RAF Cosford Museum, University of Birmingham - 15th April 2014
Click to see photos in the Gallery
Seventeen members left Longwater Retail Park around 6:00am for the RAF Museum at Cosford near Wolverhampton. On the way we stopped at a Service Station for a break before carrying on to Cosford.
When we arrived we saw a West Midlands Air Ambulance Eurocopter EC-135 near the airfield fence. Also standing outside was a Hawker Hunter FGA6A (XG225) at the main gate. Inside the main entrance of the Visitors Centre we were told we had until 12:00 to explore the museum on our own and would then meet our guide back at the Visitors Centre. Standing outside the back of the Visitors Centre was a Dominie, Neptune and a Nimrod R1, which I remember from going to the RAF Waddington International Air Show 2011. I had a look at Test Flight Hanger 2 where there were several Research and Development aircraft. Since our last visit three years ago I noticed a Hawker Kestrel, an early version of the Harrier has now been placed in this hanger and a British Aerospace EAP which looks like a Eurofighter Typhoon. A couple of volunteers were cleaning some small parts of a Dornier 17 on a table in a corner of Hanger 2 and an educational section for young children with experiments to do with flight is also housed here. Adjoining this was a small exhibit showing inside a 1940ís house and garden.
After having a look at War Planes, Hanger 3 which had the earliest Spitfire Mk 1, but for the purist looked wrong as it had three propeller blades on instead of two, David Ditton and I had a look at the remains of the Dornier 17 that had been lifted from the English Channel. Inside, what looked like three greenhouses, these remains were being sprayed with a special solution to minimize salt corrosion and clear the seaweed etc growing on it. We then all collected back at the Visitors Centre at 12:00 to be met by our guide, Gerald Newton. We started our tour with having a look at how pilotís outfits have changed from World War 1 to the 1960ís. It was then onto Hanger 2 and 3 before having dinner. While having our tour several Grob Tutors were flying around.
As I had a packed dinner I thought I would eat this later and see as much as I could and headed for a Hercules C3 (XV202). It was here one of the members told me about his time in the RAF sitting in the back of a Hercules. We also later went to Hanger 1 where there was a large collection of Helicopters, Transport Aircraft, Training Aircraft, engines, paintings and missiles. He wanted to get something from the shop in the National Cold War Exhibition and so I left him and had a further look around the Cold War Museum hanger when I noticed a Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV (68-8284) helicopter, the same type that used to fly on special operations around Mildenhall. On the way back I took some photos of some aircraft that were on the airfield side, with Grob Tutors from the University of Birmingham AS/No 8 AEF, and an ex No 6 Squadron SEPECAT Jaguar GR3A, which used to be at RAF Coltishall, now based with the DSAE (Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering) (No 1 SoTT) (School of Technical Training) and a light aircraft also based at Cosford. Later I took a photo of an early Panavia Tornado (PO 2) which had a cover over its cockpit, before getting back to the main entrance at 2:15 when I was told to be back to meet our guide for the second half of the tour. When I got back Brian Ralph was sitting in the cafť with everyoneís bags as he had a bad back and was having problems walking, I found everyone else had gone on the second half of the tour. After a short time with Brian I went back to have a further look at the airfield. It was then when the SEPECAT Jaguar GR3A roared into life, but this was just to test its engines. A bit later it was towed back to its hanger. Also three Grob Tutors came up close to the fence before taking off to fly. When we got back to the Visitors Centre we headed for home, stopping off at a Service Station. Passing Mildenhall some of us noticed a Merlin helicopter, but as we were in the mini bus I donít know what type.
Many thanks to the two drivers, museum guide, the University of Birmingham AEF and the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering, for bringing back so many memories and the Cosford Flying Club, with their Piper PA-28ís, one of which was outside. This was a very enjoyable and interesting trip for all the Club Members.

Andrew Elphick

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