Posts Tagged ‘April’

First Aircraft to Land at Dunsfold Aerodrome Joins Wings & Wheels Line-up

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Lysander at Dunsfold Wings and Wheels

Wings & Wheels are excited to announce that a Westland Lysander, the first aircraft to ever land at Dunsfold Aerodrome, will return to the aerodrome and display for the first time at the Show.

During the Second World War, Westland Lysander crews flew highly classified clandestine missions from England over Axis territory. As the aircraft will demonstrate during the Show, its wooden, fabric-covered wings taper gracefully, but it alights and takes off at extremely slow speeds on great, bulbous, fixed landing gear.

The Lysander could land in and take off from places that no one would normally recognize as an airfield. It could operate comfortably from pastures, fields and even clearings in the forest. This unique ability meant the Lysander was used primarily to drop off and pick up secret agents deep in enemy territory. Most of the operational record on this unique airplane remains tightly locked in official secrecy.

Jamie McAllister, Event Director, Wings & Wheels comments: “Wings & Wheels has always sought to celebrate, commemorate and acknowledge the incredible history of Dunsfold Aerodrome. Our air displays aim to reflect the Second World War planes that flew from the aerodrome and so we are thrilled the Westland Lysander is joining the air display. The Lysander (nickname the “Lizzie”) is a very special aircraft and, with its unique look and history, will delight our visitors.”

The sensational summer event for the whole family, Wings & Wheels at Dunsfold Aerodrome, will be celebrating its 15th and final Show with a change in date to Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June. Famous favourites in the air and on the ground will blow your mind, whilst the attractions and Zones in the Arena will keep you entertained and buzzing with delight the WHOLE weekend.

Eyes to the sky as the ‘Wings’ of the event treats visitors to outstanding and diverse 5 hour air displays include show favourites the Red Arrows, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (two Spitfires), Chinook, Hurricane, the Tigers Parachute Display Team, The Blades, Strikemaster, O’Brien’s Flying Circus, Richard Goodwin, The Turbulent Display Team, B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B and Fireflies Aerobatic Team, accompanied by witty and knowledgeable commentary from aviation experts and display pilots.

The ‘Wings’ of the event would not be complete without a close-up inspection of all the weekend’s visiting aircraft including Dunsfold’s resident Boeing 747 and Brooklands Museum’s VC10 in the ‘Wings Park’, both open for tours.

Supercars and classic and vintage icons put on an awe-inspiring display of power and speed on the Top Gear track in a 2 hour auto spectacular. The ‘Wheels’ of the show included displays from Koenigsegg Agera R, McLaren 12C, Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and Huracan, Pagani Zonda, Ferrari California T, Aston Martin Rapide, Dodge Monaco, TVR Tasmin 280i, Ducati Multistrada 1200s, Ferrari F355 Berlinetta, Ford GT40 and Lotus Elise. Visit the Wheels Zone with a bigger and better crowd line parade and interactive displays from car and motorbike clubs.

The Military Zone & Parade is interactive and explosive bringing re-enactors in a living history zone and our popular military vehicle parade. The Zone has over 80 military vehicles, six re-enactment groups, as well as the history of Dunsfold Aerodrome and Army, Navy and RAF recruitment stands for everyone’s enjoyment.

Sid’s Zone is an action packed free area for the little ones. From 10:00 until 16:00 the kids can join in with colouring competitions, arts and crafts, paper plane challenges, face painting and the popular Sid’s Trail which encourages the whole family to search the arena for questions and answers to win a goody bag. Meet and greets with show mascot Siddeley and the display pilots are not to be missed.

The excitement and anticipation doesn’t stop at the main displays as the 32 acre public arena is bursting with a huge variety of interactive attractions containing all you need for a great family day out. The show arena boasts go-karts, aviation and motoring simulators, military outlets and displays, static aircraft, fairground and over 60 retail outlets selling a wide variety of products and gifts. Shopping in the arena includes a craft marquee full of tempting tea time treats to take home and craft gifts.

As the last aircraft touches down the party starts across the arena with musical evening entertainment from Champagne at the Blitz, a 1940s songbird trio armed with smooth harmonies, seamed nylons and lots and LOTS of red lippy!

Taking the hassle out of your day the show includes added extras to make your experience even more enjoyable; over 18 fixed-price catering outlets, two bars, hospitality facilities, free on-site parking, public camping, lost children point, disabled access, informative show commentary, opportunities to meet the pilots, official show merchandise and grandstand seating.

The 15th annual Wings & Wheels will be held on Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th June 2019, at Dunsfold Park near Guildford, Surrey, and is open to spectators from 09:00 until 20:00.

Advanced rate tickets from £24 for adults or £55 for a family. Single child tickets (for children aged 5 – 15) will be £8. Children under 5 go free. Hospitality packages start from £199 per person, weekend passes, grandstand tickets and camping are also available. For more information visit www.wingsandwheels.net or to book standard tickets call 08712 305 572.

Hunter F2 ‘Heidi’ Restoration Complete

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Hawker Hunter at Sywell

On the 20th April 2019 the Sywell Aviation Museum Grand Opening saw the final unveiling of Hawker Hunter F.2 WN904 ‘Heidi’ after her 6 year long restoration. Only 45 F.2s were made – WN904 is the last complete example. F.2s were only flown by 257 and 263 Squadron. Heidi was flown exclusively with 257 as ‘Q Queenie’. VIP guests attended with a close connection to the F.2. On 6th March 1956, Flying Officer Denis Richard Courtney Whiteman took off on a routine night time cross country training flight in Hawker Hunter F.2 WN921 of 263 Sqn from Wattisham. He never returned and no wreckage was found. He was 23 years old leaving two young children. His daughter, Mary-Ann Andrews contacted the Museum last year when she discovered SAM had an F.2 and wanted to come and see it.

At the opening she and her brother Peter were witness to a surprise as whilst the Hunter’s port side is marked as it would have been in service with 257 Sqn, the starboard side has been finished in the colours of 263 Sqn, as WN921, their father’s own aeroplane, as a memorial to him. A short dedication by the Vicar of Sywell and Mears Ashby and the sounding of The Last Post followed.

Geoff Millward also attended as a VIP as his brother Dick Millward probably flew Heidi when on 257 in the 1950s before moving on to an illustrious RAF career.

The jet was formerly part of the IWM collection displayed on the gate at Waterbeach until the barracks closed in 2012 when she was gifted to the Sywell Aviation Museum as their first ever complete airframe. She has been restored as close to stock as possible including the addition of her radar, gun camera, restored ejection seat, cockpit and gunsight under the supervision of project manager and Museum Trustee, Damien Burke. Roundels and squadron markings designed by him were kindly supplied by local firm Sprint Graphics. Funding has been entirely through donations from the public and sales of donated model kits and aviation books (for which the Museum is always grateful).

Sywell Aviation Museum is now open every weekend and bank holiday 1030-1630 and Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 1200-1600hrs until the end of September. Group Bookings available outside hours. email sywellaviationmuseum@gmail.com or call 07968061708 for more info.

www.sywellaviationmuseum.org.uk

Historic Jet Provost planned for RAF Cosford Air Show

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Jet Provost at RAF Cosford Air Show

With the RAF Cosford Air Show now less than two months away, the organisers have announced that the event will celebrate 65 years since the first flight of the BAC Jet Provost, with unique displays in the air and on the ground.

The Jet Provost served the Royal Air Force for nearly 40 years as a flying training platform, on which thousands of RAF fast-jet pilots honed their skills.

In the air, there will be a special trio of aircraft performing a formation flying display together, including a Jet Provost T3 in the colours of the RAF Red Pelicans display team – a predecessor to the Red Arrows team of today.

Thanks to the participation of the RAF Museum, and a number of civilian aircraft operators, visitors will be able to see a chronologically arranged display of Jet Provost aircraft, from the initial T1 design, through the T3, T4 & Strikemaster armed variant. A Piston Provost – the aircraft on which the Jet Provost was based – will also form part of the display.

Air Show Director, Mr Clive Elliott said, “We are delighted to have this exciting display to celebrate the Jet Provost through the decades. We look forward to seeing them take to the Shropshire skies, as well as getting up close to these great aircraft in the static display.”

With the Air Show just over six weeks away and tickets selling fast, organisers are encouraging those wishing to attend to purchase their tickets soon. Air Show Tickets, priced £29.00, are currently available from the www.cosfordairshow.co.uk , RAF Museums in Cosford and Hendon and selected Tourist Information Centres. Accompanied under-16s enter the Air Show for free, making the event a superb family day out. The RAF Cosford Air Show is an advanced tickets only event, tickets will not be available on the gate.

Ukrainian Fast Jet to star at Air Tattoo

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Ukrainian SU-27

One of the stars of last year’s airshow, a Russian-built Sukhoi Su-27 from the Ukrainian Air Force, is set to grace the skies above RAF Fairford once more in a thrilling flying display at 2019’s Royal International Air Tattoo.

The Soviet-era heavy fighter was initially created in reaction to the United States Air Force’s F-15 Eagle. The Sukhoi design, which was the first Soviet aircraft to be operated using an electronic interface instead of conventional manual flight controls, is an exceptionally agile aircraft that can reach top speeds of 2,500 km/h.

Codenamed ‘Flanker’ by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), it first flew in 1977, and was much feared by potential Western opponents during the Cold War.

Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the original Su-27 series has continued to equip the Russian armed forces and serve with the Ukrainian Air Force, which we are excited to be welcoming back to the Air Tattoo this July.

Also delighting visitors with their thrilling flying displays will be the RAF Red Arrows, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the rarely seen Spanish Navy Harriers.

On the ground, visitors will be able to marvel at large transports like the Ukrainian Il-76 ‘Candid’, attending in support of the Su-27, the Royal Jordanian Air Force C-130H Hercules and the US Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster III, to name a few.

Tickets for the airshow, which is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust, can be purchased online at www.airtattoo.com or by calling 01285 713456. All accompanied under-18s go free.

STAAR recruits are ready for take-off!

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

STAAR Engines

The Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) class of 2019 has been selected from a record breaking number of applications from students across England, Scotland and Wales.

This summer, sixty Year 10 students aged 14-15 will participate in two, week long residentials that will see recruits experiencing life as an aerospace engineer, where they will live, work, learn and solve tasks together!

Over 260 students applied for the 60 places available for this year’s summer camp which offers a unique insight into the exciting world of aerospace for youngsters interested in future careers in STEM related fields. Prior to selection, applications were verified ensuring students met the criteria and then placed into a random draw of girls and boys for week 1 and week 2. The draw took place on board the VC10 aircraft by representatives of the organisations who help deliver the programme.

STAAR is fully funded by the global aerospace and defence technology giant, Northrop Grumman, with the support of the Northrop Grumman Foundation in partnership with the Royal Air Force Museum. The residential weeks will accommodate 30 students per week and is delivered by the RAF Museum, Royal Air Force Cosford, RAF Youth and STEM Engagement Team and Tablet Academy.

Sophie Millward, Access and Learning Administrator STAAR Programme, RAF Museum said:
“As we head towards the third year of the STAAR programme, it’s brilliant to see the demand for places growing year on year. We received hundreds of applications from schools spanning the entire length of the country, more than double the number compared to last year. We look forward to welcoming students in July for what will be a truly unique, engaging and memorable experience working with some of the best mentors in the aerospace industry.”

Gillian Arnott, Communications Manager and Corporate Citizenship Lead at Northrop Grumman UK said:
“This year, we are delighted to welcome and work with the Jon Egging Trust Blue Skies Programme, to offer STAAR places to four of their students, each of whom has met the STAAR recruit criteria. The mission of the Blue Skies Programme, to create opportunities to engage and inspire young people, particularly with an interest in aviation, is closely aligned with Northrop Grumman’s STEM educational outreach mission.”

Laura Carey, Area Director Central, Jon Egging Trust said:
“We are excited for our Blue Skies students who will be taking part in this fantastic opportunity to develop their skills in STEM in such an inspirational environment. The Jon Egging Trust delivers accredited programmes to increase young peoples’ self-confidence, self-esteem and other vital life and work skills and was set up in memory of Red Arrows Pilot Jon Egging who tragically lost his life at the Bournemouth Air Festival. The Trust realises Jon’s dreams of inspiring young people through his love of aviation, teamwork and leadership, helping them to overcome adversity, identify their strengths and work towards their ambitions.”

The class of 2019 will be invited to attend the RAF Cosford Air Show on 9 June, where they will have the opportunity to meet with fellow recruits, STAAR partners and enjoy a day viewing the very pinnacle of the aerospace industry. Recruits will also be handed their starter packs and kit ready to start the residential week on 22-26 July and 29 July-2 August 2019.

For more information on the STAAR programme visit www.rafmuseum.org/STAAR.

Dress Up and Get Down for a Celebration of Vintage at Brooklands Museum

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Vintage at Brooklands Museum

The public are urged to dress up in vintage style, step back in time and immerse themselves in nostalgia well into the evening at Brooklands Museum’s annual homage to the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s on Saturday 18th May. Live period music in the dance marquee, aircraft and vehicle displays and a well-stocked trade village will mean an unmissable day as the 32 acre site brings together the fashion, music, dancing and vehicles from these great post-war decades of style.

In the dance marquee will be a rolling programme of live music, DJs and FREE dance classes while outside, under the Race Bays will be traders selling everything from clothing and records to homewares, books and magazines. Any ladies wishing to refine their look should head to the Press Hut as a vintage-style hair and make-up parlour will be set up courtesy of Hair That Turns Heads – a troupe of stylists who specialise in recreating the looks and styles from the period. Due to the high demand on the day, they are already taking appointments in advance. To discuss a booking, speak with the team directly on: 07733 383 735 or e-mail: lucy@hairthatturnsheads.co.uk.

Displays of vehicles will include saloons, tourers, vans, motorcycles, hot rods and military which will fill the Paddock, Motoring Village and surrounding areas along with re-enactor groups portraying everything from the Home Guard, RAF and Land Army Girls to civilian and family life adding to the ‘time travelling’ effect. In the skies, the organisers are planning fly-ins of period aircraft*. These will land on the airstrip opposite the Museum entrance at Mercedes-Benz World and visitors will be able to see them up close and meet the pilots.

Special guests on the day include the Vintage Tourists, a couple of globe-trotting gals who write about the very finest places to visit all with a vintage twist. They have been tasked with scouting the site for the best-dressed man and lady at this year’s event which culminates in a prize-giving ceremony in the marquee in front of eager crowds. Also making an appearance will be Studio Harlow: specialising in Hollywood style portraits, they will be setting up a free portrait studio in the Art Deco surroundings of the Ladies Reading Room in the Clubhouse. This will give visitors a chance to capture their inner film star and provide a memorable keepsake of their day.

Brooklands was the world’s first purpose-built motor racing venue which retains its 1930s appearance and buildings so is a perfect venue for such a nostalgic event as this. As well as the motoring heritage, aircraft production and flying which took place at Brooklands over an 80 year period can be fully explored by visitors as their entry ticket includes access to the incredible Award-Winning Aircraft Factory. Inside, full size sections of aircraft are displayed on ‘assembly lines’ and visitors can try some of the tooling and manufacturing skills used by workers through specially-designed interactive work stations. The centre piece in the factory is ‘R for Robert’, the Brooklands WW2 Wellington Bomber surrounded by artefacts that tell the incredible stories during this period and ‘meet’ some of the pilots, engineers and 14,000 workforce that made Brooklands one of the most productive aviation sites in Europe.

All the aircraft, racing car and motorcycle exhibition areas at the Museum will be open as usual from 10am until 5pm. However, the music and dancing will continue in the marquee until 9pm with a bar and catering to keep visitors sustained. There will be a Family Activity Zone led by the Brooklands Learning Team where children can make their own traditional toy to take home. FREE parking will be available, just follow the event signage on the day.

Tickets are available in advance at a discounted rate or on the day: Adults £14.50/£16, Seniors £13.50/£15, Children (5-16 yrs) £8/£9, Family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £38/£42. Advance discounted tickets are available from the Museum Shop or from www.brooklandsmuseum.com. Dance Classes are included in the entry price. The Concorde Experience is £5 for adults, £3 for children. Rides in the 4D Theatre are £4 for adults, £2 for children.

RAF Museum’s numbers grow to almost a million

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

RAF Museum Cosford

Numbers: 989,593 people
Date: 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019
Growth: 39% increase on previous year

The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce that its visitor figures enjoyed substantial growth on the back of a major redevelopment of its London site and a re-invigorated public events programme for the RAF Centenary at both its London and Cosford sites.

In total, 989,593 people visited the RAF Museum from 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019. This represents a spectacular growth of 39% on the previous year’s figures.

The Museum’s London site recorded 544,628 visitors, up an unparalleled 59% on the previous year, while its site at Cosford in the West Midlands welcomed 444,965 visitors, a leap of 20%.

Commenting on this growth in visitor numbers, Maggie Appleton, CEO for the Museum stated:
“This growth is a fabulous response to the huge investment that the Museum made in the redevelopment of our London site in 2018 and a reflection on the public’s support for the RAF during the UK’s commemorations of the RAF Centenary. It also reflects how the Museum’s new vision of inspiring everyone with the RAF story – the people who shape it and its place in our lives – has struck a resonant chord with both our longstanding visitors and those new to the Museum.

This was achieved by sharing RAF stories through our collections in new immersive ways, with inspiring exhibitions, in landscaping that recalls our aviation heritage, and across our fabulous event and activity programmes.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank all our funders, in particular the National Lottery Heritage Fund, BAE Systems, the State of Kuwait and the Libor Fund, whose major contributions ensured this success, as well as each member of our team who contributed so much passion and hard work to ensure that the Museum enjoyed its most successful year ever.

It is a very fitting tribute to the men and women who serve the RAF so valiantly today that so many people explored their stories and those of the people who came before them during its Centenary year.”

The Royal Air Force Museum is open daily from 10.00am. Admission is free.

www.rafmuseum.org

Thrilling helicopter showcase announced for the RAF Cosford Air Show

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Army Air Corps Apache at RAF Cosford

The RAF Cosford Air Show announced exciting news today that the Attack Helicopter Display Team will be returning on Sunday 9th June, with their explosive display showcasing the Apache gunship helicopter.

The Apache is the Army Air Corps’ primary attack helicopter and its display, accompanied by ground-based pyrotechnics, is always one of the crowd favourites at the Air Show. Today, organisers also confirmed an assortment of other helicopters for static display: The Royal Air Force will send a Puma HC2 troop transportation helicopter, the Royal Navy will showcase their Merlin HM2 submarine hunter and the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity will exhibit their newest H145 life-saving helicopter.

Air Show Director, Mr Clive Elliott said, “We’re pleased to have a number of exciting helicopters on display at the Air Show, big and small, military and civilian, which our visitors will be able to interact with.”

With the Air Show fast approaching, and with no tickets available at the gate, those wishing to attend are being encouraged to purchase their tickets soon. Air Show tickets, priced £29.00, are currently available from the Air Show website and RAF Museums at Cosford and Hendon, as well as selected Tourist Information Centres. Accompanied under-16s enter the Air Show for free, making the event a great family day out.

www.cosfordairshow.co.uk

Wing your way to Cosford for Open Cockpits Weekend

Monday, April 15th, 2019

RAF Museum Cosford Hercules Cockpit

Date: 22-23 June 2019 / Time: 10.00am-4.00pm / Cost: £13.50 per person

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be opening the doors to thirteen aircraft from its collection during a two day Open Cockpits Weekend on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June. It’s the perfect opportunity for aviation fans and families with budding young pilots to get a closer look inside some of the historic aircraft on display and take to the flying controls whilst sitting in the pilot’s seat.

Just 300 spaces per day are available for this exciting event which gives ticket holders up to six hours to explore everything from jet fighters to airliners, including aircraft from British, American and Russian Air Forces.

The June event at Cosford will be themed around the Museum’s National Cold War Exhibition, the transport and training collection in Hangar 1 and a selection of aircraft outside in the Museum grounds.

The popular Lockheed Hercules C130K Mk3 is guaranteed to be an event highlight. The C-130 Hercules has been a key component of the Royal Air Force’s frontline for over fifty years and continues to provide service to the present day. A familiar sight, at home and abroad, the Hercules can rightly claim to have been the ‘first in and last out’ in numerous campaigns and operations. As a tanker, and as transport, it has delivered vital strategic and tactical mobility – providing the platform for the Royal Air Force’s operational capabilities, through the Cold War and beyond.

Ticket holders will also be able to step on board another RAF transporting giant, the Vickers VC10 during the special event. Designed as a long-range airliner able to operate from short runways at airfields in hot and high conditions, the VC10 had a high cruising mach number with very good short field performance. In the later part of its service the aircraft was modified for the tanking role but kept its passenger and freight carrying ability. This is the first time the VC10 will be opened to visitors using its new fully accessible boarding ramp, kindly donated to the Museum by local based aviation ground handling manufacturer, Aviramp.

From the Cold War collection, aviation fans can take a seat inside the cockpit of the General Dynamics F-111 F-CF, a two-seat American fighter-bomber. The F-111A variant became the first variable-geometry combat aircraft to enter service, seeing extensive action during the Vietnam War. As well as serving with US forces, the F-111C variant were produced for the Royal Australian Air Force. The final production variant, the F-111F (as seen at Cosford) featured improved avionics, including navigational and digital computer systems, improved wing structure and landing gear, and more powerful engines. Their main offensive load was Paveway laser-guided bombs, with Sidewinder missiles carried for self-defence. A total of 106 were built from 1972 and they saw much service during the first Gulf War in 1991.

Other Cold War aircraft that families will get the chance to climb on board and explore during the Open Cockpits Weekend include the Short Brothers Belfast, Handley Page Hastings, Avro York C1, and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21PF (close view only).

Head down to Hangar 1 and you will find the Museum’s transport and training aircraft, used for moving troops and equipment and retained to teach aircrews the wide variety of skills they must master before becoming operational. Aircraft from this collection open during the June event will include the Vickers Varsity T Mk I, brought into RAF service in 1951 for crew training as a replacement for the Wellington T10. Aviation fans will also have the rare opportunity to step inside the Hawker Siddeley Andover E3A, a short take-off and landing transport aircraft that operated in trooping, paratrooping, airdropping, freighting and casevac roles. Plus, the de Havilland Devon, Hunting Percival Pembroke C1 and the Junkers Ju52/3M will also be included in the aircraft line-up.

The final aircraft in the event programme is the advanced navigation trainer, Scottish Aviation Jetstream T Mk1 which will be featured outside with the hangar backdrop. Access to all the external aircraft will be weather permitting.

To make sure visitors get the most out of the event, there will be a large team of Volunteers manning each aircraft or vehicle and available to answer any questions. A special Log Book can be purchased for an additional £1, allowing ticket holders to keep a record of the aircraft and vehicles they have accessed during the event!

A total of 300 tickets per day are available for the event on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June and aviation fans will have up to six hours to enjoy the exclusive access. Tickets are now available to purchase through the Museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford and cost £13.50 per person which includes parking (minimum height restrictions apply 1.07m). Ticket holder will also receive a 10% discount on purchases made in the Museum shop during the Open Cockpits Weekend. Entry to the Museum is free of charge.

Air Tattoo Visitors Set to be Starstruck!

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Royal International Air Tattoo

Visitors to this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo in the Cotswolds are set to experience its most astronomical year yet, with an array of exciting exhibits and aircraft for all the family to enjoy.

The three-day event (19-21 July) held annually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing and to celebrate, the Air Tattoo will be turning its spotlight to the heavens to look at some of the exciting and innovative ways organisations are reaching out into space.

Giving his seal of approval to this year’s theme, Air & Space: Inspiring The Next Generation Air Force will be British astronaut Major Tim Peake who will be making an appearance at the airshow on Friday, July 19.

As part of the European Space Agency (ESA), Tim was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station, launching on a Soyuz rocket in December 2015 and returning to earth six months later having taken part in a variety of activities including conducting a spacewalk to repair the Station’s power supply.

He said: “I’ve been wanting to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo for some time and this year’s ‘Space’ theme presented the perfect opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it!”

Other star attractions include the critically-acclaimed Techno Zone®, which among other exciting exhibits, will host a planetarium show and a full-scale ExoMars rover prototype from Airbus Defence and Space, which visitors can witness drive across a simulated Martian surface.

Visitors can also see Starchaser Industries’ Nova 2 rocket which will be on static display for up-close viewing and space technology firm Skyrora’s The Black Arrow – the UK’s only rocket to successfully launch a satellite into orbit.

If that isn’t enough, visitors on the Friday will find themselves under the ‘microscope’ as Airbus DS’s Pleiades satellites flies over RAF Fairford taking a photo of the airshow as it orbits the earth.

Techno Zone® Coordinator Sandra Keen said: “The Techno Zone® never ceases to amaze visitors with its hands-on displays, but this year is set to be particularly awe-inspiring.

“It’s always a big attraction for youngsters and hopefully the unique exhibits will ignite a spark and inspire them to discover and learn more about air and space”.

RAF Fairford, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, was NASA’s only UK transatlantic abort landing site for the Space Shuttle and in 1983 hosted a visit by the spacecraft which was secured on the back of a jumbo jet bound for the Paris Air Show.

Tickets for the airshow, which is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust, can be purchased online at www.airtattoo.com or by calling 01285 713456. All accompanied under-18s go free.