Branch Visit – November 2016

Branch Visit to Vulcan to the Sky Trust at Robin Hood Airport on Wednesday 9th November 2016

The next branch visit will be by coach to see Vulcan XH558 & Canberra WK163 at the former RAF Finningley near Doncaster.  The visit will include presentations on and tours of both aircraft and a buffet lunch.  While the Vulcan has now been retired from flying, Canberra WK163, which broke the world altitude record in 1957 as the Napier Scorpion rocket engine testbed, is being restored for flight in 2018 to celebrate the Centenary of the Royal Air Force.

Booking forms are available here;
Nov 2016 Booking Form PDF
Nov 2016 Booking Form WORD

2014/2015 Season

2014/15 Season



As a prelude to our Zeppelin lecture on 13th November there will be a Branch visit to London on 10th September. This will include a two-hour coach tour with a specialist Blue Badge Guide tracing the routes the Zeppelins took over Central London. After lunch in a London pub the afternoon will be spent at the newly-opened World War I galleries at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth.

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Past Branch Visits Reports 2011/2012

Past Branch Visits Reports

Please visit our Flickr site to view photos of our Branch visits. Click here.

Wattisham Flying Station – Wednesday 18th April 2012

Forty six Branch members together with partners and friends were superbly entertained at RAF Wattisham on Wednesday 18th April 2012. An introductory briefing on the station’s current roles and responsibilities was followed by a hangar visit where the Apache helicopter’s impressive capability was explained in detail. After an excellent curry lunch in the Officers’ Mess the party was given a briefing on B Flight No 22 Squadron’s SAR operations and the day concluded with a visit to the station’s newly refurbished Heritage Museum, including the restored 111 Squadron ‘Blackjack’ Hunter and the recently arrived Phantom gate guardian from RAF Brampton.

RAF Museum Cosford – 9th May 2011

For their 31st Branch visit, 53 branch members and friends went to the National Cold War Exhibition and the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre at the RAF Museum Cosford.

The Royal Air Force Museum at Cosford opened in 1979. Shortly after this the British Airways Collection was added. It houses one of the largest collections of aircraft, engines and missiles in the UK – some of them examples which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world – arranged in separate themed collections, and much else besides.

The National Cold War Exhibition was opened in a massive new building, itself the winner of many awards, by the Princess Royal accompanied by Lady Thatcher in 2007. Costing £15 million and helped by grants from the European Regional Development Fund, the National Lottery and local authorities, the striking glass and steel structure is large enough to hold a Belfast transport, all three V-Bombers and seventeen other aircraft, some suspended by cables from the roof, and enabled most of Cosford’s aircraft to be put under cover for the first time.

This magnificent exhibition traces the evolution of the Cold War from Churchill’s famous Iron Curtain speech towards the end of WWII to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The two spectacular triangular structures, connected by an overhead walkway, reflect the opposing ideologies of the West and the Warsaw Pact. Besides aircraft there are other iconic items from that era, a Trabant, a VW Beetle and a Mini for example, and an Opel Senator saloon specially modified for espionage, as well as stands dealing with submarines and armoured vehicles. Critical aspects in the Cold War – the Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin as a flashpoint, the anti-missile protests and much more – are also featured.

The Michael Beetham Conservation Centre opened in 2002 – Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham was Chief of Air Staff from 1977 to 1982 and is Chairman of the museum trustees. The MBCC restores aircraft and artefacts for the two RAF museums at Hendon and Cosford and was previously at RAF Cardington, which we visited in 1998. It is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave – aircraft currently being restored include a WW1 Sopwith Dolphin, a Spitfire 19, the only surviving Hampden and a Vickers Wellington, as well as an air-sea rescue launch.

Mike Hawkins FRAeS