Archive for the ‘UK Aviation Museum News’ Category

Museum Publishes Smuts Report

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

On 17 August 1917 General Jan Smuts presented his recommendations to the War Cabinet for the creation of an Air Ministry to control and administer all matters in connection with air warfare of every kind.

Smuts report specified that the new ministry should proceed to work out the arrangements for the amalgamation of the two (Air) services; the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and for the legal constitution and discipline of the new Service.

The report stated that ‘the day may not be far off when aerial operations with their devastation of enemy lands and destruction of industrial and populous centres on a vast scale may become the principle operations of war, to which the older forms of military and naval operations may become secondary and subordinate.’

This report laid the foundations for the creation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 and may be read in full online via the RAF Museum’s website:

Forged in the crucible of the First World War, the story of the Royal Air Force has shaped the modern world. By inspiring technological development, pioneering cultural change and pushing the boundaries of human achievement, the RAF has touched the lives of millions around the globe.

With the services 100th anniversary approaching next year, the RAF Museum is hard at work preparing for the historic occasion by delivering a £26m RAF Centenary Programme at its London site, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The new exhibition halls at London will be opening in Summer 2018 as part of the wider calendar of national RAF events. Until then it’s business as usual at both RAF Museum sites, open daily from 10am and admission is FREE.

Grab your wingman….Top Gun is heading to Cosford!

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Date: 23 September 2017
Time: Gates open 7.00pm / film starts 8.30pm
Cost: £10 per person in advance / £15 on the gate (subject to availability)

Jumpsuits…check! Aviators…check! Pilots…engage screen!

One of the most iconic aviation movies of all time ‘Top Gun’ will be showcased on a giant inflatable screen at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on Saturday 23 September 2017. This 80’s cult classic military movie is the first to be shown in the Museum’s new outdoor event which will take place in the spacious grounds, against a backdrop of aircraft.

Film buffs can enjoy watching Maverick under the moonlight in what is the perfect setting for a film about flight. This evening event will see a huge 24ft inflatable screen erected alongside the VC10 and Hercules aircraft, including digital projectors and sound equipment for a true cinematic experience. No movie would be complete without popcorn and for one night only, the Museum will be transforming an aircraft into a popcorn bar where visitors will be able to step on-board to purchase their essential movie snacks.

It’s been over 30 years since ‘Top Gun’ first graced the big screen but the magic of characters Maverick and Goose will be flying high during this special evening event at the RAF Museum Cosford. This American romantic military action film stars Tom Cruise as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a hotshot fighter pilot who’s reckless attitude puts him at odds with his fellow pilots. The film follows Maverick and his Radar Intercept Officer Nick “Goose” Bradshaw’s journey to refine their elite flying skills, coupled with fighting for the attention of the beautiful flight instructor. Packed with plenty of flying action and romantic comedy, ‘Top Gun’ is a timeless classic suitable for film lovers aged 12 and over.

In the build up to the movie, why not take advantage of some of the tasty hot food and beverages on offer. The Ironbridge Catering Company will be joining the event, serving a delicious selection of American inspired street food, all served from their converted yellow American School Bus. Then why not enjoy some themed cocktails or a glass of fizz courtesy of Champavan who will be serving drinks throughout the evening from their converted VW Campervan. For those who prefer a hot beverage, Drink Up will be serving hot drinks and snacks from ‘Hank’, their converted American Dodge Van.

Film fans are encouraged to bring picnic chairs and blankets for their own comfort as the film will be screened outdoors on a grassed area – there is no allocated seating, so arrive early to get the best spot! Visitors are also welcome to bring their own food and drink on the night, all drinks must be in plastic bottles or cans and no BBQ’s are permitted.

Ticket holders will also have exclusive after-hours access to the Museum’s Hangar 1 when gates open at 7pm. There will be plenty of time to enjoy some of the tasty street food, a cocktail or two and of course stock up on your popcorn, before you settle down to watch the movie at 8.30pm (film start time may alter slightly, depending on light conditions). The running time is approximately 105mins and the movie is certified 12 years and over, under 16’s will not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Manager, Abi Betteridge said:
“We are excited to be launching our first ever outdoor cinema event here at the RAF Museum Cosford with the screening of ‘Top Gun’. It’s such an iconic film and so fitting for us as a venue – where else can you watch a military movie surrounded by real military aircraft? We hope that a great movie, combined with the unique setting and all the added extra’s like our aircraft popcorn bar will create an enjoyable and memorable cinema experience for our visitors. Plus, if visitors have any suggestions as to what film they want us to screen next time, we would love to hear their ideas.”

If you feel the need…..the need for speed, head to the Museum’s website where tickets are now available to purchase in advance priced at £10 per person. Tickets will also be available on the evening priced at £15 per person, subject to availability. Parking for ticket holders is free of charge.

Women’s Services Memorial day at Yorkshire Air Museum

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Yorkshire Air Museum Women's Services Memorial

The Centenary of women serving within the Armed Forces will be marked during the poignant Women’s Services Memorial Day taking place here at the Allied Air Forces Memorial & Yorkshire Air Museum this coming Sunday 13th August.

It was on 7th July 1917 when the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp was formed, introducing women into the Army for the first time, although it was a largely clerical unit. This was followed in November 1917 by the formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service and the birth of the ‘Wrens’, as the service is affectionately known as.

“This annual Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony exists to pay tribute and fully recognise the role that women have played in the defence of the nation from the First World War to the present day, where they now take on frontline duties, shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts on the ground, at sea and in the air. In fact, it is a tribute to the diversity and inclusiveness of all forms of our service community that gender, sexual orientation and ethnic background is no barrier to serving in the defence of the nation.” – Ian Reed ONM FRAeS Museum Director

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight have once again shown their support for the ceremony, with the allocation of a flypast by the legendary Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire, which will set off proceedings in the early afternoon in quite spectacular style as the spine-tingling roar of Merlin engines fills the Elvington sky. As the aircraft disappear in the distance, the Parade will set off to march through the centre of the Museum to our unique and inspiring Women’s Memorial Garden, where a Wreath Laying Ceremony will take place.

Following this, the Parade will reform and march back, where, we are delighted to announce, the Salute will be taken by the Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, the Hon. Mrs Susan Cunliffe-Lister.

“It is especially fitting that Susan has been able to join us for the occasion, as it will see the Laying Up of the Branch Standards of Keyingham and Stamford Bridge Royal British Legion Women’s Section, making this the last time that these Standards will be presented and Paraded. This is always a sad occasion, as these flags are symbols of service and friendship, carried and marched with pride and honour. Our Station Chaplain, the Revd. Charles “Taff” Morgan MBE will accept the Standards into our care for perpetuity, where they will join many others of various Service organisations already at rest in our Chapel.” – Ian Richardson, Communications Manager.

The Parade will be led by musicians from the Yorkshire Military Band & Corps of Drums, creating a rousing and colourful spectacle for all participants and visitors to enjoy.

Gates Open at 10:00am and normal Museum Admission applies: £10 Adults; £8 Concessions and £5 Children (5-15. Family admission £26 (2A + 3Ch.)

Royal Air Force Bircham Newton Veterans’ Day 2018

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

RAF Bircham Newton

We would like to draw your attention to a special event to be held at Bircham Newton in May 2018. In addition to being the centenary of the birth of the Royal Air Force, 2018 will also be the 100th anniversary of the birth of the former RAF station at Bircham Newton. The first unit to fly from its airfield, No. 3 Fighting School, arrived in May 1918, just one month after the birth of the Royal Air Force. The Fighting School was soon joined by a second unit flying giant Handley Page bombers, designed to bomb Germany from this Norfolk airfield. Flying continued beyond the Armistice and throughout the inter-war years, increasing dramatically during the second World War. The station was finally closed in the early 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, but flying briefly returned in the mid-1960s, when trials of the Kestrel jump jet were conducted on the airfield.

To mark the centenary of the birth of RAF Bircham Newton as a flying station, it is planned to hold a Veterans’ Day event at Bircham Newton on the afternoon of Saturday, 19th of May 2018. The event will be open to all former servicemen, who served or were trained at Bircham Newton, and their close families. The largest group of visitors is expected to be former RAF administrative apprentices, who trained at Bircham Newton in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but many other veterans are also expected to attend, such as former national servicemen, former members of the Women’s Royal Air Force and officers who were trained at the Officers’ Advanced Training School (OATS) or its successor the Junior Command and Staff School (JCSS).

There will be many attractions for the veterans and their families to enjoy: the RAF Heritage Centre will be open for guided tours; an illustrated talk will be given on the role of Bircham Newton during the Great War; local history groups and service associations have been invited along to exhibit their material; military vehicles and large-scale model aircraft should be on display; local ATC squadrons and the Royal British Legion have also been invited to participate in a brief end-of-day ceremony, when the RAF ensign will be lowered to the sound of the Last Post. Tea, coffee and other refreshments will be available throughout the afternoon. It is also hoped to organise a short flypast, if possible.

Entrance will be free and free car parking will be provided. Disabled access and toilets will also be available, and help will be given to those with mobility problems. Further details regarding location etc can be found on our website:- Our postcode is PE31 6RB.

Wolverhampton built Defiant is highlight of Open Cockpits Evening

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Boulton Paul Defiant

Date: 15-16 September 2017
Time: 6.00pm to 9.00pm
Cost: £12.50 per person

The Wolverhampton built, Second World War British Battle of Britain fighter aircraft, Boulton Paul Defiant Mk1 will be one of the highlights at the forthcoming ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 15-16 September 2017.

The Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1 joined the aircraft display at Cosford only a few short months ago and with just 300 tickets available per evening, organisers are anticipating the event will be hugely popular with aviation fans eager to get the first close look inside (no internal access). The aircraft is the last surviving example of its kind, built by Boulton Paul at its Pendeford, Wolverhampton factory in 1938. This two-seat turret fighter, operated with mixed fortunes during the Battle of Britain period but found its niche as a night fighter during 1940-42.

The RAF Museum’s example, serial number N1671 was operated by the newly formed No 307 (Polish) Squadron RAF, who became operational in December 1940. It was painted in its all black night fighter colour scheme the following January and carried out 15 patrols before moving to No 285 (Anti-aircraft Co-Operation) Squadron in June 1942, its last operational user.

RAF Museum Cosford Curator, Al McLean said:
“After four decades on display at the RAF Museum London, the sole surviving intact Defiant example of its type was transferred to Cosford for aviation fans in the Midlands to enjoy. The new arrival has been added to the list of aircraft open at the September Open Cockpits Evening, making this the first time enthusiasts will be able to view inside the cockpit of this iconic British fighter.”

Also new to the ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ line-up is a former frontline fighter the Gloster Gladiator 1 – the first enclosed cockpit and last biplane fighter introduced into RAF service. Although Gladiators saw operational service at home it was most successfully employed overseas particularly in the defence of Malta. At the outbreak of the Second World War, four home based RAF fighter squadrons equipped with Gladiators were sent to France and after just ten days of hard fighting, all the aircraft had been lost. In a desperate attempt to provide fighter cover for the ‘little ships’ involved in the Dunkirk evacuation, a detachment of home based aircraft known as ‘G’ Flight was formed at RAF Manston, Kent. They were quickly deployed to assist with the rescue of more than 338,000 British and French soldiers trapped on the beaches.

During the early war years, Gladiators were used by the RAF in several other overseas operations including; Norway, Greece, North Africa and the Middle East. The Museum’s example, serial number K8042 was also used for gun trials and experiments, whereby an additional pair was fitted under the top wing, giving a total of six guns instead of the usual four. Like the Defiant it’s displayed alongside, the Gladiator is also a new addition to the aircraft display at Cosford and the September event is the first opportunity for aviation fans to view the interior (no internal access).

Other highlights for visitors on the night will include the Fairey Delta 2 (FD2) – one of only two FD2S ever built, devised in response to Britain trailing behind in supersonic aircraft design during the late 1940s. Plus, the Saunders-Roe SR53 – this interceptor used a rocket motor to climb rapidly to high altitudes and reached Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound) at high altitude during trials.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Manager, Abi Betteridge said:
“Visitors will also be able to view inside the rear fuselage of the Avro Lincoln B2, never before opened to the public. Just too late to see service during the Second World War, the Lincoln became the mainstay of Bomber Command post-war, but was destined for a short front line career as the Cold War and the jet age brought the shortcomings of its performance into sharp relief. It’s one of our most popular aircraft and this is the first time it’s been included in the event, we hope visitors will enjoy the rare opportunity to take a look inside the fuselage.”

Ticket holders will also have exclusive after-hours access to the Museum from 6pm to 9pm to experience what it feels like to sit inside a military aircraft that’s seen action around the world and marvel at the advanced technologies on unique airframes. A total of 15 aircraft will be available on the night and to make sure visitors get the most out of the event and access as many cockpits as possible, there will be a large team of Volunteers manning each aircraft to answer any questions from visitors.

Tickets are now available to purchase through the Museum’s website and cost £12.50 per person which includes parking. Minimum height restrictions of 1.07 metres will apply. The Museum will close at 5.00pm both days; however the Visitor Centre and Refuel Restaurant will remain open for ticket holders and will be serving a special ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ menu.

Live your Dreams at Brooklands Museum this Summer

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Concorde at Brooklands

An Extraordinary range of FAMILY Fun until 25th August

Build a giant tower from everyday objects, or a Bellman Hangar from paper while watching the real thing being refitted; ride the famous Brooklands Banking in a vintage-style car or tour the area in an iconic Routemaster London bus; take a “Kids Special” experience on Concorde; get a special deal on Brooklands Top Trumps. These are just a few of the things that families can tackle this summer at Brooklands Museum – and their souvenir photographs of the day could win younger visitors prizes in the Brooklands Young Photographer 2017 competition.

Weekday workshops running in this period will explore themes connected to Brooklands’ exciting past. Youngsters and parents will be able to participate in a variety of activities from archaeological digs in the sand and pendulum painting to helping the team with the Great Brooklands Build-Off to create a giant structure using a variety of shapes and materials. Sessions run from 11.00am to 12.00pm and from 1.00pm to 3.30pm; all materials are supplied and no extra charges or booking apply – just turn up.

From 24th July to 24th August, the now-legendary Brooklands Car Rides* will run every Monday to Thursday, allowing visitors to experience a blast up Test Hill and a cruise along the Banking in an open top vintage-style car, courtesy of the Car Rides Team volunteers. There are morning and afternoon sessions and the minimum donation of £1 per passenger offers exceptional value for this exhilarating experience. Alongside the car rides, the resident London Bus Museum will be offering tours of the local area by Routemaster or other historic bus every day*.

For youngsters who like flying, Kids Tours on Concorde* run every weekday until August 25th. The tour has been specially tailored for our younger visitors with participation encouraged, making this half hour virtual supersonic ‘flight’ experience something not to be missed. For those who are excited by all the amazing machines on display at Brooklands, the Museum is offering a special summer deal on Brooklands Top Trumps, with packs available at just £4 each for the holidays.

Any or all of these activities could provide inspiration for budding photographers entering The Brooklands Young Photographer Competition. Children are invited to get their cameras out when they visit the Museum with a chance to win a prize. There are three age categories from 3-16 years and theme of the competition this year is ’Built at Brooklands’. Entries need to reach by 8pm on Friday 1st September 2017. For details of categories, prizes and other information, see the ‘Summer’ page at

For those who want to really experience speed and exhilaration without leaving their seats, there are three fantastic rides running in the 4D Theatre* EVERY day including weekends. Sit behind the driver of the Napier-Railton and race around the banked circuit, join the RAF Red Arrows in the cockpit with the display team as they embark on one of their breath-taking aerobatic routines or go back to 1956 with British racing legend Mike Hawthorn for a lap at Le Mans in his Jaguar D-Type.

The Sunbeam Café will be open for refreshments all day, Bertie the Brooklands Bear will be making guest appearances and the Museum Shop will be selling games, toys, books and Brooklands-related memorabilia. So, bring your camera, take a ride, take a flight and hold on to your seats as Brooklands Museum offers a day out that is like no other! Certainly, there is so much to do at the Museum this summer that visitors might find themselves wanting to return, in which case they will find our annual Membership packages very attractive.

Admission prices for Brooklands Museum (including London Bus Museum) are:
Adults £11, Seniors & Students £10, Children (5-16 yrs) £6.00, Family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £30. Under 5s are FREE. The Concorde Experience is £5 for adults, £3 for children. Rides in the 4D Theatre are £4 for adults, £2 for children.

For full details of events, directions and general Museum information, please visit or telephone 01932 857381. The Museum is open daily from 10am – 5pm during the summer (last entry one hour before closing).

*Extra charges and restrictions apply. Car and Bus Rides are subject to weather, Track and operational conditions.

New exhibition plots the Fleet Air Arm’s post Cold War role around the world

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Harrier GR9

Four iconic aircraft and nearly 40 years of changing world tensions are the focus for a new exhibition opening on July 19 at The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Yeovilton-based Fleet Air Arm Museum.

Key aircraft include a Sea King (ZA298) two Harriers FRS1GR9 and ZD433 and a Lynx (XZ720) all of whom have experienced front line action in conflicts such as the Falklands, Gulf Wars, Bosnia and Afghanistan. They will be used to help explore how the Fleet Air Arm has operated in the theatre of war including some of the most difficult terrains on the planet and to tell the stories of the men and women who fly such aircraft and keep them airborne.

It will also examine the perhaps less obvious roles of the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm including humanitarian assistance, civilian evacuations, anti-piracy and anti-drug patrols where the focus is on saving lives and upholding the rule of law.

Marc Farrance, General Manager from The National Museum of the Royal Navy, which owns the Fleet Air Arm Museum said: “The ending of the Cold War did not mean an end to the vital role played by the Fleet Air Arm. Instead it had to adapt and develop to meet the new demands made upon it in a constantly changing world. This exhibition tells the story of the part played by the Fleet Air Arm as the world moved from the era of Cold War politics in 1989, driven by the fear of nuclear war, into one dominated by international tensions, globalization and terrorist action.

“All in all, this exhibition will show how, in the post-Cold War era, the Fleet Air Arm has continued to provide air power from the sea in hazardous, diverse and complex operations around the world.”

Tickets are available on and include a 20% discount when purchased online.

Balloons over Lincolnshire… Lighter than Air

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Balloons over LIncolnshire

Saturday 30 September to Sunday 25 March 2018

An exhibition exploring the vital role airships and hot air balloons played during World War I and the involvement of the Light than Air Section at Cranwell.

See their development over time including which types of balloon operated from Cranwell; learn about the working life of an airship crew, find out about Zeppelin raids on Lincolnshire as well as the early career of Barnes Wallis, a designer of airships.

Public lecture on 20th century icon Concorde

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Concorde at Yeovilton Fleet Air Arm Museum

The fascinating history of Concorde continues to capture the imagination and the Society of Friends of the Fleet Air Arm Museum is holding a lecture by senior BA Concorde captain, John Hutchinson on Thursday 27th July at 7.30pm.

He says of his distinguished flying career “I have never worked in my life. I’ve been paid to enjoy my hobby in the company of some of the finest people I have ever met – my fellow aircrew.”

The iconic supersonic airliner was the love of his aviation life and Concorde fans will find the tales from the sharp end fascinating.

Having spent 15 years flying at 23 miles per minute, he describes being overtaken by family cars on the motorway below as ‘rather humbling’. Retiring from professional flying hasn’t meant slowing down though, he is much in demand internationally as an aviation consultant, expert witness, broadcaster and speaker.

John has always given back to the profession that gave him so much pleasure and his contributions to aviation over many years were recognised in 1999 when he was elected Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. He remains an active, highly respected and very popular ‘Past Master’ of GAPAN.

Although best known as a senior BA Concorde captain, John Hutchinson started his prolific flying career in the RAF and has flown more than 70 types of aircraft.

He served from 1955-1963 (Harvard training in Canada, Shackleton pilot in Singapore, QFI/IRE) and was a corporate pilot for three years before joining BOAC in 1966. He was, successively, a 707 and 747 co-pilot and then a captain on the VC10 before being selected to be a Concorde captain. He remained on the Concorde fleet until retirement, and was a Route Check Captain. The magnificent supersonic airliner was the love of his aviation life and Concorde fans (like me) will find the tales from the sharp end interesting, informative and enjoyable.

Tickets cost £10 and include light refreshments. The talk starts at 7.30pm in the Swordfish Conference Centre at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton. Tickets are available in advance from For any queries please contact the ticket box on 01935 842617.

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

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Brooklands VC10

A special open day which includes a spectacular taxi run demonstration of one of the most iconic airliners ever to grace the skies takes place at Dunsfold Aerodrome on Saturday 15th July. ‘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 full-bore-acceleration taxying demonstration, visitors will be able to tour inside the aircraft, 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. Entry is by pre-purchased ticket only and the timetable for the day is as follows:

12.00-14.00 Pre-booked visitors will arrive via the Stovolds Hill entrance to Dunsfold Aerodrome
13.00-13.15 Taxi run on the Dunsfold Aerodrome
13.45-15.30 Group visits on board the aircraft
14:00 Last entry to Dunsfold
16:00 Event closes

Tickets are available from the Brooklands Museum website:

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 last heavy airliner ever to be completely built at Brooklands – and indeed in the UK – its eventual retirement in 2013 marked the end of an unbroken century of front-line service by Brooklands-built aircraft with the British armed forces. That is a unique record, unchallenged by any other factory-customer relationship anywhere in the world.

July is a special month for Brooklands and the VC10: 6th July marks the 30th anniversary of the arrival of the Sultan of Oman’s VC10 into retirement at Brooklands, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said having most generously donated the aircraft from his Royal Flight to the Museum 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.

For more information, contact Paul Stewart on 01932 857381 ext 249 or e-mail: