Archive for March, 2019

Additional places for Aerospace Summer Camp are up for grabs!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

STAAR Graduation at RAF Museum Cosford

An additional twenty places have been added to the 2019 Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme, now allowing sixty Year 10 students aged 14-15 to participate in the aviation summer camp.

STAAR offers a unique insight into the exciting world of aviation for youngsters interested in future careers in STEM related fields and is fully funded by the global aerospace and defence technology giant, Northrop Grumman, with the support of the Northrop Grumman Foundation in partnership with the Royal Air Force Museum. The two week-long residentials will now accommodate 30 students per week and is delivered by the Museum, Royal Air Force Cosford, RAF Youth and STEM Engagement Team and Tablet Academy.

Applications have been flying in since applications opened in February from keen students across the country, as far as Glasgow, Plymouth, Cardiff as well as locally and from the surrounding counties. Now into its third year, the STAAR programme will accommodate more students than ever before thanks to the additional support of a new STAAR partner, RAF Youth and STEM Engagement Team. The deadline for applications has been extended until Monday 8 April, giving students more time to apply.

Taking place on 22-26 July and 29 July-2 August 2019, STAAR provides students with five intense days, experiencing life as an RAF engineering trainee, where they will live, work, learn and solve tasks together! The immersive programme is designed to inspire diverse and talented young people to become the next generation of experts in the innovative and high-technology aerospace sector. Through a series of workshops, recruits will be immersed into aerospace design, exploring all the elements required to plan a mission, getting hands on working with real aircraft and engines, as well as learning about important historical missions such as the Dambusters raid. Recruits will also develop critical thinking and team-building skills throughout the week, as well as having a lot of fun!

This year students will work towards a CREST Award, a nationally recognised scheme for student-led project work in the STEM subjects and an Industrial Cadet Award, an industry-led accreditation which gives recruits a unique insight into industry – skills and knowledge are built and enhanced whilst being mentored by industry role models.

Julie Brierley, Access and Learning Manager, Royal Air Force Museum Cosford said:
“We’re thrilled to be offering additional places to this year’s STAAR residential week and have a new partner on board to help deliver it. The programme truly is top-notch, a unique, educational and memorable experience, delivered by experts in their fields. The value STAAR can add to a recruit’s development is reflected by the number of applications we’ve received and the wide reach from students across England, Scotland and Wales all wanting to be part of it. We’re also excited to announce that the STAAR programme has been shortlisted in the Museums and Heritage Awards for ‘Educational Initiative of the Year’ due to take place in May.”

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive, Northrop Grumman UK & Europe said:
“Four years ago, the idea for an aerospace-related STEM camp was just a vision, and in a little over three
years we and our partners – the RAF Museum, RAF Cosford and Tablet Academy – have not only turned this into a reality, we have developed STAAR into a nationally recognised and sought-after STEM educational programme, attracting young people from across the UK.

We are immensely proud of how much STAAR has grown, and this year are delighted that we have been joined by the RAF Youth and STEM Engagement Team to help facilitate the delivery of the curriculum, which means we are now able to offer the STAAR experience to 60 students; a 200% increase on the places we offered for the ‘pilot’ programme in 2017. The STAAR Recruits who graduate in 2019 will also receive both a Crest Award and an Industrial Cadet Award accreditation, which they can add to their personal portfolios and leverage as they continue through their education, and hopefully on to careers in the Aerospace Sector.”

If you’ve got what it takes to be a STAAR and want to join the class of 2019, visit the Museum’s website to apply. The programme is open nationwide to any UK Year 10 students showing an interest in and aptitude for STEM subjects. Applications are open until 8 April and must be completed by a teacher explaining why their student is suitable for the programme.

RAF Museum launches new Dambusters Virtual Reality Experience

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Dambusters by All Seeing Eye

The Royal Air Force Museum invites you to take a seat on board a Lancaster during the legendary Dambusters raid of 1943, using Virtual Reality technology.

The Dams Raid was the greatest feat of arms performed by the Royal Air Force and one of the key stories of the Second World War. Its success captured the public imagination at the time and over the next 70 years inspired a multitude of books, films and documentaries.

Dambusters: Immersive Histories at the RAF Museum London, is the newest part of the Dambusters offer that also includes a replica of the ‘bouncing bomb’, Barnes Wallis’ office and the original moulds of the first test bombs.

The Virtual Reality Experience (VRE) puts the user inside a moment in history. For the first time ever, visitors to the Museum can step inside the story of the iconic operation through an authentic, interactive recreation of the Dambusters’ first mission on 16 May 1943 attacking the Möhne Dam.

360° first person views, spatialised audio and haptic feedback vests reinforce the experience of being aboard a No. 617 Squadron Lancaster bomber during Operation CHASTISE.

Participants suit up in a vest and step inside an accurate physical set of a Lancaster. They are completely immersed and able to reach out to feel the window, fuselage and desk’ of the Lancaster bomber. As the aircraft continues it’s mission, users will also feel the ‘roar of the Lancaster’s Merlin engines’, through their haptic vests.

The Dambusters Immersive Experience has been created by All Seeing Eye with input from No. 617 Squadron official historian, Robert Owen.

Barry Smith Director of Visitor and Commercial Development “At the RAF Museum we are very interested in new ways of interpreting and sharing the stories of the Royal Air Force. The opportunity to actually invite our visitors to be part of the Dambusters story is one that we are very excited about. I can honestly say that our visitors are in for a treat!”

Olie Kay Associate Creative Director, All Seeing Eye Ltd “This experience isn’t about explaining all the facts of the mission. It’s about exploring the human story of the real people who were on the aircraft and communicating an authentic sense of place of what it may have been like to be there.”

Dambusters: Immersive Histories at the RAF Museum London is available from Friday 15 March. Tickets are £10

Historic Navy Wessex Debut to Open Air Day!

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Wessex HU5 by Kevin Wills

image by Kevin Wills

The world’s only flying Westland Wessex HU5 is coming home to Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton to open the flying display at the Royal Navy International Air Day on Saturday 13 July on its airshow debut! This fifty-plus-year-old former troop transport, search and rescue helicopter and Falklands veteran has only been flying again since February 2019. It will make an exciting new addition to the UK airshow scene after its first display at Air Day.

The Wessex, manufactured by Westland at Yeovil (now Leonardo Helicopters), was the Fleet Air Arm’s first purpose-built anti-submarine helicopter. The initial Wessex HAS1 (Helicopter Anti-Submarine) entered service in 1961, followed by the HU5 Commando variant two years later.

Able to carry sixteen combat-ready troops into battle, Wessex HU5s served all RNAS Yeovilton’s Commando Helicopter Squadrons in the early-mid 1970s. Key deployments included the 1982 Falklands Conflict, during which Wessex transported and inserted British Special Forces personnel and ferried in fuel, equipment and weapons.

100 Wessex HU5s were built including XT761, which rolled off the production line in 1966. It went on to equip 845 NAS, 848 NAS and latterly 771 NAS, whose bright red and blue Search and Rescue colours it wears today. In private ownership, XT761 now belongs to Historic Helicopters’ fleet of airworthy types and return-to-flight projects, based at nearby Chard. It is also part of the Navy Wings associate collection, alongside other classic naval aircraft and helicopter designs.

Set to give the five-plus-hour flying programme a nostalgic and colourful start, the sole airworthy Wessex HU5 is just one aspect of Air Day 2019’s planned vintage content.

Discounted advance tickets can be booked at

New Exhibits at the Fleet Air Arm Museum Get Concorde’s 50th Anniversary Year off to a Flying Start

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Fleet Air Arm Museum

To mark 50 years since the very first test flights of Concorde in 1969, the Fleet Air Arm Museum near Yeovilton in Somerset is poised to unveil special exhibits including the futuristic helmet worn by the pilot of those early flights, Brian Trubshaw CBE.

The museum is home to one of only two prototype Concorde aircraft in the world and the first British-made Concorde (002), which was constructed as a test aircraft for the eventual fleet of 16 Concordes built for British Airways and Air France. Concorde 002 was largely designed and built at Bristol’s Filton airport, under the leadership of Trubshaw, a former Second World War pilot. In the 1960s and 70s Trubshaw was described as ‘every schoolboy’s hero’, flying test missions for fighter aircraft. He was at the controls on 9th April 1969 when Concorde 002 made its historic first flight from Filton to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, a journey lasting just 22 minutes.

Trubshaw’s helmet is a fascinating piece of aviation history. More like a space helmet than anything modern pilots would recognise, it was developed to cope with extreme altitudes and speeds, as the aircraft shot through the sky close to the edge of space. The helmet has been offered to the museum for the duration of the anniversary celebrations by its current owner and the museum’s general manager Marc Farrance says: “We’re delighted to be able to offer our visitors the chance to see the Trubshaw Helmet and understand more about its fascinating former owner. We are extremely grateful to the current owner, Mrs Lowe, for agreeing to loan the helmet to the Fleet Air Arm Museum as part of our celebrations of the anniversary.”

Throughout March and April of this 50th anniversary year, visitors to the Fleet Air Arm Museum will be able to attend daily talks from the museum’s experts on all things Concorde, with a host of fascinating facts such as:

• Concorde 002 first achieved supersonic speed in March 1970 and later in the testing programme hit a maximum speed of Mach 2.05.
• Mach 2 is approximately equivalent to 1,350 mph or 22 miles per minute, faster than a bullet from a gun and about the same as travelling from Leeds to York in under a minute.
• At Mach 2, the outside of Concorde gets hot enough to fry an egg, yet the air it is travelling through is -65C.
• Also at Mach 2, Concorde gets so hot it expands about 4 inches and has to have built-in expansion joints to accommodate this.
• 1969 was also the year of the Moon landing, but in a world before sophisticated computer programmes, all this revolutionary science and design was done with slide rules, pencils and paper.

Concorde 002 was retired to the Fleet Air Arm Museum on long term loan from the Science Museum after the test programme ended in 1976 and the first commercial Concorde flights began. The museum is also home to a number of aircraft that formed part of the Concorde development programme including HP 115 which was flown by several test pilots including Neil Armstrong.

Entry to the Fleet Air Arm Museum costs from £12.75 per adult and £9.50 per child, with family tickets available. Book online at

Air Tattoo Visitors Will Be Over The Moon

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Tim Peake by ESA

(Image by ESA)

Visitors to this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds are being promised a truly ‘out of this world experience!’

Renowned for being one of the most thrilling airshows on the planet, this summer’s event (July 19-21), which takes place on the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, will be expanding its horizons beyond earth – to include the whole universe!

With its theme Air & Space: Inspiring The Next Generation Air Force, the Air Tattoo will be turning its spotlight to the heavens to look at some of the exciting and innovative ways organisations are reaching out into space. So, expect rockets, astronauts and lots of exciting entertainment and activities across the showground – including a planetarium.

As well as opportunities to view examples of commercial space rockets currently being developed in the UK, visitors will be able to see an ExoMars rover prototype in action as well as talk to the scientists and engineers responsible for operating it, thanks to Airbus Defence & Space.

Visitors on the Friday will also find themselves under the ‘microscope’ as Airbus DS’s Pleiades satellite flies over RAF Fairford taking a photo of the airshow as it orbits the earth.

Giving his seal of approval to the Air Tattoo’s Space theme will be British astronaut Major Tim Peake who will be making an appearance at the airshow on Friday, July 19.
As part of the European Space Agency (ESA), Tim was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station, launching on a Soyuz rocket in December 2015 and returning to earth six months later having taken part in a variety of activities including conducting a spacewalk to repair the Station’s power supply.

Tim, who is currently Head of Astronaut Operations at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Germany, will be at the airshow to help inspire people in the critically-acclaimed Techno Zone®.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said with the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing co-inciding with the airshow in July, there was no better time to explore the many ways in which the boundaries of space are being pushed back.

“In the past the airshow’s seen USAF U-2 aircraft that touch the edge of space but now we’ll be looking to feature craft that go beyond earth’s atmosphere. We’re still adding space attractions and hope to announce more astronauts before July’s airshow – it’s truly exciting. We’re particularly honoured to welcome Tim Peake who will be engaging with our young visitors on the Friday. Without doubt he’ll be a huge inspiration to all the engineers, pilots and, yes, astronauts of the future!”

Tim Peake said: “I’ve been wanting to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo for some time and this year’s ‘Space’ theme presented the perfect opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it!”

RAF Fairford, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, was NASA’s only UK transatlantic abort landing site for the Space Shuttle and in 1983 hosted a visit by the spacecraft which was secured on the back of a jumbo jet bound for the Paris Air Show.

Tickets for the airshow, which is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust, can be purchased online at or by calling 01285 713456. All accompanied under-18s go free.