Having not been to the museum for almost 40 years I was more than happy to take the chance of a short visit to the museum again.
The museum I remember was cold and not so well laid out. The modern museum is, I’m glad to say, completely the opposite.
There are 5 Galleries/Hangers:
- Test Flight
- War in the Air
- Hanger 1
- History of the Royal Air Force
- National Cold War Exhibition
I had to pass on Hanger 1, so that means I really do have to go back. What a shame!
Test flight charts the history of jet aircraft development and how this little Island lead the world in the early 50’s. On display you will find such iconic aircraft as the P1A, fore runner to the magnificent Lightning, the TSR2 – an aircraft cancelled by a far too short sighted government, EAP – British Aerospace’s test demonstrator that lead to the Typhoon. Also on display is the Hawker-Siddeley Kestrel fore runner of the Harrier (another aircraft taken out of service by another short sighted government).
War in the Air houses iconic aircraft from the second world war, from the far east and Germany. Aircraft such as a Focke-Wulf FW190, Mitsubushi Ki-100, Avro Lincoln and DH Mosquito to name just four.
Also tucked away is a single Harrier GR9A, one of only two remaining examples on display. The remaining 72 aircraft shipped off to the US as spare parts for the USMC. Something that makes me and, I suspect many others too, very angry!
The National Cold War Exhibition houses aircraft and exhibits to remind us how close we came to annihilation in this period. The stunning site of a vertical Lightning, really is the only was that such a beautiful aircraft can be displayed. It was good to see such a balanced exhibition examining the period from both sides. The site of a Mig21 just behind and American F1-11 (one I saw many times from the Fence at Lakenheath) reminds us of the race for supremacy which ultimately crippled the Soviet Union. Most impressive, of course, has to be Lightning XG337 in it’s natural pose – Vertical!
For those of us in the South of the Country it isn’t the easiest of places to get to, but it is a worthwhile trip. Entrance is free though you do have to pay a maximum of £4 for parking.
As ever more details on the official website: https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford/
Just make the time and go, remind yourself of how great we can be if we put our minds to it!