Sunday 19 May 2013 00:23 UTC
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For what it's worth, I've often found that if you ask nicely and show that you're a 'responsible' person, the museum staff will often escort you for close-up viewings and cockpit views.
On some occasions, I've even had a long informative chat and a 'grand tour' from an enthusiastic staff member.
It's always worth an 'ask'.
Ex-plumber. Eats burgers and flies.
Oh yes indeed. I went to visit the air museum in Kiev when I was working in the Ukraine. I was one of a handful of visitors on the day, and the only foreign one and the only foreign pilot. The curator gave me a personal tour. I was overwhelmed...such an excellent museum and a wonderful experience to be shown around by such a mine of information. He was the same chap, by the way, who was the official photographer on board the TU-160 when it made an appearance at the Farnborough air show, something which was a sensation at the time in the 1980s.
And just a thing about Brooklands, yes, you can sit in the cockpit of the Harrier, I think the VC10, the Varsity, and you can stick your head around in the Viscount, though you're not allowed to sit in the seats due to wear. You can sit in a disembowelled Chipmunk if you really want as well, and walk through a Wellington fuselage.
They are. I've got (beg pardon, gotten) up close and personal in the driver's seat of a Dakota waggling the controls, clambered over many at Willow Run, been strapped into and played with a superb simulator at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo (they claim it is the best outside the military), and been gobsmacked at the Kennedy Space Center. Duxford just did not cut it.
Other museums are also getting worse. Glasgow's old Transport Museum in Albert Drive was low tech but fun, and easy to access by train or bus with plenty of free car parking locally. It re-located to a pastiche set up in the Kelvin Hall, not nearly so hands on and not so good for public transport with hardly any local parking for non residents. Now at the riverside, you cannot get near most of the exhibits to see inside them, rubbish public transport and limited but expensive parking (all this in a vast area of post industrial desolation)
Is anybody old enough to remember the Aviation Museum at Southend? The exhibits were outside and included a Beverley, Sea Vixen, Sea Hawk, Lincoln, Drover and many others. In many ways, the place was more like an adventure playground than a museum. Children clambering over the exhibits was par for the course.
The Beverley was completely open and children climbed all around inside it - waggling the controls and so on (not that the controls did much).
All well before the days of H and S.
Ex-plumber. Eats burgers and flies.
Can I just add that it is worth visiting Coventry (or Midland Air Museum as it is "branded").
Friend and I popped in when we couldn't get airborne. They have a Vulcan you can sit in (seem to recall there is a "donation box"); as it was shut we were lucky to find an enthusiastic volunteer to open it up for us. He then proceeded to give us a tour (with cockpit access!) of every aircraft in the museum, including fetching a ladder for access to a couple of the rarer exhibits.
Indoors they do actually explain some of the technology and the development process which led to, e.g. the Jet Engine.
One of the few museums which doesn't seem to think that a touch screen and flashy lights is the be-all and end-all.
Shame the aircraft are rotting away though.
I used to volunteer at the Midland Aviation Museum, and on busy days did the Vulcan cockpit tours. It was a really friendly place to work and I think it must be mostly the same gang still.
I once organised a PPRuNe visit and we got 14 forumites in the Vulcan cockpit. Hmm...cosy.
You should pay a visit to Solway Aviation Museum at Carlisle Airport where I am a volunteer. We are open Fridays Saturdays and Sundays from Easter till the end of October.
History -v- Technical - Yes we are more into the historical aspects but there are also some more technical displays including on aluminium extrusions, ejector seats, aircraft radio, and rocket testing at Spadeadam and most days there will be a spare volunteer who will be happy to give you a guided tour of the museum workshop where we currently have an Auster under restoration.
Education - fair point, our Education Officer is a primary school teacher so most of our education is aimed at schools, scouts, air cadets etc.
Cockpits - Our Sea Prince and Canberra are usually open for unsupervised visiting, and guided tours of Vulcan XJ823 are included in the admission price. One of the guides on the rota flew this aircraft while it was based in Cyprus and knows what every button, lever, knob, dial etc. does. Another is actively involved with Vulcan to the Sky and really knows his stuff. As a former private pilot I am on the Vulcan tour guide rota and one of the first things I do at the start of the day is set the still working altimeter to the appropriate QNH. I have hosted many flyers who have enjoyed the opportunity to sit in the P1 seat of XJ823 including biz-jet pilots and airline captains.
Catering - Well OK we only serve hot and cold drinks and light snacks but that is because our landlords Stobart Air have the Cafe Stobart in the nearby terminal building where you can savour a bacon butty or a fry up.
In the past we have had many visitors who have arrived by air including groups who made a special trip to us by light aircraft though sadly the number of airborne visitors has declined in recent times due to increased fuel costs and landing charges.
Hope to see some of you up north here in Carlisle this year!
Last edited by cessna152towser on Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A member of the class of 2005. Please view my 'plane, train and 'bus photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/cessna152towser/
Are you still referring to AerBabe
There's an aviation museum near Gatwick, where you can climb into many of the exhibits - atlthough being outdoors they have deteriorated badly.
I was able to sit in the cockpit of a Lightning and have all the controls / dials / knobs explained by a volunteer. OK, coins of the realm did change hands but it was for a good cause - restoring the Lightning to taxiiing condition.
They were also doing a ground run of a Shackleton - very impressive, especially as we were allowed to clamber inside afterwards.
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