Archive for the ‘UK Aviation Museum News’ Category

Brooklands Museum receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Brooklands Museum

Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey has been awarded £950,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Brooklands Museum is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Based on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit and the most prolific aircraft manufacturing site in Europe, Brooklands Museum attracts visitors who are looking for an experience that immerses them in British history, in the place where it actually happened. The stories of the men and women from Brooklands’ pioneering age to the heyday of British aviation and pre-war motorsport, are celebrated throughout the Museum, giving up-close access to an incredible collection of cars, planes and historic buildings. Each visit is brought to life by the over 800-strong workforce of dedicated volunteers, whose knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for Brooklands are the backbone of the visitor experience.

Like many organisations up and down the country, Brooklands Museum continues to face financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The next six months will be exceptionally difficult as the winter season and uncertain lockdown restrictions prevail. The funding has been awarded to cover the Museum’s projected losses until Spring 2021 and to provide a cash reserve to cover up to eight weeks’ running costs.

Brooklands Museum Director and CEO, Tamalie Newbery said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this funding. Brooklands is an award-winning museum and now we will be able to remain open to visitors and carry on our work preserving the Brooklands site and collection. As an independent charity, income from visitors has always been our main source of funds, so the Covid epidemic has been very tough. However, we have been delighted by the public’s response since we reopened in August and this grant means that throughout this winter and beyond, people will be able to continue coming here and discovering the inspiring stories of what people accomplished here.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:
“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Brooklands Museum is open Thursday to Sunday and every day during half term (week of 26th October). Tickets must be booked in advance at www.brooklandsmuseum.com.

Brooklands Museum is part of Visit Britain’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ scheme and adheres fully to official Covid-19 guidance with the appropriate safety measures in place for its visitors.

Aircraft conservation work goes on show at RAF Museum Cosford

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Wellington restoration at RAF Museum Cosford

Date: 9-14 November 2020 / Time: 10:15am-3:00pm (time slots) / Cost: £6.00pp (under 11s free)

Visitors to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will have the opportunity to step inside the Conservation Centre and take a look behind the scenes at aircraft conservation projects, during the annual Open Week from 9-14 November.

In addition to getting up close to current projects, including the refabrication of a Wellington bomber and the reconstruction of the Handley Page Hampden, those visiting during the Open Week will have the chance to speak with the teams who carry out the vital work.

A new arrival in the Conservation Centre and a highlight at this year’s event is the Hawker Tempest II. The Tempest was transported by road from the Museum’s London site in February and will undergo some remedial work by the team at Cosford. The Museum’s example served with No. 5 Squadron RAF, based at Peshawar (now part of Pakistan), before being transferred to the Royal Indian Air Force in 1947. Providing close-air support to the Indian Army, the Tempest remained in front line Indian service until 1953. It was later acquired by the RAF Museum and has been on public display in London since 1991. This is the first time the aircraft has been to Cosford and visitors attending the Open Week will have the first glimpse.

The newly restored Second World War Westland Lysander III (S.D.) fuselage, and the almost complete Handley Page Hampden fuselage, will soon be moving to the RAF Museum’s London site for public display. The Open Week in November will be the last opportunity for aviation fans to view both aircraft at Cosford.

The Lysander has now been restored to its former glory after undergoing three years of conservation work including a new fabric outer skin and complete repaint. As the only surviving Special Duties variant of its type, the Lysander is now painted in No 161 Squadron Special Ops colour scheme, reflecting its service towards the end of the war in non-operational special transport services.

Nearing the end of almost 30 years of restoration, the Hampden is one of only three examples of the type remaining, recovered from a crash site in northern Russia in 1991. The aircraft now has all four fuselage components fully assembled, attached and painted in its original 144 Squadron colour scheme and serial number. The Hampden restored at Cosford is the first complete fuselage section in the UK since the mid-1940s. Visitors to the open week will have the exclusive opportunity to view the cockpit and inside the fuselage from the wing box area, where they will see all the crew positions.

The Open Week is also an opportunity to see the on-going restoration of the Vickers Wellington. One of two remaining Wellingtons, the aircraft at Cosford is the only complete example of its type. Members of the public who have followed the story of the world’s last surviving Dornier Do 17 will be able to get up close to the aircrafts forward fuselage and learn more about the project.

The Conservation Centre will open from 9-14 November between 10.15am and 3.00pm each day, with 45-minute time slots. The number of tickets available for each time slot are limited and must be booked in advance. Tickets are now available to purchase via the Museum website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford, admission is £6.00 per person (children under 11 are free and must be accompanied by an adult).

To ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, there will be several precautions in place. Measures include the introduction of time slots and limiting the number of tickets available, and social distancing markers and barriers will control the number of individuals in each area.

The Museum’s display hangars will open from 10.00am until 4.00pm. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Aerospace Bristol receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

Aerospace Bristol

Aerospace Bristol has been awarded £514,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Aerospace Bristol is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

Aerospace Bristol reopened its doors to the public on 1 August. The grant from the Culture Recovery Fund is vital in allowing the museum to remain open and continue to provide the opportunity for people to enjoy and learn about the region’s rich aviation heritage, including Concorde.

The grant will protect key jobs and skills and allow Aerospace Bristol to resume its learning and community outreach programmes. It will also enable the museum to further develop its digital content, adapting for a ‘post-Covid’ world.

With a comprehensive range of Covid-19 safety measures in place, Aerospace Bristol is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Executive Director, Aerospace Bristol, Lloyd Burnell, said:

“We are delighted to have received this grant from DCMS Culture Recovery Fund which should safeguard the future of Aerospace Bristol, our wonderful collections of objects and archives, our important learning and community engagement programmes and, of course, jobs and skills. We look forward to continuing to welcome visitors to the museum, especially over the upcoming October Half Term”.

www.aerospacebristol.org

RAF Museum calls for personal acts of Remembrance

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

Remembrance at RAF Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum is inviting the public to remember service personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice during their tours of duty, by contributing a personal act of remembrance, either a poem, short story, or by designing a poppy, that will feature in a virtual display at both RAF Museum London and Cosford over the remembrance period.

Write a poem or short story about remembrance and share it with RAF Museum audiences. All the entries received will feature in a digital display within the Museum’s hangars in London and Cosford, and the two best entries will be incorporated into the services being held at the Museum on Remembrance Sunday.

Or why not make a poppy that will feature alongside the poems. Use the free poppy template available to download from the Museum’s website, or create your own design using the materials you have at home. Whether you knit or crochet your poppy, or cut out and colour in the template, all designs received will be included in the display.

Those wishing to take part can find further information and free remembrance templates on the Museum’s website rafmuseum.org. The activities will run throughout October and participants have until Sunday 1 November to submit their poetry, story or a photo of their poppy by emailing remembrance@rafmuseum.org.

The RAF Museum’s annual Service of Remembrance will be held on Sunday 8 November, with the number of visitors attending limited and with other restrictions in place. A recording of the service will be shared online on 11 November.

RAF Museum London:
A small service will take place on Remembrance Sunday, with invited guests from the local community. The service will include readings, and the sounding of ‘The Last Post’ followed by a two-minute silence. Wreaths will be laid by volunteers and local community representatives. Measures will be in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved.

RAF Museum Cosford:
The Service will be led by RAF Cosford Station Chaplain, Wg Cdr Wynn, and will include readings and the sounding of ‘The Last Post’, followed by two minutes of silence. Wreaths will be laid by representatives from RAF Cosford and the RAF Museum in honour of those who have fallen in the line of duty.

To ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved, this years’ service has been adapted in accordance with guidance from Public Health England and the Government. A limited number of free tickets are available for the event and must be booked in advance at www.rafmuseum.org. Ticket holders are asked to arrive at Hangar 1 on Sunday 8 November by 10:30am, ready for the service to commence at 10:45am.

The Museum is now open daily with a range of measures in place to ensure a safe and great day out for the whole family. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

Another Puma arrives at Newark Air Museum

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

Puma at Newark Air Museum

On Thursday 1st October 2020, another Puma fuselage arrived at Newark Air Museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire, close to the county border with Lincolnshire. This arrival was accompanied by a significant collection of Puma spares.

The collection of donated items was transported from its former location in the south of England, to Newark as part of the museums’ efforts to effect a complete rebuild of Aerospatiale Puma HC Mk 1 helicopter, XW208.

As well as the Puma 9L-LSG fuselage, other significant items that arrived for the project were: a rotor head, gearbox, rotor blades, tail booms, tail rotor blades and troop seats. As with the arrival of XW208 back in February 2018, this latest collection and delivery project was completed by local contractor Gillivers Haulage.

“We are extremely grateful for this latest significant donation of parts”, commented museum trustee and XW208 rebuild expert, Kev Graham, he continued. “The first job will be to undertake an extensive spares recovery programme from the fuselage.”

He concluded, “Once this has been completed we will start refitting the recovered items to XW208 with the aim of making it the first complete Puma HC.1 to be displayed in the UK!”

www.newarkairmuseum.org

Lights, Camera, Take-off…to the RAF Museum photography events!

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

EAP and Jaguar at RAF Museum Cosford

Aviation Photography Workshop
Date: 21 November (beginners) / 22 November (advanced)
Time: 10.00am to 5.00pm
Cost: £75 per person (over 16s only)

Photography Night Shoot
Date: 27-28 November
Time: 5.00pm to 9.00pm
Cost: £40 per person (over 16s only)

This November, the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be hosting two exclusive photography events, where the iconic aircraft will be the inspiration for the photos. Whether you’re an amateur with the camera, or already have some experience, the aviation photography workshops, and after-hours night shoots are suitable for anyone looking to advance their skills, with the added bonus of exclusive access to the Museum’s aircraft.

The Aviation Photography Workshop is a full-day, hands-on course offering attendees the chance to learn, plan, execute and develop as aviation photographers. Learn about composition, shutter speed, aperture and ISO, in a practically led course, utilising the Museum’s historic aircraft to capture internal and external shots, cockpit photos and even working with a re-enactor to bring the images to life. Photographers will then put their newly acquired skills to the test and enjoy exclusive access to one of the Museum’s hangars for one hour after the Museum closes.

Choose the workshop that best suits your needs. If your aim is to have the confidence to take your camera out of automatic mode, join the beginner’s workshop on Saturday 21 November. If you are looking to develop your skills further, the advanced workshop on Sunday 22 November will help you achieve this goal. Workshops run from 10.00am until 5.00pm and costs £75 per person, this includes lunch and is limited to 15 people per workshop (over 16s only). Both courses are delivered by Lee Chapman of Chappers Photography, an experienced aviation photographer and lecturer.

The Photography Night Shoot event is not to be missed if taking stand-alone photos of the aircraft, outside of the hangars is something you would like to see. The Museum is delighted to host the popular evening event once again, perfect for capturing aircraft in the changing light conditions, as the sun sets and on into the evening.

Six historic aircraft from the Museum’s collection will be illuminated for the evening with LED lighting, and are guaranteed to provide a spectacular photo opportunity. Exclusively for the night shoot, aircraft from the Test Flight hangar, including the British Aerospace Experimental Aircraft Programme EAP, Fairey FD2 and the SEPECAT Jaguar ACT Demonstrator, will be displayed outside, giving photographers the rare opportunity to capture unobstructed images. Other highlights will include the Vickers VC10 C1K, Hawker Siddeley Dominie T.Mk.1 and the Lockheed Hercules C130K Mk3, displayed within the Museum grounds.

Taking place on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 November, the night shoot will commence at 5.00pm, with up to 150 photographers each evening enjoying after-hours access to the Museum’s grounds and the opportunity to photograph the aircraft like never before. The event will close at 9.00pm and tickets cost £40 per person (over 16s only). For beginners, there is the option to participate in a two-hour workshop in addition to the Saturday night shoot, for £65 per person. The Refuel Café in the Visitor Centre will open until 9.00pm serving hot and cold drinks and light refreshments. Pre-order your dinner when purchasing tickets, and receive a complimentary hot drink, options include Fish and Chips and Cheese and Onion Pie. The Museum has teamed up with Threshold Aero, specialists in aviation night shoot photography, to deliver this event.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Manager, Ulrike Stuebner said:
“You don’t need to be a professional photographer to enjoy these events, they are suitable for all abilities, however there will be experts on hand to offer advice if needed. We’re really looking forward to seeing the incredible images people capture, and we’re excited to showcase the aircraft in a completely different light, especially those usually displayed indoors.

To ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, we are putting in place a number of precautions for the safety and wellbeing of our visitors, volunteers and staff. This has included reducing the number of tickets available, social distancing markers, queue management systems and barriers to control the number of individuals in each area. We are working closely with the Public Protection Officer at Shropshire Council to ensure the event meets the requirements of the health and safety legislation and guidance released by public health bodies and the government.”

Tickets to the RAF Museum’s photography events are now available to purchase via the Museum website. Ticket holders must be aged 16 years and over. For more information on the event, visit www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

The Brooklands’ Loch Ness ‘Wellington’ Monster

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Brooklands Wellington

Thirty-five years ago today (September 21st 1985), there was frantic activity on the banks of Loch Ness as a ‘monster’ was hoisted from its depths.

This ‘monster’ was Wellington Bomber N2980, nicknamed ‘R for Robert.’

During a training exercise with 20 Operation Training Unit, based at RAF Lossiemouth, on December 31, 1939, this bomber was forced to ditch into Loch Ness due to engine failure where it remained, hidden and almost forgotten, for 46 years.

In 1985, the year the plane was recovered, Squadron Leader NWD Marwood-Elton, the pilot, recalled the night the plane went down.

“It was New Year’s Eve, and snowing slightly, but not too bad because the sun came out between the showers, and we took off from Lossiemouth (in Moray, Scotland) and headed out towards the west coast of Scotland, and whilst we were over the mountains the starboard engine spluttered and came to a stop.

“That in itself meant the aircraft could not fly back to Lossiemouth. It didn’t mean we had to bail out or force land immediately because we were at 8,000ft and had quite an amount of time, but we had to do something, and the first thing we did was to look round for somewhere to land and all we could we see was tops of mountains through the snow storms, and not seeing anywhere where the plane would have come down without crashing, I gave the order for them to bail out.

“I looked round again to see if there was any chance of a landing and, as luck would have it, Loch Ness came into sight. So I cancelled the order for bailing out and said we would land.”

One of the crew members, Sgt JS Fensome, 20, who did not hear the second order, bailed out and was killed. He is buried at the Holy Trinity Churchyard, in Biscot, Bedfordshire.

Marwood-Elton continued: “Landing on Loch Ness was a very easy thing because Loch Ness stretched out like a runway. The only difference was it was water, and of course below those waters was the monster and we weren’t quite certain what he would think about it.”

“We came on down and kept our undercarriage up, opened our escape hatch above us, and landed quite gently. A certain amount of spray came up automatically and it came in through our escape hatch so we got a nice dose of cold water over us. And the dinghy came out on the wing tip. So, we got out, walked along, got into the dinghy and the aircraft sank. And there it’s been all those years.”

Although the plane was recovered in 1985, the story of its discovery began in 1970 when Dr Robert H Rines, a wealthy patent lawyer from Boston, Massachusetts, Martin Klein, a pioneering American sonar expert, and Tim Dinsdale, embarked on an expedition to Loch Ness. The trio used a Klein side scan sonar to search the waters in a quest to find Nessie.

Subsequent surveys in 1980 and 1981 by Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, revealed that the old aircraft had been seriously damaged since it was first viewed in 1978. To save the aircraft and recover it before the damage became too great, in 1984 Robin Holmes, a senior lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, set up a charity called Loch Ness Wellington Association Ltd. Thanks to donations from the public and a National Heritage Memorial Fund grant, a recovery operation was mounted in 1985.

Robin said: “The first attempt proved to be a total disaster when the lifting frame collapsed. Another lifting frame was hurriedly designed ‘on the back of an envelope’ and sent off to be built at an engineering company located on the Moray Firth. This time, the recovery was successful and old ‘R for Robert’ was craned out of the water at Bona Lighthouse, up at the north end of Loch Ness, on September 21, 1985.”

Following its recovery, the salvaged material was donated to Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey, a suitable home as ‘R for Robert’ was first assembled at the Vickers Armstrongs factory in Weybridge in October 1939.

In the intervening years, over 100,000 volunteer hours have been spent restoring the aircraft. Fully restored, the Loch Ness Wellington today takes pride of place in the museum.

www.brooklandsmuseum.com

Commemorating Battle of Britain 80 at the RAF Museum

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Battle of Britain Commemoration

2020 is the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (BoB) which is recognised as the country’s finest hour. The Royal Air Force Museum is inviting the country to remember this significant story of bravery, international alliances and ingenuity both at the Museum and online.

On the evening of Thursday 17 September, the RAF Museum London held a small, private and socially distanced ceremonial event commemorating Battle of Britain 80 and the opening of the new Battle of Britain display and art exhibition.

Full precautions were in place to ensure the small group of guests at the ceremony, adhered to the social distancing laws. In attendance were Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston CBE ADC Chief of the Air Staff (CAS); Air Marshal Andrew Turner CB CBE MA MSC BA FRAES CCMI RAF DCOM Cap; Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier, KCB, CBE, DFC, ADC; Malcolm Brecht CB CBE – Director C-17 International Field Services at Boeing Global Services; Maggie Appleton MBE (RAF Museum CEO) and Sir Andrew Pulford GCB CBE DL RAF Museum Chair).

The ceremony featured QCS, Sunset Ceremony and a flypast by a BBMF Spitfire. To conclude the evening RAF veteran Benny Goodman was presented with an early birthday present ahead of his 100th birthday by RAF CAS and the Chelsea Football Club Foundation.’

The London Museum is home to the most complete set of Battle of Britain aircraft in the world including the ‘fighter four’: Spitfire, Hurricane, Messerschmitt 109 and Fiat CR42, all participants in the BoB. This year they will be supported by new displays telling the wider BoB story, including an enigma machine, Dowding and Goering’s busts and medals, and Newall’s uniform. Complimenting the new display will be stunning year-long art exhibition: In Air and Fire: War Artists, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. The exhibition will present over 50 works of art created in response to the war in the air by acclaimed artists such as Nash, Kennington, Laura Knight, Graham Sutherland, Nessler, Nevinson and Olga Lehmann.

The RAF Museum is FREE to enter and has sites at both London and the West Midlands. With wide open spaces both inside and out, the Museum is a great and safe day out for all the family and will be commemorating BoB 80 with a series of special events and exhibitions.

www.rafmuseum.org

26th September 2020 Aeroboot Cancelled

Saturday, September 12th, 2020

Newark Aeroboot Cancelled

The Newark Air Museum (NAM) has taken the decision to cancel the Aeroboot /Aerojumble Sale that was due to take place on its Southfield Site on Saturday 26th September, 2020.

This decision has been reached following some detailed in-house discussions; and in response to the legislation changes announced recently by the government, who were responding to the increased levels of coronavirus infection around the UK.

The NAM had delayed sending out the participation passes to sellers as it tried to design a one-way system around the proposed sale. This was aimed at trying to encourage social distancing, but allowed people to access all sellers fairly. Based on observations at previous outdoor sales, NAM recognised that this was going to be challenging. One possible solution was that we may have been forced to request sellers did not put up gazebos and awnings; something that was not perhaps ideal for an outdoor sale of this type.

NAM was planning to use a voluntary listing system to meet our Track and Trace obligations for sellers and buyers attending the sale. However, the recent changes to the Track and Trace legislation, meant that as event organisers NAM would now have a legal obligation to record everyone’s information, or risk a fine. Given the outdoor nature of the event and the challenges of capturing the required information without creating unduly long queues, it was realised this was not going to be a viable option.

Furthermore, a review of the locations that some sellers were travelling from indicated that they were likely to be travelling from areas of the country that were already subject to additional coronavirus restrictions already. As such the trustees felt uncomfortable encouraging people to meet up at a special event.

The decision to cancel, was not taken lightly and NAM does 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 NAM is sorry for any inconvenience these changes may cause but we are convinced that it is the right decision.

www.newarkairmuseum.org

Untold Battle of Britain Podcast to be launched on Battle of Britain Day

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Battle of Britain podcast

The National Archives, the RAF and the RAF Museum will release a collaborative bonus episode of On the Record at The National Archives to mark Battle of Britain Day on 15 September.

Listen to the trailer here.

80 years on from the conflict, this episode focuses on lesser-known figures from the Battle of Britain to highlight the variety of people who contributed to the military campaign.

Vicky Iglikowski-Broad (The National Archives) reveals the bravery of three women who kept contact lines open while their airbase was under fire. Lucia Wallbank (RAF Museum) tells the story of Mahinder Singh Pujji and Vincent Bunting, two of the many pilots from overseas who enlisted to fight, while Mandy Singleton (RAF) highlights the engineers who maintained the planes and kept pilots safe.

www.rafmuseum.org