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Barnstormers Logo ISSUE 426 - April 2016
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Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford - Part II
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Watford, Ontario, Canada

Last week we looked at the Research & Development hangar and some of the aircraft inside it, left. This week, we enter the War in the Air hangar and have a look at aircraft such as the Fw190, right.
Last week we visited the Transport & Training section of the museum and this week we return to RAF Cosford to spend time in the War in the Air hangar. Inside this hangar are various aircraft of World War II era aviation and include such aircraft as the Spitfire, Lincoln, Fw 190 and several other historic wartime aircraft.
The replacement for the Avro Lancaster, the bigger Avro Lincoln.
The largest aircraft in the War in the Air hangar is the mighty Avro Lincoln which was based on the historic Avro Lancaster. Though the Lincoln was designed during World War II and first flew in June of 1944, production of the aircraft was delayed until 1945 due to the need to ensure the RAF had a sufficient supply of the Avro Lancaster. The Lincoln was slated to see service in the Pacific with the bombing of Japan however, the war ended before any Lincolns saw action.
Two fabulous British designed & built aircraft, the Avro Lincoln & the de Havilland Mosquito, left. One of the most beautiful and versatile aircraft of World War II is the de Havilland Mosquito, right.
One of the most iconic of World War II aircraft has to be the fabulous de Havilland Mosquito, one of the most versatile aircraft of the war. Designed in December of 1939, the Mossie first flew only 11 months later. The Mosquito was utilised in numerous roles including bomber, ground attack, fighter, photo-recon, night fighter, pathfinder and even as an urgent supply transport. Over 7000 of the "wooden wonder" were built in Britain, Canada and Australia. Currently, there are only 2 flying examples of the aircraft but several examples survive in various museums around the world, including this one at the RAF Museum, Cosford..
The Kawasaki Ki-100 was a high altitude fighter aircraft that
was very successful against high flying Allied bombers.
The Kawasaki Ki-1001b was a high altitude version of the Ki61 Hien (Swallow) fighter with a liquid cooled engine designed for the need of an aircraft to intercept Allied bombers flying at high altitudes in the Pacific. However, there were issues with the engine so the airframes were placed in storage until 3 aircraft were modified to use a Mitsubishi radial engine. They were redesignated the Ki100 and the aircraft proved to be fast and manoeuvrable as well as very rugged and reliable. Over 270 of the airframes that had been put in storage were modified for the Mitsubishi engines between February and June of 1945. The museums example is the only surviving aircraft of its type.
The Supermarine Spitfire, designed by R. J. Mitchell, was most loved by the British public during the Battle of Britain, and throughout most of the war.
Probably the most famous of British fighter aircraft is the Supermarine Spitfire and the museums example is the oldest remaining of the type, a Spitfire I, built with a Rolls-Royce Merlin II engine. This aircraft flew with the RAF from April 1939 until March of 1944. It was involved in a number of landing accidents, her last in October of 1943. The aeroplane's history from that point is a storied one having been used as a static aircraft in movies, including the famous "Battle of Britain," used as a ground display aircraft in various BoB anniversary displays, on display in various locations around Britain for many years and possibly used as a parts aircraft for BBMF Spitfires. She has also worn many different liveries and markings throughout the years.
Inside the War in the Air Museum is the lovely PBY Catalina, shown with various other museum aircraft, left, and a close up of the Catalina, right.
Another relatively large aircraft in the War in the Air hangar is the PBY Catalina. Designed in 1935, the Catalina served with several Air Forces throughout World War II and post war with Air Forces and in civilian operations. Given the name "Catalina" by the RAF, the name was also adopted by the US Navy. Catalinas were used as sub hunters as well as coastal rescue aircraft. There were over 600 Catalina 5s used by RAF Coastal Command and were an important aircraft in the Battle of the Atlantic. The museum aircraft was purchased for a nominal fee from the Royal Danish Air Force and wears the livery of that country.
The Focke-Wulf Fw190 was one of the most successful aircraft designed & built by the Germans and was used as both a day and night fighter.
One of the most dangerous and effective of the fighter aircraft used by the German Luftwaffe was the Fw190. They were a formidable aircraft and more than a match for the Spitfire Mk Vs and all but ruled the air until the Spitfire Mk IX made an appearance in the skies over Europe. The museums 190 was to be used as a Mistrel, or Mistletoe, aircraft whereby the 190 was mounted atop a German Ju 88 unmanned bomber that was completely loaded with bombs and explosives, flown to target by means of the Fw190, and then released with the bomber crashing on target and exploding and the fighter turning and hightailing it home.
The Sopwith 1½ Strutter of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service.
The Sopwith 1½ Strutter was designed in 1915 and flew during World War I with the Royal Flying Corps as well as the Royal Naval Air Service. It also saw service with the French Aviation Militaire, Belgium and the United States military. The museums aircraft is a replica that was built using Sopwith factory drawings and flew in 1980 and wears the livery of the Royal Flying Corps, No. 45 Squadron, C Flight aircraft which was shot down in May of 1917.
The real saviour in the Battle of Britain was the often ignored Hawker Hurricane.
Next in the line up of aircraft is probably the true saviour aircraft of the Battle of Britain, the Hawker Hurricane. The Hurricane first took to the skies in 1936 and flew with the RAF throughout World War II in numerous roles. There were 32 squadrons equipped with the Hurris during the Battle of Britain from July to October 1940. Due to their rugged construction and their manoeuverability, it proved to be an effective and popular aircraft with the RAF and its pilots. Hurricanes served with many Air Forces including, but not limited to, the RAF, RCAF, RAAF, RNZAF, the United States and several others. The museums example is a Hawker Hurricane IIc.
This Hawker Hind from the Afghan Air Force differs slightly from the British version.
Another Hawker aircraft in the museum is the Hawker Hind used by the RAF to form 'new' bomber squadrons during the Air Forces early expansion, pre-World War II. The Hind was first introduced in 1935 but was quickly replaced by more high performance, single wing aircraft such as the Fairey Battle, Bristol Blenheim and the Handly Page Hampden only 3 years later. The museums Hind was part of the Royal Afghan Air Force and was presented to the museum in 1968. Though the aircraft differs in some aspects to that used by the RAF, plans are to eventually restore the aircraft to original RAF Hind examples.
Known by most as the Sopwith Pup, the upper echelon preferred the name Sopwith Scout, but it didn't stick with pilots or ground crews and Pup stuck!
The next biplane in the collection is another from the Great War, the Sopwith Pup, one of the most loved and most revered from the first World War. Though known as the Pup, it was not the name that superiors felt was appropriate for the aircraft as they thought the name undignified and wanted the aircraft called Scout. However, the name Pup stuck and is almost always referred to by that name even today. This aircraft was first flown by Canadian, Flight Lieutenant E. R. Grange, DSC, (later promoted to Captain), for 2:25 while escorting Sopwith 1½ Strutters on a reconnaissance flight over Ostend. He flew several missions until November of 1916 when the next record of a pilot flying this aircraft was Australian Robert Alexander Little, DSO, DFC. Little flew many sorties in the aircraft, earning multiple victories and becoming Australia's highest scoring ace of the war. His last flight in the aircraft was in January of 1917 when the squadron switched to flying Sopwith Camels and Sopwith Triplanes. The Pup flew a few other missions before being placed in storage, surviving the war and eventually being discovered in France in assorted pieces at a museum. It was eventually repatriated to Britain and restored.
The musem's de Havilland Venom wears the markings of the Swiss Air Force.
The only jet aircraft in this section is the de Havilland Venom, a twin boom aircraft of a similar design to that of the DH Vampire. Where the Vampire was fitted with the Goblin engine, the Venom was a newly designed aircraft from the Vampire and was fitted with the more powerful Ghost engine. The prototype of the Venom first flew in September of 1949 and, after further testing and modifications, entered service 3 years later with the RAF in Germany. They served the RAF in single versions operating exclusively in the Far East, Middle East and Germany, with the last of the Venoms serving the RAF in Hong Kong, retiring from service in 1962. The RAF also ordered the two-seat, night fighter version from which the Royal Navy Sea Venom was developed. The Venom flew with Air Forces in New Zealand, Switzerland, Venezuela and Iraq with the last of the Venoms being retired from service with the Swiss Air Force in 1983.
One of the best in the arsenal of the Luftwaffe,
the Messerschmitt Me 410,one of only 2 that still exist.
An event was being set up in the War in the Air hangar so some aircraft were temporarily stored either outside or in the maintenance hangar. One of those aircraft stored outside is the rare German Messerschmitt Me 410A-1-U2. The 410 entered service with the Luftwaffe in early 1943 and were built until late in 1944 with over 1100 of the aircraft having been produced. They were used in anti-shipping roles, as photo-recon aircraft, fighters and as light bomber aircraft and flew in virtually all fronts. The 410 was heavily armed and flew against the bombers used by the US Eighth Air Force including the B-17 and B-24. However, with the introduction of escort fighter aircraft such as the P-51 and the P-47, many 410s were lost and those Luftwaffe squadrons equipped with them were switched to single seat fighters. The museums example is one of only 2 known to remain.
Probably the best overall aircraft the Japanese designed and built, the Mitsubishi Ki-46.
Another rare aircraft temporarily stored outside was the Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-46 Dinah. The Dinah, as it was codenamed by the Allies, first flew in November of 1939 and was one of the most successful Japanese aircraft of the war. It flew in fighter and ground attack roles but it excelled most as a high altitude photo-recon aircraft. It was capable of very long range at high speed and was virtually unchallenged in the Pacific theatre until the latter part of the war. The museums Ki-46 is the only example of the aircraft known to exist today.
The Pucara was used against the British during the Falklands War,
though not very effectively.
The last of the aircraft temporarily stored outdoors was the FMA 1A58 Pucara, an aircraft that flew as part of the Argentinean attacking force during the Falklands War. The aircraft was designed as a ground attack aircraft for the Argentinean military government to oppose potential threats. There were 24 Pucaras utilised against British forces during the Falklands War flying 186 sorties, though with little success. Of the Pucaras involved, 5 survived the conflict and were shipped back to the UK. The museums example was used for evaluation by the Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down, returning to flying condition in 1983.
Two potentially dangerous aircraft introduced late into the war, the Komet, left, into the European Theatre by the Germans and the Ohka, right, into the Pacific Theatre by the Japanese.
Two unique aircraft of the war, one German and the other Japanese, are the Messerschmitt Me 163B-1a Komet and the Yokusuka MXY7 Ohka. The Komet was a rocket powered interceptor used by the Luftwaffe during the latter part of the war to intercept high flying squadrons of Allied bombers tasked with bombing the Leuna oil refineries near the town of Leipzig. Only 9 Allied aircraft were ever shot down using the Komet. The Japanese Ohka (Cherry Blossom) was a desperate attempt by the Japanese to defend Japan against Allied forces. The aircraft was designed to be carried into the air and launched by a 'mother' aircraft and then glide as far as it could before the rocket was powered up in order to make an impact at its target. Though not overly successful, they did achieve some success against various targets including an American destroyer in early 1945, by which time production of the Ohka had discontinued with some 755 having been built.
The Fieseler Storch was behind glass, left, inside the maintenance building. The German submarine observation, unpowered autogryro 'kite,' right.
Other aircraft normally displayed in the War in the Air hangar are the Fieseler Storch, the Bristol M1c, North American P-51D Mustang and a unique little aircraft called the Focke Achgelis FA330, an unpowered autogyro 'kite,' utilised by German submarines as an observation platform. There are other many other items displayed such as engines, rockets, torpedoes as well as vehicles such as the Crossley Ptn 1940 foam sprayer (used to clear a path through fires to rescue crew members from downed aircraft).
We had a look at the War in the Air hangar this week and saw aircraft such as the Hawker Hind, left. Next week we move on to the Transport & Training, National Cold War Exhibition hangar and aircraft such as James May Airfix Spitfire, right.
This week we returned to RAF Cosford to have a look at the War in the Air hangar and at such aircraft as the Hawker Hurricane and the Hawker Hind. Next week we'll return to the RAF Museum at Cosford for a final look, this time at the Transport & Training hangar and the National Cold War Exhibition.
The Avro Lincoln, framed by Union Jack flags on the tables
in preparation of an event being held in the War in the Air hangar.
A look at the agile Sopwith Pup, also known as the Scout, from above and behind.
Another look at the tidy little cockpit, controls and instruments of the Sopwith Pup cockpit, left. Mr. Martin, posing with an aircraft ejection seat, right, is a Godsend to the museum and a wealth of knowledge so, if you're looking for information, he's your man!
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
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