Posts Tagged ‘Fleet Air Arm Museum’

Escape the Winter Cold This Christmas at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Fleet Air Arm Museum

Families looking for indoor activities to escape the cold and frost during the festive season can do no better than a day trip to the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset. With its four halls all undercover, filled with over 100 historical aircraft, the museum provides a great winter option for visitors young and old to roam freely around the naval aviation exhibits; try the immersive aircraft carrier experience; board the first British-made Concorde; and uncover the role of women in the Royal Navy in the new “Pioneers to Professionals” exhibition. Throughout the winter season, the Museum Café will serve a selection of hot food, beverages and cakes, while aircraft landings and take off can still be watched from the two indoor airfield viewing spots.

Along with the permanent exhibits, this December visitors can also enjoy a programme of special events:

Christmas Concert Under Concorde – the HMS Heron Royal Navy Volunteer Band will be performing their annual carol concert on 12th and 13th December under Concorde 2, with mulled wine and mince pies on arrival.
Christmas Search and Rescue – from 21st December to 5th January, budding aviators can help find Rudolph on an arts and crafts activity trail to try and save Christmas. Included with museum ticket.
Top Gun on the Flight Deck – feel the need for speed with a special screening of the cult 80s action movie featuring fighter pilot Tom Cruise on 28th December, with Top Gun-inspired cocktails and exclusive access to the aircraft before the film.

Entry to the Fleet Air Arm Museum costs from £13.50 per adult and £10.00 per child, with family tickets available from £39.50 for two adults and up to three children. Tickets for the Christmas Concert and Top Gun screening are to be purchased separately but include access to the museum. Book online at www.fleetairarm.com

Fleet Air Arm Museum’s Aircraft Expert Hosts Special Evening Showcasing Top Artefacts

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Fleet Air Arm Museum

He’s an expert on aircraft at Yeovilton’s Fleet Air Arm Museum and a familiar face from television documentaries, now senior curator David Morris is highlighting some of his top 100 favourite items at the museum during a special exclusive evening at 6pm on Tuesday 3rd December.

The evening coincides with the publication of two new books by David, both available on the night. “The Fleet Air Arm and RNAS* in 100 Objects” and “Corsair KD431 revisited”. The Fleet Air Arm Museum has one of the last remaining Second World War Corsairs painted in authentic colours.

David Morris, senior curator at The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum explains:
“Only six years after man had successfully flown for the first time in 1903, the Royal Navy saw the potential of taking flying machines to sea. Initially they were used for aerial surveillance but quickly became involved in combat. We are so lucky to have a vast collection – Europe’s largest – at the Fleet Air Arm Museum – and it’s been thrilling to pick some of my favourites to share.

“Those attending the evening might be surprised at my choices. They include a simple deck hook or arrestor hook, the immensely strong metal hook fitted to aircraft and used to catch a wire on a ship’s deck to bring the aircraft to a halt. This is perhaps the one object that is unique to naval aviation. It is perhaps ‘the’ most definitive naval aviation object in the book.

“Probably my all-time favourite involves First World War Naval Air Fitter Henry Allingham, who was born in 1896, alive in three centuries (he died in 2009 age 113) and possibly unique in that he had the potential to have seen every object in the book. The bronze bust of Henry, on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum simply has to be object No1 in my list of favourites.”

Doors open at 6pm and tickets cost £15 and include mulled wine and mince pies, rum and gin tasting and an opportunity to visit the museum and its ship. Tickets are available online at www.fleetairarm.com/event

‘Pioneers to Professionals: Women and the Royal Navy’ at The Fleet Air Arm Museum

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

WRNS

Today women with the necessary skills can join any branch of the Royal Navy. A little over 100 years ago, the Women’s Royal Naval Service motto was ‘Never at Sea’ yet in fact women were actively working on board serving ships and supporting naval operations long before 1917.

A new exhibition, opening today at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, reveals the remarkable stories of naval women. ‘Pioneers to Professionals’ traces the role of women in the Royal Navy from the mid-17th century through to the present day, highlighting the dramatic changes that have taken place over more than 250 years.

Leading by example, these pioneering women comprehensively demonstrated their capabilities and so laid the foundations for the eventual integration of the WRNS into the Royal Navy in 1993. Today females in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines make up 9.3% of the force in the UK Regular Forces and Future Reserves. Furthermore, the percentage of officers who are female in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, in the UK Regular Forces, stands at 10.6%. In July 2016, the government announced the lifting of restrictions on women serving in ground close combat roles, removing the last remaining barriers to full integration.

Women’s contribution to the Royal Navy has been overlooked in the past. It is a common misconception that until the introduction of the uniformed women’s service, the navy was an exclusively male domain. However, from the 17th century early pioneers disguised themselves as men or accompanied their husbands to sea on warships and this continued into the early 19th century.

The formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1917 was an important milestone for the history of women and the Royal Navy. It allowed women to work in an official capacity in shore-based roles thus releasing men for shipboard service. Artefacts and photographs from the early years of the WRNS on display in this exhibition include a WRNS Director’s Log Book, images of those pioneer Wrens and drawings from the time.

During World War 2, the reformed WRNS took on an even wider variety of vital roles than their World War 1 forerunners. They were Aircraft and Radio Mechanics with the Fleet Air Arm, code-breakers at Bletchley Park and Despatch Riders ferrying important messages. Some received gallantry awards for their courage and fortitude. The exhibition profiles just a few of their contributions including an evocative tableau of a Despatch Rider in the midst of an air raid and a display showing Wrens assisting with the training of Fighter Direction Control Officers using an adapted ice cream seller’s tricycle.

Post-World War 2, women continued to expand the part they played in the Royal Navy and today are able to play an active role across all naval operations. Many have risen through the ranks to senior positions and in some cases have received gallantry awards for their actions.

‘Pioneers to Professionals’ underlines the key place of women in the Royal Navy story and what they have achieved over the past 250 years. The exhibition’s final collage of images depicts the huge variety of roles undertaken by women in the modern navy, roles that their early predecessors would never have imagined possible.

Curator Susan Dearing said “Women have been contributing to the work of the Royal Navy for over 250 years but their story has tended to remain in the background and their accomplishments largely unrecognised. But those who so successfully took up the challenge of working in the Royal Navy made possible the fact that women today enjoy the same service opportunities as their male colleagues. This exhibition provides a great opportunity to bring their inspiring story to the forefront.”

Entry to the Fleet Air Arm Museum costs from £13.50 per adult and £10 per child, with family tickets available from £39.50 for 2 adults and up to 3 children. Book online at www.fleetairarm.com

New Exhibits at the Fleet Air Arm Museum Get Concorde’s 50th Anniversary Year off to a Flying Start

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Fleet Air Arm Museum

To mark 50 years since the very first test flights of Concorde in 1969, the Fleet Air Arm Museum near Yeovilton in Somerset is poised to unveil special exhibits including the futuristic helmet worn by the pilot of those early flights, Brian Trubshaw CBE.

The museum is home to one of only two prototype Concorde aircraft in the world and the first British-made Concorde (002), which was constructed as a test aircraft for the eventual fleet of 16 Concordes built for British Airways and Air France. Concorde 002 was largely designed and built at Bristol’s Filton airport, under the leadership of Trubshaw, a former Second World War pilot. In the 1960s and 70s Trubshaw was described as ‘every schoolboy’s hero’, flying test missions for fighter aircraft. He was at the controls on 9th April 1969 when Concorde 002 made its historic first flight from Filton to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, a journey lasting just 22 minutes.

Trubshaw’s helmet is a fascinating piece of aviation history. More like a space helmet than anything modern pilots would recognise, it was developed to cope with extreme altitudes and speeds, as the aircraft shot through the sky close to the edge of space. The helmet has been offered to the museum for the duration of the anniversary celebrations by its current owner and the museum’s general manager Marc Farrance says: “We’re delighted to be able to offer our visitors the chance to see the Trubshaw Helmet and understand more about its fascinating former owner. We are extremely grateful to the current owner, Mrs Lowe, for agreeing to loan the helmet to the Fleet Air Arm Museum as part of our celebrations of the anniversary.”

Throughout March and April of this 50th anniversary year, visitors to the Fleet Air Arm Museum will be able to attend daily talks from the museum’s experts on all things Concorde, with a host of fascinating facts such as:

• Concorde 002 first achieved supersonic speed in March 1970 and later in the testing programme hit a maximum speed of Mach 2.05.
• Mach 2 is approximately equivalent to 1,350 mph or 22 miles per minute, faster than a bullet from a gun and about the same as travelling from Leeds to York in under a minute.
• At Mach 2, the outside of Concorde gets hot enough to fry an egg, yet the air it is travelling through is -65C.
• Also at Mach 2, Concorde gets so hot it expands about 4 inches and has to have built-in expansion joints to accommodate this.
• 1969 was also the year of the Moon landing, but in a world before sophisticated computer programmes, all this revolutionary science and design was done with slide rules, pencils and paper.

Concorde 002 was retired to the Fleet Air Arm Museum on long term loan from the Science Museum after the test programme ended in 1976 and the first commercial Concorde flights began. The museum is also home to a number of aircraft that formed part of the Concorde development programme including HP 115 which was flown by several test pilots including Neil Armstrong.

Entry to the Fleet Air Arm Museum costs from £12.75 per adult and £9.50 per child, with family tickets available. Book online at www.fleetairarm.com

Voices to soar for Christmas Concerts at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

HMS Heron Band

All the right Con-chords will be played as this year’s popular Christmas Carol Concert returns to the Fleet Air Arm Museum on December 13th and 14th.

Visitors can join the HMS Heron Royal Navy Volunteer Band under Concorde 002 in Hall Four of the Yeovilton museum.

The concert features several classics and festive numbers for the occasion. Doors open at 6.30pm, the concert starts at 7.30pm.

General Manager of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Marc Farrance, said: “Our Christmas Carols are very popular and they’re held in such a unique setting – under the Concorde 2.

“We are delighted to host the HMS Heron Royal Navy Volunteer Band for another two evenings of fun and entertainment.

“The event has been incredibly popular in recent years. We now hold it over two nights to make sure no one missed out on tickets and this year will be the same.

Tickets are £15 each and include a mince pie and mulled wine on arrival. A bar and refreshments will also be available

It is strongly recommended that those wishing to go purchase their tickets in advance.

They can be purchased from the museum during normal opening hours, by calling 01935 840565 or online at www.fleetairarm.com

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

Thursday, 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

Second opportunity this year for special access to iconic aircraft at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Sea King

A second evening of unprecedented access, exploring in and around some of the Fleet Air Arm Museum’s most significant aircraft, takes place on Thursday 17 May at 6.00pm.

This is an exclusive opportunity that is not usually available to the general public and the evening is just one of three planned this year.

Visitors can see where history was made when they look inside the cockpit of Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown’s famous Vampire LZ551/G. This was the first jet aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier in 1945.

Visitors can sit inside the cockpits of Concorde 002, Westland Wessex 5 and HAS3 Lynx Helicopter, inside the cabin area of ‘King of the Junglies’ Sea King ZA 298 and view into the cockpits of Harrier GR9 and Hawker P1127, to enable a comparison of prototype and last type seen in service.

The evening includes entry to the main galleries (excluding flight deck) and a chance to see the museum at night. The experienced team of curators and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and tell more of the secrets of the museum and the collection of aircraft.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum’s General Manager Marc Farrance said: “This is the second of our special access evenings and our visitors love them. Feedback from our event earlier in the year was really positive. The chance to sit in the very cockpits where history has often been made is thrilling.”

Tickets for this privileged access evening are available from www.fleetairarm.com, £40.00 per person. Spaces are limited spaces and advance booking is essential.

Sensible clothing and footwear must be worn. Access to aircraft is dependent upon your fitness levels and overall mobility. All visits are subject to a briefing by a member of the museum team. Aircraft line-up subject to change.

Rare opportunity to get behind the scenes at Fleet Air Arm Museum’s Cobham Hall

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Cobham Hall, Fleet Air Arm Museum

The Fleet Air Arm Museum’s behind the scenes reserve collection is now larger than many other entire aircraft museums and is housed in a purpose built and climate-controlled building called Cobham Hall.

There are just four opportunities this year to get behind the scenes to see the reserve aircraft collection in Cobham Hall under the guidance of Curator of Aircraft, David Morris. The behind the scenes programme kicks off on Thursday 8 March at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

The aircraft housed in Cobham Hall are part of the 103 aircraft in the museum’s collection awaiting their turn for display or being assessed as part of an ongoing conservation and preservation programme. There are many aircraft not seen anywhere else, such as the Supermarine 510 and Hawker P1052 and also, the oldest surviving aircraft carrier, the Seaplane Lighter H21, which is on the National Register of Historic Vessels. This 58-foot long streamlined craft was towed into wind at high speed behind fast Royal Navy destroyers, allowing aircraft to take off at sea during the First World War.

Fleet Air Arm Museum Senior Curator David Morris said: “Cobham Hall is packed with a precious assortment of naval aviation heritage objects and even a glimpse behind the scenes is a real treat and fascinating, whether you love aircraft or not.”

There are three sessions per day – 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm. Tours commence from Cobham Hall, a short distance from the museum (please park immediately on left inside Cobham Hall entrance). All tours will be £12.00 per person, places are limited and must be booked in advance either online or via the museum ticket box. Tickets do not include entry to the museum. For further information please visit www.fleetairarm.com.

Special access to iconic aircraft at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Sea King at Fleet Air Arm Museum

An evening of unprecedented access, exploring in and around some of the Fleet Air Arm Museum’s most significant aircraft, takes place on Thursday 18 January at 6.00pm. This is an exclusive opportunity that is not usually available to the general public.

Visitors can see where history was made when they look inside the cockpit of Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown’s famous Vampire LZ551/G. This was the first jet aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier in 1945.

Sit inside the cockpits of Concorde 002, Westland Wessex 5 and HAS3 Lynx Helicopter. Go inside the cabin area of ‘King of the Junglies’ Sea King ZA 298 and view into the cockpits of Harrier GR9 and Hawker P1127, to enable a comparison of prototype and last type seen in service.

Also enjoy access to the main museum galleries (excluding flight deck) and absorb the unique atmosphere of the museum at night. The experienced team of curators and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and tell more of the secrets of the museum and our collection of aircraft.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum’s General Manager Marc Farrance said: “These evenings are incredibly popular and very special indeed. The chance to sit in the very cockpits where history has often been made is thrilling and our visitors love it.”

Tickets for this privileged access evening are available from www.fleetairarm.com, £40.00 per person. Spaces are limited spaces and advance booking is essential.

Sensible clothing and footwear must be worn. Access to aircraft is dependent upon your fitness levels and overall mobility. All visits are subject to a briefing by a member of the museum team. Aircraft line-up subject to change.

Under the wings of Concorde to be supersonic venue for Christmas carol concert

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Concorde at Fleet Air Arm Museum

The popular Christmas carol concert under the wings of Concorde returns this year at Yeovilton’s Fleet Air Arm Museum on two evenings, Thursday 14th and Friday 15th December.

Visitors can join the HMS Heron Royal Navy Volunteer Band under Concorde 2 in Hall Four of the Yeovilton museum.

The concert features several classics and festive numbers for the occasion. Doors open at 6.30pm, the concert starts at 7.30pm.

General Manager of the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Marc Farrance, said: “Our Christmas Carols are very popular and they’re held in such a unique setting – under the Concorde 2.
“We are delighted to host the HMS Heron Royal Navy Volunteer Band for the third year running.

“The event has been incredibly popular in recent years. And this year we are holding it over two nights to make sure no one misses out on tickets.”

Tickets are £15 each and include a mince pie and mulled wine on arrival. A bar and refreshments will also be available.

It is strongly recommended that those wishing to go purchase their tickets in advance.

They can be purchased from the museum during normal opening hours, by calling 01935 840565 or online at www.fleetairarm.com