the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft.

He said: “This summer’s Air Tattoo will be looking to the future and few aircraft can equal the leading edge capabilities demonstrated by the F-22. The aircraft’s appearance at RAF Fairford highlights the outstanding relationship that exists between the Air Tattoo and the US Air Force.”

Red Arrows To Headline Flying Display At RAF Cosford

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Typhoon RAF Cosford Air Show

Crown Copyright / RAF Cosford Air Show

The Royal Air Force are once again showing a display of force at the RAF Cosford Air Show on Sunday 19th June 2016. The ever-popular RAF Aerobatic Team, fondly referred to as the Red Arrows, will be headlining the flying display with their world-famous display of graceful formations and thrilling manoeuvres.

Other star performers returning to the show include the Eurofighter Typhoon, RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. These additions to the flying displays are just the first of many aircraft which will form the exhilarating six-hour flying display at the show.

Wing Commander Richard Osselton, Air Show Chairman said ‘We are delighted with the support that the Royal Air Force are giving us as the only RAF air show in 2016 and we will announce more display acts over the coming months.’

On the ground, visitors will be able to explore an interesting variety of static aircraft, including Griffin & Squirrel helicopters. The aircraft which are flown from nearby RAF Shawbury are both used for flying training, which is a key theme for this year’s event.

Tickets for the RAF Cosford Air Show 2016 are selling fast, with sales ahead of this time last year. Organisers are urging members of the public to buy their tickets soon to avoid disappointment as tickets are, for the second year running, Advance Sale Only.

Discounted Early Bird tickets for the RAF Cosford Air Show 2016 are on sale until 23rd March 2016, priced at £22.00 and with free entry for accompanied under-16s. Tickets are available online from

RAF Red Arrows Return to UK’s Best Free Airshow

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Red Arrows at Eastbourne

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows will be back flying above Eastbourne’s skies this summer following the announcement of their 2016 flying programme!

Their appearance at Airbourne, Eastbourne’s international airshow, voted as the UK’s best free airshow in the 2015 Airscene Awards, will see them joined by Royal Air Force displays from the Eurofighter Typhoon, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the King Air, all of which promise to provide show-stopping displays in Eastbourne, when Airbourne returns from 11-14 August 2016.

Excitement for this year’s Airbourne mounts after this initial release of RAF displays, which confirms that the Red Arrows will fly on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 August. Airbourne organisers eagerly await the news of more aircraft which will display at the airshow, including helicopters, further military aircraft, civilian and commercial display teams.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister said “We are delighted to hear that airshow favourites, the Red Arrows have chosen to return to Airbourne for two great displays this year, which will no doubt attract many thousands of spectators, and along with the news that some other amazing military aircraft have been confirmed, our award-winning airshow is off to a high flying start! We can’t wait to confirm many more dazzling display teams and stunning jets in what will be another extensive flying programme.”

This year’s flying programme will see the roaring RAF Typhoon soaring above Eastbourne’s beach as it takes the skies on three days of Airbourne; Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when the 29 squadron showcases the aircraft’s incredible speed and performance ability.

Airshow visitors will also have the chance to see the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on all four days, in a year which marks the 80th anniversary of the Spitfire and the 75th year of the Lancaster Bomber. The King Air a multi-engine pilot trainer which is part of No. 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell, will fly on Saturday and Sunday.

Airbourne is awaiting news from VisitEngland to hear whether it has achieved Gold, Silver, Bronze or Highly Commended status in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, after it was announced as a winner in the ‘Tourism Event of the Year’ category by the national tourism board last month; the results will be announced at an awards ceremony in Blackpool on 8 March during English Tourism Week.

The news came less than two months after Airbourne was awarded Gold in the category of ‘Tourism Event of the Year’ at the Beautiful South Awards, organised by Tourism South East.

To treat friends or family to a special occasion or entertain business clients, the Aviator Club hospitality packages are available at Eastbourne’s Western Lawns providing visitors with high-end catering and a chance to mingle with the pilots, as well as uninterrupted views of the display line. Exclusive air show seating at Eastbourne’s iconic Bandstand is also available to book now.

To book hospitality packages and exclusive seating and to find out about trade space, advertising and sponsorship opportunities at Airbourne, and keep up to date with flying display news, go to

Farewell to the Sea King at RNAS Yeovilton

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

RNAS Yeovilton Sea King's

The end is sadly in sight for another iconic military aircraft; the last ever flight of the Royal Navy HC4 Sea King, with only 7 now left in active service at Yeovilton, the only UK RN based that is still operating any HC4 Sea Kings.

The weather was predicted wet and wild, but thankfully the day turned out to be a bright dry day. We were all gathered in the squadron briefing room, to hear the CO give his thoughts on the Sea King, and being rather reserved when talking about the Sea King which we all have seen both at air shows and more commonly on search and rescue sorties around the UK.

The most amusing tale was from an exercise in Norway when a white out occurred and each aircraft was following the one in front, with a loss of visual contact the pilot kept going on the instruments only to catch up with the aircraft in front and being so close the other aircrew looked for wheel marks on the hub above the rotors.

The last flying day for the Sea King is the 31st March 2016, of which by then all the crews will be fully trained on the Merlin HC3 replacement.

RNAS Yeovilton Sea King

One of the last seven is ZA298 which is planned to go into the Yeovilton Museum at the end of March. This aircraft seems unable to be destroyed as it has been shot at with 7 rounds going through the airframe in conflict in Afghanistan, where it was bought back to an operating base and repaired quickly before flown back to bastion. This one is not going down without a fight!

Back to Yeovilton, after the brief by the staff and the CO we were mustered into three waves with each wave being split into two groups, Avengers 1 (ZE427) & 2 (ZG821). This was to allow air to air photos of each aircraft with the sun lighting up the aircraft beautifully, videos were also taken on wave three.

After boarding the helicopter we were offered to be harnessed in so that we could take photos and video at the edge of the open door, we had a short taxi to allow what can only be described as the most graceful take-off I have ever experienced. Climbing to and then flying over Somerset at about 500 feet with the door open and turning round at Glastonbury Tor, with the Sea King flying so gracefully it seems difficult to believe that she is over 40 years old.

Once back at base and after a short taxi to the apron stand, we were fortunate to be able to gather for the final photos as the sun set on the airfield and on an experience that will not be forgotten for a long time.

by Ian Birdsey

TriStar Simulator Acquired

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

TriStar Simulator Newark Air Museum

During the week commencing 15th February 2016 the Newark Air Museum took delivered of its latest exhibit, a Lockheed TriStar Simulator at its site in eastern Nottinghamshire, close to the border with Lincolnshire.

The museum was first made aware of the possible disposal of this Lockheed TriStar simulator from the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon, back in autumn 2015. This potential acquisition was to be in the form of a gift. After gathering more details about the simulator, the museum trustees decided to register the museum’s interest in the former crew-training aid.

It was just before Christmas 2015 that Newark Air Museum was notified that, out of several other groups who had registered interest in the simulator, that it had been selected to receive the item.

Initially it had been anticipated that the simulator would arrive in one piece, but this was not the case as the simulator had already been disassembled. An assessment of the move requirements was made and the first of several loads arrived at Newark on Monday 15th February.

The TriStar simulator has been placed into temporary storage in Display Hangar 2 at the museum and is not currently on display. It is understood that the museum’s mainly volunteer workforce will start to reassemble the simulator after the Spring Indoor Aero boot sale event on 5th March.

Various display locations in Display Hangar 2 are currently being evaluated and at this time it is not known to what extent the simulator will be returned to an operational condition. This latest acquisition complements the museum’s growing collection of ‘synthetic’ trainers and adds part of a notable airliner cockpit to the museum collection.

The museum trustees are grateful to the RAF Museum for donating this exhibit to the Newark Air Museum.

Full RAF allocation confirmed for Wings & Wheels 2016

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Red Arrows by Peter Gardener

Wings & Wheels is returning for its twelfth year with an all-star line-up of RAF display teams. The Red Arrows, Typhoon, King Air and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) will all be displaying at Dunsfold Aerodrome on both days, Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August 2016.

The world famous Red Arrows, one of the premier aerobatic teams in the world and a visitor favourite, will be headlining the weekend with their trademark combination of close formations and precision flying. All Red Arrows pilots are from frontline squadrons and, before joining the team, operated jets such as the Tornado or the Typhoon – helping the Royal Air Force to secure the skies and protect the United Kingdom and its interests at all hours, 365 days a year.

We are also delighted to welcome back the state-of-the art Typhoon fighter jet and the team’s phenomenal solo display. The first and only current Royal Air Force fast jet to be declared Multi-Role capable, it provides the backbone of RAF fast jet operations and is an unmistakeable sight and sound in the skies.

A national institution and household name, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be flying the most famous RAF aircraft of any decade at Wings & Wheels, the Spitfire, Hurricane and Dakota. The display team consider themselves a “museum without walls” and a “living and breathing tribute” to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, ensuring we do not forget the young men who went into battle.

The King Air B200 is the fourth confirmed RAF display team and is a popular aircraft with visitors and the students and instructors who use it at No 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell. The twin-engine turboprop monoplane, which first entered RAF service in 2004, is used as an advanced, multi-engine pilot trainer by No 45(R) Squadron. The display team ably demonstrate its well-proven airframe with advanced cockpit and systems which makes it an ideal training platform for the new generation of multi-engine aircraft entering RAF service.

Jamie McAllister, Event Director, Wings & Wheels comments: “We are delighted to confirm that all display teams from the RAF will be flying at Wings & Wheels on both days this year. With the very best of aviation excellence headlining the Show and highly skilled pilots demonstrating the expertise with which they handle their aircraft, Wings & Wheels is one event people won’t want to miss!”

Visitors to Wings & Wheels can also enjoy supercars and classic and vintage icons put on awe inspiring displays of power and speed on the Top Gear track in a two-hour auto spectacular from Brooklands Museum. Over in our Wheels Zone is an array of interactive and static displays as wells as two and four wheeled shows in the Stunt Zone and a new Monster Truck arena offering demonstrations and passenger rides.

The show also includes over 25 fixed-price catering outlets, 2 bars, hospitality facilities, free on-site parking, public camping, lost children point, disabled access, informative show commentary, opportunities to meet the pilots, official show merchandise and grandstand seating.

The 12th annual Wings & Wheels will be held over the August Bank holiday weekend; Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th August 2016, at Dunsfold Park near Guildford, Surrey, and is open to spectators from 09:00 until 21:00.

Advanced rate tickets from £22 for adults or £50 for a family. Single child tickets (for children aged 5 – 15) will be £7. Children under 5 go free. Hospitality packages start from £155 per person, weekend passes, grandstand tickets and camping are also available. For more information visit or to book standard tickets call 08712 305 572.

Wings & Wheels is promoted by Dunsfold Park Limited and in 2016 will be assisting the fundraising efforts of Brooklands Museum Trust and Help for Heroes.

Spitfire legends honoured at 80th anniversary event

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

R J Mitchell

Date: 5 March 2016

Time: Talk 1 – 11.30am

          Talk 2 – 2.15pm

Cost: FREE

The Supermarine Spitfire, the most famous British fighter aircraft in historyfirst took to the skies on 5 March 1936 and won immortal fame throughout the summer months of 1940 by helping to defeat the German air attacks during the Battle of Britain.The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be marking eighty years since the first flight of the Spitfire on Saturday 5 March 2016, with a day of special talks.

The talks will pay tribute to Spitfire creator RJ Mitchell CBE and Vickers Supermarine test pilot Alex Henshaw MBE and the men of the Battle of Britain.

In the first talk entitled ‘R. J. Mitchell CBE, the Spitfire and the Battle of Britain . . .Their Finest Hour’,Tony tells thestory of Staffordshire born R. J. Mitchell CBE, the creator of Britain’s most iconic aircraft and some of the men who flew Spitfires in the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire, an evolution from the Schneider Trophy Races, first flew in 1936, remained in production through the 1940s and in service throughout the 1950s. Hear stories from some of the men who fought the Battle of Britain, including a distinguished Luftwaffe ace in interviews recorded with Tony. The talk will commence at 11.30am lasting approximately one hour.

The second talk of the day entitled ‘Alex Henshaw MBE. . .The Flight of the Mew Gull and Sigh for a Merlin’includes video footage of Alex Henshaw telling his own story. He won the King’s Cup Air Race and achieved a record-breaking solo flight from London to Cape Town and back in four and a half days with just a compass, a chronometer and a set of maps – a record unbeaten for more than 70 years. He served throughout the war as Chief Production Test Pilot for Vickers Supermarine, personally testing more than 2,000 Spitfires and the occasional Lancaster at both Southampton and Castle Bromwich (now the Jaguar factory). He finished his flying career marketing aircraft in South Africa where he flew his last epic flight. During the video footage, Alex recallsmemories of his heroic tales includingflying an aircraft down the centre of Broad Street in Birmingham when asked by the Mayor. The talk will commence at 2.15pm lasting approximately an hour and 15 minutes.

The talks will be presented by Tony Edwards, a friend of Alex Henshaw. Tony has enjoyed a comprehensive career within the aerospace industry, commercially, within the Ministry of Defence and Academia. He is a keen supporter of the Royal Air Force Museum and a former Trustee.

Both talks will take place in the museum’s lecture theatre inside the National Cold War Exhibition and are suitable for all ages.

Don’t forget, thatof the 1,566 Spitfire I’s that were built, the RAF Museum Cosford is home to the world’s oldest surviving example of its type. Especially for this 80th anniversary event, the canopy will be opened and visitors can get an up-close view of the cockpit. The Spitfire is displayed alongside the Hurricane in the Museum’s War in the Air hangar and viewing will be available all day.

The Museum is open daily from 10am and entry is FREE of charge. To book your place on the FREE talks, please visit the Museums website