Visitors to the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will have the opportunity to step inside the Conservation Center and take a look behind the scenes at aircraft conservation projects, during the annual Open Week from 9-14 November. In addition to getting up close to current projects, including the refabrication of a Wellington bomber and the reconstruction of the Handley Page Hampden, those visiting during the Open Week will have the chance to speak with the teams who carry out the vital work.
A new arrival in the Conservation Center and a highlight at this year’s event is the Hawker Tempest II. The Tempest was transported by road from the Museum’s London site in February and will undergo some remedial work by the team at Cosford. The Museum’s example served with No. 5 Squadron RAF, based at Peshawar (now part of Pakistan), before being transferred to the Royal Indian Air Force in 1947. Providing close-air support to the Indian Army, the Tempest remained in front line Indian service until 1953. It was later acquired by the RAF Museum and has been on public display in London since 1991. This is the first time the aircraft has been to Cosford and visitors attending the Open Week will have the first glimpse.
The newly restored Second World War Westland Lysander III (S.D.) fuselage, and the almost complete Handley Page Hampden fuselage, will soon be moving to the RAF Museum’s London site for public display. The Open Week in November will be the last opportunity for aviation fans to view both aircraft at Cosford.
The Lysander has now been restored to its former glory after undergoing three years of conservation work including a new fabric outer skin and complete repaint. As the only surviving Special Duties variant of its type, the Lysander is now painted in No 161 Squadron Special Ops colour scheme, reflecting its service towards the end of the war in non-operational special transport services.
Nearing the end of almost 30 years of restoration, the Hampden is one of only three examples of the type remaining, recovered from a crash site in northern Russia in 1991. The aircraft now has all four fuselage components fully assembled, attached and painted in its original 144 Squadron colour scheme and serial number. The Hampden restored at Cosford is the first complete fuselage section in the UK since the mid-1940s. Visitors to the open week will have the exclusive opportunity to view the cockpit and inside the fuselage from the wing box area, where they will see all the crew positions.
The Open Week is also an opportunity to see the on-going restoration of the Vickers Wellington. One of two remaining Wellingtons, the aircraft at Cosford is the only complete example of its type. Members of the public who have followed the story of the world’s last surviving Dornier Do 17 will be able to get up close to the aircrafts forward fuselage and learn more about the project.
The Conservation Centre will open from 9-14 November between 10.15am and 3.00pm each day, with 45-minute time slots. The number of tickets available for each time slot are limited and must be booked in advance. Tickets are now available to purchase via the Museum website rafmuseum.org/cosford, admission is £6.00 per person (children under 11 are free and must be accompanied by an adult).
To ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, there will be several precautions in place. Measures include the introduction of time slots and limiting the number of tickets available, and social distancing markers and barriers will control the number of individuals in each area.
The Museum’s display hangars will open from 10.00am until 4.00pm. While still offering FREE entry to all, visitors are kindly asked to pre-book their arrival time online at rafmuseum.org.