Archive for June, 2019

Celebrate a Summer of Spitfire at the RAF Museum

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

Summer of Spitfire at RAF Museum

This summer will see the Royal Air Force Museum paying homage to one of the most iconic aircraft ever built with a programme of events and activities dedicated to the Spitfire.

The Museum is home to a large collection of Spitfires, including the world’s oldest. This summer it will explore the history of the Spitfire and the story of those RAF servicemen and women who worked with this wondrous aircraft.

Weekend festivals, thought provoking storytelling, close views of real Spitfires, and a series of nostalgic events including a Battle of Britain Day will transport visitors back to a time when the Spitfire protected Europe’s skies.

Visitors will also be able to take the pilot’s seat and enjoy a 6-minute Spitfire flight through the Museum’s new virtual reality experience (Cosford only), take a selfie in a Mk XVI Spitfire (London only) or enrol in the Museum’s Spitfire Academy Adventure, its latest immersive experience that combines all the demands of an escape room challenge with the fun of a treasure hunt (London only).

Summer of Spitfire Events

For more information about the Museum’s Summer of Spitfire programme of events and activities at both the RAF Museum London and Cosford visit www.rafmuseum.org. Events are subject to change, flypasts are weather dependant.

The Museum is open daily from 10.00am. Admission is free.

Restoration Updates – Newark Air Museum

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

Vulcan restoration at Newark

Despite some horrendous weather this week work has just been completed on the erection of the scaffolding structure around the tail fin of Avro Vulcan B.2 XM594 at Newark Air Museum. This will allow restoration work to be undertaken in a safe manner by a dedicated team of museum volunteers. This work is anticipated will take the rest of the summer to complete.

The team working on the rebuild of BV Chinook HC.1 helicopter, ZA717 have also been trying to take advantage of breaks in the weather to secure more of the glazing panels along the helicopters fuselage.

Progress reports on all of these projects will continue throughout the summer.

www.newarkairmuseum.org

RAF Museum Trustees complete 101 mile fundraising walk

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

RAF Museum Trustees 101 mile walk

On Sunday 9 June RAF Museum Trustee Nick Sanders and Museum Ambassador Robin Southwell completed a gruelling 101 mile walk at the RAF Cosford Air Show.

Nick and Robin led the 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.

Crowds gathered at the Cosford Air Show to watch Nick and Robin take their final steps, which led them through a Guard of Honour from local RAF Air Cadets Wales and West Region.

The walkers were finally greeted at the finish line by RAF Cosford Station Commander Group Captain Tone Baker, family, friends and Museum staff, who wished them well. Not ones to keep still, they then joined the RAF Chief of Air Staff for lunch at the Air Show.

The Cosford Museum has seen a 20% increase in visitor numbers on the back of the RAF Centenary year. Now in the 101st year, Museum Trustees undertook the walk 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.

Their journey was incredibly tough with the weather being against them for a large proportion of the walk, but they arrived at Cosford in good spirits with the sun shining, having literally gone the extra mile to kickstart the fundraising for a play area where children can learn and also have fun.

There is still time to support their efforts donate now at:
https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/RAFMuseum101Walk

The RAF Museum is a registered charity, number 244708.

Nick Sanders of Sutton Coldfield headed up the walk with assistance from 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 walk of just over 100 miles took-off from RAF Cranwell on Wednesday 5 June and followed 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 on Sunday 9 June.

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

For more information about the fundraising walk and the RAF Museum, visit www.rafmuseum.org.

Wings & Wheels Announces Final Air Display Line-up

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Hawker Hurricane at Dunsfold

The final Wings & Wheels this Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June is set to be our greatest show! The air display is known for its formations and the team have not disappointed this year. We are delighted to welcome, for our first formation, the ‘Ultimate Fighters’ comprising a Sea Fury and a Hurricane. Back from the 75th anniversary D-Day celebrations, the Aces High DC3 will be pairing up with the B-17 Flying Fortress, Sally B, for our second formation.

The Fury on display, construction number 37539, was produced by Hawker’s as a Fury ISS – Iraqi Single Seat for the Iraqi Air Force. Joining the Sea Fury is the Hawker Hurricane Mk.I G-ROBT – Serial Number P2902 – which was built in 1939.

The Aces High DC3 took part in D-Day 75 years ago and, if you look closely, you can still see the bullet holes in the airframe. The plane was amongst 30 other vintage Douglas DC-3 and C-47 Skytrains that soared across the English Channel in formation on 5th June for the 75th anniversary of D-Day celebrations. The DC3 will fly with the B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF, the last remaining airworthy B-17 in Europe. For 41 years Sally B has been maintained and flown as a memorial to the 79,000 Allied airmen who lost their lives in Europe during the Second World War.

Wings & Wheels is also delighted to welcome a new, unique display to the airshow, the G-Force Aerobatics Extra 300S flying with a 40% Scale Model. The little and large display looks like two full size Extra 300 aircraft at first glance, on closer inspection the stunning routine of formation and opposition aerobatics is made up of a full size, high-performance, single-seat Extra 300S aircraft flown by Chris Burkett. The other aircraft is a 40% scale, radio-controlled model flown by Mike Williams.

The Strikemaster duo has an explosive extra special surprise with pyrotechnics, adding to the pure turbo jet noise you won’t be able to miss!
The Red Arrows, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (two Spitfires), Chinook, Tutor, Tucano, the Tigers Parachute Display Team, Westland Lysander, The Blades, O’Brien’s Flying Circus, Richard Goodwin, The Turbulent Display Team, NSF P-51 Mustang (Shark) and Fireflies Aerobatic Team make up the rest of the airshow which is accompanied by witty and knowledgeable commentary from aviation experts, Melvyn Hiscock and Brendan O’Brien, and display pilots.

Closing the last ever show on Sunday 16th June will be the Hawker Hurricane, a company and aircraft of special significance to the Aerodrome. This particular plane, Hurricane G-HITT Serial Number P3717, originally started life as a MkI Hurricane and was later converted to a MkII. It was built in 1940 and originally fitted with a Merlin 3 engine. It was delivered to 253 Squadron at Kirton in Lindsey on 13th July 1940 and was flown by Pilot Officer WMC Samolinski. Seven weeks later it was attacked by a Messerschmitt BF110. During the Battle of Britain P3717 was allocated to B Flight with Pilot Office Samolinksi. It was involved in several dogfights between 253 Squadron and the aircraft of ZG2 and over Redhill, Surrey, Samolinksi claimed the destruction of a BF110. The aircraft eventually found its way to Russia, from where it was retrieved and returned to the UK.

The Hawker Hurricane is currently owned by the family of Hugh Taylor who sadly passed away in May. Hugh met his wife at Dunsfold Aerodrome and we couldn’t think of a more fitting aircraft to do the honours and close the final Wings & Wheels airshow on Sunday.

Jamie McAllister, Event Director, Wings & Wheels comments: “The history of the site is incredibly important and we have been able to reflect that throughout the Show and, more poignantly, in the air. Over the years we have tried to add a little extra magic in the air with some memorable and unusual formation displays. We are thrilled to have such iconic aircraft, with close ties to the Aerodrome, displaying together this weekend.

In our final year it is bittersweet looking back and celebrating all that we have achieved, but the team also recognises it is time to say goodbye with one last hurrah. Over 14 shows Wings & Wheels has evolved and now has five hour air displays, two hour motoring demonstrations, an arena full of attractions and zones, theatre shows, military re-enactors, tanks and tours of iconic aircraft and so much more. It is something we are truly very proud of and are looking forward to celebrating.”

The sensational summer event for the whole family, Wings & Wheels at Dunsfold Aerodrome, will be celebrating its 15th and final Show with a change in date to Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June. Famous favourites in the air and on the ground will blow your mind, whilst the attractions and Zones in the Arena will keep you entertained and buzzing with delight the WHOLE weekend.

The ‘Wings’ of the event would not be complete without a close-up inspection of all the weekend’s visiting aircraft including Dunsfold’s resident Boeing 747 and Brooklands Museum’s VC10 in the ‘Wings Park’, both open for tours.

Supercars and classic and vintage icons put on an awe-inspiring display of power and speed on the Top Gear track in a 2 hour auto spectacular. The ‘Wheels’ of the show included displays from Koenigsegg Agera R, McLaren 12C, Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and Huracan, Pagani Zonda, Ferrari California T, Aston Martin Rapide, Dodge Monaco, TVR Tasmin 280i, Ducati Multistrada 1200s, Ferrari F355 Berlinetta, Ford GT40 and Lotus Elise. Visit the Wheels Zone with a bigger and better crowd line parade and interactive displays from car and motorbike clubs.

The Military Zone & Parade is interactive and explosive bringing re-enactors in a living history zone and our popular military vehicle parade. The Zone has over 80 military vehicles, six re-enactment groups, as well as the history of Dunsfold Aerodrome and Army, Navy and RAF recruitment stands for everyone’s enjoyment.

Sid’s Zone is an action packed free area for the little ones. From 10:00 until 16:00 the kids can join in with colouring competitions, arts and crafts, paper plane challenges, face painting and the popular Sid’s Trail which encourages the whole family to search the arena for questions and answers to win a goody bag. Meet and greets with show mascot Siddeley and the display pilots are not to be missed.

The excitement and anticipation doesn’t stop at the main displays as the 32 acre public arena is bursting with a huge variety of interactive attractions containing all you need for a great family day out. The show arena boasts go-karts, aviation and motoring simulators, military outlets and displays, static aircraft, fairground and over 60 retail outlets selling a wide variety of products and gifts. Shopping in the arena includes a craft marquee full of tempting tea time treats to take home and craft gifts.

As the last aircraft touches down the party starts across the arena with musical evening entertainment from Champagne at the Blitz, a 1940s songbird trio armed with smooth harmonies, seamed nylons and lots and LOTS of red lippy!

Taking the hassle out of your day the show includes added extras to make your experience even more enjoyable; over 18 fixed-price catering outlets, two bars, hospitality facilities, free on-site parking, public camping, lost children point, disabled access, informative show commentary, opportunities to meet the pilots, official show merchandise and grandstand seating.

The 15th annual Wings & Wheels will be held on Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th June 2019, at Dunsfold Park near Guildford, Surrey, and is open to spectators from 09:00 until 20:00.

Advanced rate tickets from £24 for adults or £55 for a family. Single child tickets (for children aged 5 – 15) will be £8. Children under 5 go free. Hospitality packages start from £199 per person, weekend passes, grandstand tickets and camping are also available. For more information visit www.wingsandwheels.net or to book standard tickets call 08712 305 572.

Air Tattoo to Celebrate Airline Heritage

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

British Airways at RIAT

(image by Rich Cooper)

An evocative joint flypast by the RAF Red Arrows and a specially decorated jumbo jet will mark the centenary of one of the UK’s biggest and best loved brands at this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo.

A British Airways Boeing 747, painted in its iconic British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery, will perform a dramatic flypast with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team during the seven-and-a-half hour flying programme on Saturday, July 20.

The retro-style aircraft, which flew between 1952 and 1974, is one of three British Airways Boeing 747s specially painted in vintage designs to mark the airline’s 100-year history, the other two featuring the Negus (1974-1980) and Landor (1984-1997) liveries. Completing the line-up is an Airbus 319, painted to reflect its British European Airways heritage.

The Air Tattoo first featured a British Airways aircraft in its flying programme in 1985 when Concorde flew a memorable joint flypast with the Red Arrows. Concorde displayed again two years later before appearing regularly at the airshow on charter flights in support of the Air Tattoo’s Flying Scholarships for the Disabled charity as well as British Airways’ own High Flight charity.

The early 2000s saw several British Airways 747 and 777 charter flights and, in 2013, a giant A380 performed a showstopping flypast with the Red Arrows to the delight of the large Air Tattoo crowd. Two years later, British Airways sent an A318 for static display.

However, the airline’s support for the Air Tattoo stretches back further, to the early days of the airshow. In the 1970s, the airline displayed its hot air balloons and provided staff to help run the airshow operation on the ground as well as providing flight simulators for the showground.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said: “The participation of British Airways aircraft in our flying displays over the years have often provided some of the most memorable aviation moments of the year and I am confident this summer will be no different. I can think of nothing better than to have one great British institution helping celebrate another!”

The BOAC 747’s appearance at the airshow is one of a number of centenary initiatives organised by BA that are designed to look ahead at the next 100 years of aviation as well as celebrating its illustrious past. This includes hosting ‘BA 2119’ – a programme, which will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.

Captain Allister Bridger, British Airways’ Director of flight Operations, said: “The excitement and pride that we’ve witnessed from our customers and colleagues towards our heritage liveries in our centenary year has been incomparable. We’re hugely excited to bring one of our special aircraft to RAF Fairford as not only will the sight of our BOAC liveried 747 in the sky above RAF Fairford with the Red Arrows provide a wonderfully nostalgic moment for the Air Tattoo audience, but it also strengthens the long and valuable association we enjoy with the event.”

Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows said: “Flying alongside this British Airways Boeing 747 will be an exciting and memorable moment for both the pilots in the air and those watching on the ground. The Red Arrows team has been working hard with British Airways and the Air Tattoo for many months to create this opportunity. The RAF’s own Centenary celebrations – marked a year ago – demonstrated the importance of using these high-profile occasions to inspire the next generation and we hope this flypast will be another chance to do that. The sortie will unite two highly recognisable brands of the United Kingdom and celebrate the very best of British.”

The Air Tattoo takes place at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds on July 19-21. For more information and ticket details, visit www.airtattoo.com

Anniversary NATO Flypast to Display at Air Tattoo

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

NATO Anniversary Flypast at RIAT

Spectators at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire are being told to keep their eyes peeled for a special 70th anniversary North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) flypast.

On Friday 19 and Saturday 20 July operational aircraft in NATO member nations will showcase their air power capabilities above RAF Fairford in the only official NATO flypast taking place at a UK airshow this summer.

As one of the longest-lasting and most successful alliances in history, NATO works to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries using crisis management and peacekeeping tactics. Since it was established in 1949, the alliance has grown from twelve to 29 members.

Aircraft taking part include Belgian Air Component’s LM F-16AM, the German Air Force’s Eurofighter EF2000s, A400M and Tornado strike aircraft, the Royal Danish Air Force’s F-16 fighters, the United States Air Force’s F-15 aircraft from RAF Lakenheath and the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fighters.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said: “The Air Tattoo has always performed an important role in developing a spirit of co-operation, friendship and integration; which is why we are delighted to organise a special tribute to mark the Alliance’s 70th anniversary”.

Visitors can also look forward to flying displays from the RAF Red Arrows who will be displaying in the UK for the last time before they depart to North America and Canada for their Western Hawk 19 tour, the Ukrainian Air Force’s Russian-built Sukhoi Su-27 and airshow favourite the Spanish Navy’s two vertical lift AV-8B Harriers.

On the ground, other aircraft highlights include an impressive static display featuring aircraft from across the world including the Ukrainian IL-76 ‘Candid’, the Royal Jordanian Air Force C120-H Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster.

Elsewhere, the showground boasts its critically-acclaimed Techno Zone® which is home to interactive and engaging hands-on exhibits to entice all the family, the Vintage Village, Activity Zone and RAF Experience.

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

Skies the limit for Large Model Air Show

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Model Aircraft Rally at Cosford

Date: 6-7 July 2019
Time: Gates open 8.30am
Cost: £8.00 in advance (until 3 July) / £10.00 on the gate

Take-off to the Large Model Air Show at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on the 6-7 July for a weekend packed with spectacular flying displays. Not only will the skies be filled with miniature models of iconic aircraft, there with be plenty of action on the ground to keep families, aviation and modelling enthusiasts alike entertained.

The popular event takes place on the airfield at RAF Cosford and even offers visitors the unique opportunity to camp on the airfield, exclusively for the weekend of the show.

Model aircraft heading to the show have been designed and built by members of the Large Model Association, after years of dedication creating perfect replicas of the real thing. With everything from biplanes to modern jets, these not so mini replicas can take anything from two weeks up to seven years to assemble, reaching speeds of up to 200mph, powered by engines similar to petrol lawn mowers or even miniature jet engines.

This year’s event will kick start the Museum’s ‘Summer of Spitfire’ programme of events and activities and visitors can expect to see a spectacular mass formation Spitfire flypast, followed by the chance to get a closer look at the models in the static display line-up later in the show. Listen out for the unmistakable sound of a real Spitfire as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight treat visitors to a Spitfire and Hurricane flypast on Saturday 6 July. There will be more flying action on the Sunday and those attending the show can look forward to a flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster, an exciting highlight not to be missed! (Flypasts are weather permitting)

Exclusively for the Cosford show will be a flying display from all three V Bombers, the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant flown together by the show organiser and three generations of the same family. The real V Bombers can of course be seen on display in the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition. (All model aircraft displays are serviceability permitting)

NEW to the show this year will be a ‘Future Pilots Zone’ where youngsters and flying novices can get behind the controls and have a go at flying a scale model aircraft. Children’s fun rides will be on offer all weekend, alongside an assortment of military vehicles and a Rolls Royce car display (Saturday) for visitors to peruse.

The Large Model Air Show promises to be a great day out for modellers and families alike with plenty of exhibitors signed up to showcase some of the latest model kits and aviation accessories. Also NEW to the shows line-up this year will be a large craft tent offering a variety of unique and hand-crafted products.
Keeping visitors fuelled for the day will be a fantastic range of food, a beer tent and plenty of ice cream.

Visitors will have access to the RAF Museum where they can view many of the aircraft flown during the show in full size. A free shuttle bus service will run continuously throughout the day between the airfield and Museum grounds, making getting around the site even easier.

Advanced tickets to the Large Model Air Show cost £8.00 per adult and are now on sale at the Museum or online at www.largemodelassociation.com. Tickets purchased on the gate cost £10 per adult, children under the age of 16 are FREE.

Make the most of the weekend’s flying activities by camping on site, the only opportunity throughout the year where members of the public can enjoy a night under the stars on an active RAF airfield. Camper tickets include entrance to the show both days and your weekend pitch for either a tent or caravan. Prices start from only £40.00 in advance (until 3 July) and any visitors interested in camping should email public-camping@largemodelassociation.com or call 07827 675665 to reserve their pitch.

For further information about the event visit www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.