Posts Tagged ‘RAF Museum London’

The Phantom Experience

Friday, June 9th, 2017


The McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR2 is an iconic aircraft that formed a major part of the Royal Air Force’s combat aircraft strength for 23 years. We are now offering visitors the opportunity to sit in this fascinating piece of Cold War technology.

We will be launching ‘The Phantom Experience’ on Armed Forces Day, Saturday 24 June. Each session booked caters for one individual and lasts approximately 10 minutes. Our wonderful volunteers will guide you into the cockpit and explain how the aircraft would have been operated. Tickets are £8 and available on the day.

On the 24 June you will also be able to hear the stories behind the aircraft and those of the Service men and women who worked with it. There will be Phantom objects on display and a Spook Selfie Station where you can take your photo dressed as a Top Jet Pilot.

From 1 July, the experience will run every Saturday, 11am – 3pm. Tickets will be £8 (with a 50p booking fee) and only available to purchase online through our website.
Our Phantom has a remarkable history; it took part in a commemorative Transatlantic Flight and was painted in special colours. These colours celebrated 60 years since Alcock and Brown completed the first transatlantic flight in 1919.  After the celebrations, the Phantom was painted in the colours of the 56 Squadron. It was brought to the RAF Museum London in 1992 after accruing over 5000 hours of flight time. It is now displayed with a full load of deactivated Sidewinder and Skyflash missiles, fuel drop tanks and a centreline Gatling cannon located the heart of the Historic Hangars.

If you’re intrigued by this supersonic piece of cold war engineering then book your chance to experience it up close now!

Tom Hardy’s RAF uniform on display at the RAF Museum

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Tom Hardy uniform at RAF Museum

Visitors to the RAF Museum have the opportunity to see the RAF uniform worn by actor Tom Hardy in the film Dunkirk.

“Dunkirk” is the new epic action thriller from filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy) release on 21st July 2017.

The film opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.

The film’s ensemble cast includes Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy and Barry Keoghan, with Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn,” “Hamlet,” “Henry V”), Cillian Murphy (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “Wolf Hall”) and Tom Hardy (“The Revenant,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Inception”).

The uniform as worn by Tom Hardy is on display by the Museum’s Mk I Spitfire.

RAF Centenary Exhibition: Behind the scenes

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

100 objects


The RAF Museum is busy developing it’s London site and preparing exhibits for the RAF Centenary next year One of the areas in the new exhibition will be a timeline covering 100 years of the RAF. Like the exhibition itself, it will not be looking to tell you the whole history of the RAF but will be taking events, some major, some minor and placing them in the appropriate position on the timeline.

Accompanying the timeline will be a number of tactile models showing how aircraft of a similar role have evolved (representative models can be seen in the photos) and a miscellany of roughly 100 smaller objects highlighting many varied aspects of the RAF. It covers technical equipment, (some high tech, some very low tech) and personal items from the mundane to the extraordinary.

A couple of weeks ago we took a long list of roughly 150 items and laid them down on a 10 meter long table to see if we could whittle the list down to about 100. This allowed us to group some of the objects together, see what items worked and which didn’t and get a general feel for what this part of the exhibition may look like…

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

Northrop Grumman Supports Centenary Programme to Transform Royal Air Force Museum, London

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

RAF Museum London

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has entered into a sponsor partnership with the Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum to support the museum’s RAF Centenary Programme that will transform its London site as part of the Royal Air Force’s centenary celebrations in 2018.

The museum’s plans include a series of new permanent exhibitions which will open in the summer of 2018. Northrop Grumman will be a themed sponsor in the new Now & the Future exhibition area with a particular emphasis on air intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and unmanned aircraft systems. The Now & the Future exhibit area will enable visitors to understand the story of the RAF from its earliest years in the First World War to its global role today.

“The RAF Museum plays an important role in ensuring the RAF’s story endures and inspires future generations,” said Andrew Tyler, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Europe. “Through our partnership with the museum we have an exciting opportunity to play our part in educating and informing visitors about the technology innovations of today and the future, and encourage a deeper interest in aeronautics among all age groups.”

The multi-million pound development programme will transform the London site through investment 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 museum has received substantial funding from Heritage Lottery Fund grants as well as public and corporate benefactors. It needs just under £7m to reach its target.

“The Trustees of the RAF Museum would like to take this opportunity to thank Northrop Grumman for their generous support. The museum is committed to sharing the story of the women and men of the Royal Air Force and we are looking forward to redeveloping the site to make it more engaging and accessible for future generations,” said Karen Whitting, director of public programmes, RAF Museum.

The RAF Museum was established in 1968 as a legacy of the RAF’s 50th anniversary. It opened its London site at Hendon in 1972. The museum is a National Museum and a registered charity and welcomes approximately 700,000 visitors a year.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit for more information.

Chancellor provides RAF Museum with £3m in Autumn Statement

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

Age of Uncertainty

Financial penalties levied on banks involved in the LIBOR lending rate-fixing scandal will benefit the RAF Museum in North West London, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced today.

In today’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the RAF Museum will receive £3m LIBOR funds for its 2018 RAF Centenary Programme. The money will specifically support the development of a new exhibition and a dedicated Learning Centre – both of which are part of the Museum’s wider RAF Centenary Programme which celebrates and commemorates 100 years of the RAF in 2018.

The new exhibition will explore the impact of the Royal Air Force on world events, society and technology since the Cold War through its many roles during the past 40 years – during an ‘age of uncertainty’. As part of the Museum’s contemporary collecting strategy, it is actively seeking out inspiring objects and stories that will engage visitors with the RAF’s recent history, to display in this innovative new gallery.

The dedicated Learning Centre will underpin the Museum’s Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) programme along with hosting both formal and lifetime learning activities in history, literacy, art and design.

Chief Executive of the RAF Museum Maggie Appleton said “It’s wonderful to be given such a high level of support from the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme. The stories we want to share reflect the bravery, ingenuity and dedication of RAF men and women  working in today’s complex and challenging environment with space for our visitors to reflect on and join in the discussion from their own personal perspectives..” 

The RAF Museum’s RAF Centenary Programme is a £23.5m project which will transform the site in North West London making it more accessible and welcoming to a new generation of visitors. Work has already begun for a completion date of summer 2018 and today’s grant of £3m means that the Museum is now in the final stretch of fundraising.

To find out more on the Museum’s exciting RAF Centenary Programme for 2018 CLICK HERE


Royal Air Force Museum secures National Lottery investment for RAF Centenary Programme

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

RAF Museum 2018

The Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to announce that it has been awarded £4,595,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the next phase of its RAF Centenary Programme at its London site.

2018 will mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and will be an occasion of national celebration and commemoration. As the oldest and longest serving independent air force in the world, the RAF has affected the lives of millions, driven technological innovations, pushed the boundaries of human achievement and become part of the UK’s cultural identity.

To connect a global audience with this remarkable story, the RAF Museum is delivering a series of ambitious capital changes to its London site, creating a world-leading visitor destination.

The first phase of this redevelopment, the ‘First World War in the Air’ exhibition, supported by HLF, opened to public acclaim in December 2014, winning Best Heritage Project in the National Lottery Awards 2015.

The Museum is delighted to announce that, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the next phase of the transformation will be delivered for 2018.

Two innovative exhibitions will explore the first 100 years of the RAF through the stories of its people and invite visitors to imagine its future contribution and technology.

A warm welcome will be provided in a new visitor centre with clear orientation, café, shop, Members’ room and flexible-use spaces. A new restaurant will revitalise a disused historic building, connecting visitors with the site’s RAF heritage.

Through ‘RAF Stories’, a digital project, people will contribute personal stories to enhance our understanding and sharing of RAF heritage, onsite and online.

A new learning programme will aim to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Additionally, new apprenticeships and volunteering activities will help the Museum conserve and display more of the incredible 1.3 million objects within its collection representing the national memory of the RAF at work and play, war and peace.

As a result, an expanded, more diverse audience will enjoy richer engagement with RAF heritage through our site, collections and people-focused  interpretation.

Further planned phases of the RAF Centenary Programme will bring to life the stories of the London Aerodrome and RAF Hendon – from which the first airmail, parachute jump, night flight and aerial defence of a city took place.

Maggie Appleton, CEO of the Royal Air Force Museum, said: “I would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund on behalf of all our staff, volunteers and Trustees for the generous support they have given us – we could not be happier! The story of the RAF is one of bravery, ingenuity and dedication which echoes within all our lives and will endure and enrich future generations. We are very excited to be given the opportunity to tell this story through the Museum’s collections and the voices of the individual men and women who served in the RAF and whose lives have been influenced by it.”

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “The RAF was one of the most significant legacies of the First World War and today, as we approach its Centenary of the organisation’s creation, millions of us have a direct family connection to the oldest and longest serving air force in the world. Thanks to National Lottery players, this investment will provide some fantastic learning opportunities and insight into the RAF’s heritage for people of all ages as well as give the stories and achievements of the men and women of the RAF a permanent legacy as part of the Royal Air Force Museum.”

Appeal for RAF memories

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Falklands postcard

Calling all Penguins, Bluebirds & ‘Erbs – Your Museum Needs You!

2018 marks the centenary of the Royal Air Force. 

The award-winning Royal Air Force Museum will celebrate and commemorate this anniversary through a major transformation of our visitor experience sharing the RAF story on site and online. 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. A new digital sharing project will promote a conversation with a global audience and help connect people to the RAF story.  

For the past two years the Museum’s curators, have been researching our world-class collections to select stories and objects that will best enable our visitors to engage with the story of the Royal Air Force. As a result, gaps in our collections have been identified and we are calling upon current and ex-Service personnel, who served in the RAF from 1970 to 2015, their families and members of the public to assist us in filling them.

If you served with the RAF during this time, and particularly in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, the First or Second Gulf Wars, Libya, Afghanistan or on any humanitarian mission since the 1970s, we would love to hear from you.

We are focussing on collecting personal papers, photographs, recent campaign medals from RAF sources, and any operational kit or clothing which can be linked to specific operations or stories – particularly any ‘Black Bags’ received from Operation HERRICK or TELIC.

Nina Hadaway, Archive Library and Research Manager for the Museum, explains:

“We are aware that our current holdings are quite thin for the most recent 40 years of RAF history. As we look towards the RAF’s Centenary in 2018, now is an ideal time to try and fill these gaps. With the help of the public, former and current serving personnel we hope to strengthen the Museum’s collections. This will enable us to share more fully the experiences of those serving in the RAF from the 1970s to the present day with all our visitors.”

We would also welcome contact from volunteers who would be happy to be interviewed about their RAF experiences.

If you are able to assist us, please email us in the first instance at:

This will enable us to arrange for a member of our curatorial team to contact you. Alternatively, please complete a ‘Donate an Artefact’ form in the Support Section of our website.

For a full list of the items that we are searching for, please visit the Museum’s website at:

New RAF Chief visits Museum

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier

Today Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the RAF’s new Chief of Air Staff visited the RAF Museum in North London

Whilst at the Museum, Sir Stephen spoke to CEO Maggie Appleton about the Museum’s plans for the RAF’s Centenary in 2018 as well as the fundraising campaign ‘Names on a Plane’

Sir Stephen also took a tour of the Museum and also dropped into our Archive department where he was shown documents and prints relating to his time at 2 Sqn.

Say’s Maggie Appleton, RAF Museum CEO: “It was wonderful to share our plans to celebrate and commemorate the RAF’s Centenary with Sir Stephen. We are committed to making our London site more accessible, vibrant and focused on the RAF’s story. Our multi-million pound transformation will use our collections as dynamic storytellers and ensure the site becomes an inspiring space for all our visitors, reflecting our historic roots as RAF Hendon, exploring today’s RAF and imagining the future.”

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier is the Chief of the Air Staff, in command of the Royal Air Force, leading a Whole Force of some 35000 Regular and Reserve personnel, and 5000 Civil Servants, supported by thousands of contractors. He is personally accountable for the safe and effective operation of over 700 manned and unmanned aircraft and for meeting the airpower needs of Defence, which currently means thousands of people and every front-line force committed to operations world-wide. In addition to sustaining his people and this exceptionally high level of commitment, he is also responsible for delivering the significant growth in the RAF’s front-line capability announced in the 2015 Defence Review.

Pokémon Go at the RAF Museum!

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Pokemon at RAF Museum

The RAF Museum is over run with Pokémon Go characters and facilities!

The RAF Museum is known for its legendary aircraft collection but alongside these iconic exhibits it now houses 6 Pokéstops, a Gym and numerous characters from the game that has taken over the world!

Say’s Kevin Carter, Head of Digital Experience: “My kids are gamers and they popped in to the Museum last week and were excited about the huge number Pokémon characters on site. Since then we have noticed a number of visitors playing the game here. As a free Museum with free wifi, they are most welcome!”

Visitors to the RAF Museum are able to use our FREE WIFI facilities to help them catch characters like Hypno, Drowzee, Spearow and many more!

The Museum has a Gym by the replica aircraft in the car park. We also have a total of 6 Pokestops, which usually placed on locations of interest or tourist spots. These are popular destinations for players as they deliver items such as Pokeballs (to catch other pokemon), Potions and Revives (to heal or revive a fainted Pokémon) and are very important to the game.

Chocks away for visitors with smart phones!