Museums | Other Aircraft Museums

This section gives some information about other Museums or Collections that include historic aircraft.

Science Museum, Kensington, London

The Science Museum in London is devoted to all aspects of science and the development of it's understanding. On the third floor is a collection of particularly interesting aircraft including:

  • Wright Flyer 1 - a replica of the first powered aircraft flown by the Wright Brothers. At one time the Museum had the actual aircraft but that was returned to the USA.

  • Vickers Vimy - the actual aircraft that Alcock and Brown first flew across the Atlantic, crash-landing in an Irish bog!. It was subsequently repaired and donated to the Science Museum.

  • de Havilland Gypsy Moth - this particular aircraft was flown by Amy Johnson from England to Australia.

  • Supermarine S.6B - superb example of one of the Schneider trophy winners.

  • Hawker Hurricane I and Supermarine Spitfire IA - fine examples of both aircraft, both of which saw active service in WWII.

  • Gloster E.28/39 - Britain's first jet aircraft, this is one of the two originals and is a lovely looking aircraft. A must see!

  • Messerschmitt Me163 - it's suspension from the roof means it is a little difficult to get a good look at this striking aircraft, it does however give a fine aspect of it's rather limited landing capability.

  • Hawker P.1127 - a prototype Harrier. This aircraft was previously displayed at RAF Museum, Hendon following it's opening in 1972.

The lighting in the flight area is such that it is likely to be difficult to get any good images. However, the raised walkway provides a good vantage point to view the fine collection. Entry to the Museum is free and it is open 10:00am to 6:00pm daily. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

 

Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden

The amazing collection of airworthy aircraft at Old Warden mainly comprises pre-WWII aircraft. It is a great place to visit and holds a number of flying displays throughout the year. Images of aircraft based at  Old Warden on this website:

De Havilland Chipmunk 22 (G-BNZC)
Gloster Gladiator (G-AMRK)
Hawker Sea Hurricane 1B (Z7015)
Supermarine Spitfire MkVc (AR501)

Westland Lysander (V9441/G-AZWT)
 

 

Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
This fine museum has an aviation hall with a number of aircraft including:
  • Supermarine Spitfire MkX1V (MT847)
  • English Electric P.1A (WG763) - prototype Lightning.
  • Hawker Hunter F.1 (WT619) - has fuselage panels removed to expose internal construction.

In addition, also of particular interest are Avro Shackleton AEW.2, De Havilland Dragon Rapide, Bristol Belvedere and  and a Yokosuka Ohka. Entry to the Museum is free (I think) and it is open 10:00am to 5:00pm daily. Again, well worth a visit if you are in the area.

 

Museum of Army Transport, Beverley, East Yorkshire

The last surviving complete Blackburn Beverley (XB259) is kept at this Museum. It is the only aviation exhibit but is in good condition, having been recently repainted, and the visitor can get inside and have a good look around.  Entry to the Museum (2002) is 4-50 for adults, 3 for children, 3 OAPs and 12 family. If you are keen to see the Beverley this Museum is a great visit.

 

Wellesbourne Wartime Museum

A few miles east of Stratford, at the Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome, is the Wellesbourne Wartime Museum. Open every Sunday and bank holidays this is a small, but interesting museum. The real gem for me is the Vampire T11 (XK590) which is in superb condition and has it's nose and cockpit open to enable visitors to have a good look at its interiors. The condition of this great aircraft is a credit to the Wellesbourne Aviation Group who operate the museum. When I visited they were certainly a friendly bunch.

Other complete aircraft include a Hunting Percival Provost T.1 (WV679) and a Yak-52 (RA-01378), both in reasonable condition. The museum also has two particularly interesting nose sections. The first is Avro Vulcan B.1 (XA903), which together with the nose section of Vulcan B.1 (XA893) at Cosford, is all that remains of the Vulcan B.1s. It is soon to be restored and when I visited I was fortunate enough to climb inside. The other nose section is that of De Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.2 (XJ575) which has been subject to restoration and like the Vampire has a car-port type protective roof above it, a very clever idea to protect them from the elements. The Museum has various remnants from World War 2 and post-war aircraft, of particular interest to me was the propeller of a Blackburn Beverley. 

Although not part of the Museum, a visit to the nearby Flying School provides the fantastic sight of Avro Vulcan B.2 (XM655) under the care of the XM655 Maintenance & Preservation Society. This is a Vulcan which is certainly well cared for and it took my breath away.

 

Bruntingthorpe

Located at the former USAF nuclear bomber base at Bruntingthorpe are a number of collections: the British Aviation Heritage Collection; Phoenix Aviation and Lightning Preservation Group. Open on Sundays from 10am to 4pm, the collection of aircraft is grouped closely together in an area close to the two mile runway that was once used for B-47 bombers.

The Cold war Jets collection of the British Aviation Heritage Collection includes the last airworthy De Havilland Comet, a complete Handley Page Victor (XM715), a fine example of a Buccaneer S.2B and the unusual sight of the massive Super Guppy. The Phoenix Aviation group of aircraft includes the fine sight of Hawker Sea Hawk GA.6 (WV795), Hunting Percival Jet Provost T.4 (XS217), an ex-Danish Hunter F.51 painted in 'Blue Diamonds' colours, an ex-Swiss Hunter F.58 which I have been privileged to sit in, a Sea Vixen and the nose of Handley Page Victor (XH592).

The Lightning Preservation Group keep two Lightnings: F6 (XS904) and  F6 (XR728)  in fast-taxying condition and has running days. Unfortunately, on both my visits, the Lightnings' cockpits have been covered in tarpaulin for obvious reasons - I must get down for a running day! However, the cockpit of English Electric Lightning T.5 (XV328) was on show on my last visit.

Bruntingthorpe is also the location for the Vulcan XH558 which will hopefully one day fly again - unfortunately the aircraft cannot be viewed at present.

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