Archive for February, 2024

STAAR Programme: Propelling Young Minds into Aerospace

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

STAAR at RAF Museum

Register online at (applications close 29 March)
Residential 22-26 July / 29 July-2 August

Students from across the UK have a chance to explore aerospace engineering and technology during a summer residential, delivered by the Royal Air Force Museum in partnership with Northrop Grumman in the UK.

Designed to engage and inspire young minds, the RAF Museum’s Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme offers participants a unique opportunity to discover the exciting world of aerospace.

Specifically tailored for Year 9 (Scottish S3) students aged 14-15 with a keen interest in STEM, STAAR participants will engage in a series of hands-on activities, including flight simulators, flying drones, exploring aviation engineering, and behind-the-scenes access to the Museum and RAF Cosford. This immersive approach enables participants to explore and enrich their knowledge and understanding of aerospace in a stimulating environment.

During this once-in-a-life-time opportunity, STAAR recruits will be challenged with a series of tasks, encouraging them to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios. Industry experts in STEM along with RAF personnel will be on hand to mentor participants, sharing valuable insights and experiences.

With a limit of 40 places available, the immersive five-day residential experience will run over two weeks between 22-26 July and 29 July-2 August, with 20 students each week. In addition to the daytime learning, a series of social activities including sports and movie nights will be available each evening, helping STAAR participants build new friendships and improve their teamwork.

Lucy Watkiss, Access & Learning Officer (STAAR & History) at RAF Museum Midlands said:
‘The STAAR programme is not just a fantastic educational opportunity, it’s a journey into the thrilling world of aviation that we hope will inspire and shape the next generation of aviators, engineers, and innovators. By providing a first hand experience of the aviation world, we aim to not only cultivate a love for STEM but also inspire young individuals to pursue their dreams.’

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman UK said:
‘It is a pleasure to continue our partnership with the Royal Air Force Museum on our groundbreaking STAAR programme, now in its seventh year. STAAR is a unique opportunity to learn, experience and apply STEM subjects taught in the classroom to the real world of engineering. This inspiring programme aims to encourage more students to study STEM subjects, as well as develop a clearer view of the career opportunities and pathways that await them. At Northrop Grumman our mission is to define possible every day. We are a global team of pioneers with a passion for science, engineering, and technology at our heart, and we are constantly working to share that passion with young people across the UK.’

The STAAR programme is fully funded (including travel, food and accommodation) by Northrop Grumman,
with the support of the Northrop Grumman Foundation, and in partnership with the RAF Museum. The residential week will be delivered at the Museum’s Midlands site and on base at RAF Cosford, with support from TA Education.

Applications for the STAAR programme are now open. Students who have an aptitude in STEM subjects who would like to take part in STAAR must complete an online application form, in conjunction with a teacher, school representative or organisation leader. Applications close on 29 March.

For more information on the STAAR programme visit

More additions to the RIAT line-up

Sunday, February 25th, 2024


This week, we have a great update for aviation enthusiasts with a pair of Spanish Air Force SF-5M Freedom Fighters joining our static display.

In July, they will feature alongside a host of aircraft from other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) nations as we celebrate their 75th anniversary this summer.
Also included in this week’s announcement, we have additions from the Czech Air Force.

Firstly, their popular SAAB Gripen will be taking part in the flying display, Plus, an L-159 ALCA will be on static display across the weekend.

Our final update is a trio of HM Coastguard helicopters from Bristow Helicopters, including a brand new AW139.

Fleet Air Arm Museum launches new app featuring over 100 years of pioneering Royal Navy flying

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

Fleet Air Arm Museum App

• The collections explorer app means the museum joins more than 250 iconic cultural institutions around the globe on the Bloomberg Connects app
• Joining the platform is a museum first for The National Museum of the Royal Navy
• Bloomberg Connects makes it easy to access and enjoy arts and culture from mobile devices when visiting in person, or anytime from anywhere.

In a first for The National Museum of the Royal Navy, its Somerset-based Fleet Air Arm Museum has launched a new digital guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and cultural app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies, joining a global community of over 250 cultural institutions.

The Bloomberg Connects app, available for download from Google Play or the App Store, makes the Fleet Air Arm Museum which is Europe’s largest naval aviation museum, accessible for either onsite or offsite visits through photographs, audio and video features offering insights into over 100 years of pioneering Royal Navy flying history.

Elliott Bailey, Public Programming Manager at Fleet Air Arm Museum explained:
“The Bloomberg Connects App will allow our visitors to access more content from our collection than ever before, with expertly curated audio, video and text content being available for visitors to enhance their museum experience- be that on site or from home on their personal device. As a supplement to our guide book, it enables visitors to get the very most from their visit.”

“Practically this will help our visitors to scope out our exhibitions before their visit, better explore and navigate our collections during their visit, and further engage with our museum from home after their visit. Future plans include expanding the content to show aircraft and other collection items which are not currently on display.”

Set amongst four vast aircraft hangars, Fleet Air Arm Museum is home to Europe’s largest naval aviation collection. With veteran aircraft like the Sopwith Pup and Supermarine Seafire which helped secure victory in two world wars, helicopters that saw action in the Falklands to up-to-date and award-winning Aircraft Carrier Experience, visitors also get a fascinating view across to busy air station RNAS Yeovilton.

New to the museum is the chance to see conservation in action as an extinct aircraft is bought back to life. Not a single complete Barracuda aircraft exists in the world today and its legend will live on with Barracuda Live: The Big Rebuild as the Barracuda DP872 is reconstructed in the new Arthur Kimberley Viewing Gallery.

Legendary naval aviator and war hero Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown who was renowned for flying 487 different types of aircraft – a world record that is unlikely to be matched – is just one of the fleet air arm pilots featured at the museum which also includes his Vampire aircraft, the first jet to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier in 1945.

The Bloomberg Connects app is available for download from Google Play or the App Store

Boxted Airfield Museum Guided Walks for 2024

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

Boxted Airfield Museum

We have two guided walks planned for 2024:

Sunday 14 April and Sunday 15 September

Guided walk approx 2 hours long to view buildings and parts of airfield not normally open.

Start at 11.00 from museum.
Tea & coffee and viewing of museum included.
£8 per person. booking essential . Phone 07503952354

Special Events for 2024 at RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

Monday, February 19th, 2024

RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre

Join us at RAF Sculthorpe Heritage Centre for our Grand Re-opening at on Sunday 5th May. At 09.30 we will be opening our new building with all new displays and history of RAF Sculthorpe and our brand new AYA cafe and American Tuck shop.

On Sunday the 11th of August, we will be hosting our 1st Annual Anglo American Day, featuring:

Squadrons from Mildenhall and Lakenheath.
The first running of a R3350 engine in the UK for sometime.
Come meet Norwichs American Football Team.
Classic American vehicles
Military vehicles
Cold War Reenactment
Live music

Contact us for further details:

Fantastic additions to our static display

Sunday, February 18th, 2024

RIAT Hunter

This week, we add four fantastic civilian operated aircraft to our static line-up.

Pictured above, we have the iconic Hawker Hunter returning to the show. Operated by many North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Air Arms during its early years, we thought it would only be fitting to have one at the show as we celebrate their 75th anniversary.

Joining our theme of ‘Pushing the Boundaries in Air and Space’, we have another aircraft used for scientific research.

After its debut last year, we are very happy to welcome back Cranfield University’s SAAB 340 aircraft, a fully capable flying laboratory.

Painting unveiled by HRH Prince Michael for Concorde Delta-Golf’s 50th Birthday Celebrations at Brooklands Museum

Friday, February 16th, 2024

Brooklands Delta Golf

This February half term, Brooklands Museum have been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Concorde G-BBDG’s (affectionately known as ‘Delta-Golf). On the 13th February 1974, Delta-Golf took to the skies for the first time in a short flight from Filton to Fairford. Over the school holidays a range of activities took place at the museum to commemorate this occasion including the unveiling of a specially commissioned painting and a World record attempt at gathering Concorde models.

In October 2003, British Airways formally offered Concorde G-BBDG to Brooklands for restoration and display. By June 2004, after much organisation and planning, all the disassembled sections of the airframe had been safely transported the 125 miles by road to the museum. Following a lengthy and costly restoration Delta Golf was formally opened to the public in July 2006 by Museum patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

It was therefore very fitting that on the 50th anniversary of her maiden flight that Prince Michael would return to the museum to officially unveiled a newly commissioned painting. The Museum asked renowned aviation artist Simon W Atack AGAVA to bring Delta-Golf over Brooklands to life. He certainly met his brief. When the painting was revealed at an intimate gathering of former Concorde pilots, engineers and air crew, gasps of amazement could be heard at the sight of an immaculate Delta Golf flying high above the Brooklands site.

The guests included the following personnel, many of whom will be well known to Concorde enthusiasts;
• HRH Prince Michael of Kent (Royal Patron of Brooklands Museum)
• Captain Mike Bannister (Chief Concorde Pilot)
• Artist – Simon Atack
• Captain Richard Owen
• Captain Ian Smith
• Captain Tony Heald
• Captain Paul Griffin
• Captain Jock Lowe
• Captain Neil Rendall
• Captain John Tye
• Warren Hazelby (Chief Concorde Flight Engineer)
• Carl Percey (Senior Service Concorde Engineer)
• Dr Ben Spencer MP for Runnymede and Weybridge
• Mayor of Elmbridge Cllr Richard Williams
• Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux
• Mr Alex Patterson CEO Brooklands Museum

The Museum was delighted to share that the painting will also be available as a limited-edition print, signed by the artist, and the impressive gathering of former Concorde Pilots. This is the first time that Brooklands Museum has commissioned a limited-edition print, the proceeds of which will help to ensure the future preservation of it’s exhibits including the only Concorde open to the public in the south of England.

In addition to the painting unveiling there were several Concorde based activities during the day including the regular on-board tours and a nose drop. The enthusiastic crowd were treated to two nose drops on the day, the first was operated by HRH Prince Michael whilst the honour of the second was given to a very lucky raffle winner. Finally, members of the public were also invited to bring their personal models of Concorde and set them up under Delta Golf for a unique photo opportunity.

If you would like to visit Delta Golf and the incredible collection of aircraft and historic motor racing cars, then you can find more information out at You can also purchase a copy of the incredible piece of artwork and help to support the museum.

Report by Lee Chapman

Be part of Bournemouth Air Festival

Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Bournemouth Air Festival 2024

Dates for this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival have been announced, presenting an opportunity for businesses and sponsors to participate in the world’s biggest land and air festival by the sea.

Bournemouth Air Festival, organised by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, will return on Thursday 29 August – Saturday 31 August this year.

Another jam-packed programme of world-class aerobatic displays will take to the skies, while plenty of entertainment for all ages will be accessible along 1.5 miles of award-winning coastline.

Fairground rides, Pier to Pier trading, fireworks, vintage displays, demonstrations from the Army and Navy, exciting night air displays and plenty more is all to be expected at this year’s festival.

The landmark event is also hoping to inspire budding engineers with an enhanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Village on the beach. Further to its success in 2023, the innovation-inspired village will feature unique demonstrations and displays from industry-leading companies, both local and national.

Across four days, more than 600,000 people attended the last Bournemouth Air Festival. Over 11,000 copies of the official programme were sold; Bournemouth Air Festival social media accounts, which boast a combined following of more than 110,000 people, achieved over 1.8 million engagements; and the dedicated webpage was visited by over 1.4 million users.

Participating brands and sponsors, which have previously included Porsche, Sunseeker, Rowse and Marriott, each benefitted from the equivalent of £3.5 million in advertising value, while the festival itself was detailed in over 1,400 items of coverage from local, national and international media.

BCP Council is now inviting sponsors, traders and exhibitors to come forward to register interest in being part of this year’s festival, which has the largest single audience of any aviation event in Europe.

As only a limited number of spaces are available, we advise registering interest early to avoid disappointment.

Amanda Barrie, Director of Commercial Operations at BCP Council, said:
“With its iconic planes, aerobatics, plentiful entertainment and welcoming family-friendly atmosphere, Bournemouth Air Festival is a fantastic finale to the summer, drawing in crowds far and wide.

“This year we’re planning to make the festival even more memorable; listen out for further announcements regarding the event programme in the coming months.”

Councillor Millie Earl, Portfolio Holder for Tourism at BCP Council, continued:
“Bournemouth Air Festival marks a huge opportunity for sponsors, traders and exhibitors to get in front of consumers, grow and bring fresh eyes to their brand. The festival has the potential to bring a wealth of opportunities, whether your business is local, national or international.

“Whether you choose to sponsor display acts or the STEM Village, take a prime trading location on the cliff or beach, or have your brand featured in the widely sold official festival programme, the event is a chance to make meaningful connections and develop new relationships.”

Since last Summer, BCP Council has prioritised working with businesses and external organisations to operate a collaboratively funded, sustainable festival in 2024.

Looking forward, the council is now inviting expressions of interest from operators to manage and deliver Bournemouth Air Festival in its entirety from 2025 onwards, enabling forward-thinking businesses and organisations to take the lead in continually growing, developing and building the event into a one of a kind ‘Festival of the Air’ spectacle.
Councillor Earl added: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity to run, grow and shape an impactful event that has made a significant contribution to the local tourism economy over its remarkable 16-year history.

“Consistently attracting over half a million visitors, Bournemouth Air Festival boasts an eclectic atmosphere, with day and evening air displays and entertainment attracting a broad demographic. If you think your business could help to grow and develop the festival, and the festival could help you to grow and develop your business, we’d love to hear from you.”

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the business community, council officers and BCP Cabinet members who, amid passionate public appeal, have worked together on these plans to organise a sustainably funded festival this year, and in years moving forward.

“Our area is built on a visitor economy and these plans are about supporting the businesses that depend on the festival with a sustainable, long-term strategy. We also recognise the cultural value it brings in making the area a great place to live, work and play, and I’m excited to see what the future will bring.”

Sponsors, traders and exhibitors who would like to register interest in being part of the festival in 2024, should email Ali Perrins, Event Manager, at or apply online here:

And we’re off!

Sunday, February 11th, 2024

RIAT Harrier

Every week we will be unveiling new additions to our line-up ahead of this year’s show.

Kicking us off, we have a Spanish Navy Harrier returning to the skies this year after performing its dazzling solo display in 2023. We hope you are as excited as we are to see this incredible piece of aviation history known as the ‘Matador’, perform in July.

In our first static display update, the Finnish Air Force are providing one of their F/A-18C Hornets.
As we celebrate the North Atlantic Treaty Order Organisation (NATO)’s 75th anniversary, we hope to feature a collection of aircraft from NATO nations on the showground, so stay tuned for further announcements.

Adding to our ‘Pushing the Boundaries in Air and Space’ theme, we have an aircraft with a unique purpose, coming in the form of a Twin Otter, operated by the British Antarctic Survey.

From using skis to land, to operating in incredibly harsh conditions whilst undertaking scientific work, the striking aircraft is a must see this summer.

The secret science that turned the tide of the Second World War retold in fascinating talk at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Sunday, February 11th, 2024

Battle of the Beams

Award-winning science editor and Times journalist Tom Whipple joins Yeovilton’s Fleet Air Arm Museum for a special lecture on Friday 15 March at 7.30pm to mark British Science Week.

Surrounded by 100 years of naval flying history and Europe’s largest collection of aircraft, Tom will explore his recent book The Battle of the Beams: The secret science of radar that turned the tide of the Second World War in a fascinating account of the radio war of 1939-45, dubbed as one of the great scientific battles in history.

Relying on first-hand accounts, as well as papers recently released by the Admiralty, The Battle of the Beams fills a huge missing piece in the canon of Second World War literature.
It combines history, science, derring do and dogged determination and will appeal as much to fans of Second World War history as to those fascinated by the science behind the beams that changed our lives.
Elliott Bailey, Public Programming Manager at The National Museum of the Royal’s Fleet Air Arm Museum said:
“The use of radar in the Second World War is intertwined with naval history and aviation heritage, and was a pivotal moment in the allied victory.

“In this evening talk, Tom Whipple brings this story to life in a series of entertaining and engaging anecdotes, detailing the history and science of this crucial invention- all drawn from his book”.

For a limited time, visitors can benefit from an early bird discount on tickets to this event. Until 18 February 2024 tickets cost just £12 per person (normal ticket price £15 per person) Tickets to the evening talk include light refreshments (tea and coffee). Doors will open at 7pm, with the event starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are available on the evening or by pre-booking

As this event is taking place outside of normal museum opening hours, access to the wider museum will be limited.