Archive for the ‘UK Aviation Museum News’ Category

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.

New 2018 lecture series launches with the unsung Cold War strategist

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

V Force

Date: 16 March 2018
Time: 12.30pm
Cost: FREE
Location: National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre at RAF Museum Cosford

On 16 March, the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be hosting the next Cold War Lunchtime Lecture with a talk entitled ‘Air Marshal Sir John Slessor: An Unsung Cold War Strategist and His Role as the Architect of British Airborne Nuclear Deterrence’. In this talk, Mr Bill Pyke, an independent Cold War researcher with an MA in Air Power Studies will look at the influence of senior military leaders and the pivotal role they played in making British nuclear deterrence a physical reality during the Cold War.

Within this lecture, Mr Bill Pyke will look at how a declared policy of strategic nuclear deterrence has been at the heart of British defence thinking since the early 1950s. Prior to this time, Clement Attlee’s post-war government had sanctioned the development of Britain’s atomic bomb programme in January 1947.

The lecture will discuss how the means of nuclear weapons delivery: the development of the revolutionary four-engine jet bomber, did not proceed at the same pace. In any event, at a time of continuing post-war austerity, some senior politicians from both sides of the political spectrum were not in favour of an independent British nuclear deterrent, preferring to leave it all to the Americans.

This talk will focus on Air Marshal Sir John Slessor as a Cold War strategist and his role as the architect of Britain’s airborne nuclear deterrent. Slessor was Chief of the Air Staff between January 1950 and December 1952 at a time of heightened Cold War confrontation. Many Cold War historians have focused primarily on the key politicians, international crises, and the threat of nuclear weapons. However, little attention has been paid to the influence of senior military leaders, of whom Slessor was a notable example. Slessor played a pivotal role in making British nuclear deterrence a physical reality. His involvement through strategic vision, leadership, courage, and dogged persistence ensured the implementation and build-up of the RAF’s complement of strategic jet bombers (the V-force) designed to deliver Britain’s nuclear weapons. That policy of defence through nuclear deterrence established the bedrock of British strategic defence thinking that continues to the present day.

This FREE lecture will be held in the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre at 12.30pm on Friday 16 March 2018, lasting approximately one hour. As spaces are limited, organisers advise visitors to book their tickets in advance via the Museum’s website to avoid disappointment.

The Cold War Lunchtime Lectures are delivered by emerging and established researchers. They explore key events and air power developments from the Cold War period. ‘Air Marshal Sir John Slessor: An Unsung Cold War Strategist and His Role as the Architect of British Airborne Nuclear Deterrence’ is the first lecture taking place at Cosford this year, with more planned throughout 2018. The series forms a part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme for 2018 which also consists of the Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies, First World War lunchtime lectures at the Museum’s London site and conferences.

For further information about the Museum’s research programme or to book your FREE ticket to the lecture, please visit the Museum website The Museum is open daily from 10am and entry to the Museum is FREE of charge.

Government’s First “Champion for General Aviation” at 2018 YES Conference

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Brooklands Aircraft Factory

Brooklands Museum, 10th March 2018.

Byron Davies, recently appointed as the first ever “Champion for General Aviation” by the Government and the first chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for General Aviation, will be the keynote speaker at the Light Aircraft Association’s (LAA) Youth and Education Strut Aviation Education Conference at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey on March 10.

Mr. Davies has been tasked by the Government to gather evidence of the GA sector’s value to the economy and the need for a protected network of airfields.
The Conference brings together the key players in Aviation Education to discuss current initiatives and enable a better understanding of what opportunities are available for young people in General Aviation as a career or recreational activity. Organisations represented at the event include the Trailblazer and the Heritage Apprenticeship Programmes, Aerobility, the LAA, Air Cadets, the Royal Institute of Navigation, the Scouts and The Shuttleworth Trust.

Brooklands is the birthplace of British aviation as it was the site of the first UK flight trials in 1908 so it is apt that the conference takes place there. Perhaps more fittingly however, is the thinking behind their recently completed Aircraft Factory and Flight Shed complex as part of an overall £8.2m Heritage Lottery Funded project to revitalise and re-interpret the site and its unique 80-year legacy of aviation testing, manufacture and flight. As well as the collections of aircraft, the Museum has embarked on a number of learning initiatives that range from STEM-led activities for students through to aviation heritage skills and preservation programmes both on the ‘factory floor’ and in the purpose-built workshops in the new facilities. This is a pivotal role in providing a gateway to some of the learning as an introduction to a career path within the aviation industry and for other aviation heritage organisations to use as a hub for learning. Allan Winn, Director of Brooklands Museum and Andrew Cornish, Aviation Heritage Skills Officer will be speaking on this subject.

Aviator and adventurer Tracey Curtis-Taylor will also be part of the line-up and will be addressing the delegates drawing on her experience and passion for flying that has inspired many people throughout the world.

Attendees will also get the chance to look around the Museum’s exhibition areas and explore the incredible collections of classic cars, motorcycles and aircraft, including the only Concorde open to the public in the south east, 4D Theatre with simulator and Museum Shop.

Pre-registration is required so to book your place at the Conference which runs from 10am – 4pm please contact Virginia Smith at: or by call 01932 857381 ext 248. Tickets are £12.50 each and include a lunch.

For directions to the Museum please visit or telephone 01932 857381. Simulator rides in the 4D Theatre rides are approximately 8 minutes long each and are priced at £4 Adults, £2 Children. The half-hour Concorde Experience is £5 Adults, £3 Children.


Festival celebrates 100 years of the RAF

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Merlin and Herc Engine

Date: 1-2 April 2018
Time: 10am-5pm
Cost: FREE

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be celebrating 100 years of the Royal Air Force (RAF) with a nostalgic Bank Holiday Weekend event on 1-2 April 2018, packed with displays and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Founded on the 1 April 1918, the centenary year provides a unique opportunity to commemorate the world’s first and most famous independent Air Force and the extraordinary success, achievement and sacrifice of the RAF.

The ‘100 Years of the RAF Festival’ will see re-enactors, living historians, interpreters and a variety of entertainers bring the Museum to life with authentic experiences for visitors to enjoy. A walk-through history, exploring the 100 years of the Royal Air Force, vintage vehicles and children’s activities will be nestled amongst the historical, pioneering aircraft on display and will engage visitors throughout their tour of the Museum site.

WHAT’S ON over the festival weekend:
• Chat amongst Second World War pilots, have a go at plotting maps, or relax in the Officer’s Mess.
• Take aim and fire with a have-a-go anti-aircraft area. For the young and the young at heart, take a seat behind replica anti-aircraft guns and see whether you can catch the enemy (charges apply).
• Join family friendly interactive talks; get involved in tactical mapping, learn how to scramble to all manner of aircraft and explore RAF missions in the wider world.
• Wonder at the skills of pilots in the new Jet Age and practice your own Scramble to the Vulcan.
• Watch Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk500 and Bristol Hercules Mk216 demonstrations (2 April only).
• Meet the originators of the Royal Flying Corps and see up close what these young pilots undertook to defend our skies 100 years ago.
• Meet serving personnel from the RAF today and hear more about their roles.
• Marvel at some of the earliest technologies in flying machines, from bi-planes to airships, and hear how integral their roles were in making the Royal Air Force what it is today.
• Hear the stories of peacetime operations throughout history, the Royal Air Force’s wider community involvement, and its continuing spirit.
• Dress up in RAF attire and grab some props from the Museum’s handling collection and take photos as a memento of your day.

The ‘100 Years of the RAF Festival’ will run from 10am to 5pm on Sunday 1 and Monday 2 April 2018. On arrival, make sure to pick up your free handy festival map to help guide you round the site 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

Plus, a new display which celebrates the first 100 years of the RAF will be open to visitors in time for the festival weekend. Highlighting the principle 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 silhouettes will be positioned around the Museum site, sharing the personal stories of RAF personnel throughout the years, spanning a variety of roles within the service. The new display is supported by National Lottery Players through the Heritage Lottery Fund and with support from BAE Systems and is part of the RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme across its two sites in London and Cosford. For more information about the RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme visit

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum honours the heroism of RAF aircrew

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Victoria Cross

Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum commemorates RAF 100 with its exhibition honouring the heroism of RAF aircrew during World War II.

2018 is set to be an important year for aviation as the Royal Air Force celebrates its centenary. To mark this occasion, Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum will open their next exhibition on Sunday 1 April 2018 entitled ‘Gallantry in the Air’ honouring Royal Air Force aircrew who were decorated for their bravery during World War II.

Gallantry is defined as bravery shown by someone who is in danger. This exhibition will feature RAF personnel who were awarded UK gallantry medals including Guy Gibson who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), Distinguished Service Order & Bar (DSO) and Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar (DFC). Gibson was most famous for leading No. 617 Squadron during the Dam Busters raid in 1943 and was awarded the VC, the highest award of the UK’s honours system. Two of the others that will feature are Leonard Cheshire who was awarded the VC, DSO & 2 Bars, DFC; and ‘Ginger ‘Lacey, one of the RAF’s highest scoring fighter pilots during World War II, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal & Bar.

Heritage Assistant, Angela Riley who has been working on the exhibition said:

“This exhibition has been the most challenging to date in many ways, not least the subject matter. To try to pick a limited number of men to cover in depth from the many, who did enormously brave acts has been difficult, but I hope our selection shows just how utterly brave and in some cases selfless the men of the air are.“

To hopefully make ‘Gallantry in the Air’ particularly relevant to Lincolnshire, many of the aircrew that will be featured were based in the County at some point during their Service careers. Regardless of origin or background, these heroic individuals were determined to serve their country in a time of war and some had to apply to do so on more than one occasion before they succeeded in becoming aircrew.

Leader for North Kesteven District Council, Councillor Richard Wright said:

“We’re very proud that North Kesteven is right at the heart of ‘Bomber County’ and it is important that exhibitions like this allow everyone the opportunity to learn about the bravery of the RAF airmen who have fought in World War II. Their heroism needs to be remembered and respected for generations to come. The RAF 100 anniversary makes this even more poignant.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten, in this year that we celebrate the anniversary of women’s suffrage and the fight for equal voting rights that 168 women flew all types of military aircraft for the Air Transport Auxillary, during WWII, delivering them to forward bases and sadly 15 of them didn’t make it through the war.
“I’d encourage everyone to go and see the display at Cranwell Aviation Heritage Museum.”

Many of the airmen, featured in the exhibition, gained the highest award for their valour with some of them paying the ultimate price. Regardless of their individual circumstances, they all shared at least one thing in common – their incredible acts of ‘Gallantry in the Air’.

This exhibition is open to the public from Sunday 1 April until Sunday 30 September, 10am to 4.30pm. Admission is free.

Newark Air Museum Aeroboot CANCELLED

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Newark Aeroboot

We have taken the decision to cancel the Indoor Aeroboot /Aerojumble Sale that was due to take place in Hangar 2 on Saturday 3rd March, 2018.

This decision has been reached following some detailed in-house discussions; online and offline checks with Aeroboot sellers and buyers; and a near constant assessment of the weather outlook. It was not taken lightly and we do appreciate that this could upset some people. However, many sellers and buyers often travel long distances to attend the event and it was felt necessary to give these people as much notice as possible of our intentions.

The museum site has been open today, but we are experiencing frequent snow showers and this may in itself make the museum site difficult to negotiate; plus the long-term outlook for the rest of this week is more snow and near freezing temperatures every day, which would make the event on Saturday 3rd March a huge challenge to host safely.

We have opted to re-arrange the sale for Saturday 14th April 2018, which we believe does not clash with any other known Aerojumble type event, any other museum event, or any major events on the adjacent Showground.

Existing seller locations / passes will remain valid for the April event; but if anyone is unable to make the April date we would ask them to make contact and we will arrange to for a refund. Once we have an idea of any tables becoming available these will be offered to those seller who were on the waiting list for March 3rd.

Emails will be sent out to our Aeroboot contacts this evening, but if you know of anyone who was planning to attend, either as a seller or as a buyer we would be grateful if you could make them aware of the cancellation and the re-arranged date.

Once again sorry for any inconvenience these changes may cause but we are convinced that it is the right decision.

More updates will be released for the sale on 14 April 2018, as and when they are confirmed.


Chinook arrives at Newark Air Museum

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Chinook at Newark Air Museum

In a timeframe of a little over ten (10) days, the Newark Air Museum has purchased and moved the fuselage of BV Chinook HC.1 helicopter, ZA717 from RAF Cranwell Lincs to the museum site in eastern Nottinghamshire. In doing so the museum has become the first independent aviation museum in the UK to acquire and display a Royal Air Force (RAF) registered Chinook helicopter.

The helicopter was transported by local contractor Hutchinson Engineering Services of Weston, Notts, the short distance from RAF Cranwell, Lincs; where, like the recently acquired Puma helicopter it had been used to train Loadmasters in slinging techniques and load securing methods.

Today’s arrivals was witnessed by around seventy (70) school children from two Lincolnshire Schools, who were visiting the museum as part of an Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire arts based education project, entitled ‘Fly Away Day’. This was a particularly apt welcome for Chinook ZA717, as eventually the museum plans to use it as an interactive education space / resource for visiting groups of school children, Scouts, Cubs and Beavers.

ZA717’s arrival was also particularly poignant for the museum’s groundsman Nigel Bean. Not only is Nigel a huge helicopter enthusiast but, as a serving RAF Police Officer he also witnessed the non-fatal incident on 25th July 1989 that saw ZA717 ‘written-off’ at RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands.

The activity today at the museum site saw Puma XW208 slightly repositioned alongside Display Hangar 1 on the museum’s Northfield Site, to create the space for ZA717 to be manoeuvred into position alongside the other former RAF Cranwell training aid helicopter.

“We are honoured and extremely proud to have secured such a unique helicopter for the collection,” commented Dave Hibbert, Museum Trustee & Acquisitions Officer. He continued, “We are especially grateful for the assistance provide by the RAF and personnel at RAF Cranwell who safely moved ZA717 out of its confined location, thereby enabling Hutchinson Engineering Services to undertake, what in the end turned out to be a relatively straight forward loading exercise.”

He concluded, “As with the Puma, we are already actively following up leads across the UK to locate the missing parts, and look forward to turning ZA717 into an important educational resource at the museum.”

Foundation Day at the RAF Museum

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Foundation Day at RAF Museum

Sunday 1 April 2018

Celebrate and commemorate 100 years since the formation of the Royal Air Force at this special event.

On Sunday 1 April the Royal Air Force will turn 100! The RAF Museum will be sharing and celebrating RAF stories throughout the year, but you can join us to commemorate this very special birthday with theatre, family activities and a special appearance from the RAF Baton Relay team.

Our NEW restaurant, Claude’s, will be serving traditional Sunday Fayre so you can enjoy a fantastic day out and a delicious meal with the whole family. There might even be a birthday cake, after all it’s not every day the Royal Air Force turns 100!

1918: Foundation
1pm – 4pm
Free to attend
Hangar 2
On the 1 of April 1918 the Royal Air Force and the Women’s Royal Air Force was formed in the midst of the First World War. Join us to hear the voices of the men and women that are part of our RAF Story. The Front of House Theatre company will be breathing life into these amazing stories set amongst our First World War Exhibition.

RAF 100 Baton Relay
Serving RAF personnel will carry the Baton across the country and around the world, visiting 100 locations in 100 days. We are lucky enough to share in the first part of the journey. The team will be running from central London to the RAF Museum in Colindale. Come and cheer them on and show your support and help them commemorate and celebrate a century of the RAF and inspire future generations.

Live Taxi Run and Guided Tours at Open Day for the Brooklands VC10 at Dunsfold Aerodrome

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Brooklands VC10

Saturday 10th March 2018

A special open day which will include a demonstration taxi run of one of the most iconic airliners ever to grace the skies takes place at Dunsfold Aerodrome on Saturday 10th March. ‘ZA150’ was the very last VC10 of 54 built at Brooklands in the 1960s and was one of the last two to fly with the RAF from Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. On its retirement in September 2013 it was acquired by Brooklands Museum and flew in to Dunsfold, where a team of dedicated volunteers maintains it in running order.

As well as seeing the low speed taxying demonstration, visitors will be able to tour inside the aircraft including the cockpit, chat to the VC10 volunteers and see for themselves how it was converted from a commercial airliner to an air-to-air refuelling tanker for the RAF. The timetable for the day is as follows:

10.30-12.30 Visits on board the aircraft – morning session ticket holders
12.30 onwards – afternoon session ticket holders may arrive from this time
12.30-13:45 Aircraft closed to prepare for taxi run at approx. 13:00 (subject to serviceability)
13.45-15.30 Visits on board the aircraft – afternoon session ticket holders

Entry to Dunsfold Park is by pre-purchased ticket only with the option of morning or afternoon sessions for access on board, with the demonstration run at around 13.00. Tickets are available from the Brooklands Museum website: or by visiting the Museum Shop and are priced at £10 for adults, £5 for children.

The VC10’s graceful ‘T-tail’ and four rear-mounted Rolls-Royce Conway engines made it one of the most distinctive and elegant aircraft of its era. Only the supersonic Concorde amongst airliners was quicker, and the VC10 remains the fastest subsonic airliner across the Atlantic. With its quiet, spacious cabin and exceptional performance, the VC10 was a favourite of passengers and crews alike, fully justifying its epithet of Queen of the Skies.

The aircraft is one of three VC10s that form part of the Vickers fleet owned by Brooklands Museum. On the Museum site in Weybridge, Surrey is the Sultan of Oman’s VC10 which His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said most generously donated after the aircraft went into retirement in 1987. It quickly became and remains, one of the most popular exhibits in the Museum’s collection as it retains its luxurious gold-highlighted interior. Also on the Museum site is the fuselage of VC10 G-ARVM “Victor Mike”, which has been restored inside to commercial passenger jet standard, along with a special exhibition and video presentation charting the unique legacy of this aircraft.

It is also hoped that the Reg Day Memorial Museum at Dunsfold Park will be open on the 10th March. This houses a remarkable collection of World War Two memorabilia concerned with all that happened during World War Two on the airfield.