Spitfire takes off on tour of the Midlands

May 1st, 2022

Spitfire PR XIX

A Spitfire from the Royal Air Force Museum Midlands will go on tour this summer, visiting regional towns and cities as part of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

The iconic aircraft will visit four locations across the Midlands in May, June and July, touring some of the region’s popular landmarks, highlighting and celebrating the area’s rich RAF heritage.

A tour of the rare blue reconnaissance Spitfire PR. XIX will be stopping off in Coventry, Leicester, Shrewsbury, and Telford for a weekend of engagement with families, shoppers, commuters, and festival goers in the heart of each location.

Families are invited to get up close to the aircraft and hands-on with the interactive activities on the ground. Don a battledress uniform, wartime flying jacket, pilot helmet and goggles before taking a seat inside a replica cockpit for an authentic Spitfire experience, perfect for a Spitfire selfie! Museum ground crew will showcase a collection of wartime props, while sharing local RAF stories and details of the exciting aircraft displays, experiences and events visitors can enjoy at the Museum.

Look out for the Spitfire ‘flying’ into a town or city near you on the following dates:

• Telford on 14–15 May, Southwater
• Coventry on 18–19 June, Millennium Point (Coventry Food Festival)
• Shrewsbury on 25–26 June, Quarry Park (Shrewsbury Food Festival)
• Leicester on 16–17 July, Jubilee Square

Barry Smith, RAF Museum Director of Visitor and Commercial Development said:
‘This year the RAF Museum Midlands is celebrating 50 years of sharing RAF stories, and what better way to celebrate this than to take one of our most iconic aircraft out on tour. The RAF has a long history in the Midlands, and we’re excited to share these stories within the community, and with new audiences who may not have visited the Museum before.’

The Midlands is steeped in RAF history, during the Second World War it was home to the largest Spitfire factory in the UK. RAF Castle Bromwich in Birmingham produced 11,939 Spitfires by 1945, more than half of the 20,000 produced across the UK. Thousands of people from across the Midlands have a connection with the RAF story, from the many men and women who served in the RAF, to members of the public who came together and supported the war efforts through Spitfire Funds.

Visit the Spitfire on tour this summer and pick up your free Spitfire virtual reality experience voucher code, redeemable on your next visit to the RAF Museum Midlands (Terms and Conditions apply). Tag #RAFMuseum in your #SpitfireSelfie to be in with a chance of winning one of five prize bundles worth £50 (Terms and Conditions apply) Entry to the Museum is free, simply pre-book your arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org/midlands.

Sywell Aviation Museum Grand Opening

April 19th, 2022

Sywell Grand Opening

Easter Saturday 16th April 2022 Sywell Aviation Museum’s Grand Opening and 21st Birthday Party

SAM first opened its doors in 2001 in three Nissen huts dismantled from RAF Bentwaters and re-erected at the Northamptonshire aerodrome. It expanded twice in 2011 and 2012 with two more huts having been added. 2012 saw the addition of its first complete airframe – unique Hawker Hunter F.2 WN904 from RAF Waterbeach courtesy of the IWM.

After an epic effort, their second airframe Handley Page Jetstream 200 G-RAVL arrived from Cranfield University in March 2020 and since then much work has been done to restore her. The Museum is actively seeking Jetstream parts including seats and interior trim or related memorabilia.

In 1970 with the demise of Handley Page, Terravia Ltd set up Jetstream Ltd at Sywell to continue production of the type. RAVL (then N1035S) was bright back from the USA by the CEO of the company – Captain Bill Bright – for use as a company demonstrator. Indeed he flew her to victory in the 1971 Daily Express National Air Race in June 1971 between Sywell – Biggin Hill.

The Museum was able to track down his children who remember flying on holiday in the machine in the early 1970s. Now living in Spain, Marcus and Rebecca Bright attended the event as guests of honour to be reunited with the aircraft they last saw 45 years earlier.

In addition to a huge number of military and classic vehicles and re-enactors, the Museum welcomed resident and visiting aircraft including a Miles Gemini & Messenger, a brace of Austers, Avro 504 and Fokker DR1 replicas, Beagle Pup prototype, DH Leopard Moth, Piper Cub, Yak 50 and a pair of DH Chipmunks!

This free event was a fine way to mark over 2 decades of opening during which time the Museum has never charged an entry fee and relies on donations to survive.

The Museum is very grateful to readers for their kind donation of military/aviation books, model kits and accessories and diecast models earlier in the year which helped raise funds at a recent book sale – more are always sought to help fund the Jetstream restoration – if you can help please get in touch.

The Museum is open weekends & Bank Holidays 1030-1630 until the end of September and Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons 1200-1600 from Mid May to Mid October. Entry is free, donations welcome.

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

Royal Air Force Bircham Newton Heritage Centre OPEN DAYS 2022

April 17th, 2022

RAF Bircham Newton Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre at Bircham Newton has a unique collection of memorabilia from the former Royal Air Force station’s past service, which spanned more than 44 years, including two world wars and the Cold War. On display are photographs and personal memories of service personnel who served there and other related items from its fascinating history. The Centre is staffed and run entirely by volunteers, many of whom are ex-service or children of service personnel. Close by there are two stone memorials to remember those who served at Bircham Newton and its main satellite airfield near Docking.

Easter Sunday 17th April
Sunday 1st May
Sunday 29th May
Sunday 12th June
Sunday 26th June
Sunday 17th July
Sunday 31st July
Sunday 14th August
Sunday 28th August
Sunday 11th September
Sunday 25th September
Sunday 30th October
Sunday 13th November (Remembrance Sunday)

Opening times are from 10am to 4pm

Disabled access & toilets will be available, and car parking and entrance will be free.

www.rafbnmp.org.uk

Falklands 40th & Cold War Call Up event is fast approaching at Newark Air Museum

April 6th, 2022

NAM Falkland 40th

On Newark Air Museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire; close to the border with Lincolnshire preparations are well in hand for the Falklands 40th & Cold War Call Up event, which takes place on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May, 2022.

This two-day event has been organised to tie in with the commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the successful Black Buck 1 Vulcan bombing raid on the runway at Port Stanley Airport in the Falkland Islands. The raid was co-ordinated by the Vulcan Wing at nearby RAF Waddington, Lincs; in conjunction with the Victor Tanker Wing at RAF Marham, Norfolk; and launched from Ascension Island on April 30th 1982.

Whilst our Vulcan XM594 was part of the Waddington Vulcan Wing it did not fly in the Falkland War, unlike our Sea Harrier aircraft ZA176, which flew Combat Air Patrols off HMS Hermes during the successful campaign to liberate the Falkland Islands. These aircraft will form a central element of the event, which will be supported by a host of visiting displays and exhibits dispersed around our 16-acre site.

On Saturday 30th April, an RAF Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Memorial will be dedicated in the Museum Memorial Garden at 11.00 hours, in a short service led by Rev Alan Boyd. This will be followed by the official unveiling of the new RAF EOD Display in Hangar 2. On Saturday afternoon and throughout the day on Sunday, Sqn Ldr Mick Haygarth will also host various Question & Answer sessions about his time in the RAF and with various RAF EOD units; he will also be available to sell and sign copies of his book: “From The Cold War To The War On Terror”.

Another aspect of the displays will aim to remind visitors of the tremendous role undertaken by many aircraft and aircrews during the Cold War Era and helped maintain a relatively peaceful situation in Europe for many years. Plus, we will be hosting an Outdoor Aeroboot aviation sale on our Southfield Site.

For members of the general public normal museum admission rates apply and full listing details about the events can be found on the Museum Events page of the museum website at www.newarkairmuseum.org

Falklands survivor ‘Bravo November’ now on display at RAF Museum

April 5th, 2022

Chinook Bravo November

The sole surviving Chinook helicopter flown by the RAF during the Falklands campaign is now on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford. The legendary Chinook HC6A ‘Bravo November’ is displayed alongside the Harrier GR3 in a new Falklands 40 cluster, commemorating 40 years since the start of the conflict.

Arguably the most famous aircraft the RAF has flown in the last 40 years, Bravo November is one of the original 30 Chinooks ordered by the RAF for its heavy lifting capability.

During the liberation of the Falklands Islands in 1982, Bravo November earned itself the nickname ‘The Survivor’ when the MS Atlantic Conveyor container ship it was sailing on, was struck by a missile causing a fire to break out, subsequently sinking a few days later. The chinook fleet along with all the supplies, spares, and maintenance kits were lost, Bravo November was the only survivor, forcing a radical redesign of how the campaign would be fought. Bravo November remained in service for the rest of the campaign, helping deliver victory through carrying out essential tasks, moving troops, supplies, casualties, and prisoners of war. Its significant contribution was a testament to the skill of the aircrew.

For the first time ever Bravo November is now on public display, and visitors to the RAF Museum Cosford are the first in the UK to be able to get up close to the iconic helicopter.

Dr Peter Johnston, RAF Museum Head of Collections said:
‘We’re absolutely delighted to add Bravo November to the RAF Museum’s collection and have her on display at the start of the Falklands 40 anniversary commemorations. Bravo November is an iconic aircraft, with a fascinating history in the Falklands and beyond, she’s been a real witness to war, having travelled the world doing her job.

Indeed, four of her pilots have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), a remarkable achievement for one aircraft, that brings with it amazing stories of courage and bravery. She is a wonderful addition to our collection, and we’re thrilled to display Bravo November alongside the Harrier GR3, to talk about the role the RAF played in the Falklands campaign, a role that has been overlooked in comparison to that of the Royal Navy and the Army at the time, but still just as important.’

Alongside the aircraft, new Falklands 40 interpretation displays, including 3D touch models and footage in operation will highlight the role the RAF played in the conflict at this important time of remembrance, reflection, and commemoration. People stories from the Falklands, including first-hand accounts of Bravo November will be shared through the Museum’s RAF Stories platform.

Group Captain Donal McGurk, Station Commander RAF Odiham.
‘As the Station Commander at RAF Odiham and the Commander of the Chinook Force, it has been a pleasure to be part of the dedication of this iconic aircraft. Bravo November has been at the heart of RAF Odiham’s operational commitments since she joined the Chinook Force in 1980. It is fitting that we remember her, and all who have served on her, and this exhibit is a fantastic way to showcase her history with the Chinook Force.’

Bravo November recently retired after more than 40 years of service with the RAF and was transported by road from RAF Odiham by the Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron (JARTS) and reassembled over five days by a team of Technicians from RAF Odiham and RAF Cosford, before being moved into the Museum’s hangar for public display.

Be one of the first to view Bravo November, the Harrier GR3 and the new Falklands 40 display at the RAF Museum Cosford. The Museum is also home to the Vulcan and Victor bombers, as well as the VC10, Nimrod and Hercules, all examples of the type used by the RAF in the Falklands campaign. Entry to the Museum is free, simply pre-book your arrival time online at www.rafmuseum.org.

New CEO to Lead Aerospace Bristol

April 4th, 2022

Sally Cordwell

Sally Cordwell joins Aerospace Bristol as the first new CEO since the popular museum and family visitor attraction opened in 2017

Filton, South Gloucestershire, 4 April 2022: The home of Concorde has a new captain at the controls, as Aerospace Bristol welcomes Sally Cordwell as its new CEO.

Sally becomes only the second CEO in Aerospace Bristol’s history, replacing Executive Director, Lloyd Burnell as Chief Executive of a museum that, since opening in 2017, has quickly established itself as one of the region’s most popular visitor attractions, an award-winning school visit destination, and a leading events venue with Concorde as its star attraction.

Sally brings significant experience of senior leadership roles in visitor attractions and culture venues in Bristol and the South West, including as Interim Executive Director at Bristol Old Vic Theatre, and as Deputy CEO at SS Great Britain Trust. Her appointment comes at a key time, as Aerospace Bristol welcomes visitors back to the museum and recovers from covid-19 closures that put its future in real jeopardy.

Sally Cordwell, CEO, Aerospace Bristol said:

“I’m thrilled to join Aerospace Bristol as its new CEO at this exciting time, as the museum celebrates its fifth anniversary year and, following a hugely challenging period, once again looks ahead with optimism and enthusiasm.

Bristol’s world-class aerospace heritage – and the unique collection of objects and exhibitions on display at Aerospace Bristol – presents us with so many opportunities to share remarkable stories, celebrate our local history, preserve Bristol’s aerospace heritage, and inspire future generations.

I can’t wait to get started.”

Iain Gray CBE, Chair, Bristol Aero Collection Trust added:

“On behalf of everyone at Bristol Aero Collection Trust, I’m truly delighted to welcome Sally Cordwell as the new Chief Executive Officer of our museum, Aerospace Bristol.

Sally’s predecessor, Lloyd Burnell did a remarkable job of leading Aerospace Bristol through its development and launch, successfully securing vital funding and getting Aerospace Bristol off the ground, and navigating the unexpected and unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. We are enormously grateful for everything Lloyd achieved in his 13 years at Aerospace Bristol and we wish him all the very best for the future.

I have no doubt that our new CEO will continue this success and that Aerospace Bristol will go from strength to strength. The museum will benefit enormously from Sally’s significant experience, keen enthusiasm, and positive vision, as we look ahead to the exciting next phase of Aerospace Bristol’s journey.”

Aerospace Bristol is home to the last Concorde ever to fly, which touched down at Filton – where all British Concordes were built and made their maiden flights – for the final time in November 2003. The museum tells the story of Concorde and of Bristol’s illustrious aviation heritage, with visitors able to step on board the famous supersonic passenger jet, explore more than a century of aerospace achievements, and watch as Bristol aircraft are restored in the museum’s new Conservation Workshop.

Aerospace Bristol is operated by Bristol Aero Collection Trust, a registered charity that aims to inspire the next generation of engineers through its STEM & local history learning programme for schools and fun family events, activities and days out at the museum.

For more information or to book a visit to Aerospace Bristol, go to www.aerospacebristol.org.

Book Your Tickets Now! Film Shows return for 2022

April 3rd, 2022

Films Shows at 100th Bomb Group Museum

Our popular film shows are returning in 2022 with an added afternoon showing for those preferring a daytime event.

Join us for a selection of films, footage and stories relating to general aspects of WWII aviation. Hosted once again by Richard Gibson, who’s knowledge on this subject has been amassed over 40 years as both a Trustee and Archival Historian at the museum.

Light refreshments will be available during the short interval. Tickets £7.50. Event held at 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum. Free parking available on site.

Please book your tickets via the link to Eventbrite below, or call the museum on 01379 740708. Our film shows are very popular and booking in advance is recommended as often we are fully booked before the day.

https://www.100bgmus.org.uk/single-post/film-shows-return-for-2022

Red Arrows and Typhoon announced at Britain’s biggest free air festival

March 23rd, 2022

Red Arrows at Bournemouth Air Festival

The award-winning Bournemouth Air Festival will welcome back the RAF Typhoon from the military, this time for four days.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster will also take to the skies for four performances at the landmark festival.

Jon Weaver Air Festival Director said: “We look forward to welcoming everyone’s favourite – the incredible, world-famous RAF Red Arrows this year.

“We’re so pleased to be also welcoming back the Typhoon and BBMF.

“Along with these headlining acts, this year is shaping up to be one of the best we have ever had, and we’re looking forward to making more exciting announcements to festival programme over the coming months.”

Cllr Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Vibrant Places, said: “It’s fantastic to welcome back the Air Festival in 2022.

“The Air Festival is widely loved and attracts many visitors every year. It’s wonderful to see families and children having a good time – the whole atmosphere is electric.

“We have an amazing team that organises it and it’s such an important part of our festival calendar. I can’t wait to see it all come together.”

This year’s festival is scheduled to take place from Thursday, September 1, to Sunday, September 4.

Regarded as the UK’s most successful civilian air show with brilliant entertainment in the skies, on land and in the evening, the 14th Air Festival is certainly set to be the event of the summer.

https://www.bournemouthair.co.uk

Newark Air Museum Photo Shoot

March 10th, 2022

Newark Air Museum Photo Shoot

The date for our first Day-Night Photo Shoot event in 2022 has now been set for Saturday March 26, 2022.

The event will formally commence after the museum closes to the public at 5pm; however anyone signing up for the event will be eligible to arrive at the museum from 1000 hours onwards on March 26th so that they can enjoy a whole day taking pictures around the museum site.

The event will feature themed ground equipment; uniformed personnel; and illuminated aircraft.

The aircraft being featured for this event will include the T-33; Wessex; Dove; Vulcan & munitions; plus also the Jaguar T2A; Hunter T.7; Lightning T.5 & Meteor NF.14.

Admission cost for Day-Night Photo Shoot event is £40 per person and places will be limited to 50 people.

Various payment options are detailed on the booking form, or you can call in at the museum in person.

We will aim to acknowledge the receipt of your emailed booking applications within 24 hours!

http://www.newarkairmuseum.org/Day-Night_Photo_Shoot

Helicopter legend ‘Bravo November’ heads to Cosford

March 4th, 2022

Chinook Bravo November

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford is thrilled to announce the acquisition of the legendary RAF Chinook HC6A ‘Bravo November’ helicopter.

The newest addition to the Museum’s collection has a distinguished career within the Royal Air Force. It was one of the original 30 Chinooks ordered by the RAF in 1978 and has been in service ever since, serving in every major conflict of the last 40 years. As a veteran of the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan, Bravo November has seen four of its pilots awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for actions whilst at the controls of the aircraft.

Bravo November will depart RAF Odiham in Hampshire on 16 March and will travel by road on a low loader lorry. The Chinook will be on public display for the first time ahead of the nation’s Falklands 40 anniversary celebrations commencing 2 April.

Dr Peter Johnston, RAF Museum Head of Collections said:
‘The Chinook, and in particular Bravo November is a significant addition to the RAF Museum’s collection in the Midlands. As we look ahead to Falklands 40, Museum visitors will be able to appreciate the enormous efforts and sacrifices that were required for the campaign to be successful by seeing this most famous of airframes. Yet having also performed a variety of roles in worldwide operations since 1982, this highly decorated aircraft has been involved in major moments in British and global history, and carries further extraordinary stories of service, sacrifice, and heroism at home and abroad. The RAF Museum is delighted to welcome Bravo November into our collection, ensuring an icon of British aviation is secured for future generations to enjoy.’

www.rafmuseum.org