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  RAF Museum Cosford
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Text:

Urs Schnyder

Pictures:

Urs Schnyder

   
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Like the RAF Museum Hendon, Cosford is situated at a former RAF Airfield. While nothing can be seen any more of the Hendon airfield, Cosford still has its hardened aircraft shelters and other infrastructure, even if there are no active RAF squadrons based there. The only flying units based at RAF Cosford today are the Birmingham University Air Squadron, No. 8 Air Experience flight and No 633 Volunteer Gliding Squadron.

For many years Cosford served as a depot for aircraft which could not be exhibited at Hendon. A lot of Aircraft were kept in the open. Only in 2007 was a new building erected to house the Cold War Exhibition. This is also the only place in the world where all three V-Bombers can be seen under one roof.

The museum is well worth a visit as it has a lot of unique exhibits that canít be seen anywhere else. Their collection of German missiles developed during the war is quite comprehensive.

For a complete up to date listing of the exhibits it is best to consult the museum website https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford/

Outdoor Display

Some of the larger aircraft are displayed outdoors as the space in the hangars is obviously limited. Hopefully one day they will also receive space indoors. Unlike Hendon, Cosford still seems to have some land reserves where additional display hangars could be built.

Bristol Britannia 312 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Vickers VC.10 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Vickers VC.10 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Lockheed Hercules C-130K Mk.3 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
Hawker Siddeley Nimrod R.Mk.1  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Lockheed SP-2H Neptune  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Scottish Aviation Jetstream T Mk.1  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Hawker Siddeley Hunter FGA.6  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
Hawker Siddeley Dominie T.Mk.1  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina  (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 

Test Flight

Besides the TSR 2, this hall contains some unique research aircraft built specially to test certain aspects of flight. The prone Meteor was used to see if it was possible to control an aircraft lying down. Some others like the Kestrel served as a testbed for the successful Harrier. It is remarkable, that so many of these rare aircraft have survived, no doubt thanks to some visionary individuals.

Fairey FD.2 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) English Electric P.1A (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) British Aircraft Corporation TSR.2 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Hunting H126 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
Gloster Meteor F.8 Prone Position (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Saunders-Roe SR53 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) SEPECAT Jaguar ACT Demonstrator (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)  British Aerospace Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
Short Brothers SB5 WG768 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Hawker-Siddeley Kestrel FGA.1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Bristol Type 188 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)  
 

War in the air

With the moving of some of Hendonís exhibits, Cosford has now a sizeable collection of Axis aircraft on display, The Junkers Ju 88 from the former Battle of Britain hall shares space with the Focke Wulf 190 that was for many years hanging from the ceiling in the Imperial War Museum. Other German aircraft on display are the Messerschmitt 410 which always was a Cosford resident but also the famous Bf 109 G Black 6. The smallest must be the Focke Achgelis FA330 which was developed to be used on Submarines.

One of the most elegant and streamlined aircraft must be the Mitsubishi Ki-46 Dinah which together with the Kawasaki Ki-100 and the Yokosuka Ohka represent the Japanese military aircraft.

Other aircraft moved from Hendon were the Defiant and Gladiator, and some world war one types like the Sopwith 1Ĺ Strutter or the Bistol Bullet. The Avro Lincoln and the de Havilland Mosquito represent the British bombers.

Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt BF 109G-2/Trop (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Mitsubishi Ki-46 'Dinah' (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a Schwalbe (Swallow) (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

de Havilland Mosquito TT.35 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Focke Achgelis FA330 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Me 410A-1-U2 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Avro Lincoln B.2 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Junkers Ju 88R-1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Focke Wulf FW 190A-8/R6 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Kawasaki Ki-1001b (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Henschel HS 293 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Me 163B-1a Komet (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Sopwith 1Ĺ Strutter (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Bristol M-1 Bullet (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Cold war

While all other display halls are former hangars, this is purpose built for the museum. The clever use of several levels makes it possible to display all three V-Bombers as well as the huge Shorts Belfast in the same building. The Belfast is so big and therefore obstructed by other aircraft that it was impossible to take a picture of it. Other transport aircraft like the Avro York, which was developed using the wings and tail planes of the famous Lancaster, or the Handley Page Hastings, share space with the Douglas Dakota, the most famous and long-lived transport aircraft of all time.

There are not just aircraft on display but also cars, missiles and other Hardware from this period. The reasons for the cold war and its implications on daily live are explained with the help of film sequences and text boards which are housed in little cubicles. The whole exhibition is very compact, and it is amazing to see how many different items are accommodated is such a relatively small space. There is even an elevator that takes one to a balcony at the apex of the building from where you have a good view of all the aircraft, some of which are hanging from the support structure of the building, as there is no conventional ceiling.

 
Gloster Javelin FAW.1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Hawker Siddeley Vulcan B.2 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Handley Page Victor K.2 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Vickers Valiant B.1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
Avro York C1 + Douglas Dakota + Handley Page Hastings (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Hawker Hunter T.7A (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) English Electric Lightning F.1/P1B (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15bis (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21PF (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) English Electric Canberra PR.9 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) English Electric Lightning F.1/P1B (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 
Avro York C.1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder) Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer CC.2 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)
 

Hangar 1

This was unfortunately closed during my visit. This is the reason I only have a few pictures made long ago on a very short visit to the museum. Hangar 1 contains some unique aircraft like the Argosy and the Comet. There are also a lot of engines on display.

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de Havilland Comet 1XB (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Vickers Varsity T.1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Vickers Varsity T.1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1 (Photo courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

- Last update: 29. September 2018 Written: 29. September 2018 - -
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