De Havilland Aircraft Museum 26th April 2016
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On a winter-like morning with snow and hail, sixteen members set off from Longwater Retail Park to the de Havilland Aircraft Museum at London Colney near St Albans. After a brief stop near Duxford we arrived at Salisbury Hall just before opening time and had a nice hot drink and biscuits before being welcomed by our guide who would show us around the main hall which contained three types of Mosquitos. These were a Mosquito B35, Mosquito FBVI and not forgetting the highlight, the Mosquito Prototype which has been restored. Also in the hall there was a Horsea Glider, and the rear fuselage of a De Havilland Sea Hornet which is the largest section in Britain. Around the back we were shown where they are hoping to build a large hanger so that all the aircraft will be undercover.
Later we had time to explore the rest of the museum. On the way round I went inside the Air France Comet 1. Work is still under way but the cockpit has been done. Further round was a Sea Vixen on display which is also being worked on. In a large Marquee where work was still under way there were various other aircraft including a Swiss Vampire FB6, where you could have a look in the cockpit, a Hornet Moth, a DHC1 Chipmunk, a Tiger Moth, a rare Queen Bee (one of two in Britain) without its wings and a Cievra C 24 Autogyro. Outside further round was a BAe 146-100, BAe 125, a Dove, a Heron, which some of us sat in during a shower of hail, and a forward section of a Trident with various memorabilia inside it. Also I saw where they are doing a DH Rapide undercover. I then went back to the cafe where there were several different DH engines and a mural on one wall and a shop.
After thanking our guide we gave him a mug before setting off back home. On the way back we stopped at a cafe and when we were near RAF Lakenheath we noticed a V-22 Osprey in flight and another aircraft along the A11 before arriving back at Longwater Retail Park. Many thanks to Peter Wood who did all the driving, getting us there and back safely and also arranging an enjoyable trip. Also many thanks for our guide who made the trip very informative and was proud to be British. In the future it will be interesting to visit again and see the progress made to the museum and the new hanger they are hoping to build.

By Andrew Elphick

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