Archive for February, 2016

NEW aircraft added to Open Cockpits Evening line-up

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

RAF Museum Shorts Belfast

Date: 13-14 May 2016

Time: 6.00pm to 9.00pm

Cost: £12.50 per person

Aviation fans are being given the chance to climb on board a selection of historic aircraft and sit in the pilot’s seat during an ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ event taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford. The event which runs on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 May will offer 300 visitors each evening the rare opportunity to step inside some of the world’s most iconic aircraft, including two research jets which have never been opened to visitors before.

Visitors can experience what it feels like to sit inside a military aircraft that’s seen action around the world and marvel at the advanced technologies on unique airframes. So whether it’s a fast jet to spark interest in the younger generation, or a nostalgic wartime aircraft that brings back memories with older visitors, with the mix of aircraft available there is something to please everyone.

Confirmed aircraft include the never before opened English Electric P1A. This experimental aircraft was the basis for the RAF’s front line fighter, the English Electric (later BAC) Lightning and was the first and only truly supersonic aircraft developed by Britain on her own. This radical and far sighted design was considered so novel there were concerns as to whether it could succeed. The museum’s example is the first of two prototypes built to test the 60 degree sweepback wing and the low position tail plane, a concept that was later confirmed. The P1A exceeded the speed of sound in level flight, achieving in excess of Mach 2.0 and went on to become the RAF’s front line fighter, staying in service for nearly three decades.

Also new to the event list is the Fairey Delta 2 (FD2), one of only two FD2S ever built. Devised in response to Britain trailing behind in supersonic aircraft design during the late 1940s, the Ministry of Supply issued a specification for a supersonic research aircraft. Fairey set about meeting this with a single-seat, delta-winged aircraft powered by a Rolls-Royce Avon engine with an afterburner and called it the FD2. To improve the pilot’s forward view during landing, taxiing and take-off, the aircraft had a unique feature whereby the cockpit and nose section could be hinged downwards by ten degrees. In March 1956 the FD2 broke the World Air Speed Record reaching speeds of 1132mph, breaking the record by 300mph set by an American F100 Super Sabre the year before.

This May will be the first time Visitors at Cosford have been able to get on board both the P1A and the FD2 and organisers are confident they will be popular with aviation fans wanting a closer inspection. Visitors to ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ can also view inside the cockpit of the British Aircraft Corporation TSR2 – one of the most exciting and controversial British combat aircraft designs of the 1960s. Plus, the giant Short Brothers Belfast, a long-range, strategic RAF transport aircraft weighing over 56 tonnes when empty, will be opened up for visitors along with the Handley Page Hastings and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15bis to name but a few.

RAF Museum Cosford Event Manager, Abi Betteridge said:

“Events like this make a visit to the museum extra special as it’s such a unique opportunity to have access inside military aircraft. To make sure visitors get the most out of the event, we have a fantastic team of Volunteers on hand to answer any questions they may have. We have also added two new aircraft to the list, along with some that haven’t been open for a number of years, so there is something new and exciting for our repeat visitors.”

‘Open Cockpits Evening’ is part of ‘The Museums at Night’ cultural event, an annual international event where hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites across Europe open their doors to the public for special after hours events. Visitors will have exclusive after-hours access to the museum which displays a collection of over 75 aircraft, military vehicles, engines and aviation artefacts within three wartime hangars and the National Cold War Exhibition.

Tickets are now available to purchase through the museum’s website and cost £12.50 per person which includes parking. Minimum height restrictions of 1.07 metres will apply. The Museum will close at 5.00pm both days, however the Visitor Centre and Refuel Restaurant will remain open for visitors attending the evening event which commences at 6.00pm and finishes at 9.00pm.

Tickets for a second Open Cockpits Evening taking place in September which will feature a different collection of aircraft to the May event are also on sale via the Museum website.

Carole Vorderman Open News Exhibition at RAF Museum

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

RAF Museum Carole Vorderman

The RAF Museum is pleased to announce the launch of its newest temporary exhibition ‘Venture and Adventure’ which marks the 75th Anniversary of the formation of the RAF Air Cadets*

Air cadet officers have been working closely with the Museum’s team to produce the exhibition which chronicles the exciting story of the Air Training Corps, from 1941 when it was established, right through to the very latest developments.

Together with a range of other anniversary events across the UK to mark the organisation’s 75th year, the exhibition aims intended to raise public awareness of what is one of the finest national voluntary youth organisations in the world.

As honorary ambassador for the Air Cadets, TV personality Carol Voderman was on hand to open the exhibition at an event attended by RAF VIP’s, local cadets from Barnet and the Mayors of Barnet and Harrow.

Project Officer, Flt Lt Roger Starling said: “This fascinating exhibition will be located in the Art Gallery area on the first floor of the museum’s main building and will use specially designed panels to illustrate key cadet activities. There will also be some historic artefacts on display, including an original uniform from 1941.”

A second, smaller exhibition will feature at the museum’s other site at RAF Cosford, Shropshire. Admission to both exhibitions is free and they will run until November 11 next year (2016).

*The RAF Air Cadets comprises both the Air Training Corps and the Combined Cadet Force (RAF).

Air Tattoo Unveils Art Of Flying

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

RIAT poster

Three of the anticipated stars at this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford feature prominently in dramatic new artwork unveiled by the organisers today.

In the eye-catching image, the RAF’s new state-of-the-art stealth fighter – the F-35 – and the legendary Red Arrows are prominent, along with the RAF’s latest heavylift aircraft, the A400M.

The Air Tattoo poster was produced for the first time by CGI expert Wiek Luijken who has combined his expertise in computer generated images with his passion for aviation.

Air Tattoo Head of Marketing Helen Webb said she was delighted to add Wiek to the list of illustrious artists who have captured the thrills and excitement of the Air Tattoo since it was first staged in 1971.

She said: “We commission new artwork each year and many of these, by renowned aviation artists such as Wilf Hardy, Philip Castle and David Bent,have become iconic. I am sure Wiek’s poster will be equally popular.”

Wiek has been creating aviation art for big print, calendars, book and model box covers, game illustrations and magazine articles for more than 20 years. He works full-time as an Art Director in the games industry and uses aviation art as a creative outlet in his spare time. Wiek also has a passion for classic aircraft, with a special interest in British and Dutch historic military aviation.

Helen added: “We were aware of Wiek’s work and very much liked his style. He loves aviation and this passion comes over clearly in the images he produces. Furthermore, he’s created the artwork in a way that enables us to use it across many mediums – from tiny web banners through to giant roadside posters!”

Wiek said: “It’s such an honour to create artwork for an event such as the Air Tattoo, one of the world’s greatest airshows! At the same time, the challenge of stepping in the footsteps of legendary aviation artists such as Wilf Hardy was slightly terrifying. I have tried to pay homage to their style whilst adding my own twist.

“Creating the poster gave me the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone as I am more used to featuring historic aircraft. Last year the A400M blew me away with a stunning display, giving the fast jets a run for their money. I couldn’t help but put in the Red Arrows as well, they never cease to amaze with a vibrant display of British colours and are always a highlight of the show. It has been an absolute blast creating this artwork!”

Last week it was announced that Lockheed Martin’s F-35B Lightning would be making its international flying display debut at the Air Tattoo.

This summer’s Air Tattoo takes place at RAF Fairford on July 8-10. Earlybird tickets, starting at £34, are available from or by calling 0800 107 1940. Under 16s go free. Free parking.

Tickets now on sale for The American Air Show and Flying Legends at IWM Duxford

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

IWM Duxford is delighted to announce that tickets for The American Air Show (Bank Holiday weekend Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May) and for the Flying Legends Air Show (Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July) are now on sale.

Tickets for The American Air Show and the Flying Legends Air Show must be booked in advance; no on the day tickets are available.

The American Air Show

Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May

To commemorate the reopening of the newly-transformed American Air Museum*, The American Air Show at IWM Duxford tells the story of American and British collaboration in war.

Dynamic flying displays combine with evocative living history and veterans’ voices to show the impact of the American forces on Duxford and the eastern region in the First and Second World Wars, a relationship which developed into the Cold War and the present day.

Tickets for IWM Duxford’s American Air Show must be booked in advance; no on the day tickets are available. Tickets are now on sale at

Flying Legends Air Show

Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July

The Flying Legends Air Show is famous the world over for its unique presentations of historic piston-engined aircraft in rare combinations and remarkable flying displays.

The flying display promises an unmissable fusion of power, sound, excitement and nostalgia as piston-engined aircraft from across the globe perform their breathtaking flights over IWM Duxford’s historic airfield.

The balbo, a massed-formation finale featuring many of the aircraft which have taken part in the flying display, is unique to the Flying Legends Air Show and a world-renowned spectacle.

Complementing the ‘wow’ factor in the air is the authentic 1940s atmosphere that can be experienced across the museum and in the Vintage Village. Sit back in our deckchair seating area to enjoy the sounds of the 1940s courtesy of The Manhattan Dolls from New York, take the opportunity to have a photograph sitting in a replica Spitfire, enjoy the antics of Laurel and Hardy and take on a vintage look with a 1940s makeover.

The Flying Legends Air Show is organised and produced by The Fighter Collection. For further information visit

Tickets for the Flying Legends Air Show must be booked in advance; no on the day tickets are available. Tickets are now on sale at

Details for IWM Duxford’s September air show (Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September) will be announced in late spring.

*March 2016 will see the reopening of IWM Duxford’s American Air Museum, after a major transformation and redevelopment.

The transformed American Air Museum will tell the story of Anglo-American co-operation in twentieth and twenty-first century conflict, as seen through the eyes of the people intrinsically linked with the aircraft and objects on display. From Private to President, the American Air Museum will feature the personal stories of many people whose lives have been shaped by their experiences of conflict.

Historic aircraft from the 1930s to the present day have been conserved and are dramatically displayed in the transformed American Air Museum. New technology has been used to create a continuously evolving and interactive record of the American Air Museum’s Roll of Honour, as a fitting tribute to the men and women who lost their lives fighting for world freedom from the East of England.