Posts Tagged ‘January’

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

Doors opening to ‘100 Cockpits and Cabs’ for RAF Centenary Year

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

TSR2 cockpit at RAF Museum Cosford

Date: 9 February 2018

Time: 6.00pm to 9.00pm

Cost: £13.50 per person / £100 per person for all 8 event dates

To celebrate the Royal Air Force’s Centenary in 2018, the Royal Air Force Museum is offering visitors the chance to get a closer look inside 100 cockpits and vehicles from the collection across both the Cosford and London sites. This brand new, duel site event will give aviation fans access to more of the Museum’s historic aircraft and vehicle collection than ever before, in a series of eight events throughout 2018.

The first of four dates at Cosford will be held on Friday 9 February, themed around the unique Test Flight collection and a collection of Second World War, British, German and Japanese aircraft.

The Test Flight group of aircraft were built to test a new theory or line of research and many were produced in secrecy, often utilising components borrowed from other types. These were the machines that helped Britain open new frontiers of flight. Aircraft on the night include the British Aircraft Corporation TSR 2 (close view only). Although never developed beyond the prototype stage, the TSR2 (Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance Mach 2) was one of the most exciting and controversial British combat aircraft designs of the 1960s. Initial reports indicated that the TSR2 was an outstanding technical success, however political opposition to the project led to it being cancelled, a subject of great debate to this day.

Other unique airframes open on the night include the SEPECAT Jaguar ACT Demonstrator, Fairey FD2, Saunders-Roe SR53, and the Hawker-Siddeley Kestrel FGA.

The event theme also extends to include a selection of the Museum’s unique collection of fighters and bombers, including those of Allies and our enemies. Soon after the invention of the aeroplane as a controlled and powered machine its application by the Military became evident. From 1911, when it was first used in conflict, through the Great War and to the present day, the Royal Air Force and its predecessors have operated flying machines in defence of our country and freedom. The War in the Air collection at Cosford is home to the world’s oldest Supermarine Spitfire 1 K9942, one of several aircraft open on the night for enthusiasts to enjoy a closer view.

In addition, the Messerschmitt BF109G, the backbone of the German Air Force’s day fighter force will be open for a close view, along with the Lister Works Truck, used throughout Royal Air Force maintenance depots. Aviation fans will also have the rare opportunity to step inside the Avro Lincoln B2, Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka, Kawasaki Ki-1001b and the Messerschmitt Me 163B-1a Komet during the February event.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Manager, Abi Betteridge said:

“This is the first of a programme of events this year to celebrate the Royal Air Force Centenary. How better to celebrate 100 years of the RAF than giving visitors access to 100 aircraft and vehicles spanning the services entire career? Across our two public sites we have over 200 aircraft, tanks and vehicles on display and we’ve selected 100 that we believe visitors will be keen to get a closer look inside.

To make sure visitors get the most out of the event, there will be a large team of Volunteers manning each aircraft and available to answer any questions. We have also produced a special Log Book which can be purchased in advance, allowing ticket holders to keep a record of the aircraft and vehicles they have accessed during the event!”

The aircraft available at all eight events will vary, totaling 100 over the course of the year across the two RAF Museum sites. Just 300 tickets are available for each event and are now available to purchase through the Museum’s website and cost £13.50 per person which includes parking (minimum height restrictions apply). Details on the RAF Museum London events are also available online.

Want to tick off all 100 cockpits? Why not purchase our special centenary £100 ticket, giving you access to eight evening and 4 daytime events across the two sites, plus, additional time to enjoy all the events and a free copy of the Log Book with a saving of £62.50!

Attending the exclusive ‘Open Cockpits and Cabs’ events is an opportunity to raise vital funds for the RAF100 Appeal, which is a joint venture between the Royal Air Force and the four major RAF charities – the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Forces Association, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and the Royal Air Force Museum. The aim of the Appeal is to raise money for the RAF family and to create a lasting legacy as we celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force.

The Museum will close at 4.00pm, however the Visitor Centre and Refuel Restaurant will remain open for ticket holders and will be serving a special event menu, before doors to the aircraft and vehicles open at 6.00pm.

Allied Air Forces Memorial Day 2018 Announced

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Allied Air Forces Memorial Day at Yorkshire Air Museum

The date has been set for the Yorkshire Air Museum’s prestigious “Allied Air Forces Memorial Day” and 2018’s ceremony will take place on Sunday 2nd September. This international event sees attendance of Air Force and Defence Attachés and diplomats from many allied nations, in addition to senior RAF personnel and Civic dignitaries, and is indeed an important, well-established military occasion for the region. This year is particularly significant, as it forms part of the national Royal Air Force Centenary celebrations, marking the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the RAF and WRAF, and of course the Armistice and the end of World War One.

As always, the participation of veterans and members of numerous Service organisations, such as the Royal Air Force Association, Royal British Legion and Royal Observer Corps is welcome and many of those who have taken part in previous years have already been contacted to attend and take part in the occasion, with responses already being received.

Ian Reed ONM FRAeS, Museum Director, comments: “The participation of veterans, serving personnel and Air Training Corps Cadets, marching proudly with their Association / Branch and Squadron Standards, including National Standards, creates a colourful and truly spectacular occasion for all to appreciate. The Parade, impressively led by the Yorkshire Military Marching Band & Corps of Drums, progresses through the Museum to the Memorial hangar, where, against the stunning background provided by the unique WWII Halifax bomber, “Friday the 13th”, a poignant Drumhead commemoration Service is held, after the Standards have been Marched in and assembled. It is an opportunity to reflect on the service and sacrifice of so many in defence of the nation and freedom from oppression.”

Following the Service, the Parade re-forms for the traditional ‘Sunset’ Ceremony, with the lowering of the RAF Ensign and dipping of Standards, culminating with the March Off and Salute, taken by Senior personnel attending.

It is an occasion not to be missed, and we anticipate that the 2018 Allied Air Forces Memorial Day will be bigger than ever and supported by an historic aircraft flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, adding to the spectacle.

Any Service organisations wishing to take part are welcome to contact the museum to register their interest, and should contact Ian Richardson, Communications Manager on 01904 608595 or e-mail:

French Navy Confirmed for Yeovilton Air Day

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

French Navy Caiman

We are delighted to announce that the French Navy have confirmed their support for the Royal Naval Air Station International Air Day on Saturday 7 July. Headlining their contribution is the return of the fantastic Rafale pair role demonstration. So far, flown at no other UK airshow, it’s an award-winning, all-action routine that highlights the French Navy’s cutting-edge multirole carrier fighter aircraft to scintillating effect. Starting with a thunderous formation take-off, the display showcases both present day frontline naval tactics and the exceptional performance capabilities of the fast, powerful and agile Rafale M.

The French Navy is also contributing an exceptionally rare Atlantique 2 to the flying display. This charismatic maritime patrol aircraft has not performed in British skies for over 15 years, so will be a major highlight of Air Day’s five-plus hour display. The Atlantique 2’s capabilities include submarine escort, surveillance, intelligence-gathering and electronic warfare on missions lasting up to 18 hours. We look forward to welcoming the Atlantique and its crew from 23 Flottille!

In addition to the flying display aircraft the French Navy will have three aircraft on static display. The NH90 NFH Caiman is a state-of-the-art frigate-launched anti-submarine helicopter and the French Navy example will make its Air Day debut.

The French Navy Lynx represents an older generation of anti-submarine capability and the fleet remains operational for now although, after 40 years’ service, retirement looms. Finally, seldom seen on British shores, one of the naval air arm’s Falcon 50Ms will be making a rare appearance at Air Day. This widely-tasked maritime surveillance aircraft is equipped with specialised mission systems and its capabilities include search and rescue, fishing patrol operations and counter-narcotics missions.

The French Navy’s contribution is once again outstanding and will play a significant role in what is shaping up to be a great line up. Early Bird tickets, with no booking fees, are available until Wednesday 31 January from

RAF Museum Cosford 2018 Events Diary

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

RAF Museum Cosford Cockpits and Cabs event

Forthcoming events taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford during 2018:

Date Event
9 February 100 Cockpits and Cabs
17 – 23 February Airfix Make and Take
21 February Talk: Airfix and 100 years of the RAF
24 March Pillows and Pilots Sleepover
1 April – 10 July Spitfire 100K Challenge
1 – 2 April 100 Years Festival
3 – 15 April Feathers and Flight Family Trail
5 April Eagles at Easter Display
12 April Eagles at Easter Display
28 April Pillows and Pilots Sleepover
12 May Pillows and Pilots Sleepover
19 May 100 Cockpits and Cabs
26 May – 3 June First World War Half Term
10 June RAF Cosford Air Show
30 June Armed Forces Day
7 – 8 July Large Model Aircraft Rally
21 – 22 July Cosford Food Festival
1 – 31 August Summer of Spies Trail
1 August Summer of Spies Workshops
8 August Summer of Spies Workshops
11 -12 August Vintage and Handmade Festival
15 August Summer of Spies Workshops
22 August Summer of Spies Workshops
29 August Summer of Spies Workshops
2 September Spitfire 10K and Spitfire Family Run
15 September 100 Cockpits and Cabs
21 – 22 September Outdoor Cinema
27 October – 2 November Airfix Make and Take
11 November Remembrance Service
12 – 18 November MBCC Open Week
7 December 100 Cockpits and Cabs

Further details on each event will be issued nearer the time. Admission charges apply for some events and activities. Events may be subject to change and additional events may be added during the year, please visit the Museum website for more details.

RAF Museum Cosford Public Events Manager, Abi Betteridge said:

“We will be celebrating the centenary of the Royal Air Force throughout 2018 with a number of events tailored towards commemorating this milestone. Across both our London and Cosford sites we will be opening up the doors to 100 Cockpits and Cabs so visitors can get up close and inside more of our collection than ever before, with the first of four dates at Cosford in February.

Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend on 1-2 April, we will be marking the official formation of the Royal Air Force with a 100 Years Festival, packed with re-enactors, displays and activities for families. There will also be a new permanent display celebrating the RAF through the decades with artefacts from within our collection interpreting the RAF story.

One of our most popular events, the Spitfire 10K will be returning in September, where up to 1,200 runners this year can race across the airfield. In addition, we’ve set a new centenary challenge to run 100K in 100 days in a virtual race and we’re busy working on a suitably spectacular medal for those who rise to the task. All proceeds from these races will go towards the RAF100 Appeal, a joint venture between the Royal Air Force and four major RAF charities.

These new events are in addition to activities running throughout each of the school holidays as well as our major summer event, the Cosford Food Festival. Plus the Outdoor Cinema Screening will be returning for two nights in September and of course, the chance to see behind the scenes in our Conservation Centre during the Open Week in November.”

For further information on the 2018 events, please visit the Museum’s website or call 01902 376200. The Museum is open daily from 10am and entry is FREE of charge.

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, £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.

London Gate Guardians to Fly to Cosford

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

RAF Museum Gate Guardians

As part of the preparations for next year’s RAF Centenary, the gate guardians at RAF Museum London is transforming are being renovated. This week, the Museum’s Mk II Hurricane and Mk IX Spitfire replicas were dismantled and prepared for transportation to the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre in Cosford.

Both Gate Guardians will be returned back to the Museum’s London site in time for the Museum’s commemorations and celebrations of the centenary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 2018. They will be positioned so that they welcome members of the public as they enter through the Museum’s new entrance on Grahame Park Way.

One of the finest developments of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine series, the Mk IX was originally intended as a match for the German Focke Wulf 190. In comparison the Hawker Hurricane Mk II with its greater armament and simple, sturdy construction made it an effective ground attack fighter during the mid-war years.

Its markings are currently those of No 121 (Eagle) Squadron, based at Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire during the summer of 1941.

These markings will be changed to that of the Mk I Hawker Hurricane flown by Sgt Ray Holmes of No.504 Squadron from RAF Hendon on 15 September 1940.

In an act of selfless bravery, and with no thought to his own safety, Sgt Holmes prevented a Dornier Do17 Bomber from destroying Buckingham Palace by ramming it with the wing of his aircraft, forcing the Bomber to crash in the forecourt of Victoria Station. His Hurricane was badly damaged, crashing near the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

Holmes bailed out injured but survived eventually becoming a journalist in Liverpool after the Second World War. The adoption of this new colour scheme is indicative of the Museum’s stated aim to tell more stories about its aircraft and the people who flew and maintained them to aid a greater understanding of the RAF amongst its visitors.

In 2004, parts of his Hurricane were successfully excavated and can currently be viewed by visitors in foyer to the Museum’s Historic Hangars. The new scheme for the Spitfire has yet to be decided.

The Museum’s London site will remain open from 10 am daily during the works for the RAF Museum’s Centenary 2018 Transformation Programme. Admission to the site is free of charge. Please note : that from mid-February parking at the site will be restricted until summer 2017. We therefore recommend travelling via public transport to reach us. The nearest Underground Station to the Museum is Colindale on the Edgware Branch of the Northern Line. The nearest main-line station is Mill Hill Broadway. For full details on how to reach us please visit

RAF Museum Launches Spotify Playlists

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Spotify logo

The RAF Museum joins the long list of celebrities, politicians and industry leaders with its own Spotify playlists.

Spotify is a music, podcast, and video streaming service which is taking over how we listen to music. It allows users to listen to a large library of music and also to compile playlists for others to enjoy.

Along with our other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, the Museum sees Spotify as a fantastic way of engaging with audiences, young and old. We look forward to developing new playlists which reflect our collections the work we do and the music we love.

Listen to what we’re listening to:

Cold War Classics, celebrating 10 years of the National Cold War Exhibition

Let your imagination take flight

Listen, enjoy, follow and share!

Join in the 10 year anniversary celebrations for the National Cold War Exhibition

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Valiant RAF Museum

Date: 7 February 2017
Time: 10am – 4pm
Cost: FREE

On Tuesday 7 February 2017 the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be marking the 10th anniversary of the award-winning National Cold War Exhibition with a special event for aviation fans.

The £12.5 million landmark building and exhibition was officially opened in 2007 by HRH The Princess Royal and invited VIP guests included the Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher. Its eye-catching architecture and dynamic aircraft displays truly have the ‘wow’ factor and in addition to the unique aircraft collection, visitors can also view iconic cars, tanks, memorabilia and even life-sized Russian dolls. Immersive Hotspots covering topics including the Space Race and the Cuban Missile Crisis are a hub of information, engaging visitors with a Cold War history spanning over four decades. Cosford is also the only place in the world where you can see all three of Britain’s V-Bombers; the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant displayed together under one roof.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, visitors are invited to join Museum staff and volunteers for a special event that will see a number of Cold War aircraft opened for exclusive close up access, including the Vickers Valiant B1 and the Handley Page Victor K2. Both aircraft are being opened to the public for the very first time and the Cosford team hope aviation fans will seize the opportunity to step on board two of Britain’s nuclear strike force aircraft, which played a vital role during the critical Cold War years.

The Valiant was the first of Bomber Command’s V class aircraft and established Britain’s air-borne nuclear deterrent force before pioneering operational in-flight refuelling in the Royal Air Force. Not only was it the first V-Bomber to enter service, it was also the first to drop an operational British nuclear weapon over Christmas Island in 1957.

The Victor was designed and in service as a strategic nuclear bomber, some were converted to in-flight refuelling tankers and remained in service until 1993. Victors were heavily utilised in the 1982 Falklands campaign and the 1991 Gulf War before retiring from service in 1993. Both aircraft now reside at the RAF Museum Cosford, displayed alongside the Hawker Siddeley Vulcan B2 and dominate the upper level of the National Cold War Exhibition.

In addition to the Victor and Valiant, other Cold War aircraft and vehicles being opened to the public for the anniversary event will include the General Dynamics F-111F-CF, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21PF, Hawker Hunter F.4 (nose section), Avro York C1, McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1 (nose section) and the Short Brothers Belfast. Aviation fans will also be able to take a look inside the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15bis, the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, Green Goddess auxiliary fire engine and the Tracked Rapier missile launcher.

RAF Museum Assistant Director, Paul Pomfret said:
“The National Cold War Exhibition transformed the Cosford site with its award winning architecture and catapulted the Museum onto a global stage, doubling the number of visitors who pass through its doors each year. Since its opening in 2007, over 3.2 million visitors have passed through its doors and interest in the exhibition and the Museum has remained consistent ever since. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the Museum next month, to share in the celebrations for this milestone.”

As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations the Museum’s shop will be offering 10% off gifts and souvenirs and for anyone who wishes to enjoy a hot lunch in the Refuel Restaurant, the Museum’s caterers Kudos will be offering 10% off their lunchtime menu.
This rare opportunity to see inside these aircraft is FREE of charge for visitors. Any donations made by visitors on the day will support the work of the RAF Museum (registered charity number 244708).

The Museum is open from 10am until 4pm and the event will run for the entire day giving visitors up to eight hours to climb on board and peek inside some of the Museum’s iconic Cold War aircraft. Aircraft available on the day are subject to change. Full details can be found on the Museum website including information on aircraft accessibility.

Captain Eric Winkle Brown Medals

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Eachan Hardie

Yesterday at The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Museum, an 11-year old schoolboy got a sneak preview of the medals and log books of his hero Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown that he campaigned to save. When he heard the news that they were to be auctioned following the world record breaking test pilot’s death Eachan Hardie wrote to numerous company executives urging them to help.

His fears were unfounded as it transpired they were secured for the nation following the intervention of an incredibly generous, anonymous donor by The National Museum of the Royal Navy for display at its Fleet Air Arm Museum, a real favourite of Captain Brown.
Eachan Hardie struck up a correspondence with Captain Brown after it emerged he had written to him seeking advice on how to become a test pilot. Eachan was inspired by “Winkle” Brown’s world record for the most aircraft carrier take-offs – 2,407 and the most landings – 2,271.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum’s Curator of Aircraft, David Morris, got to know Captain Brown well. He showed Eachan the collection before it goes on display for a short period from 21st January, which would have been Captain Brown’s birthday, until 19th February.

Following his death on 21st February 2016 age 97 the news broke that the collection could be sold at auction. At the time Eachan said: “I think they should be in the Fleet Air Arm Museum so that young people like me can see them and be inspired.

“I think British test pilots of the future should be able to read his log books to understand the testing of the very important aircraft that he flew.”
It is fair to say that Captain Brown was by many measures the Fleet Air Arm’s most significant pilot of the post-war period. On 3rd December 1945 he became the first ever pilot to take off and land a jet aircraft – the Sea Vampire – on a carrier. The Fleet Air Arm Museum displays the very same Vampire in which he completed his jet-powered flight.

Also included in the museum collection are the goggles and wrist compass which he wore during his tests and in 2015 Captain Brown himself unveiled a new bronze bust commissioned by the Society of Friends of FAAM.