Archive for March, 2018

Beasts From the East: Polish Jet Added to Air Show Line-Up

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Polish Fulcrum

The RAF Cosford Air Show announced the exciting news that a rare MiG-29 Fulcrum will be performing in the flying display on Sunday 10th June. This is one of many international flying displays expected at the event to celebrate the Royal Air Force’s centenary.

The MiG-29 Fulcrum is a twin-engine jet fighter, designed by the Soviet Union, that has been in service with the Polish Air Force since 1989. The type, originally designed as an air superiority fighter, is now a truly multirole platform. Poland is NATO’s largest operator of the MiG-29 and it has carried out a number of key NATO commitments in recent years such as Baltic Air Policing.

The participation of the Polish Air Force at this year’s RAF Cosford Air Show is particularly poignant with the Royal Air Force celebrating their 100th anniversary year. The display allows a joint commemoration of the large number of Polish pilots who gave their lives in the Battle of Britain and celebration of their contribution to the security of our skies in the Second World War. A special flypast to honour the Polish Pilots who flew in the RAF during WWII is planned for Sunday 10th June.

Air Show Operations Manager, Peter Reoch, said, “We’re excited and honoured to be welcoming the Polish Air Force to the RAF Cosford Air Show this year as part of our RAF100 celebrations. I’m sure their display of the iconic Fulcrum will be a highlight of the six-hour flying display.”

The Polish Navy will also be represented at the Air Show, with an An-28 Bryza, used for Maritime patrol and reconnaissance, which will be on static display.

Visitors are encouraged to buy their Air Show tickets soon, at the discounted price of £25.00 per person, which are available from the Air Show website. From Tuesday 17th April tickets will be priced £29.00.

RAF centenary celebrations begin this weekend!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

RAF100 events at RAF Museum

100 Years of the RAF                 Festival Spitfire 100K Challenge
Date: 1-2 April 2018                   100K in 100 days
Time: 10am-5pm                        Date: Launches on 1 April
Cost: FREE                                 Cost: £20 per person

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force (RAF) with a nostalgic Bank Holiday weekend event taking place on 1 and 2 April 2018, alongside a new display marking the service’s first 100 years and the launch of the centenary year Spitfire 100K Challenge.

The ‘100 Years of the RAF Festival’ taking place on the 1 and 2 April 2018 will see re-enactors bring the Museum to life with authentic experiences for visitors to enjoy. A walk-through RAF history will include a First World War display, have a go anti-aircraft game (charges apply), engine demonstrations (Monday only), plotting table, vintage vehicle display, interactive storytelling, Second World War Camp and a Vulcan Scramble to name but a few! Activities and displays will be spread across the entire site for the FREE two day event which runs from 10am until 5pm both days. On arrival, make sure to pick up your free handy festival site plan to help guide you round the site and ensure you don’t miss out on any of the displays!

The Museum’s on-site caterers Kudos will be joining in the celebrations serving RAF100 birthday cupcakes, plus, woodfired pizzas and real dairy ice-creams will be served from vintage vehicles outside the Visitor Centre all day. The Museum will be operating a free shuttle bus service from Cosford train station for any visitors travelling by train or using the park and ride and will run continuously throughout the day.

To celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force, the RAF Museum has set a new centenary year challenge to complete 100K in 100 days. The Spitfire 100K Challenge is virtual and launches on 1 April 2018, challengers have exactly 100 days to walk, jog or run 100K in a location of their choice. Participants will be given a distance log to record their 100K before being rewarded with a spinning propeller Spitfire 100K Challenge medal. Registration is still open via the Museum website with over 600 people signed up from multiple RAF bases and countries across the world including; New Zealand, Canada, Japan and America. Limited edition Spitfire 100K Challenge t-shirts are also available to purchase when registering online.

Entry costs £20 per person and all proceeds from the Spitfire 100K Challenge will go towards the RAF100 Appeal, a joint venture between the Royal Air Force and four major RAF charities – Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, Royal Air Forces Association, Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and the Royal Air Force Museum.

A new display celebrating the first 100 years of the RAF will be open to visitors in time for the festival weekend. Highlighting the principal roles of the RAF; Attack, Defence, Support and Prepare, the display also incorporates a snapshot timeline and artefacts spanning 100 years including uniforms, equipment, tools, personal possessions and commemorative items. In addition, a collection of life-size photographic metal cut outs will be positioned around the Museum site, sharing the stories of RAF personnel who have held a variety of roles within the service. The new display is supported by National Lottery Players through the Heritage Lottery Fund and founding sponsor BAE Systems. It is part of the RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme across its two sites in London and Cosford.

A brand new collection of paintings from The Guild of Aviation Artists is now on display in the Museum’s Hangar 1 Art Gallery. Representing 100 years of the Royal Air Force in its centenary year, the paintings on display in the Art Gallery have been specially selected to demonstrate the variety and scope of members’ work. Formed in 1971 The Guild of Aviation Artists is recognised throughout the world for the promotion of aviation art. The paintings on display are all for sale and the RAF Museum receives a commission from sales. For more information about the Guild of Aviation Artists please visit their website

For more information on the RAF Museum Cosford’s centenary celebrations, visit

Second opportunity this year for special access to iconic aircraft at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Sea King

A second evening of unprecedented access, exploring in and around some of the Fleet Air Arm Museum’s most significant aircraft, takes place on Thursday 17 May at 6.00pm.

This is an exclusive opportunity that is not usually available to the general public and the evening is just one of three planned this year.

Visitors can see where history was made when they look inside the cockpit of Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown’s famous Vampire LZ551/G. This was the first jet aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier in 1945.

Visitors can sit inside the cockpits of Concorde 002, Westland Wessex 5 and HAS3 Lynx Helicopter, inside the cabin area of ‘King of the Junglies’ Sea King ZA 298 and view into the cockpits of Harrier GR9 and Hawker P1127, to enable a comparison of prototype and last type seen in service.

The evening includes entry to the main galleries (excluding flight deck) and a chance to see the museum at night. The experienced team of curators and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and tell more of the secrets of the museum and the collection of aircraft.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum’s General Manager Marc Farrance said: “This is the second of our special access evenings and our visitors love them. Feedback from our event earlier in the year was really positive. The chance to sit in the very cockpits where history has often been made is thrilling.”

Tickets for this privileged access evening are available from, £40.00 per person. Spaces are limited spaces and advance booking is essential.

Sensible clothing and footwear must be worn. Access to aircraft is dependent upon your fitness levels and overall mobility. All visits are subject to a briefing by a member of the museum team. Aircraft line-up subject to change.

Easter Holiday Family Fun at Brooklands Museum

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Brooklands Concorde

There is some speggtacular Easter Family Fun at Brooklands this April with an Easter Egg Trail that will keep visitors entertained every day from 30th March – 15th April. During this period visitors will be able to collect their free Trails on arrival, head off around the Museum to solve the hidden clues, and then back to the Shop to claim their FREE chocolate prize.

And there are plenty of other Easter attractions at the Museum to keep visitors absorbed for the rest of their visit once they’ve solved the Trail clues. The Museum’s long-established and hugely popular rides in vintage-style cars and on London Bus Museum’s iconic double-decker buses will also be operating during weekdays from 3rd – 13th April. Car rides take in the challenging summit of Test Hill and the Members’ Banking, the steepest part of the original Race Track, as long as it’s not too wet or slippery. Or, for a more relaxed journey, hop on board a real double-decker bus for a bus trip through the surrounding streets. Car and bus rides will run in the mornings and afternoons with a short break for lunch and are subject to crew and vehicle availability.

The Concorde Experience is a half-hour virtual supersonic ‘flight’ on the Brooklands Concorde and runs every day, but on each weekday from 3rd – 13th April, special Kids Tours will be running twice a day. And don’t forget to look out for the Museum’s larger than life mascot, Bertie Bear, who will be roaming the site looking for fans to have his photograph taken on weekdays 3rd – 13th April. The Brooklands Learning Team will be running two FREE drop-in workshops for youngsters: from 3rd – 6th April they can test how much cargo a paper plane can take while from 9th – 13th April they can have a go at painting their own Pompom Easter Egg to take home.

All of the Museum’s regular displays and exhibitions will be open for families to explore including the new Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed. Inside the newly restored Bellman hangar, visitors can ‘clock in’ and don factory workcoats as they begin their ‘Brooklands Apprenticeship’. A series of workshops and interactives explore some of the skills used over the 80-year history of aircraft manufacture at Brooklands. On a new mezzanine level, the story of aviation design at Brooklands is told and visitors can design their own military and civilian aircraft from different eras of aviation including those of the future. Leaving the Factory and entering the new Flight Shed visitors can see some of the Museum’s collection of complete aircraft, including opportunities to sit in the cockpits of the Hawker Hunter and Harrier, as well as displays on radar, ground-to-air radio and pioneering pilots.

The Sunbeam Café is the ideal place for refuelling and add to this a visit to the Museum Shop to pick up a souvenir and you have the recipe for a perfect day out come rain or shine. Normal admission prices apply for Easter and are: adults £13.50, seniors £11.50, children (5-16 yrs) £7, family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £35. The half-hour Concorde Experience is £5 for adults, £3 for children, 4D simulator rides are £4 for adults, £2 for children.

*A minimum donation of £1 per passenger is requested for car and bus rides. The main visitor entrance for the Museum is via Mercedes-Benz World, on Brooklands Drive off Wellington Way between Weybridge and Byfleet.

Shuttleworth Spitfire Fires into Life

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018


The Shuttleworth Collection’s Spitfire AR501 soared successfully into the skies for its maiden flight, following a full restoration project, at 15.47 on Tuesday 20 March 2018, in the hands of experienced warbird pilot Stu Goldspink. The pilot reported that the aircraft is handling beautifully and all systems functioning correctly with just a couple of minor adjustments required. A second, longer, test flight was carried out the next morning confirming the aircraft is behaving well. The flight test programme will continue over the next few weeks.

This Spitfire is an original aircraft that saw active service in the Second World War and is wearing the livery of No 310 (Czech) Squadron, where it served in operations in 1942-1943. Sporting its original ‘clipped’ wing tips that gave Spitfires a better roll rate rather than the standard elliptical tips most are familiar with.

The painstaking restoration which took over 10years to complete by the Collection’s full-time engineering team and skilled volunteers, involved completely dismantling the airframe into its smallest components to inspect and refurbish all the parts. The project included the complete overhaul of the 1,440hp Rolls Royce Merlin V12 engine, also carried out ‘in house’, and a new propeller and spinner.

Chief Engineer Jean-Michel Munn said, “This is a very original aircraft, and one that served in combat during the Second World War. It’s a privilege for The Collection to be able to return it to airworthy status and have it back flying for visitors to experience the sight and sound of this iconic type.”

AR501 is intending to display for the first time since restoration at The Collection’s Season Premiere & RAF 100 airshow on Sunday 6 May Stu Goldspink will be giving the pilot chat with the aircraft at 11.00 before the air display begins at 14.00. Veterans over 85 have free entry to this show. For more details see

The Shuttleworth Collection is based at Old Warden aerodrome is just off the A1 at Biggleswade, postcode SG18 9EP.

AR501 can also be seen onscreen (static) in the RAF at 100 with Ewan and Colin McGregor on BBC One, screening Sunday 25 March at 20.30!

RAF Balderton Commemoration & Book Launch

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Station of Nations

Newark Air Museum
8 April 2018

RAF Balderton was a little known Nottinghamshire airfield that was associated with many significant activities during World War II. Located just south of Newark on Trent the airfield was home to a range of national and international units that were in some cases critical to key moments during the war.

These national and international connections are being commemorated on Sunday 8th April during a reunion event and book launch that is being arranged in association with the RAF Balderton Research Group and hosted at the Newark Air Museum site in north eastern Nottinghamshire. The reunion aspect of the day will involve the participation of surviving personnel and the families of former personnel who served at RAF Balderton from 1941 to 1954.

In the museum’s Memorial Garden there will be a ceremonial dedication of a commemorative tree (a ‘Crimson King’ Maple), and the laying of a piece of RAF Balderton’s runway, with a plaque dedicated to all those that served at RAF Balderton. Invited guests attending will include Councillor Linda Tift, Chairman of Newark and Sherwood District Council and representatives from the Canadian Embassy. A warm welcome is also extended to members of the public and museum members.

The commemoration will also coincide with the launch of the latest book by Newark Air Museum Trustee, Colin Savill; entitled “Station of Nations”. The book charts the history of RAF Balderton and the diverse collection of Canadian, British and American units that were based there. This includes the specialist Rolls-Royce trials unit that was involved in development testing of early British jet engine technologies.

The book will be available to purchase in the early afternoon following the formal commemorative activities and the author will be on hand to sign copies.

Brooklands Museum Shortlisted for Museums + Heritage Award

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Brooklands Museum

Brooklands Museum in Surrey, operated by an independent charitable trust, joins some of the world’s best known institutions after it was announced yesterday they have been shortlisted for their ambitious Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed project for an annual award. The Museums + Heritage Awards are held as an extension to the annual Museums + Heritage Show which this year is on 16th & 17th May at Olympia in London. It recognises projects of excellence, innovation and ground-breaking initiatives from galleries and visitor attractions across the UK and overseas.

These range from remarkable achievements of national institutions to projects crafted with limited resources and those championing their staff and volunteers who work hard to deliver inspiring visitor experiences. The Permanent Exhibition category, for which Brooklands has qualified, also includes National Army Museum, Ashmolean Museum, London’s Natural History Museum and part of the Science Museum Group, ‘Wonderlab’ amongst its shortlistees. Other categories include Volunteer of the Year, Educational Initiative, Marketing Campaign and Project on a Limited Budget.

The six-year project at Brooklands required extensive planning and fundraising which involved dismantling and restoring a Grade 2 Listed WWII Bellman Hangar, relocating it and reinterpreting it inside as an aircraft factory, restoring and re-profiling the section of original 1907 Race Track where the Hangar once stood and constructing a new purpose-built Flight Shed with archives and storage. The Aircraft Factory opened to the public in November 2017.

The experience is immersive: as soon as visitors enter through the doors of the Factory, they hear the sounds and drink in the authentic atmosphere of a busy factory. They pick up a “clocking in” card, don an overall and try for themselves the skills involved in aircraft manufacture on interactives at several workstations. In the Tinsmiths Shop, for example, they can roll, bend and rivet blanks of metal to make a small aeroplane to take home or see how wing shapes respond in a wind tunnel. Aircraft and their major components are displayed on “assembly lines” running through the factory.

Looking out over the factory floor is a new mezzanine level that tells the story of aircraft design at Brooklands, where visitors explore the challenges and compromises of designing new and future aircraft. From the mezzanine, a walkway leads into the Flight Shed, which houses some of the Museum’s live aircraft as well as radar and radio equipment and a permanent exhibition on pioneering pilots. Visitors can sit in the cockpit of a Harrier, open locker doors and discover the stories of real workers and pilots at the site and find out about the many aviation firsts and records set at Brooklands. Underneath, workshops for training in aviation preservation skills welcome students and other Museum professionals as part of an ongoing learning programme.

The whole experience is enhanced and brought to life by volunteer stewards and demonstrators, some of them former employees of the Brooklands factories (which employed 14,000 people from surrounding towns and villages at their peak). The volunteers share their own reminiscences making every visit unique and which is a highlight for most visitors.

The Awards are judged by a panel of the sector’s leaders and the winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on Wednesday May 16th in London.

A Legendary Warbird, An aerobatic icon, a scale model and Norfolk’s Best Ice Cream

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Extra Duo by G Force Aerobatics

A P-51 Mustang fighter from WWII will once again grace the skies over Old Buckenham this summer and it’ll be joined by the most innovative modern display act; where a carbon fibre aircraft is chased around the sky by a 41% scale model. Both display acts will appear twice over the weekend of the 28 & 29 July 2018 at the Old Buckenham Airshow.

WWII icons are no stranger to Old Buckenham; adding to an enviable list which already includes a Flying Fortress, the most famous Spitfire in existence and a Douglas DC3, the weekend will also feature the P-51 Mustang, arguably the only fighter aircraft to be held in the same regard as the Spitfire. The P-51 which will display on both Airshow days is called ‘the Shark’ due to the highly distinctive shark’s mouth design on the nose of the aircraft, part of an extremely rare RAF marking scheme.

Contemporary aviation is also well represented thanks to the return, by overwhelming demand, of Chris Burkett and Mike Williams. Chris, an aerobatic master, will fly his cutting edge carbon fibre Extra aircraft through one of the most demanding sequences of aerobatic manoeuvres imaginable. This alone is a remarkable sight, made all the more extraordinary by the fact that he’ll be chased around the sky by Mike piloting a 41% remote controlled scale model of the ‘real’ aircraft. Voted as the ‘Airshow moment of the year’ when first performed, both days will see the duo complete a truly unmissable airborne feat, guaranteed to be the talk of the Airshow crowd once again.

In another first, the Airshow will allow a few lucky budding aviators to start their flying career; aboard another WWII icon. We’ll be joined by a T6 Texan, known better in the UK as the Harvard; a WWII fighter trainer. Those lucky enough to climb aboard will not be going for a ride; they’ll actually be taking part in a first flyingn lesson, where they’ll take control of the iconic aircraft, all under the steady hand and guidance of a highly experienced warbird pilot and instructor.

Finally, the Airshow is improving its family friendly credentials even more. In 2015 we successfully took on the Ice Cream Van Cartel by offering quality Ice Cream at a wallet friendly price. This has proved a huge success over the last two years and we’re delighted to announce that we’re working with Dann’s Ice Cream to offer the very best quality ice cream, all made on their Norfolk farm using milk from a pedigree herd. Despite offering a truly luxury ice cream; the prices will still remain as affordable as ever and maintain our victory over rip-off prices.

Matt Wilkins – Airshow Event Organiser “ We’re rapidly running out of WWII icons to display at this year’s Airshow. The addition of P51 Mustang ensures that we’ve got the two most inspirational fighters of the war joining the legendary Sally B, B17 Flying Fortress and a DC3; a lineup beyond the wildest dreams of most Airshows. The Extra and the Model’s return ensures that everyone can be astonished and find out that the hype is well and truly justified. Add to that our new found ability to offer Norfolk’s best Ice Cream courtesy of Dann’s and this is shaping up to be the best Airshow yet”

100th Anniversary of RAF Open Cockpits Day

Friday, March 16th, 2018

Newark Air Museum Cockpit Fest

Sunday 1st April 2018, at Newark Air Museum

On Sunday 1st April 2018 the Newark Air Museum is organising an event to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

In addition to giving visitors the opportunity to view the cockpits and interiors of many of the museum’s collection of RAF aircraft, cockpits and CIMs; the event will also feature a host of visiting displays. The event will be open to the public from10am until 5pm (last admission at 4pm.

The cockpits and aircraft may not be open at all times during the day and access will depend on the availability of the museum’s team of volunteer cockpit openers. A small additional donation will be requested for access into the aircraft and cockpits.

As of 15.03.18 the supporting / visiting displays include:

Museum model aircraft display in Hangar 1
Mainly Military Models display in Hangar 2
RAF Recruiting posters display from the Museum Archive
RAF Balderton Memorial Group
WAAF 1940s display
Air Sea Rescue & Marine Craft Club, displays of marine craft models & storyboards
Canberra PR7 test cockpit
Phantom cockpit XV490 – with David Gledhill
Wingless Wonders cockpit display – Buccaneer XZ431; P1127 XV280 & 2 LWB Land Rovers
HS125 cockpit G-AVAI
Airfield Research Group

The event is open to everyone and normal museum admission rates will apply:
Adults £9.00; Over 65’s £8.00; Children £4.50; and Family ticket [2 adults & 3 children] £24.00.

{A small additional fee / donation will be applicable when going inside the museum aircraft – this will go towards funding the restoration & refurbishment of our aircraft.}

Please telephone 01636 707170 if you require any further information; regular updates will also appear on the Events Page of the museum website at

Shooting STAARs: Aerospace STEM summer camp launches for young adults

Friday, March 16th, 2018

STAAR Drone Activity

Northrop Grumman and Royal Air Force Museum are joining forces to deliver the Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme, a unique summer camp for young adults aged 14-15 years. The STAAR programme, being delivered also in association with RAF Cosford and Tablet Academy, will be rolled out in July 2018 with two residential weeks planned for up to 40 students.

The programme will be held jointly at RAF Cosford and the RAF Museum Cosford on 16-20 and 23-27July, with 20 recruits taking part each week. This fully-funded residential week has five busy days packed with hands-on activities as well as social activities each evening.

What better way to experience the power of aerospace engineering than by discovering first-hand how it’s applied to the design and development of manned aircraft and other advanced aerospace systems? It stimulates innovation, pushes boundaries of scientific research and development to create next-generation technologies and manufacturing capabilities, producing a skilled workforce for now and in the future. This STAAR programme has been designed to provide a unique experience that will inspire young adults, help them to understand more about advanced aerospace systems engineering and encourage them to study and take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related fields.

STAAR recruits will explore advanced aerospace systems concepts: seeing how the need for solutions to achieve an air mission shapes the way engineers and scientist’s research, develop and design aerospace systems.

Maggie Appleton, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Air Force Museum said:
“At the RAF Museum we are passionate about inspiring young people into STEM careers, capturing their imaginations through stories of the RAF and its partners, stories drawn from the rich shared history and innovative vision of the future. We are working in partnership with Northrop Grumman, RAF Cosford and Tablet Academy to develop and deliver an exciting new residential aerospace programme for young people which will be launched this summer.”

Andrew Tyler, Chief Executive, Northrop Grumman Europe said:
“Science-based expertise is at the very heart of the high-technology culture of our industry and at Northrop Grumman we share the RAF Museum’s commitment to promoting STEM education to help inspire young men and women to pursue academic studies and careers in STEM-related areas. We have built a strong partnership with the RAF Museum through our support of the redevelopment programme for the Hendon site, and we are pleased that we have been able to extend this to include the creation of our new aerospace STEM programme.”

The partnership between Northrop Grumman, RAF Museum, RAF Cosford and Tablet Academy was first announced at the 2017 RAF Cosford Air Show. In July, 20 students from four local schools took part in a successful STAAR ‘pilot’ programme and this summer the programme is being rolled out nationally for students across the country who may want to apply for places.

Applications for the 2018 STAAR residency are now open online via the Museum’s website and must be completed by a teacher explaining why their student is suitable for the programme. The closing date for applications is 7 May and successful applicants will be announced on 21 May. The class of 2018 will be invited to attend the RAF Cosford Air Show where they will have the opportunity to meet with fellow recruits, STAAR partners and enjoy a day viewing the very pinnacle of the aerospace industry. Recruits will also be handed their starter packs and t-shirts ready to start the residential week in July.