Posts Tagged ‘RAF Museum Cosford’

German front line duo are highlights of Open Cockpits Evening

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Focke Wulf 190

Date: 19-20 May 2017

Time: 6.00pm to 9.00pm

Cost: £12.50 per person

Two Second World War German front line fighter aircraft, the Messerschmitt BF109G-2/Trop and the Focke Wulf Fw190A-8/U-1 have been announced as highlights at the forthcoming ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 19-20 May 2017.

With just 300 tickets available per evening, organisers are anticipating the event will be hugely popular with aviation fans eager to get a look inside two former Luftwaffe aircraft. In addition, a wide range of transport aircraft, jet fighters and unique research airframes from each of the Museum’s display hangars and within the Museum grounds will be open on the night for close viewing.

The Messerschmitt BF109G-2, designed by Willi Messerschmitt, is a legend alongside the British Spitfire, American P51 Mustang and the Japanese Zero. First flown in 1935, the Bf109 was obsolescent by the second half of World War Two yet it remained the backbone of the German Air Force’s day fighter force and was flown by many of her allies. In production right up to the end of hostilities, more than 33,000 were built second only to the Russian ‘Sturmovik’ as the most prolific military design, and post-war versions served with the Czech, Israeli and Spanish Air Forces, the latter until the mid-1960s – with Rolls Royce Merlin engines. Compact, rugged, fast and heavily armed the Bf109 has the distinction of being flown by the highest-scoring fighter aces in history. The museum’s rare example is a recent edition to the aircraft display at Cosford following its arrival in November 2016 and this is the first time the aircraft will be opened up to the public to have a closer view inside (no internal access).

Also new to the ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ line-up is fellow German fighter the Focke Wulf Fw190 – a single-seat single-engine multi-role fighter-bomber, capable of carrying a larger bomb load than its counterpart the Messerschmitt Bf109. Entering Luftwaffe service in August 1941, the Fw 190 proved superior in many respects to the Royal Air Force’s main frontline fighter, the Spitfire V. It took the introduction of the much improved Spitfire IX in July 1942 for the RAF to gain an aircraft of equal capability. One of its more unusual roles was as part of the twin-aircraft drone combination, code-named mistletoe or Mistel where a single engine fighter was mounted on top of a twin engine bomber, and on lining up with the target the fighter detached itself, leaving the bomber, packed with explosives, to impact the target. Cosford’s Fw 190 is a unique survivor of a Mistel combination and was part of a combination with a Junkers Ju 88. Although not its original partner aircraft, the Museum’s Ju88 example is now on display alongside the Fw190. Visitors to ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ will be able to sit inside the cockpit of the Fw190 on the night.

RAF Museum Cosford Curator, Al McLean said:
“The event in May is a rare chance to see inside the two most iconic German fighter aircraft of the Second World War, positioned directly opposite their British counterparts.”

Other highlights for visitors on the night will include the British Aircraft Corporation TSR 2, BAe Harrier GR9A, General Dynamics F-111F-CF and the Lockheed Hercules C130K Mk3 to name but a few.

Ticket holders will also have exclusive after-hours access to the Museum from 6pm to 9pm to experience what it feels like to sit inside a military aircraft that’s seen action around the world and marvel at the advanced technologies on unique airframes. To make sure visitors get the most out of the event, there will be a team of Volunteers manning each aircraft on the night to answer any questions from visitors.

Tickets are now available to purchase through the museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford and cost £12.50 per person which includes parking. Minimum height restrictions of 1.07 metres will apply. The Museum will close at 5.00pm both days; however the Visitor Centre and Refuel Restaurant will remain open for ticket holders and will be serving a special ‘Open Cockpits Evening’ menu.

A second Open Cockpits Evening will take place on 15-16 September and will feature a different line-up of aircraft.

Trustees march 130 miles for Museum

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Trustee's run 5 Marathons

Date: 8-12 May 2017
Time: 9am, depart RAF Museum Cosford

Two Trustees from the Royal Air Force Museum are set to walk a marathon a day for five days in order to raise funds for the Museum’s £26m RAF Centenary Programme.

Alan Coppin and Robin Southwell, both Trustees of the RAF Museum will walk between the Museum’s two public sites; from Cosford in the West Midlands to Colindale in North West London and aim to raise £100K along the way.

The 130 mile walk will take-off from the RAF Museum Cosford at 9am on Monday 8 May after a sleepover in the Officer’s Mess at RAF Cosford. Following a grueling 30 miles on day one, Alan and Robin aim to reach their first stopover point in Solihull by 9pm. There will be no rest for the wicked, as it will be another early start on day two for a 26 mile leg of the journey towards Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. Stopovers will also include RAF Halton and RAF High Wycombe on nights three and four respectively, before they eventually reach the RAF Museum London on the Friday evening, completing their marathon mission.

The money raised will go towards the award-winning RAF Museum’s million-pound transformation of the visitor experience at its London site in 2018, coinciding with the centenary of the Royal Air Force. This £26m major transformation will celebrate and commemorate this anniversary with a national lasting legacy for the Royal Air Force, sharing the story of the RAF through its people and collections.

The new landscaping will welcome visitors to discover a new green heart of the community in Colindale, reflecting the historic RAF Hendon airfield. New, innovative galleries will explore the first 100 years of the RAF, its roles today and invite visitors to imagine its future contribution and technology. Plus, a new digital sharing project will promote a conversation with a global audience and help connect people to the RAF story, ensuring it endures and enriches future generations.

The development plans will also include new exhibitions at Cosford, exploring the first 100 years of the RAF and new aircraft displays which are already underway, to enable the RAF’s story to be more comprehensively represented to Museum audiences in the Midlands.

RAF Museum Trustee, Robin Southwell said:
“It’s an important time for the Museum and we are all excited at the opportunities that lie ahead. Our aim is to raise awareness and funds for the Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme and we are grateful for the support from the Royal Air Force.”

To sponsor the Trustees five marathons in five days and support the RAF Museum visit their donate page: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/5marathonsin5days/423881 or for more information about the fundraising walk and the RAF Museum’s Centenary plans, visit www.rafmuseum.org . The RAF Museum is a registered charity, number 244708.

Museum launches new Cold War Lunchtime Lecture series

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Gloster Javelin

Date: 17 March 2017
Time: 12.30pm
Cost: FREE
Location: National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre at RAF Museum Cosford

On 17 March, the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be hosting the first Cold War Lunchtime Lecture of 2017 with a lecture entitled ‘Coping with Technological Uncertainty: Military Aircraft Procurement, 1945-1957’. In this lecture, Professor Keith Hayward, a consultant and writer on aerospace and aviation issues, will examine Britain’s military aircraft procurement process during the early period of the Cold War.
Each lecture in the series discusses a different topic related to Cold War air power and to kick start the 2017 series, Professor Keith Hayward will be discussing aircraft procurement from the period at the end of the Second World War through to the Sandys White Paper of 1957. This paper set forth the perceived future of the British military and had profound effects on all aspects of the defence industry during a major period in the development of British aviation technology.

The lecture will begin by covering the immediate post-war hiatus in new developments driven by a mixture of austerity, technological uncertainty and prudence and will then consider the impact of the Korean Emergency and the hurried re-armament programme of the 1950s. It was during this period that the Hawker Hunter, Supermarine Swift and Gloster Javelin programmes came into focus, as well as the challenge and problems of acquiring a new generation of jet aircraft that culminated in the 1955 crisis and subsequent White Paper. Professor Hayward will consider the reforms in procurement that were introduced in the English Electric P1 programme and more controversially for OR339. The lecture will then conclude with a discussion around Sandys White paper with final thoughts about its intent and outcomes.

Professor Keith Hayward was formally Professor of International Relations at Staffordshire University, Head of Economic and Political Affairs at the UK aerospace trade association and until January 2015, Head of Research at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. He has consulted for several companies and government departments, including the UK Ministry of Defence and the Department of Business, Innovation and Science. He has acted as an advisor to the UK House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee and the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment. He has taken part in two recent collaborative studies of the space industry on behalf of the Commission of the European Union and the European Space Agency and is also the author of several books and over 100 articles and chapters on aerospace and aviation issues.

The Cold War Lunchtime Lectures form part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme for 2017. ‘Coping with Technological Uncertainty: Military Aircraft Procurement, 1945-1957’, is the first of four lectures taking place at Cosford this year. The programme also consists of the Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies and the First World War in the Air Lunchtime Lectures, which are held at the University of Wolverhampton, the Royal Aeronautical Society in London and the RAF Museum in London respectively.

Dr Ross Mahoney, RAF Museum Aviation Historian said:
“The early Cold War period was a time rapid technological change combined with austerity in Britain, which led to a number of challenges in the procurement of new aircraft. In this lecture, Professor Hayward, a recognised expert on Britain’s aviation industry, will explore this important period and the factors that affected aircraft procurement for the British military.”

This FREE lecture will be held in the museum’s National Cold War Exhibition lecture theatre at 12.30pm on Friday 17 March, lasting approximately 1 ½ hours. As spaces are limited, organisers advise visitors to book their tickets in advance via the Museum’s website to avoid disappointment.

For further information about the Museum’s research programme or to book your FREE ticket to the lecture, please visit the Museum website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford. The Museum is open daily from 10am and entry to the Museum is FREE of charge.

Model show returns to Cosford in April

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Shropshire Model Show

Date: 2 April 2017
Time: 10.00am to 4.00pm
Cost: FREE entry

The popular Shropshire Scale Model Show will be returning to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on Sunday 2 April 2017.

This annual event attracts thousands of visitors each year and takes place nestled amongst the world-class collection of aircraft and military vehicles on display at the Museum. Thousands of intricately detailed models of aircraft, cars, bikes, trucks and science fiction items will be spread across the whole site, filling the Museum hangars with a world of model making. Over 100 modelling clubs and traders from across the country will be attending the one day show this year.

With modelling clubs displaying their creations, many of which have taken years to perfect, and traders selling everything any dedicated modeller could ever want or need, model making fans are guaranteed to enjoy the show. Items on offer will include a range of modelling materials and kits to suit modellers of all abilities, from young children who are just discovering their passion for modelling, right through to the avid modellers who have been building kits for many years. There will be everything from kits in various sizes along with glues, paints and other detailed sets available to purchase on the day.

Event organiser, Gary Stevens Secretary of the Shropshire Scale Modellers and The Telford Branch of The International Plastic Modellers Society says:
“We’ve made a few changes to the shows layout this year, working around the Museum’s new aircraft arrivals, which I’m sure will be popular with visitors. We have lots of the popular traders and exhibitors returning to the show again this year and we look forward to welcoming model fans to the event.”

To make reaching the Museum even easier, there will be a free park and ride for the day to cope with the additional visitors, running from Cosford train station. The show will be open to the public from 10am until 4pm and entry to the event is FREE of charge. For further information, please visit the museum website at www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

France under Friendly Bombs is Focus of Lecture

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Aerial Photo

Date: 9 March 2017
Time: 6.30pm
Cost: FREE
Location: University of Wolverhampton, MC001, Millennium City Building, Wolverhampton Campus

The Allied bombing campaign against targets in France during the Second World War will be the focus of a lecture taking place at the University of Wolverhampton next month. The lecture entitled ‘France under Friendly Bombs, 1940-1945’ will be presented by Professor Andrew Knapp, Emeritus Professor of French Politics and Contemporary History at the University of Reading, also an accomplished author on the subject.

Taking place on Thursday 9 March 2017, this lecture is a continuation of the joint partnership between the University’s Department of War Studies and the Royal Air Force Museum. Delivered by emerging and established researchers, these lectures explore a variety of air power related topics ranging from historical themes to contemporary issues.

During this first lecture for 2017 at the University, Professor Andrew Knapp will discuss how studies of the Allied strategic bombing offensive during the Second World War have tended, logically, to focus on the main target, Germany. Yet, over one in every five bombs dropped by the Allies on continental Europe during the Second World War fell on France. Although most of the raids were linked, directly or indirectly, to the Normandy landings, the Allies bombed France from June 1940 till April 1945, and they killed over 57,000 French civilians – a figure of the same order as the British civilian death toll from German action in the same period. This lecture offers an overview of a comparatively neglected aspect of the Allied offensive.

The lecture will begin with a focus on the offensive against France from the Allies’ perspective. When and where did most of the raids take place and what were the main target sets? How relevant to France were non-material objectives such as morale and what opposition did Allied aircraft face from the Luftwaffe? What political problems were presented by bombing a friendly people, and how, if at all, did bombing techniques differ between raids on France and the Reich? Professor Andrew Knapp will examine how successful this aspect of the Allied offensive was, before moving on to consider the French reactions to the Allied offensive.

The second part of the lecture will focus on the French reactions from a variety of perspectives, including the Vichy state’s efforts to develop civil defence, evacuation measures, and emergency relief. There will be discussions around Vichy’s attempts to use the raids for propaganda purposes and the Allies’ attempts to justify their actions to the French public. Intercepted letters and telephone calls will be used to highlight the French public opinion at the time, both in general and in relation to Allied aircrews. Professor Andrew Knapp will conclude the hour and a half lecture by reflecting briefly on the wider issue of bombing friendly populations to liberate them and the political costs and benefits.

Dr Ross Mahoney, RAF Museum Aviation Historian said:
“While Germany was the primary target for the Allied bombing campaign in the Second World War, occupied countries, such as France, were also attacked. Targeting occupied countries presented its own set of challenges for both the attackers and the attacked. In this lecture, organised by the RAF Museum and hosted in conjunction with our partner, the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Knapp, a recognised expert on the bombing of France during the Second World War, will discuss some of the issues related to the challenge of bombing France.”

The Trenchard Lectures in Air Power Studies form part of the RAF Museum’s Research Programme for 2017. ‘France under Friendly Bombs, 1940-1945’, is the first of three joint lectures taking place at the University of Wolverhampton this year. The second lecture in the series will take place in June and the final lecture of the year in November.

This FREE lecture will be held at the University of Wolverhampton, MC001, Millennium City Building, Wolverhampton Campus, at 6.30pm on Thursday 9 March. As spaces are limited, organisers advise visitors to book their tickets in advance via the Museum’s website to avoid disappointment.

For further information about the Museum’s research programme or to book your FREE ticket to the lecture, please visit the Museum website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.

German bomber wings its way to the Midlands

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

RAF Museum Junkers JU88r

A rare example of the great German multi-role combat aircraft of the Second World War, the Junkers Ju88, has been transported by road to its new home in the Midlands. This particular aircraft, a Ju88R-1 night-fighter version, travelled 130 miles from the Royal Air Force Museum London, to its sister site at Cosford, Shropshire where it will soon go on public display. The new arrival is the sixth aircraft to wing its way to Cosford in the last few months and completes the Museum’s new line-up in preparation for the RAF Centenary in 2018.

The aircraft was dismantled at the Museum’s London site and prepared for transportation by Museum Technicians and Apprentices, with assistance from GJD Services – specialist maintenance and aircraft salvage company based at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire. The fuselage and port wing have now been transported to Cosford, with the starboard wing due to arrive next week when work will commence on the re-build.

This latest arrival is a huge coup for aviation fans in the Midlands, giving them access to one of the most versatile German combat aircraft of the Second World War and one of the Luftwaffe’s most important assets.

The Ju88 began life as a bomber, became a night fighter and intruder; undertook anti-shipping operations and flew long-range reconnaissance missions. They entered service in September 1939 and by the end of the month they were undertaking their first operational mission against British shipping in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. It was during the Battle of Britain, however, that the Ju88A played a major role in German operations. Ju88’s took part in a number of daylight actions against British radar stations, airfields and ports in the opening phases of the Battle of Britain. It was reasonably manoeuvrable for its size and could take a great deal of punishment; however its lack of armoured protection and insufficient defensive armament meant that it was relatively easy prey for British fighters. At the time of the Battle of Britain the Ju88 was at the beginning of its service career and its remarkable adaptability, particularly as a night fighter, had still to be exploited by the Luftwaffe.

The museum’s example was constructed as a Ju88 A-1 bomber in 1942 and converted to the R-1 standard in early 1943 for the night fighter role. In May 1943 a three man crew were ordered to intercept and shoot down an unarmed BOAC Mosquito courier flight from Leuchars, Scotland to Stockholm, Sweden. Just two hours after take-off, the pro-British and anti-Nazi crew sent a bogus message to Night Fighter HQ reporting a starboard engine fire. The Ju88 descended to sea level, below German radar and dropped three life rafts to make the Germans think the plane and crew were lost at sea and then headed for Scotland.

The Ju88 was eventually intercepted by two Spitfire VBs from No.165 (Ceylon) Squadron RAF. Identified as a Ju88, when approached the German pilot dropped his undercarriage and waggled his wings and was then lead back to Dyce airfield where all three aircraft landed safely.

The Spitfire pilots were later congratulated for not opening fire and bringing home valuable information for the technical branch. This was a significant coup for the British – the Ju 88 was fitted with the latest FuG 202 Liechtenstein BC A.I radar. It was the first of its type to fall into British hands and was quickly placed inside a hangar to hide it from Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft.

Shortly after, it was allocated the British serial number PJ876 and commenced a test programme with RAE Wireless and Electrical Flight, in conjunction with the RAF’s Fighter Interception Unit, whose role was to evaluate captured enemy aircraft and demonstrate their characteristics to other Allied units. The aircraft was acquired by the RAF Museum in 1978 and has been displayed at its London site for almost four decades and will now go on display at Cosford for the first time in the Museum’s ‘War in the Air’ hangar.

Ian Thirsk, Head of Collections at the RAF Museum said:
“We are delighted to add the Ju88R-1 to our collection of Axis aircraft types on public display at Cosford. The Junkers Ju88 was one of the most versatile military aircraft of all time and this particular example, the last surviving night fighter variant, has a truly fascinating story to tell. It will be displayed alongside other significant German aircraft of the period and will enhance the Museum’s ability to tell the wider story of RAF operations during the Second World War.”

Within the last few months a total of six new aircraft have been transported by road from the museum’s sister site in London for display at Cosford. The first to arrive was the Messerschmitt BF109G-2 which is now displayed in the ‘War in the Air hangar’ confronting its British equivalents, a Hurricane and Spitfire. Transported alongside the Bf109 was the de Havilliand Tiger Moth II which can now be viewed in ‘Hangar 1’ alongside the Scottish Aviation Bulldog T Mk 1, demonstrating the progression in RAF training aircraft.

Just a few short weeks later the Wolverhampton built Boulton Paul Defiant M1 made a homecoming journey along the M1 and M6 to the museums Cosford site, just a few miles from where it was built in the late 1930s. Accompanied en route by the Gloster Gladiator 1 and the Westland Lysander III, both the Defiant and Gladiator will be reassembled once the Ju88 is in position and go on display in the ‘War in the Air’ hangar, whilst the Lysander will undergo some minor repair work to its fragile linen skin in the museum’s Conservation Centre.

The aircraft moves come as the museum prepares for the Royal Air Force’s centenary celebrations in 2018 that will see the museum transform its London site with a series of new permanent exhibitions opening in the summer of 2018. The multi-million pound development programme will see investments in new exhibitions, improved education and volunteering opportunities, and landscaping that will emphasise the site’s importance as a heritage airfield. It will improve the visitor experience, extend the Museum’s reach to new audiences and create a lasting legacy to mark the Centenary.

The enhanced aircraft collection at Cosford will enable the RAF’s story to be more comprehensively represented to museum audiences in the Midlands. In addition, plans for 2018 will include displays exploring the first 100 years of the RAF, the role it plays today and its future contributions. Making the RAF story available to a global audience there will be a huge investment in the Museum’s online offer.

Aviation fans can keep up to date with the centenary aircraft moves and on-going developments by signing up to the museum’s free e-Newsletter http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/contact-us/newsletters.aspx

Entrance to the museum is free of charge and the museum is open daily from 10am until 4pm. For further information, please visit the museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford .

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 www.rafmuseum.org/cosford including information on aircraft accessibility.

RAF Museum Cosford 2017 Events Diary

Friday, January 6th, 2017

RAF Museum Cosford Open Cockpits Evening

Date                              Event

7 February               National Cold War Exhibition 10 year anniversary
20-24 February      Airfix Make and Take
22 February             Airfix V-Bombers Walking Talk

17 March                   Cold War Lunchtime Lecture

2 April                        Shropshire Scale Model Show
8-23 April                  Easter Activities

19-20 May                  Open Cockpits Evening

30 May – 2 June       Half Term Activities

11 June                        RAF Cosford Air Show
16 June                       Cold War Lunchtime Lecture
24 June                       Armed Forces Day

15-16 July                   Large Model Aircraft Rally
22-23 July                  Cosford Food Festival

1-31 August                Summer of Spies

3 September              Spitfire 10K
15 September            Cold War Lunchtime Lecture
15-16 September       Open Cockpits Evening

23-27 October          Airfix Make and Take

12 November            Remembrance Service
13-18 November      Conservation Centre Open Week

15 December            Cold War Lunchtime Lecture

Christmas has come early at Cosford!

Monday, November 28th, 2016

RAF Museum Cosford Gladiator

It’s being to look a lot like Christmas at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, as the Shropshire attraction has received a rather large delivery in the form of three Second World War aircraft!  The Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1, the Gloster Gladiator 1 and the Westland Lysander III have all been safely transported by road from the museum’s London site and are currently being prepared for display at Cosford.

It is a homecoming for the Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1, the last surviving example of its kind, built by Boulton Paul at its Pendeford, Wolverhampton factory in 1938.  This two-seat turret fighter, operated with mixed fortunes during the Battle of Britain period but found its niche as a night fighter during 1940-42.  They were used extensively later in the war for air-sea rescue and target tug roles in the UK and Middle and Far East. The museum’s example, serial number N1671 was operated by the newly formed No 307 (Polish) Squadron RAF, who became operational in December 1940.  It was painted in its all black night fighter colour scheme the following January and carried out 15 patrols before moving to No 285 (Anti-aircraft Co-Operation) Squadron in June 1942, its last operational user.  It was originally set aside for preservation in 1944 and spent several years moving between RAF bases for display.  N1671 was eventually acquired by the RAF Museum in 1971 and after almost four decades on display at the museum’s London site, the aircraft was completely restored by Medway Aircraft Preservation Society at Rochester Airport in 2009, going back on display at the museum in 2012. Now the sole surviving intact example of its type has made the 130 mile journey from London to Cosford where it will go on public display early in the New Year.

Another new aircraft to wing its way to Cosford is the Gloster Gladiator 1, the first enclosed cockpit and last biplane fighter introduced into RAF service.  Although Gladiators saw operational service at home it was most successfully employed overseas particularly in the defence of Malta.  At the outbreak of the Second World War, four home based RAF fighter squadrons equipped with Gladiators were sent to France and after just ten days of hard fighting, all the aircraft had been lost. In a desperate attempt to provide fighter cover for the ‘little ships’ involved in the Dunkirk evacuation, a detachment of home based aircraft known as ‘G’ Flight was formed at RAF Manston, Kent.  They were quickly deployed to assist with the rescue of more than 338,000 British and French soldiers trapped on the beaches. During the early war years, Gladiators were used by the RAF in several other overseas operations including; Norway, Greece, North Africa and the Middle East.

The museum’s example, serial number K8042 has been displayed at the RAF Museum London since opening in 1972 and this is the first time the aircraft will be displayed at the museum’s Cosford site.  It’s not however, the first time the aircraft has visited the Midlands, having been stationed with No 5 Squadron at RAF Ternhill and No 61 Squadron at RAF Rednal, Shropshire in the early 1940s.  K8042 was also used for gun trials and experiments, whereby an additional pair was fitted under the top wing, giving a total of six guns instead of the usual four. Also joining the aircraft collection at the RAF Museum Cosford is the Westland Lysander III, the only surviving Special Duties variant of this aircraft.  It was designed to operate closely with the Army and had a remarkable performance which enabled it to get into and out of extremely small fields.  A radical change in Army co-operation tactics meant that its lasting fame is not in this role but as a Special Duties aircraft ferrying Allied agents in and out of enemy occupied Europe.  Four Lysander squadrons went to France in 1939 and despite some notable successes the Army Co-operation units suffered extremely high casualties – over 170 Lysander’s were sent to France; only 50 came back.  After their withdrawal from France, they patrolled the coastal areas of south and east England as an anti-invasion reconnaissance measure. Late in 1940 they began air-sea rescue duties in the Channel and North Sea – not only could the Lysander spot airmen in the sea and bring surface vessels to them, it was able to drop a lifesaving dinghy and supplies.

The museum’s example, serial number R9125 first became operational with No 225 Squadron in 1940 as a coastal patrol and photo reconnaissance aircraft, based along the south coast of England.  It took on the Special Duties role with No 161 Squadron in 1944 and was operational for a further two years until they became obsolete from the RAF in 1946.  For a brief period in 1961 the aircraft was placed into storage at RAF Cosford and ten years later it was acquired by the museum and placed on display at its London site, where it has remained until its recent move to Cosford.

The Defiant and Gladiator will both go on public display in the museum’s ‘War in the Air’ hangar in January 2017, whilst the Lysander will be heading to the museum’s Conservation Centre for an in depth inspection and condition assessment, before work is carried out over the next few years to replace its fragile linen outer skin.

Head of Collections at the RAF Museum, Ian Thirsk said:

“It’s been a busy month at Cosford with five new aircraft arrivals.  We took delivery of the Bf109 and the Tiger Moth earlier this month and now we welcome the Defiant, Gladiator and Lysander to the collection at Cosford.  The Junkers Ju 88R-1, a sub-type of the most versatile German combat aircraft of the Second World War will complete the new line-up and is due to arrive before the New Year.  The museum’s centenary plans have provided an exciting opportunity to relocate significant aircraft in the collection closer to aviation fans in the Midlands. In total Cosford will have received six new aircraft in the final few months of this year.”

The new collection of aircraft will enable the RAF’s story to be more comprehensively represented to museum audiences in Shropshire and is in preparation for the centenary of the Royal Air Force in 2018. The centenary plans at Cosford will also include exploring the first 100 years of the RAF, the role it plays today and its future contributions by sharing this story online with a global audience.

Aviation fans can keep up to date with the centenary aircraft moves and on-going developments by signing up to the museum’s free e-Newsletter http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/contact-us/newsletters.aspx

Visitors will be able to see five of the new arrivals fully reassembled and in their new display positions by early 2017.  Entrance to the museum is free of charge and the museum is open daily from 10am until 4pm.  For further information, please visit the museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford or call 01902 376200.

Two new aircraft wing their way to Cosford

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

BF109 RAF Museum Cosford

A Messerschmitt BF109G-2 and a de Havilland Tiger Moth II, are the first of six new aircraft to arrive at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, having been transported by road from the museum’s sister site in London.  Visitors can now view the brand new arrivals on display in the museum’s hangars with four more aircraft due to arrive before Christmas.

The Messerschmitt BF109G-2, designed by Willi Messerschmitt, is a legend alongside the British Spitfire, American P51 Mustang and the Japanese Zero.  First flown in 1935, the Bf109 was obsolescent by the second half of World War Two yet it remained the backbone of the German Air Force’s day fighter force and was flown by many of her allies. In production right up to the end of hostilities, more than 33,000 were built second only to the Russian ‘Sturmovik’ as the most prolific military design, and post-war versions served with the Czech, Israeli and Spanish Air Forces, the latter until the mid-1960s – with Rolls Royce Merlin engines.  Compact, rugged, fast and heavily armed the Bf109 has the distinction of being flown by the highest-scoring fighter aces in history. With the promised availability of the new Daimler-Benz DB 605A German built engine, design work began on the Bf109G series where higher speeds were obtained, but manoeuvrability and handling were adversely affected. The Bf109G series will be forever linked with the daylight bomber-killing missions in defence of the Reich. German fighter pilots found themselves facing heavily armed American B17 Fortress and B24 Liberator bombers and later long range P38 Lightning, P47 Thunderbolt and P51 Mustang fighters. Ground down by the overwhelming odds, few survived the war. 

The museum’s rare example was disassemble by the museum’s team of Aircraft Technicians and Apprentices in London and transported on a low loader lorry along the M1, M6 and M54 before being reassembled in its new display hangar at Cosford. Members of the public can now view the aircraft in the museum’s ‘War in the Air’ hangar alongside fellow German fighter the Focke Wulf Fw190, facing their British equivalents the Supermarine Spitfire 1 and Hawker Hurricane IIc.

The second of the two new arrivals is the 1930s bi-plane the de Havilliand Tiger Moth II, originally produced as a development of the well-known Gipsy Moth.  The Tiger Moth went on to become one of the world’s most famous training aircraft and provided the majority of RAF pilots with their elementary flying training during the Second World War.  In the aftermath of the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, almost any anti-invasion idea was considered and three extraordinary Tiger Moth conversions were put forward.  Some were fitted with light bomb racks ready to undertake the bombing of enemy troops attempting a landing, whilst others were fitted with a tank in the front cockpit with powder dispensers located under the wings intended to dust the German troops with a poisonous insecticide as they waded ashore.  A more revolutionary idea was the ‘paraslasher’; a scythe-like blade fitted to the aircraft and intended to cut parachutist’s canopies as they descended to earth. Fortunately none of these ideas had to be used, leaving Elementary Flying Training Schools to their vital role of pilot training. 

The Tiger Moth was eventually succeeded and replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk in the early 1950s and both aircraft can now be viewed alongside each other in Hangar 1 at Cosford, positioned next to the Scottish Aviation Bulldog T Mk 1, a further progression in training aircraft.  The Tiger Moth also travelled by road to Cosford, alongside the Bf109 .

Other aircraft still to wing their way to Cosford before Christmas include the Wolverhampton built Boulton Paul Defiant M1, Junkers Ju 88R-1, Gloster Gladiator 1 and the Westland Lysander III.  Work is already underway at the museum’s London site to prepare the aircraft for transportation by road to Cosford.  Visitors will be able to see all of the new aircraft fully reassembled and in their new display positions by early 2017, with the exception of the Lysander which will spend a short period in the museum’s Conservation Centre before eventually going on display.

RAF Museum Cosford Curator, Al McLean said:

“This will be the first time that we have been able to display a Bf 109 in the War in the Air hangar at Cosford and appropriately it will be seen confronting a Hurricane and a Spitfire.”

The new aircraft arrivals will enable the RAF’s story to be more comprehensively represented to museum audiences in Shropshire, as the museum prepares to celebrate and commemorate the centenary of the Royal Air Force in 2018.  Whilst there are major transformations planned for the museum’s London site, some exciting additions for Cosford will include exploring the first 100 years of the RAF, the role it plays today and its future contributions, as well as sharing the story online with a global audience.

Aviation fans can keep up to date with the centenary aircraft moves and on-going developments by signing up to the museums free e-Newsletter http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/contact-us/newsletters.aspx

Entrance to the museum is free of charge and the museum is open daily from 10am until 4pm.  For further information, please visit the museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford.