Archive for May, 2019

Descendants of World War One Aces meet at Aerospace Bristol

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Bristol F2B Fighter

Descendants of World War One aces, Canadian Andrew McKeever and Bristolian Leslie Powell, have met for the first time. The two met at Aerospace Bristol, in front of the museum’s replica of the biplane that McKeever and Powell flew with distinction.

McKeever’s great nephew, Ross Thompson, travelled from his home in Canada for the meeting, while Powell’s grand-daughter, Mrs Jan Absolom, has travelled from Berkshire.

The museum’s Bristol F2b Fighter is in the colours of the No. 11 Squadron aircraft in which McKeever and Powell recorded 31 and 19 “kills” respectively in the skies over France, earning national fame and the nicknames of The Hawk and The Gnat.

The Airbus and Rolls-Royce engineers who built the replica Fighter were also there to meet Ross and Jan, and were delighted to have the opportunity to explain how they recreated the WWI aircraft.

Find out more about Aerospace Bristol at

Less than a month until Cockpit-Fest at Newark Air Museum

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

MiG-23 at Newark Air Museum

Preparations for the 2019 Cockpit-Fest are well underway at Newark Air Museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire; close to the border with Lincolnshire. Newark Air Museum is a registered charity located on part of the former site of RAF Winthorpe; its two day Cockpit-Fest event attracts exhibitors from across the UK and Europe to sample what one former-aviation magazine editor calls “grass roots aircraft preservation”.

This will be the twentieth (20th) time that like-minded enthusiasts have displayed their aircraft cockpit sections at the museum. Cockpit-Fest has become a fixture on the aviation calendar and each year attracts many visiting cockpits and associated displays. Cockpit-Fest allows the owners the chance to display their prized exhibits to their fellow enthusiasts and the general public.

At this year’s event a diverse range of aviation will be represented; this includes a range of military jet cockpits including amongst others: Lightning, Harrier, Hunter, Buccaneer and Jet Provost.

For this year’s the museum’s own volunteers are also gearing up to provide the visitors with the opportunity to look inside some of its aircraft. This includes a rare opportunity to view normally inaccessible aircraft like the ex-Russian MiG fighters and the American T-33 trainer. Recent training sessions have been held on these aircraft, thereby allowing a new cohort of volunteers to be able to open these rare aircraft.

Cockpit-Fest 2019 takes place on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June; and the event is being staged in a single large area on the museum’s Southfield Site, alongside an Aeroboot / Aerojumble aviation and avionics sale. Here enthusiasts and the public can search out those aviation artefacts, books and models.

The event is supported by a range of organisations and individuals; with the visitors being encouraged to have a say in deciding, which is the best cockpit by voting on their favourite display and from these results, prizes are awarded.

Cockpit-Fest also attracts other visiting displays like local history / military vehicle groups; re-enactors; and even more aviation related displays such as clothing and historical artefacts. As an added bonus this year’s event has a flypast on both days by aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Full details about the events can be found on the Museum Events page of the museum website at

Competition Winner gets Airborne

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

Lewis Wiffen - trial lesson with Phoenix aviation at Solent Airport

Last years calendar competition winner, Lewis Wiffen, took to the sky today in an Ikarus C42 microlight at the former home of HMS Daedalus, Solent Airport.

Lewis has had some flying lessons in other light aircraft before, but wasnt ready for how quickly the Ikarus leaves terra firma – from the initial roll you probably have enough fingers on one hand to count the seconds, even with a tail wind.

Lewis’ flight took him out across the Solent and over Osborne House on the Isle of Wight; it was a bit choppy on the way over but the ride smoothed out once they reached the broken cloud level.

Lewis Wiffen - taking off in the Ikarus C42

Phoenix Aviation have two Ikarus and five PA28 Piper Cherokee’s, and trial flights start from £90 for half an hour in the Icarus and £130 in the Piper. Trial flight bookings are currently on hold but well worth bookmarking or getting your name added to the mailing list if you are interested – the airfield sits immediately north of the Solent and flights over the Isle of Wight, the Needles, and other local landmark are unmatched locally.

Airscene is still seeking to add further prizes to the years prize board for this years competition, and entries can be submitted right up until 30th September. Do please read the fules before submitting your entries:

Spanish Navy Harriers Return to Air Day!

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

Spanish Harrier at Yeovilton

(image by Jakub Zurek)

The sight and sound of the iconic Harrier ‘jump jet’ will once again grace the sky over RNAS Yeovilton on Saturday 13 July. The Spanish Navy Harriers are making their first Royal Navy International Air Day appearance in ten years but this time supporting our flying and static displays.

The EAV-8B Harrier II Plus from 9 Squadron, based at Rota Naval Base, will display some of the type’s legendary capabilities of, hovering, turning on the spot, flying backwards and sideways and landing vertically. A second Spanish Navy Harrier will be positioned in the fly/static park to give visitors a closer look.

For many years a Harrier was amongst the highlights of any UK airshows’ flying programme before the type was retired nearly a decade ago. Air Day will now provide a rare opportunity for our youngest aviation fans to see a Harrier display for the very first time. It will join the already confirmed F-35B Lightning in Air Day’s five hour flying display.

RNAS Yeovilton has a long association with the Harrier, having been the home base for the Royal Navy’s Sea Harrier squadrons for over 25 years, starting in 1979. It will be a welcome return for the Spanish Navy Harriers who last visited Air Day in 2009 for Fly Navy 100.

Complementing the flying display will be a vast range of ground attractions from the latest defence technology exhibitions, STEM fair and service displays to trade stalls, arena displays, military bands and the chance to meet the pilots and even sit in the cockpit!

Further information and discounted advance tickets (Adult £28, Child U16 £5 and Child U5 Free) available at

Five Reasons to Visit The Royal Navy International Air Day 2019!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Lightning at Yeovilton

The Royal Navy International Air Day will take place on Saturday 13 July at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset, to showcase the Fleet Air Arm’s current and future capabilities and historic accomplishments spanning over 100 years. As one of the South West’s largest one day events, it’s increasingly popular with both families and aviation enthusiasts looking for a great day out. There are many reasons to visit the show, here are the top five:

1. Lightning forecast! The cutting-edge F-35B Lightning will make its Royal Navy International Air Day debut. Making an airborne-only appearance, the state-of-the-art multirole stealth fighter will bring a glimpse of future UK airpower to Air Day with two flypasts – one slow and one fast. A full-sized F-35B model with cockpit access will also be on static display for a close-up look at the UK’s new fifth generation fighter.

2. The world famous Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, will be performing one of their very last UK displays before they depart on their tour of North America in late July. Don’t miss their impeccable blend of formation and opposition manoeuvres before they go!

3. The world’s only flying Westland Wessex HU5 is coming home to Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton to open the flying display at Air Day on its airshow debut! This fifty-plus-year-old former troop transport, search and rescue helicopter and Falklands veteran has been extensively restored since retiring in 1988.

4. The science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Zone will be open, providing a fantastic opportunity for children to take part in many free interactive activities using modern cutting-edge technology that is around us every day. Expect some ultimate family entertainment with a visit from the world-famous Titan the Robot!

5. The Commando Helicopter Force Role Demo is Air Day’s traditional set piece finale, featuring multiple fast jets and helicopters with fast-roping Royal Marine Commandos attacking an enemy force and saving the day! Expect plenty of explosive action culminating in the jaw-dropping Wall of Fire, to give Air Day the most epic of endings.

The show will also host a vast range of showground attractions from the latest defence technology exhibitions service displays to trade stalls, arena displays, military bands, meet the pilots and so much more. Look out for more exciting announcements to follow!

For a full list of participating aircraft and discounted advance tickets (Adult £28, Child U16 £5 and Child U5 Free) available at

Vulcan Refurbishment About To Start

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Vulcan XM594

It has been announced by the Newark Air Museum that in early June they will be embarking on another ambitious restoration and repainting project; this time on Avro Vulcan XM594. This work will be carried out with major support of the aircraft’s owners, the Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association.

As with similar repainting work on the Avro Shackleton, a scaffolding work platform will be used and this will be installed around the tail of the Vulcan. This will allow the de-corroding, rubbing down and repainting of the fin and rudder to be carried out in a safe and efficient manner. It is anticipated that some panel fabrication work may also take place in situ, with work being carried out by a team of museum volunteers.

Whilst the scaffolding is in place investigation work will also take place into the condition of the spine panels on the centre section of the upper fuselage. The aim of this investigation is to assess the scope of any future restoration work that is required on this part of the airframe.

The museum anticipates that the scaffolding structure will be in place throughout the summer and whilst being photogenic it will help with the log-term restoration of the aircraft.
Avro Vulcan XM594 was flown to the former RAF Winthorpe airfield from RAF Waddington on Monday 7th February 1983. At the time XM594 was the only Vulcan aircraft disposed of by the RAF that was flown into a non-licensed airfield.

Trustees kick start playground fundraiser

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

RAF Museum Trustee Nick Sanders

Date: 5 – 9 June 2019

A Trustee from the Royal Air Force Museum is set to lead a march of over 100 miles to raise money for a bespoke outdoor children’s playground at the Museum site in Cosford. The aviation themed playground will include miniature versions of iconic aircraft and is set to enhance the visitor experience for local families and school groups visiting the Museum.

Cosford has seen a 20% increase in visitor numbers on the back of the RAF Centenary year. Now in the 101st year, Museum Trustees are taking the first steps to build on that success with their sights firmly set on raising funds for a playground that will engage the Museum’s youngest visitors with the RAF story.

Nick Sanders of Sutton Coldfield will be leading other Trustees and VIPs associated with the RAF Museum on the walk between RAF Cranwell near Lincolnshire and the RAF Museum at Cosford in the West Midlands. The 101 mile route is steeped with RAF history and will pass former RAF stations and memorial sites as the Trustees head towards Cosford.

Nick will be joined by his RAF Museum colleagues Alan Coppin of Bourne End and Robin Southwell of Cobham.

The walk of just over 100 miles will take-off from RAF Cranwell at 9am on Wednesday 5 June and will follow a route passing through the east of Nottingham, crossing over the River Soar at Kegworth, through Lockington, Walton on Trent and Coven before a safe landing at the Cosford Air Show at 11am on Sunday 9 June.

Nick Sanders, is an aerospace engineer by training and has spent many years turning around struggling industrial businesses.

Nick Sanders, Trustee of the Royal Air Force Museum said:
“Alan, Robin and I are looking forward to the RAF Museum 101 Walk. It is fair to say that none of us are in the first flush of youth but we have been training hard to make sure we are good shape for the hard miles ahead. We are raising money to build a children’s play area at the RAF Museum in Cosford so that there is something for all ages and interests to get involved with when they visit. The new playground at Cosford will provide a fantastic space for families to spend time with their children.”

To sponsor visit the donate page: or for more information about the fundraising walk and the RAF Museum, visit The RAF Museum is a registered charity, number 244708.

Nostalgic family fun planned for Armed Forces Weekend

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Armed Forces Weekend at Cosford

Date: 29-30 June 2019 / Time: 10am-5pm / Cost: FREE

Join in the Armed Forces Day celebrations at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 29 and 30 June, with a weekend packed full of nostalgic activities for the whole family to enjoy!

The ‘Armed Forces Weekend’ will see re-enactors, living historians and a variety of activities bring the Museum to life with authentic experiences nestled amongst the historical aircraft on display. Period settings and performances throughout the hangars will showcase decades of military history in a fun engaging way! Families can look forward to engine demonstrations, military and civilian vintage vehicles, a close look inside several cockpits, plus plenty of activities for children to participate in as they work their way around the Museum.

WHAT’S ON over the Armed Forces Weekend:
• Learn how the plotting table played a vital role in the pilots flying missions
• Join a Vulcan pilot and his team preparing to scramble under the wings of the real aircraft
• View the airships display and find out more about their use during the First World War
• Find out how sea mines were recovered and detonated, or in some cases not, during special talks
• Take a closer look inside the cockpit of the world’s oldest Spitfire and enjoy a rare view of the photo reconnaissance Spitfire PR. XIX
• Walk amongst the Second World War tents, meet members from Women’s Voluntary Service and take part in rifle and bayonet drills
• See a range of military and civilian vehicles on display
• Climb inside the Hunter and Phantom cockpit and experience what it was like to fly these aircraft
• Meet the pilot and find out more about the Japanese Kawasaki Ki-1001b
• Watch as RAF Bomber Command ground crew prepare themselves for a mission, including the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force
• Watch Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk500 and Bristol Hercules Mk216 demonstrations
• Dress up in RAF attire and grab some props from the Museum’s handling collection and take photos as a memento of your day
• Families can enjoy decorating their own Armed Forces flag to take home
• The Museum’s restaurant will be serving a selection of Armed Forces treats all weekend

An exciting highlight over the weekend will be the ‘Greyhounds’ play performed by Time & Again Theatre Company on Saturday 29 June. Set in 1941 in the fictional village of Shuttlefield; whilst the country is in the grips of the Second World War, the hapless residents are preparing to perform Shakespeare’s Henry V to raise money for their local Spitfire fund. Performances will run at 11.00am and 3.00pm and tickets are available at for just £5 per person. Following their performance, the cast will be available to answer questions and pose for photos next to the world’s oldest Spitfire.

RAF Museum Public Events Executive, Nathan Davis said:
“Armed Forces Weekend is an opportunity to reflect and pay tribute to our heroes past and present, including current serving personnel, service families, veterans and cadets. On the 29 and 30 June, we will be celebrating the contributions made by our Armed Forces, spanning over 100 years of history with everything from re-enactments and a play to vehicle displays and engine demonstrations. The event is very much family focussed and there will be plenty to do for all ages.”

Following its preview at the Cosford Air Show, Armed Forces Weekend will be the first opportunity for visitors to try out the new Virtual Reality Lounge and experience the thrill of flying a Spitfire! The Spitfire 360° is a brand-new experience developed by the RAF Museum which puts the visitor in the cockpit and 10,000 feet in the air to enjoy a fully interactive panoramic view around them. The 6-minute flight includes an insight in how the pilot handles the controls during engine start, taxi, take off and a circuit of the airfield with low passes, swoops, banks and a loop-de-loop, before landing and taxiing into the hangar. This experience costs £5 per person and is suitable for visitors aged 13+.

The Museum’s RAF Stories team will also be available over Armed Forces Weekend to speak with anyone wishing to share stories of their personal connections to the RAF and the service’s influences on their lives. RAF Stories is a digital online collection, accessible globally by anyone wishing to share and explore engaging, historical and contemporary stories relating to the RAF. Look out for the team in the National Cold War Exhibition if you have a story to share!

The ‘Armed Forces Weekend’ will run from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June 2019. On arrival, make sure to pick up your free handy site map to help guide you round the Museum and ensure you don’t miss out on any of the displays! The Museum will also 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. For more information about the event visit Vehicles and re-enactment groups subject to change.

Air Tattoo Turns the Sky Red, White and Green with Exhilarating Flying Display

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Frecce Tricolori

The skies above the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire are set to turn red, white and green as the Italian Air Force returns to delight spectators with exhilarating flying displays.

Flying on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July, the Italian Air Force’s Frecce Tricolori Display Team are out to defend their reputation of being one of the most awe-inspiring and enjoyable display teams to watch.

Also known as the Three-coloured Arrows, the team – which is made up of ten two-seat fighter Aermacchi MB-339-A/PANs – is the largest aerobatic line-up in Europe.
Visitors can also look forward to three further flying displays from the Italian Air Force’s Typhoon, C-27J Spartan transporter and M-346 Jet Trainer.

Head of Marketing for the Air Tattoo Helen Webb said: “Our friends from the Italian Air Force are once again showing fantastic support for the show and we are extremely grateful that they are providing four acts for the flying display. Our visitors love the colourful Frecce Tricolori and my personal favourite; the magnificent C-27J display is just jaw dropping!”

Also in the air visitors can also see the last UK display from the RAF Red Arrows before they head off on their North American tour as well as a special NATO 70th anniversary flypast.

On the ground, the Air Tattoo boasts an impressive static display including the Austrian C-130K Hercules, two of the Belgian Air Force’s F-16AMs, the Hungarian Air Force’s JAS-39 Gripen and The Royal Canadian Air Force’s CP-140 Aurora and CC-139 Hercules.

Elsewhere, Starchaser Industries’ Nova 2 rocket and space technology firm Skyrora’s Black Arrow – the UK’s only rocket to successfully launch a satellite into orbit, are on display for up-close viewing in the critically-acclaimed TechnoZone®.

Other showground attractions include the Activity Zone, Vintage Village and RAF Experience.

Tickets for the airshow (19-21 July) which is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust, can be bought online at or by calling 01285 713456. All accompanied under-18s go free.

Rare Reconnaissance Spitfire joins Air Show line-up!

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Spitfire PR-XIX at RAF Cosford Air Show

A collection of aircraft from the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, including a rare reconnaissance Spitfire, will be joining the line-up in a static display at the RAF Cosford Air Show on Sunday 9 June 2019.

The Supermarine Spitfire Photo Reconnaissance PR. XIX PM651 will be the centre of a Museum display in the Air Show’s popular Vintage Village which transports visitors back to the 1940s. Visitors to the Museum’s stand, themed ‘Summer of Spitfire’, will be amongst the first to get up close to the last of the specialised photo reconnaissance Spitfires, for a view inside the cockpit. This exclusive access to Britain’s most iconic aircraft is guaranteed to prove popular with families attending the one day show which attracts in excess of 50,000 visitors each year.

The much more modern PR. XIX has a number of stark differences to the Mk1 on display at the Museum, fitted with the Griffon engine as opposed to the Merlin engine used in earlier models and was notably faster than its predecessor. The PR. XIX had extra fuel tanks in place of the machine guns, a retractable tail wheel making its profile more streamlined, and a pressurised cabin critical for the high-altitude reconnaissance flights.

RAF Museum Curator, Tom Hopkins, said:
“The Spitfire has only once made a brief appearance at Cosford, back in 2011, but regularly travels overseas to Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain for display at the British Embassy amongst other prestigious locations. Following its appearance at the Air Show the PR. XIX Spitfire will be displayed alongside the world’s oldest Spitfire, a Mk1 in the Museum’s War in the Air hangar as part of the Summer of Spitfire programme of events and activities. The two aircraft side by side will illustrate the diverse roles in which the Spitfire served, ranging from a fighter interceptor to high altitude photographic reconnaissance.”

Other Museum aircraft confirmed for the shows ground displays include the Gloster Gladiator 1, Harrier GR3, de Havilland Devon, Percival Provost T1 and the Hunting Percival Pembroke C1. The aircraft will be rolled out of the Museum’s Hangar’s especially for the weekend, providing aviation fans and photographers the perfect opportunity to capture stand-alone photos.

RAF Museum Public Relations Executive, Michelle Worthington said:
“An exciting new addition being previewed on the 9 June is a Spitfire Virtual Reality Experience which gives visitors the thrill of flying in a Spitfire! Those attending the Air Show will have an exclusive first look at this brand-new experience which puts the visitor in the cockpit and 10,000 feet in the air. Once you’re wearing the VR goggles you can enjoy a fully interactive panoramic view of a real Spitfire flight. We will also be offering families visiting our stand free Spitfire themed face painting throughout the day, as well as the opportunity to try on uniforms and hats from the Second World War handling collection.”

A fantastic Spitfire merchandise range including many exclusive items will be available to purchase from the Museum’s Spitfire Shop on the airfield. The Spitfire range includes clothing, jewellery, models, prints, toys, books and homeware to name but a few, plus a NEW Swift collection, an exclusive range designed for the RAF Museum inspired by the Swift featured on the tail fin of the World’s oldest Spitfire.

In addition to the Summer of Spitfire stand and aircraft displays, the Museum’s Access and Learning team will be running workshops in the Whittle Innovation Hub, situated on the airfield. Families can enjoy some hands-on fun and take part in rocket car activities during free drop-in sessions, just one of the many STEM themed activities running throughout the day within the hub.

Tickets for the RAF Cosford Air Show are advanced sale only and cost £29 per person with free entry for accompanied under 16s. Tickets will not be available to purchase on the gate so to avoid disappointment, visit the show’s website and book online. Tickets are also available to purchase in advance from the Museum.

To view the Spitfire PR. XIX and to experience the Spitfire 360° virtual reality, head to the Museum’s Summer of Spitfire stand at the Air Show on the 9 June. For more details on the packed Summer of Spitfire programme of events and activities and to book tickets visit:

The Museum is open daily from 10.00am until 5.00pm, entry is free.