Climb on board the F-111 and VC10 at RAF Museum Cosford

The second of four ‘100 Cockpits and Cabs’ events taking place at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford this year, will be held on Saturday 19 May.

Visitors will be able to get a closer look at the aircraft. Photo: ©Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum
Visitors will be able to get a closer look at the aircraft. Photo: ©Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum

Up to 600 aviation fans will have the opportunity to get a closer look inside more aircraft and vehicles from the Museum’s collection, during an afternoon and evening session.

The RAF Museum Cosford and London is home to over 200 aircraft, tanks and vehicles and event organisers have selected 100 from the collection that they believe visitors will be keen to get a closer look inside. The ‘100 Cockpits and Cabs’ events will celebrate the Royal Air Force Centenary by giving visitors access to aircraft and vehicles, spanning the services entire career.

The May event at Cosford will be themed around aircraft and vehicles from the National Cold War Exhibition, the transport and training collection in Hangar 1 and a selection of aircraft in the Museum grounds.

From the Cold War collection, aircraft and vehicles on the night include the General Dynamics F-111 F-CF. Built as a two-seat fighter-bomber, the F-111A variant became the first variable-geometry combat aircraft to enter service, seeing extensive service during the Vietnam War. As well as serving with US forces, the F-111C variant were produced for the Royal Australian Air Force. The final production variant, the F-111F (as seen at Cosford) featured improved avionics, including navigational and digital computer systems, improved wing structure and landing gear, and more powerful engines. Their main offensive load was Paveway laser-guided bombs, with Sidewinder missiles carried for self-defence. A total of 106 were built from 1972 and they saw much service during the first Gulf War in 1991.

Other Cold War aircraft and vehicles open for the special event include the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15bis, Leopard tank, Bv 202 Over snow, and the Green Goddess (close view only).

The event theme also extends to include a selection of the Museum’s transport and training vehicles, used for moving troops and equipment and retained to teach aircrews the wide variety of skills they must master before becoming operational. The Museum’s collection consists of some of the largest and smallest machines flown by the Royal Air Force and one of the event highlights will include the Vickers VC10 (weather permitting). Designed as a long-range airliner able to operate from short runways at airfields in hot and high conditions, the VC10 had a high cruising mach number with very good short field performance. In the later part of its service the aircraft was modified for the tanking role but kept its passenger and freight carrying ability. The ‘100 Cockpits and Cabs’ event in May will be the first-time aviation fans have been given the opportunity to step on board the aircraft since its arrival at the Museum in 2015.

Another transporting giant of the RAF, the Lockheed Hercules C130K Mk3 (weather permitting) will also be open to visitors, along with the advanced navigation trainer Hawker Siddeley Dominie T.Mk.1.

Aircraft and vehicles from the Museum’s Hangar 1 collection will include the de Havilland Chipmunk, one of the RAF’s longest serving aircraft types Vickers Varsity T Mk I brought into RAF service in 1951 for crew training as a replacement for the Wellington T10. Aviation fans will also have the rare opportunity to step inside the Morris Minor Traveller, Hunting Percival Pembroke C1 and the Junkers Ju52/3M during the May event.

To make sure visitors get the most out of the event, there will be a large team of Volunteers manning each aircraft or vehicle and available to answer any questions. A special Log Book can be purchased for an additional £1, allowing ticket holders to keep a record of the aircraft and vehicles they have accessed during the event!

A total of 600 tickets are available for the event taking place on Saturday 19 May and aviation fans will have up to three hours to enjoy the exclusive access. The afternoon session will run from 1pm-4pm, followed by an evening session 6pm-9pm. The Museum will close at 5pm, however the Visitor Centre and Refuel Restaurant will remain open for ticket holders, before doors to the aircraft and vehicles open at 6pm.

Tickets are now available to purchase through the Museum’s website www.rafmuseum.org/cosford and cost £13.50 per person which includes parking (minimum height restrictions apply). Details on the RAF Museum London events are also available online.

Attending the exclusive ‘Open Cockpits and Cabs’ events is an opportunity to raise vital funds for the RAF100 Appeal, which is a joint venture between the Royal Air Force and the four major RAF charities – the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Forces Association, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and the Royal Air Force Museum. The aim of the Appeal is to raise money for the RAF family and to create a lasting legacy as we celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force.