Archive for January, 2017

London Gate Guardians to Fly to Cosford

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

RAF Museum Gate Guardians

As part of the preparations for next year’s RAF Centenary, the gate guardians at RAF Museum London is transforming are being renovated. This week, the Museum’s Mk II Hurricane and Mk IX Spitfire replicas were dismantled and prepared for transportation to the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre in Cosford.

Both Gate Guardians will be returned back to the Museum’s London site in time for the Museum’s commemorations and celebrations of the centenary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 2018. They will be positioned so that they welcome members of the public as they enter through the Museum’s new entrance on Grahame Park Way.

One of the finest developments of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine series, the Mk IX was originally intended as a match for the German Focke Wulf 190. In comparison the Hawker Hurricane Mk II with its greater armament and simple, sturdy construction made it an effective ground attack fighter during the mid-war years.

Its markings are currently those of No 121 (Eagle) Squadron, based at Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire during the summer of 1941.

These markings will be changed to that of the Mk I Hawker Hurricane flown by Sgt Ray Holmes of No.504 Squadron from RAF Hendon on 15 September 1940.

In an act of selfless bravery, and with no thought to his own safety, Sgt Holmes prevented a Dornier Do17 Bomber from destroying Buckingham Palace by ramming it with the wing of his aircraft, forcing the Bomber to crash in the forecourt of Victoria Station. His Hurricane was badly damaged, crashing near the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

Holmes bailed out injured but survived eventually becoming a journalist in Liverpool after the Second World War. The adoption of this new colour scheme is indicative of the Museum’s stated aim to tell more stories about its aircraft and the people who flew and maintained them to aid a greater understanding of the RAF amongst its visitors.

In 2004, parts of his Hurricane were successfully excavated and can currently be viewed by visitors in foyer to the Museum’s Historic Hangars. The new scheme for the Spitfire has yet to be decided.

The Museum’s London site will remain open from 10 am daily during the works for the RAF Museum’s Centenary 2018 Transformation Programme. Admission to the site is free of charge. Please note : that from mid-February parking at the site will be restricted until summer 2017. We therefore recommend travelling via public transport to reach us. The nearest Underground Station to the Museum is Colindale on the Edgware Branch of the Northern Line. The nearest main-line station is Mill Hill Broadway. For full details on how to reach us please visit

RAF Museum Launches Spotify Playlists

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Spotify logo

The RAF Museum joins the long list of celebrities, politicians and industry leaders with its own Spotify playlists.

Spotify is a music, podcast, and video streaming service which is taking over how we listen to music. It allows users to listen to a large library of music and also to compile playlists for others to enjoy.

Along with our other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, the Museum sees Spotify as a fantastic way of engaging with audiences, young and old. We look forward to developing new playlists which reflect our collections the work we do and the music we love.

Listen to what we’re listening to:

Cold War Classics, celebrating 10 years of the National Cold War Exhibition

Let your imagination take flight

Listen, enjoy, follow and share!

Join in the 10 year anniversary celebrations for the National Cold War Exhibition

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Valiant RAF Museum

Date: 7 February 2017
Time: 10am – 4pm
Cost: FREE

On Tuesday 7 February 2017 the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be marking the 10th anniversary of the award-winning National Cold War Exhibition with a special event for aviation fans.

The £12.5 million landmark building and exhibition was officially opened in 2007 by HRH The Princess Royal and invited VIP guests included the Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher. Its eye-catching architecture and dynamic aircraft displays truly have the ‘wow’ factor and in addition to the unique aircraft collection, visitors can also view iconic cars, tanks, memorabilia and even life-sized Russian dolls. Immersive Hotspots covering topics including the Space Race and the Cuban Missile Crisis are a hub of information, engaging visitors with a Cold War history spanning over four decades. Cosford is also the only place in the world where you can see all three of Britain’s V-Bombers; the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant displayed together under one roof.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, visitors are invited to join Museum staff and volunteers for a special event that will see a number of Cold War aircraft opened for exclusive close up access, including the Vickers Valiant B1 and the Handley Page Victor K2. Both aircraft are being opened to the public for the very first time and the Cosford team hope aviation fans will seize the opportunity to step on board two of Britain’s nuclear strike force aircraft, which played a vital role during the critical Cold War years.

The Valiant was the first of Bomber Command’s V class aircraft and established Britain’s air-borne nuclear deterrent force before pioneering operational in-flight refuelling in the Royal Air Force. Not only was it the first V-Bomber to enter service, it was also the first to drop an operational British nuclear weapon over Christmas Island in 1957.

The Victor was designed and in service as a strategic nuclear bomber, some were converted to in-flight refuelling tankers and remained in service until 1993. Victors were heavily utilised in the 1982 Falklands campaign and the 1991 Gulf War before retiring from service in 1993. Both aircraft now reside at the RAF Museum Cosford, displayed alongside the Hawker Siddeley Vulcan B2 and dominate the upper level of the National Cold War Exhibition.

In addition to the Victor and Valiant, other Cold War aircraft and vehicles being opened to the public for the anniversary event will include the General Dynamics F-111F-CF, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21PF, Hawker Hunter F.4 (nose section), Avro York C1, McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1 (nose section) and the Short Brothers Belfast. Aviation fans will also be able to take a look inside the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15bis, the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, Green Goddess auxiliary fire engine and the Tracked Rapier missile launcher.

RAF Museum Assistant Director, Paul Pomfret said:
“The National Cold War Exhibition transformed the Cosford site with its award winning architecture and catapulted the Museum onto a global stage, doubling the number of visitors who pass through its doors each year. Since its opening in 2007, over 3.2 million visitors have passed through its doors and interest in the exhibition and the Museum has remained consistent ever since. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the Museum next month, to share in the celebrations for this milestone.”

As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations the Museum’s shop will be offering 10% off gifts and souvenirs and for anyone who wishes to enjoy a hot lunch in the Refuel Restaurant, the Museum’s caterers Kudos will be offering 10% off their lunchtime menu.
This rare opportunity to see inside these aircraft is FREE of charge for visitors. Any donations made by visitors on the day will support the work of the RAF Museum (registered charity number 244708).

The Museum is open from 10am until 4pm and the event will run for the entire day giving visitors up to eight hours to climb on board and peek inside some of the Museum’s iconic Cold War aircraft. Aircraft available on the day are subject to change. Full details can be found on the Museum website including information on aircraft accessibility.

Captain Eric Winkle Brown Medals

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Eachan Hardie

Yesterday at The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum, an 11-year old schoolboy got a sneak preview of the medals and log books of his hero Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown that he campaigned to save. When he heard the news that they were to be auctioned following the world record breaking test pilot’s death Eachan Hardie wrote to numerous company executives urging them to help.

His fears were unfounded as it transpired they were secured for the nation following the intervention of an incredibly generous, anonymous donor by The National Museum of the Royal Navy for display at its Fleet Air Arm Museum, a real favourite of Captain Brown.
Eachan Hardie struck up a correspondence with Captain Brown after it emerged he had written to him seeking advice on how to become a test pilot. Eachan was inspired by “Winkle” Brown’s world record for the most aircraft carrier take-offs – 2,407 and the most landings – 2,271.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum’s Curator of Aircraft, David Morris, got to know Captain Brown well. He showed Eachan the collection before it goes on display for a short period from 21st January, which would have been Captain Brown’s birthday, until 19th February.

Following his death on 21st February 2016 age 97 the news broke that the collection could be sold at auction. At the time Eachan said: “I think they should be in the Fleet Air Arm Museum so that young people like me can see them and be inspired.

“I think British test pilots of the future should be able to read his log books to understand the testing of the very important aircraft that he flew.”
It is fair to say that Captain Brown was by many measures the Fleet Air Arm’s most significant pilot of the post-war period. On 3rd December 1945 he became the first ever pilot to take off and land a jet aircraft – the Sea Vampire – on a carrier. The Fleet Air Arm Museum displays the very same Vampire in which he completed his jet-powered flight.

Also included in the museum collection are the goggles and wrist compass which he wore during his tests and in 2015 Captain Brown himself unveiled a new bronze bust commissioned by the Society of Friends of FAAM.

Air Tattoo’s ‘super’ offer is just the ticket

Friday, January 20th, 2017


People planning to attend one of the UK’s most exciting family days out have until the end of January to take advantage of a ‘super’ offer.

Specially priced Super Earlybird tickets to the world-famous Royal International Air Tattoo are available until January 31, offering savings of up to 25 per cent on the price of a standard admission ticket.

This summer’s airshow, which takes place at RAF Fairford on July 14-16, will feature exciting aircraft from around the world including the hugely popular Thunderbirds demonstration team from the US. The team, whose last appearance in the UK was in 2009, will be returning to mark the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force (USAF).

Prior to February, Super Earlybird Friday tickets are priced £29, offering a saving of £10 off the standard admission price whilst Saturday and Sunday Super Earlybird tickets are priced £42, representing a saving of £13. Entry is free for all children under 16 who are accompanied by an adult ticket holder.

Head of Marketing Helen Webb said: “The airshow provides an exciting day out for the whole family, with attractions suitable for all ages. Aside from the riveting air displays, youngsters can get to grips with the latest engineering technology in the Techno Zone, while parents take a walk down memory lane in the Vintage Village.

“This year we also have a new adrenaline-fuelled feature coming to the Autodrome called the ‘Wall of Death’, which we’re really excited about. People may recognise it from a Channel 4 programme featuring Guy Martin earlier this year which saw him brake the World Record for the fastest speed travelled around the ‘Wall of Death’ on a motorbike.”

This year the Air Tattoo will have an American theme as it celebrates the 70th anniversary of one of the largest air forces in the world, the US Air Force. The Thunderbirds’ performance will form part of the airshow’s official tribute to the occasion and will be the team’s only UK appearance in 2017.

Helen added: “People expect bigger and more exciting air displays from the show year after year, and 2017 will be no exception. Visitors can experience first-class entertainment, both in the air and on the ground, and we are confident that, yet again, the Air Tattoo will be a sell-out success.”

The Royal International Air Tattoo is the world’s biggest military airshow, held annually at RAF Fairford in aid of the RAF Charitable Trust. The Trust funds a wide range of projects and initiatives that Promote the Royal Air Force, Support its people and Encourage in youngsters an interest in aviation.

Super early-bird tickets are priced at a reduced rate of £29 on Friday and £42 on Saturday and Sunday for a limited time only. All accompanied under-16s are admitted free of charge. To buy your tickets or to find out more about the Air Tattoo, please visit or call 01285 713456.

Sea Vixen Repaint

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Newark Air Museum Sea Vixen repaint

During 2016 a steady programme of preparation work has been underway for the repaint of de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.2 XJ560 at Newark Air Museum.

The full extent of this work was recently captured in the warm wintery Nottinghamshire sunshine, from one of the high-level work platforms that is now being used to carry out the work.

It is expected that the Sea Vixen will be returned to the markings that it wore when serving with either 892 Squadron or 893 Squadron of the Fleet Air Arm, during the 1960s.

High-flying offers at low prices this January

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

RAF Museum Calendar 2017

Christmas may be over for another year and the high street January sales are already in full swing, but if you’re looking to treat yourself to something special with your left over Christmas money, the Royal Air Force Museum has a huge selection of unique items available with savings of up to 50% off the RRP.

Sale items are available to purchase in both the London and Cosford on-site museum shops as well as online at

Items on offer include a stunning collection of Winston Churchill china mugs with iconic Churchill quotes. Crafted from English fine bone china and hand gilded with gold, these mugs are a light hearted and fun way of commemorating Churchill’s great wit and bullish sense of humour. With three designs to choose from, these mugs are presented in gift boxes and are now half price at £14.00 each.

There are now huge savings on a selection of DVD’s, including ‘Remember the Stirling’ DVD. At eighteen feet longer than the Lancaster, the Short Stirling was the first and largest of the RAF’s wartime four-engine bombers. Produced and directed by Brian Harris, DFC, himself and ex-navigator on Stirlings, this unique DVD combines rare and exclusive wartime footage with the reminiscences of surviving aircrew members. Reduced to just £7.99 as part of our January savings, this 1 hour 15 minute film is ideal for aviation fans to enjoy on these gloomy winter nights. Also on offer is the ‘Luftwaffe at War’ DVD, now just £7.99. This extra length DVD provides the definitive film history of the Luftwaffe from its secret origins to the end of the Second World War. Packed with original film footage, all the main aircraft types are featured, along with full coverage of advanced jet and rocket planes and the fearsome V-Weapons.

Fans of spectacular aircraft images will love the 2017 RAF Museum Calendar. This year’s calendar features twelve stunning photographs of Royal Air Force aircraft including a Spitfire, Lancaster, Vulcan and VC10. The calendar also includes a free pull-out poster and is ideal for aviation fans to keep a note of special dates. Calendars are now available to purchase for just £3.99.

Young or old, what aviation fan doesn’t enjoy making paper planes? With the Ladybird Paper Plane Kit you can make 60 paper planes out of iconic Ladybird Book covers from the 1960s. This kit comes with all the supplies and instructions with the fold lines pre-printed so you can’t go wrong. A wonderfully nostalgic way to have flying fun! Now just £5.00.

It’s back to school and who wouldn’t want to start the school term off without a Bixbee LED Space Racer or Fairy Flyer backpack? Complete with LED light up wings, the Space Racer backpack will take your child’s imagination on an intergalactic journey, perfect for travelling to a Galaxy far, far away – or just up the road to school or grandma’s house! The Fairy Flyer will convince little sprites of their own magical powers and will set your precious pixie’s imagination aflight on gossamer wings with this enchanting backpack. Both bags come complete with matching lunch box and are now half price, down to just £17.49 each.

There is also 20% off ‘Names on a Plane’ merchandise including a silk scarf, china mug, pen and t-shirts. To see the full range of January offers which also includes books, cufflinks and RAF ties to name but a few, plus many other items available from the RAF Museum Shop, visit . Sale ends 31 January 2017.

RAF Museum Cosford 2017 Events Diary

Friday, January 6th, 2017

RAF Museum Cosford Open Cockpits Evening

Date                              Event

7 February               National Cold War Exhibition 10 year anniversary
20-24 February      Airfix Make and Take
22 February             Airfix V-Bombers Walking Talk

17 March                   Cold War Lunchtime Lecture

2 April                        Shropshire Scale Model Show
8-23 April                  Easter Activities

19-20 May                  Open Cockpits Evening

30 May – 2 June       Half Term Activities

11 June                        RAF Cosford Air Show
16 June                       Cold War Lunchtime Lecture
24 June                       Armed Forces Day

15-16 July                   Large Model Aircraft Rally
22-23 July                  Cosford Food Festival

1-31 August                Summer of Spies

3 September              Spitfire 10K
15 September            Cold War Lunchtime Lecture
15-16 September       Open Cockpits Evening

23-27 October          Airfix Make and Take

12 November            Remembrance Service
13-18 November      Conservation Centre Open Week

15 December            Cold War Lunchtime Lecture

TriStar Simulator Reassembly

Thursday, January 5th, 2017


In recent weeks a significant amount of effort has been expended on the reassembly of the Lockheed TriStar simulator at Newark Air Museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire, close to the border with Lincolnshire.

The exhibit was donated to the museum by the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon, back in autumn 2015; and arrived on site in February 2016. 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.

After various location options were considered the reassembly is now taking place in an area of Display Hangar 2 behind the Gloster Javelin and Saab Viggen aircraft. The reassembly work has focused around the main instrument panel, which is now in situ; along with the majority of the external cockpit panels. This is proving to be quite a complex task, but one that is being tackled in a methodical manner; but this will culminate in quite an impressive exhibit in the future.

At this time it is still not confirmed to what extent the simulator will be returned to an operational condition; although an appropriate power is located nearby. This latest acquisition complements the museum’s growing collection of ‘synthetic’ trainers and adds part of a notable airliner cockpit to the museum collection.