Transatlantic Flight Ushers in New Era in Unmanned Aviation

June 26th, 2018

Sky Guardian coming to RIAT

A transatlantic flight by a civilian-registered Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) taking part in next month’s Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire is set to usher in a new era in unmanned aviation.

As the first transatlantic RPA flight to land in the UK, it signals the beginning of a new chapter in the history of aviation and brings closer the possibility that one day, airlines may routinely operate aircraft remotely.

The General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ MQ-9B SkyGuardian is due to take off from its base in North Dakota and embark on a 4,000-mile journey to RAF Fairford piloted by an operator located at the aerospace company’s Flight Test and Training Centre in Grand Forks. It has a wingspan of 79ft and can fly non-stop for in excess of 40 hours.

The aircraft, arriving in advance of the Royal International Air Tattoo on July 13-15, is scheduled to touch down in the UK on Wednesday, July 11. The CAA has approved SkyGuardian’s flight in UK airspace and has issued guidance to pilots and aircraft operators to take note of a series of airspace restrictions that will be put in place over certain areas of the UK to ensure its safe journey.

The Royal Air Force is due to bring into service the UK variant of MQ-9B SkyGuardian, known as PROTECTOR RG Mk1 which will increase its long-range surveillance and precision strike capabilities. It will feature in the static park as part of the Air Tattoo’s international celebration of the Royal Air Force’s Centenary.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: “The CAA supports the safe development of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in the UK as they can bring many benefits. We have worked closely with General Atomics, NATS and the armed forces to safely accommodate the SkyGuardian into UK airspace.”

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said the airshow has a proud history of featuring aviation ‘firsts’ and he was pleased that this would continue in 2018.

He said: “Remotely piloted aircraft, for both civilian and military use, are clearly an important part of aviation’s future landscape. We are already seeing a rapid growth in smaller airframes being used recreationally, for aerial photography and they have been used effectively in local search and rescue operations. We watch with great interest as further commercial applications are explored.

“It’s appropriate that on an occasion when we are celebrating the RAF’s centenary that we should present to the public not only aircraft from the RAF’s illustrious past and present but also offer a rare glimpse of its future.

“Whilst this particular airframe is being flown to very stringent aviation guidelines, I wish to remind everyone that strict rules and regulations exist regarding the use of smaller remotely piloted airframes, commonly known as drones. In the case of the Air Tattoo none are permitted to be airborne at or around the airshow and to do so would constitute a criminal act.”

www.airtattoo.com

Large Model Air Show returns to Cosford next month

June 24th, 2018

Vulcan model aircraft

Date: 7-8 July 2018
Time: Gates open 8.30am
Cost: £8.00 in advance (until 4 July) / £10.00 on the gate

The Large Model Air Show is returning to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford next month for a weekend of spectacular flying displays. Taking place on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July, this air show in miniature is set to entertain thousands of aviation and modelling enthusiasts with two full days of flying and family fun.

Aircraft heading to the show have all been designed and built by members of the Large Model Association, who have dedicated years into making them a perfect replica of the real thing. With everything from biplanes to modern day jets, model aircraft at the show can take anything from two weeks up to seven years to assemble and some can even reach speeds of up to 200mph, powered by engines similar to petrol lawn mowers and or miniature jet engines.

This year’s event will have a celebratory RAF100 flying theme with model aircraft representing 100 years of the Royal Air Force. Appearing at the show for the first time this year will be a giant Lockheed Constellation, a propeller-driven, four-engine airliner. Plus, exclusively for the Cosford show will be all three V Bombers, the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant flown together by the show organiser and three generations of the same family. The real V Bombers can of course be seen on display in the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition.

The Large Model Air Show promises to be a great day out for modellers and families alike with plenty of exhibitors signed up to showcase some of the latest model kits and aviation accessories.

Families are guaranteed to enjoy the fun-filled line up which includes a children’s entertainment area. Plus, keeping visitors fuelled for the day, there will be a fantastic range of food and drink on offer including a beer tent and visitors will have access to the RAF Museum where they can view many of the aircraft flown during the show in full size. A free bus service will take visitors from the event to the Museum throughout the day, making getting around the site even easier.

Anyone wishing to attend the event can save money by purchasing tickets in advance at a discounted rate by visiting www.largemodelassociation.com. Advance tickets are also on sale at the RAF Museum Cosford, priced at just £8 per adult. Tickets purchased on the gate cost £10 per adult and children under the age of 16 are FREE.

Exclusively for the Large Model Aircraft Rally, visitors are able to camp on site, meaning you can make the most of the weekend’s flying and activities by being at the centre of all the action. On site camping, including entrance to the show both days is only £40.00 in advance (until 4 July) or £50.00 on the gate and any visitors interested in camping should email public-camping@largemodelassociation.com or call 07827 675665.

Lancaster flies in for Armed Forces Day celebrations

June 17th, 2018

BBMF Lancaster by Terry Lee

Date: 30 June 2018
Time: 12.00pm invited lunch / 1.45pm concert
Cost: FREE (register at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford)
Flypast: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster 3.35pm (weather permitting)

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will once again celebrate the contributions made by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, by hosting an orchestra concert and a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster flypast on Saturday 30 June for Armed Forces Day.

The highly decorated Glebe Symphonic Winds Orchestra will be performing for veterans, serving personnel and visitors alike, in a special one hour concert celebrating the RAF’s Centenary. This intimate musical performance will include classical pieces with everything from ‘Their Finest Hour’ by Nigel Clarke, ‘The Dam Busters’ by Eric Coates, to ‘The Royal Air Force March Past’ by Walford Davies and many more.

The concert will take place in the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition Auditorium with seating for up to 200 guests. Attendance to the concert is free of charge and as places are limited, anyone interested in attending is asked to pre-register now via the Museum’s website in order to guarantee their place. Concert ticket holders will also receive a 10% discount voucher for the RAF Museum Shop, redeemable on the day.

The annual Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to reflect and pay tribute to our heroes past and present, including current serving personnel, service families, veterans and cadets. In addition to performances from one of the UK’s leading orchestras, organisers have lined-up a flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster at 3.35pm (weather permitting). This icon of the Second World War will be flying overhead at Cosford and is sure to be popular with visitors young and old.

Nathan Davies, RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Executive said:
“It’s an extra special Armed Forces Day this year with it being the RAF’s Centenary year. We are thrilled that the Glebe Symphonic Winds Orchestra will be returning for this year’s event, they are always really popular with our visitors, veterans and serving personnel. The day will be supported by two local cadet squadrons who will be welcoming visitors and helping families create their own Armed Forces Day flags. A real highlight of the day will be the BBMF Lancaster flypast which will be a poignant end to the days activities.”

Families can also take part in a free craft activity whereby youngsters can colour in and make their own Armed Forces Day flags ready to show their support as the Lancaster fly’s overhead on the afternoon. All materials will be provided and children get to take their flags home as a memento of their day.

The Museum’s on-site caterers Kudos will be offering Veterans, Serving Personnel and their families a special Armed Forces Day Ploughman’s Lunch. Guests will dine in a reserved area in the Refuel Restaurant overlooking the Museum grounds. Tables must be booked in advance by emailing whatson-cosford@rafmuseum.org.

To guarantee your place at the concert, book your ticket now via the Museum website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford. Tickets on the day will be subject to availability. Guests are asked to arrive 10 minutes before the performance starts in order to be seated.

The ultimate celebration and commemoration of the past 100 years of RAF service is now available in the form of a new RAF Commemorative Anthology, produced by Extraordinary Editions in association with the RAF Museum. The anthology commemorates a hundred years of service and sacrifice, courage and honour, whilst celebrating the spirit and values of the people who have contributed to the RAF story is now available to order.

The RAF Commemorative Anthology consists of over 650 pages of documents, orders, operational reports, maps, air diagrams, diaries, letters and ephemera, recording RAF life over its first 100 years.

The entire edition is limited to just 1500 copies worldwide and books will be allocated on a strictly first come first served basis. Full details can be found at http://extraordinaryeditions.com/our-books/the-raf-commemorative-anthology/ A donation from all sales will be made to the RAF100 Appeal supporting the RAF Association, Charitable Trust, Benevolent Fund, Museum and the Royal Air Force.

Museum aircraft join Air Show line-up

June 3rd, 2018

Boulton Paul Defiant at RAF Museum

A collection of aircraft from the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be joining the line-up in a static display at the RAF Cosford Air Show, taking place on Sunday 10 June 2018.

This year’s Air Show will feature a unique mix of aircraft, spanning the 100-year history of the Royal Air Force, which will be showcased in the flying display and in a special RAF100 Static Exhibition. This never before seen collection of aircraft gives aviation fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the revolution of air power over the last 100 years.

Helping to make this display possible, the RAF Museum will be rolling out eight aircraft from its collection to be exhibited outside on the airfield, as part of the ground displays.

Aircraft confirmed to appear will include the Bristol M1C a First World War monoplane introduced into the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) to compete with the Fokker monoplanes. Displayed alongside the Bristol and representing the early days of aviation will be the Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter, a two seat multi role aircraft used widely by the RFC, the Royal Naval Air Service and by the French, Belgian and United States Air Forces.

The Wolverhampton built Boulton Paul Defiant, a two-seat turret fighter operated by No 307 (Polish) Squadron RAF during the Battle of Britain, will be rolled out of the Museums ‘War in the Air’ Hangar to represent the Second World War era in the shows ground displays. Joining the Defiant will be the Gloster Gladiator 1, the first enclosed cockpit and last bi-plane to enter into RAF service, most successfully employed overseas particularly in the defence of Malta.

A collection of post Second World War and Cold War transport aircraft, the de Havilland Devon C2, Percival Pembroke C1, both lightweight communications and transport aircraft and the Scottish Aviation Jetstream T1 pilot trainer, will also be joining the ground displays. This is the first time in many years these aircraft have been moved outside and is a perfect opportunity for aviation fans and photographers to get stand-alone photos.

Organisers are confident the close-up access to some of the RAF’s most iconic aircraft through the ages will prove popular with visitors to the family show which attracts in excess of 50,000 visitors each year.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Relations Executive, Michelle Morgans said:
“We are delighted to be able to support the show again this year and celebrate the RAF centenary in such a spectacular way. In addition to the aircraft being moved out of our hangars for display on the airfield, we will also be bringing the Gloster Meteor F9/40 out of storage exclusively for the show, which we hope will prove popular with visitors.”

In addition to the aircraft displays, the Museum’s Access and Learning team will be running workshops in the Whittle Innovation Hub, situated on the airfield. Families can enjoy some hands-on fun and take part in rocket car activities during free drop-in sessions, just one of the many STEM themed activities running throughout the day within the hub.

Tickets for the RAF Cosford Air Show are advanced sale only and cost £29 per person with free entry for accompanied under 16s. Tickets will not be available to purchase on the gate so to avoid disappointment, visit the show’s website www.cosfordairshow.co.uk and book online. Tickets are also available to purchase in advance from the Museum.

Less than a month until Cockpit-Fest at Newark Air Museum

June 3rd, 2018

Cockpit Fest at Newark Air Museum

Preparations for the 2018 Cockpit-Fest are well underway at Newark Air Museum’s site in eastern Nottinghamshire; close to the border with Lincolnshire. Newark Air Museum is a registered charity located on part of the former site of RAF Winthorpe; its two day Cockpit-Fest event attracts exhibitors from across the UK and Europe, to sample what one former-aviation magazine editor calls “grass roots aircraft preservation”.

At this year’s event a diverse range of aviation will be represented. This includes a range of military and civilian cockpits including amongst others: Lightning, Canberra, Hunter, Buccaneer, Brigand and Tempest. These cockpits are amongst many other cockpits from across the history of aviation.

From its humble beginnings, when a few like-minded enthusiasts first displayed one or two aircraft cockpit sections at the museum; Cockpit-Fest now regularly attracts, many more visiting cockpits and associated displays. Cockpit-Fest allows the owners the chance to display their prized exhibits to their fellow enthusiast and the general public.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June; and the event is being staged in last year’s location at the museum, alongside an Aeroboot / Aerojumble aviation and avionics sale. Here enthusiasts and the public can search out those aviation artefacts, books and models.

The event is supported by a range of organisations and individuals; with the visitors being encouraged to have a say in deciding, which is the best cockpit by voting on their favourite display and from these results, prizes are awarded.

Cockpit-Fest also attracts other visiting displays like local history / military vehicle groups; re-enactors; and even more aviation related displays such as clothing and historical artefacts. As an added bonus this year’s event has a flypast on both days by aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Full details about the events can be found on the Museum Events page of the museum website at www.newarkairmuseum.org

100-year-old veteran makes flying visit to Fleet Air Arm Museum

May 24th, 2018

Douglas Rolton visits Fleet Air Arm Museum

100-year-old Mr Douglas Rolton visited Yeovilton’s Fleet Air Arm Museum this week for a special visit to see the Fairey Barracuda aircraft project.

Mr Rolton, who was 100 last month, flew as an observer/navigator in Royal Navy Barracuda aircraft on the bombing mission against the German Battle ship Tirpitz in 1944.

He also survived two crash landings at sea during his career as a Navy pilot, making him a double member of the ‘Goldfish Club’, the name given to aircrew members who have had to make forced landings over water.

William Gibbs, museum restoration engineer, who is heading the Barracuda rebuild, was able to show Mr Rolton many familiar parts of the aircraft that are being worked on to recreate the last surviving example of a Barracuda dive bomber, using components from Barracuda crash sites, recovered to aid the project. Of particular interest was the window section from the Observers position in a Barracuda, a view Mr Rolton would have been very familiar with during his flying career.

www.fleetairarm.com

Inspiring The Next Generation: RAF Science Challenge For Bristol Schools

May 23rd, 2018

RAF STEN at Aerospace Bristol

OVER 300 school children have taken part in a Royal Air Force event to encourage interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) today (Tuesday 22 May).

Students from schools in Bristol and surrounding areas took part in a range of activities including coding and building rocket cars. The event was held at Aerospace Bristol on the historic Filton Airfield with many of the STEM challenges themselves located underneath the wings of the Concorde. The aerospace museum is also home to the Sea Harrier which last year was successfully airlifted to its new home by an RAF Chinook.

The students were guided by the RAF Youth and STEM Team and their partners from Hands on Science. The students were also assisted by local RAF Engineers from Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) based at MOD Abbey Wood.

The event was part of the RAF’s national youth engagement programme which has been expanded for the Air Force’s 100th year and is expected to reach up to 2 million students aged between 9-15 years old. The aim of the programme is to build interest in STEM careers and inspire a new generation to help write the next chapters in the RAF’s story.

Amber Nyakunu, 11, from Holy Cross Primary School in Bedminster, said:

“My favourite activity was programming the robot. We had to use teamwork to complete the challenge and get the job done. After today, I would say I’m much mor interested in science and engineering.”

Air Marshal Julian Young, Chief of Material (Air) at DE&S and the Defence Engineering Champion, said:

“In 2018, both the year of the RAF’s Centenary and the Year of Engineering, DE&S is proud to join with our RAF colleagues to encourage our local young people from Bristol to take an interest in the exciting and rewarding field of Engineering. Through Engineering you can shape the future of the world we live in: my hero Brunel demonstrated this some 160 years ago, and the Concorde at Aerospace Bristol is a fantastic more recent example.

“Creative thinking and problem solving in technical matters are key to our country’s future, and as a responsible employer we have a duty to help address the skills shortfall in engineering across the UK.”

Amy Seadon, Learning & Community Engagement Manager at Aerospace Bristol, said:

“It was fantastic to see so many children taking part in hands-on STEM activities alongside Aerospace Bristol’s real-world examples of aerospace engineering. Through our exhibition and National Curriculum-linked learning programme, the museum aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technology and we wer delighted to work with the RAF and Bristol schools on this special event.”

www.aerospacebristol.org

First UK Museum to be allowed to exhibit in France’s most prestigious location

May 23rd, 2018

Avro 504

On behalf of the RAF and French Air Force (Armée de l’Air), the Yorkshire Air Museum has been commissioned to undertake an exhibition with full sized aircraft celebrating over 100 years of close co-operation between the two air forces at Les Invalides in the centre of Paris from 24th until 28th May 2018.

(The Royal Air Force was formed on the battlefields of the France during WWI, 100 years ago this year).

Les Invalides is the famous 17th century hospital, courtyard and cathedral built by Louis XIV, and home to the tomb of Napoleon and some of France’s top museums.

The Yorkshire Air Museum based at Elvington near York is also the European accredited Allied Air Forces Memorial and is situated on an original RAF Bomber Command base near York, which was the home of the only two French Heavy Bomber Squadrons of WW2 with over 2300 French airmen based there.

Particularly because of this unique French connection, the Museum has extensive experience in organising exhibitions and transporting historic aircraft both across France and Great Britain. It will be transporting a restored British biplane of the type which was first used in WW1 in 1912, an AVRO 504, to be displayed along with the Museum’s Anglo / French exhibition and a 1916 French SPAD VII fighter on loan from the Conservatoire d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux. They will create an evocative display reflecting the earliest days of British and French military cooperation in air defence.

Museum Director, Ian Reed ONM FRAeS, comments: “This will be the first time that a UK museum, indeed any Museum, has undertaken a display of this kind in perhaps the most prestigious location in France, where many occasions of State take place.

We are very privileged to be asked by the Royal Air Force and French Air Force to assist in bringing to fruition this unique celebration of over 100 years of co-operation between the two country’s air forces, especially in this year of RAF100

The ties which bind our two countries remain strong, even as ‘Brexit’ looms and I am sure will remain so into the future”.

Mr. Reed particularly praised the French authorities: “They have gone out of their way to be helpful and I am very grateful to them for their support to us, especially a foreign museum in one of the most renowned buildings in France.”

www.yorkshireairmuseum.org

NEW display commemorates 100 years of the RAF

May 23rd, 2018

First 100 Year of RAF

Date: Now open
Cost: FREE

A bold new display celebrating and commemorating the centenary of the Royal Air Force is now open to visitors at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.

Entitled ‘RAF Stories: The First 100 Years 1918-2018’, the new display showcases the diversity and history of the RAF through the use of personal stories and a collection of previously unseen artefacts. It has also been carefully designed to offer a compelling snapshot of the RAF’s principle roles:

• Prepare: The RAF’s Red Arrows display team represent the pinnacle of the services training and ethos. A Red Arrows pilots’ flying suit and distinctively marked helmet feature as part of the display.

• Attack: A selection of objects illustrating the RAF’s attack role ranging from an early aerial reconnaissance camera to an arming key for a nuclear bomb are now on show.

• Defend: The Battle of Britain in 1940, which tested the RAF’s defensive abilities to the limit, is represented in the display including rare and unique artefacts.

• Support: Featured in the display will be the story of a ground crewman Antony Ford who served on the Operation Bushel famine relief effort in Ethiopia in 1984-85, as well as a helicopter winch operator’s rescue strop and an air-to-air refuelling.

RAF Museum Assistant Curator, Clare Carr said:
“Items for the new display have been carefully selected for their potential to engage visitors with a fresh perspective on the RAF story. Some of the more unusual items include rock blown from the Mohne Dam during the renowned Dambusters raid of 1943, a set of wire cutters smuggled into a POW camp, contents from a Christmas gift box given to personnel serving in Iraq in 2004, and a parachute release handle used by a pilot to escape his crashing Hurricane during the Battle of Britain. Many of the objects look perfectly ordinary but have remarkable stories to tell.”

The new display comes ahead of the newly transformed London site which formally reopens in June The ambitious multi million-pound redevelopment of the London side will feature new immersive galleries, freshly landscaped green spaces, and themed restaurants.

The ‘RAF Stories: The First 100 Years 1918-2018’ display is supported by National Lottery Players through the Heritage Lottery Fund and founding sponsor BAE Systems. It is part of the RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme across its two sites in London and Cosford.

The Museum is open daily from 10am and entry is FREE of charge. For more information visit www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

Living History in the air and on the ground

May 21st, 2018

Texan by Piotr Szydlo

Old Buckenham Airfield is delighted to announce another airborne legend from WWII will display both days over the weekend of the 28 and 29th July; A Hawker Hurricane. Completing the ultimate trinity of WWII allied fighters, the Hurricane adds to a line-up which includes the Spitfire and Mustang.

Responsible for 60% of the victories in the Battle of Britain, the Hurricane is often overshadowed by the glamorous Spitfire. As a result flying Spitfires now outnumber the Hurricane; a rare sight in the skies. The particular aircraft in question was built in Canada, written off in England during the War and then crossed the Atlantic again having been restored to form part of the Planes of Fame Museum in Houston, Texas. Today she is part of the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.

Saturday will see some airborne antics, guaranteed to be a winner with every member of the family, courtesy of the Turbulent Team. This four aircraft display team fly the remarkable and tiny Turbulent, a single seat low powered machine; the only aircraft type during the weekend to fly under a limbo.

The Turbulents seem to be happiest flying a few feet off the ground. In fact, they never go above 700 ft during a display. This is mainly because the optimum height for their favourite pastimes, such as balloon popping and flour bombing is rather close to the ground. They’ll also need to be close to the ground in order to get under the limbo. The approach that the incredibly skilled pilots of the four aircraft take mainly centres around fun. To neatly illustrate this point they describe themselves as flying “in the colours of the Early Learning Centre”

The future of Airshows relies on new talent; display pilots are the best of the best and each year not only do they need to pass rigorous assessments to gain their Display Authorisation from the CAA; they also need airshows to book them. Thanks to a brilliant new initiative from the CAA, we’re delighted to be able to bring the Airshow Crowd displays from a new era of display pilot.

The first such pilot is Andy Goodall who’ll be displaying his fearsome T-6 Texan “Wacky Wabbit” (named for a rather famous cartoon character); a WWII fighter trainer with a 600hp Pratt and Whitney radial engine. The T6, best known in England as the Harvard, is still in service with the Canadian Air Force and recognised as one of the
all-time great Display aircraft. Andy will be flying the same T-6 which (when the air displays are not in progress) members of the public can take to the skies aboard as part of a truly special trial lesson with a highly qualified flying instructor. This then will truly offer some very lucky members of the public the opportunity to fly aboard a display aircraft; a first for the Airshow.

On the ground, military exhibits and history are brought to life. This will be the first Airshow where the airfield is able to boast two museums; in addition the usual several acres of military displays including tank rides will be back by popular demand. They’ll be added to by a remarkable display by the Airborne Assault Living History Group. Featuring a recreation of a bombed Normandy barn, this evocative display will headine a host of living history exhibits, covering conflict throughout the 20th Century.

“After last year’s record breaking success, the challenge was always going to be finding a way of following it. Somehow we’ve managed to assemble a truly amazing line-up of airborne displays this year with even more to be announced next month. Thanks to groups like Airborne Assault and the hundreds of other living history enthusiasts who form part of the Airshow, the exhibits on the ground will be unmissable.”

www.oldbuck.com