Archive for October, 2016

Name up in flights is the ultimate Christmas gift!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Names on a Plane Gift

With the night’s drawing in, the countdown to Christmas has officially started and thoughts turn to buying those all-important gifts for your nearest and dearest.  At the risk of another year of repetitive run of the mill presents, the Royal Air Force Museum is offering you the chance to purchase the ultimate personalised gift for aviation fans and see their spirits soar this Christmas!

The museum has teamed up with the RAF’s official aerobatic team, The Red Arrows, to give aviation lovers from across the globe the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to place their name on one of the UK’s most iconic aircraft, a Red Arrows Hawk Jet, from a donation of just £30.  Quite literally, the name you choose to add to the jet will fly across the globe in 2017 during a season of flying displays, in the build up to the RAF’s centenary in 2018.

So why not think outside of the box this year? Think high-flying and make your Christmas gift the one that stands out from the rest and one that continues to give past Christmas Day.  The ‘Names on a Plane’ gift will become part of the RAF’s 100 year history and will have a lasting legacy at the RAF Museum’s newly transformed London site.  For years to come, recipients can search for their names on the digital wall, surrounded by iconic and historic aircraft, a collection of rare artefacts and personal stories from those who have served in the oldest and longest serving air force in the world. 

At a price that won’t break the Christmas gift budget, from a donation of just £30 you will also receive a gift certificate confirming your chosen name and a beautifully presented commemorative RAF Bluey (specially made airmail letters for sending to and from the Forces) with a special message from the Red Arrows.  In addition, those with their ‘Names on a Plane’ will receive an exclusive app in Spring 2017, enabling them to locate where their name is positioned on the jet.  Recipients will also receive regular behind the scenes updates from members of the Red Arrows Team during their 2017 tour.

Whether it’s a gift for a plane crazy youngster, a passionate aviation fan, friends and relatives who are currently serving in her majesty’s armed forces or a personal tribute to honour and remember a loved one, this unique and memorable gift is one to cherish, whilst also raising money for charity.  Take comfort in knowing that your charity donation this Christmas is an opportunity to support and be part of Britain’s only national museum dedicated wholly to telling the story of the RAF and its people.

If you want to make your ‘Names on a Plane’ gift extra special, for an additional donation optional extras can include a personalised die-cast Corgi Red Arrow Hawk Jet with your chosen name, the perfect bespoke keep sake!  Plus a complimentary one year RAF Museum membership package, packed with added benefits at both the museum London and Cosford sites and a limited edition ‘Names on a Plane’ pin badge.  Order by 10am on 12 December for guaranteed Christmas delivery for UK orders, but don’t panic if you’re making last minute purchases beyond this date, the instant gift certificate means you can present this to your loved one and still surprise them on the big day, available until 31 December.

All proceeds from the ‘Names on a Plane’ packages will support the RAF Museum (registered charity number 244708) and it’s RAF Centenary Programme, celebrating and commemorating the centenary of the Royal Air Force in 2018. 

To purchase your exclusive Christmas gift, be part of something special and to help us tell the stories of past and present personnel visit for details of the naming packages available which start from donations of just £30.

Red Arrows Gnat and Hampden fuselage are open week highlights

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

Red Arrows Gnat

Date: 14-19 November 2016

Time: 10:15am-1:00pm

Cost: £5.00 per person

A newly painted Vickers Wellington bomber wing, the Handley Page Hampden fuselage and a Red Arrows Gnat are just three of the aviation treasures on show to visitors next month at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford’s Conservation Centre Open Week. 

An exciting highlight to this year’s open week is the newly fabric covered and painted Vickers Wellington bomber outer wing.  This popular aircraft is a favourite with aviation fans and has undergone work to treat small amounts of corrosion to its famous geodetic framework, both wings and fuselage, since its arrival at Cosford in June 2010.  Now free of corrosion, both wings have been painted in a protective layer and in the last 6 months, one of the wings has been re-covered in Irish linen, doped and painted in its Bomber Command Night colour scheme by one of the museums Aircraft Technicians.  Work is now underway to repeat the process on the aircrafts second wing and eventually the fuselage.  Initially a five year project, the Wellington is expected to be completed within the next two to three years.

The team in the museums Conservation Centre are also lining up another treat for visitors, quite literally.  For the first time ever all four sections of the Handley Page Hampden’s fuselage will be placed in line showing an almost fully complete Hampden silhouette.  Work has been advancing on the Hampden considerably over the last 12 months and large sections of the badly damaged aircraft have been built from scratch on site at Cosford.  Since it was last viewed by the public almost 12 months ago, the forward fuselage and cockpit section has been manufactured using pre-production drawings and where possible castings and a few components from the original P1344 Hampden have been incorporated.  The new section will be placed alongside the rear fuselage, tailboom and tailplane for visitors to get an up close view of this rare example.  All effort on the aircraft is going into manufacturing the fuselage section which is hoped will be completed sometime in 2018.

Another aircraft spending a short period of time in the Conservation Centre is the Hawker Siddeley Gnat T1 – the first aircraft used by the RAF Red Arrows, superseded by the current aircraft, the Hawk in 1979.  The aircraft was previously on public display at Cosford and was moved into the Conservation Centre in June.  The aircraft is destined to move to the museum’s London site in 2017 and the open week in November is a last chance for Red Arrow fans to see the aircraft in the West Midlands.  As the aircraft is being prepared for transportation by road, it is also a chance to see it in a partial stripped condition.  

RAF Museum Conservation Centre Manager, Darren Priday said:

“With the museum fully engrossed in the RAF Centenary Programme the Conservation Centre team have spent a lot of 2016 away from Cosford at our London site preparing aircraft for moving. Another task that has taken us away from home is the Spitfire XIX that is currently on display in the Bahrain National Museum, the forth location it has been on display in the Middle East country in 2017.  With all these task going on away from Cosford it would have been easy to ‘down tools’ on the long term projects, but we haven’t.  The Wellington wing with its new covering and surface finish is a work of art.  In respect to the Hampden, regular visitors will notice how much the forward fuselage section has come on since last year’s open week. The chance to line up all four fuselage sections was something I have been looking forward to for a long time.  Finally the time has come and we will be able to show a Hampden fuselage in the UK; the last time this would have happened would be over 70 years ago.  We look forward to greeting our repeat visitors but also a warm welcome awaits anyone visiting for the first time”.

 Visitors will also be able to view the continuing progress on the Range Safety Launch, a project being led by a team of Volunteers, plus see a glimpse of the Dornier Do 17.  Now clear of all the marine crustaceans, the Dornier is currently housed in a controlled environment with de-humidifiers whilst the museum awaits further advice from the project advisor on how best to treat the metal. 

Museum Technicians, Apprentices and Volunteers will be available throughout the week to speak with visitors about their work and answer any questions they may have.  In addition, from Wednesday through to the Saturday, family members of the crew from the museum’s ill-fated Hampden’s last flight will be in-attendance. 

The Conservation Centre will open from 14-19 November between 10.15am and 1.00pm each day and admission is £5.00 per person (children under 16 are free and must be accompanied by an adult).  The Museum’s other hangars will be open from 10am until 5pm and entry to the museums is free of charge.  For further information, please visit the museum’s website www.rafmuseum/cosford or call 01902 376200.

PLUS…in addition to the open week, visitors will also have the exciting opportunity to climb on board the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod R.1 XV249 during daily tours.  Tickets are available to purchase on arrival, for more details visit the museum website.

RNAS Yeovilton Air Day 2017 Date Confirmed

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Pitts Special at Yeovilton Air Day

The annual Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton International Air Day in Somerset will take place on Saturday 8 July. Planning is well under way for this popular ‘Fly Navy’ airshow which will showcase the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, its current capabilities and historic accomplishments.

2017 is set to be an exciting year for RNAS Yeovilton and the Fleet Air Arm as the first Royal Navy aircraft is set to touch down on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, as she sets sail to begin sea trials. Operational evaluation and testing of the F-35B Lightning multirole fighter continues apace whilst aircraft maintainers and handlers are busily getting accustomed to the new type. The Wildcat helicopter takes over as the wings of front-line destroyers and frigates and the Commando Helicopter Force squadrons,now reunited at RNAS Yeovilton, take part in various exercises in readiness to deploy at a moment’s notice.

The Air Station’s gates will be open to 40,000 visitors, just as they were 70 years ago in 1947 at the first ever airshow at RNAS Yeovilton, providing the perfect opportunity to see our equipment and meet our personnel first hand.

Over five hours of amazing flying displays and an extensive static display will feature historic naval aircraft and their modern day counterparts in spectacular role demonstrations to acknowledge the Fleet Air Arm’s role in Protecting Our Nation’s Interests.UK and foreign military formation and solo display teams have also been invited to participate at the airshow.

Alongside the magnificent flying display there will also be a huge array of ground attractions, from engineering fairs to the latest defence technology exhibitions, Service displays, trade stalls and arena displays. For the thrill seekers there will be simulators, fairground rides and helicopter pleasure flights to enjoy.

Air Day tickets are available to order from 12pm Tuesday 1st November at a discounted ‘Earlybird’ rate with no booking fees for a limited period. These are priced lower than the usual advance tickets which will go on general sale in the New Year.

Winter maintenance on rare Lancaster aircraft can be seen by visitors to IWM Duxford

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Duxford Lancaster in the Hanger

The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Avro Lancaster recently arrived at the Aircraft Restoration Company’s new Stephenson Hangar at IWM Duxford.

The Lancaster, the sole flying example in Europe of the most successful heavy bomber of the Second World War, will undergo major maintenance work in the Stephenson hangar over the winter months.

For the first time, visitors to IWM Duxford will be able to see the maintenance work in progress from a viewing gallery on the ground floor of the hangar.

Included in the major inspection is the servicing of all of the instrument systems and undercarriage.

At the conclusion of the major inspection, the aircraft will be repainted in a new scheme that commemorates the sacrifice of thousands of Bomber Command aircrew during the bombing campaign of the Second World War.

The major service is due to be completed in April 2017.

Royal Air Force Museum secures National Lottery investment for RAF Centenary Programme

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

RAF Museum 2018

The Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to announce that it has been awarded £4,595,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the next phase of its RAF Centenary Programme at its London site.

2018 will mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and will be an occasion of national celebration and commemoration. As the oldest and longest serving independent air force in the world, the RAF has affected the lives of millions, driven technological innovations, pushed the boundaries of human achievement and become part of the UK’s cultural identity.

To connect a global audience with this remarkable story, the RAF Museum is delivering a series of ambitious capital changes to its London site, creating a world-leading visitor destination.

The first phase of this redevelopment, the ‘First World War in the Air’ exhibition, supported by HLF, opened to public acclaim in December 2014, winning Best Heritage Project in the National Lottery Awards 2015.

The Museum is delighted to announce that, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the next phase of the transformation will be delivered for 2018.

Two innovative exhibitions will explore the first 100 years of the RAF through the stories of its people and invite visitors to imagine its future contribution and technology.

A warm welcome will be provided in a new visitor centre with clear orientation, café, shop, Members’ room and flexible-use spaces. A new restaurant will revitalise a disused historic building, connecting visitors with the site’s RAF heritage.

Through ‘RAF Stories’, a digital project, people will contribute personal stories to enhance our understanding and sharing of RAF heritage, onsite and online.

A new learning programme will aim to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Additionally, new apprenticeships and volunteering activities will help the Museum conserve and display more of the incredible 1.3 million objects within its collection representing the national memory of the RAF at work and play, war and peace.

As a result, an expanded, more diverse audience will enjoy richer engagement with RAF heritage through our site, collections and people-focused  interpretation.

Further planned phases of the RAF Centenary Programme will bring to life the stories of the London Aerodrome and RAF Hendon – from which the first airmail, parachute jump, night flight and aerial defence of a city took place.

Maggie Appleton, CEO of the Royal Air Force Museum, said: “I would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund on behalf of all our staff, volunteers and Trustees for the generous support they have given us – we could not be happier! The story of the RAF is one of bravery, ingenuity and dedication which echoes within all our lives and will endure and enrich future generations. We are very excited to be given the opportunity to tell this story through the Museum’s collections and the voices of the individual men and women who served in the RAF and whose lives have been influenced by it.”

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “The RAF was one of the most significant legacies of the First World War and today, as we approach its Centenary of the organisation’s creation, millions of us have a direct family connection to the oldest and longest serving air force in the world. Thanks to National Lottery players, this investment will provide some fantastic learning opportunities and insight into the RAF’s heritage for people of all ages as well as give the stories and achievements of the men and women of the RAF a permanent legacy as part of the Royal Air Force Museum.”

New aircraft arrivals heading to Cosford

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

PBY Catalina

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be welcoming a collection of new aircraft to the site later this year as it prepares to celebrate and commemorate the centenary of the Royal Air Force in 2018.  New arrivals will include a Wolverhampton built Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1, the last surviving example of its kind, plus a rare Messerschmitt BF109G-2.

As the RAF and family of RAF charities work towards celebrating a century of service, plans at the RAF Museum are already underway for a major transformation of its London site, with aircraft movements and some exciting new additions making their way to Cosford.  The centenary plans will also include exploring the first 100 years of the RAF, the role it plays today and its future contributions by sharing this story online with a global audience.

In preparation for 2018 there are a number of aircraft moves due to take place at both the museum’s London and Cosford sites in order to deliver the interpretation planned. The planned moves will see the largest single influx of new aircraft at Cosford since the National Cold War Exhibition building was opened in 2007, as six new aircraft are scheduled to arrive before Christmas.  As part of the centenary plans, Cosford will receive six aircraft from the collection in London, enabling the RAF’s story to be more comprehensively represented to museum audiences in Shropshire.

Over the coming months, visitors at Cosford will notice a number of aircraft movements and work is already underway to make room for the new arrivals.  In September the Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina was moved out of the War in the Air Hangar and placed on temporary external display at the entrance to the ‘History of the RAF’. The museum has also begun looking into long term plans for the site at Cosford to ensure that all aircraft, including any future arrivals are displayed undercover.

In addition to the Messerschmitt BF109G-2 and the Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1, other new aircraft heading to Shropshire before the end of the year include the Junkers Ju 88R-1, a sub-type of the most versatile German combat aircraft of the Second World War, and the Gloster Gladiator 1, the first enclosed cockpit and last biplane fighter introduced into RAF service.  Following re-assembly, all four aircraft will go on public display in the museums ‘War in the Air’ hangar.

Also included in the new line-up is the de Havilland Tiger Moth II, one of the world’s most famous training aircraft which provided the majority of RAF pilots with their elementary flying training during the Second World War.  The Tiger Moth will be displayed next to the de Havilland Chipmunk and Scottish Aviation Bulldog T Mk 1 in Hangar 1, demonstrating progression in training aircraft.

Finally, the Westland Lysander III, the only surviving Special Duties variant of this aircraft (which were used to ferry allied agents in and out of enemy occupied Europe) will be heading to the museum’s Conservation Centre for an in depth inspection and condition assessment.  The Lysander will join other conservation projects which include the Wellington Bomber and the Handley Page Hampden and work will be carried out over the next few years to replace its fragile linen outer skin.

Head of Collections at the RAF Museum, Ian Thirsk said:

“The museum’s centenary plans have provided an exciting opportunity to relocate significant aircraft in the collection closer to our Midlands audience.  I’m particularly delighted that our Boulton Paul Defiant, an aircraft with such strong local links to Wolverhampton, will be going on public display at Cosford for the first time. Additionally, the arrival of the Junkers Ju 88 R-1 and Messerschmitt BF109G-2 will enhance our existing display of Axis Second World War aircraft, several of which are the last remaining examples of their type in the world.”

To make way for the new arrivals, the de Havilland Venom FB4, FMA IA58 Pucara and Folland Gnat F1 have all been moved into the museum’s storage facility on the airfield.

Work is already underway at the museum’s London site to disassemble the aircraft and prepare them for their journey by road to Cosford.  Aviation fans can keep up to date with the centenary aircraft moves and on-going developments by signing up to the museums free e-Newsletter

Visitors will be able to see five of the new arrivals fully reassembled and in their new display positions by early 2017.  Entrance to the museum is free of charge and the museum is open daily from 10am until 5pm.  For further information, please visit the museum’s website or call 01902 376200.

Appeal for RAF memories

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Falklands postcard

Calling all Penguins, Bluebirds & ‘Erbs – Your Museum Needs You!

2018 marks the centenary of the Royal Air Force. 

The award-winning Royal Air Force Museum will celebrate and commemorate this anniversary through a major transformation of our visitor experience sharing the RAF story on site and online. New, innovative galleries will explore the first 100 years of the RAF, its roles today and invite visitors to imagine its future contribution and technology. A new digital sharing project will promote a conversation with a global audience and help connect people to the RAF story.  

For the past two years the Museum’s curators, have been researching our world-class collections to select stories and objects that will best enable our visitors to engage with the story of the Royal Air Force. As a result, gaps in our collections have been identified and we are calling upon current and ex-Service personnel, who served in the RAF from 1970 to 2015, their families and members of the public to assist us in filling them.

If you served with the RAF during this time, and particularly in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, the First or Second Gulf Wars, Libya, Afghanistan or on any humanitarian mission since the 1970s, we would love to hear from you.

We are focussing on collecting personal papers, photographs, recent campaign medals from RAF sources, and any operational kit or clothing which can be linked to specific operations or stories – particularly any ‘Black Bags’ received from Operation HERRICK or TELIC.

Nina Hadaway, Archive Library and Research Manager for the Museum, explains:

“We are aware that our current holdings are quite thin for the most recent 40 years of RAF history. As we look towards the RAF’s Centenary in 2018, now is an ideal time to try and fill these gaps. With the help of the public, former and current serving personnel we hope to strengthen the Museum’s collections. This will enable us to share more fully the experiences of those serving in the RAF from the 1970s to the present day with all our visitors.”

We would also welcome contact from volunteers who would be happy to be interviewed about their RAF experiences.

If you are able to assist us, please email us in the first instance at:

This will enable us to arrange for a member of our curatorial team to contact you. Alternatively, please complete a ‘Donate an Artefact’ form in the Support Section of our website.

For a full list of the items that we are searching for, please visit the Museum’s website at:

Experience the virtual skies at Cosford

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Flight Sim at RAF Museum Cosford

Date: 8 October 2016

Time: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Cost: £7 in advance / £10 on the door

Aviation fans can experience the virtual skies in Shropshire next month as the Flight Sim 2016 event heads to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.  Taking place on Saturday 8 October, aviation enthusiasts will enjoy a day packed with all the latest flight simulation software and the chance to test out their virtual flying skills.

After three very successful shows held at the museum, the UK’s largest Flight Sim show will be returning to Cosford for an even bigger and better event. Just Flight, one of the UK’s leading flight simulation software publishers, will be hosting this major gathering in association with PC Pilot magazine to show visitors the very best in desktop flying.  Building on the success of previous events, organisers are anticipating in excess of 1,500 visitors will attend the one day show.

Visitors will be able to get hands on and fly the latest flight simulation aircraft, preview ‘in development’ projects, check out the latest hardware and chat with leading developers, publishers and other enthusiasts in addition to the many exhibitors at the show.

This show will take place in the museum’s Hangar 1 from 10am until 5pm, giving visitors plenty of time to enjoy the wide range of entertainment on offer.  So whether you’re a veteran desktop pilot, flight simulation novice, or someone thinking of getting airborne in the virtual skies for the first time, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. 

Visitors attending the Flight Sim 2016 event this autumn will experience the best of both, the virtual world and the real world of aviation, as they explore the world class collection of aircraft and exhibitions on display at the RAF Museum Cosford.

Advance tickets for Flight Sim 2016 are now on sale online for just £7 per person and can be purchased up until 6 October, with free entry for under 16s accompanied by an adult. Advanced ticket holders will also receive a free goody bag on arrival which includes; a boxed add-on from Just Flight, a Dovetail Games code for a free add-on, an Aerosoft code for a discounted product, a copy of PC Pilot and a Pro-Sim Air stress ball!

Tickets purchased on the day cost £10 per person. For further information on the event or to purchase your tickets in advance, please visit the show’s website .

To cope with the additional visitors, a free park and ride will operate from Cosford train station with regular pickups throughout the day.  Entry to the museum is free of charge and on-site parking is available (charges apply). Entry into Hangar 1 on Saturday 8 October will be for Flight Sim 2016 ticket holders only.