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Discover Record Breaking Aircraft at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Record Breaking Aircraft at Fleet Air Arm Museum

From record breaking to pioneering aircraft, the Royal Navy has always been at the forefront of aviation technology and development.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum celebrates and commemorates the navy’s aviation history and in this post we take a look at the history of the museum and the record breaking aircraft on display.

History of the Fleet Air Arm

Did you know that the Royal Navy began training pilots to fly in 1909 using balloons, airships and man lifting kites, and in 1911 began experimenting with early aeroplanes flying from ships?

This led to the forming of a complete branch of the Navy in 1914 called the Royal Naval Air Service (alongside the Royal Flying Corps which was of Army origin).

In 1918 both these flying services were amalgamated into a newly formed Royal Air Force (RAF).

Then in the late 1930s, the Royal Navy regained control of its own flying operations, and was renamed the Fleet Air Arm.

Over the last 112 years the Royal Navy has been at the forefront of numerous aviation inventions, firsts and record-breaking achievements.

And, the Fleet Air Arm Museum is where you can discover more about these aviation innovations.

What can you see at the Fleet Air Arm Museum?

As the biggest collection of naval aircraft in Europe there’s lot of planes and history to see.

Here we take a look at some of the popular and record breaking aircraft on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum that were key to the Royal Navy’s historic engagements.

Record Breaking Aircraft

Replica Short S27

This is a full-size replica of the first type of aircraft flown by the Royal Navy in 1911.

Early experiments led to Pioneer Naval Aviator Lt Samson becoming the first person in the world to take off from the deck of a moving ship.

This amazing aviation feat took place in May 1912 in Weymouth Harbour, Dorset, which is only 30 miles from the where the Fleet Air Arm Museum is situated.

Sopwith Pup and de Havilland Sea Vampire

Sea Vampire_FAAM_Record Breakers
The Havilland Sea Vampire at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Taking off in an aircraft from a ship is one thing but landing back onto the ship is another matter entirely.

Demanding great skill, courage and airmanship, landing onto a moving ship is something that all Navy pilots have been trained to do since the First World War.

Squadron Commander Edwin Dunning was the first person to achieve this dangerous and complicated manoeuvre in august 1917 flying a Sopwith Pup biplane.

And, 28 years later in 1945, at the dawn of the jet age, Lt Cdr, Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown achieved another deck landing milestone by landing the first jet aircraft onto the deck of an aircraft carrier.

His de Havilland Sea Vampire jet (LZ551/G) the very aircraft to perform this amazing piece of aviation history can be seen on display at The Fleet Air Arm Museum.

Lynx Helicopter

Lynx Helicopter FAAM Record Breakers
A Lynx helicopter at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Helicopters have featured in the story of Naval aviation since the Second World War.

Although not in service during the war, the Royal Navy was investigating the use of helicopters as early as 1943.

From the 1950s helicopters were in regular service with the navy and by the 1970s the Westland Lynx was one of the most versatile and useful anti-submarine and reconnaissance helicopters in the fleet.

In 1986 a specially prepared Lynx Helicopter achieved a helicopter air speed record of 249.09 mph (400.87kmp) in the skies over Somerset, a record that remains unbroken today.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum has two Navy Lynx Mk3 helicopters in its collection.

Fairey Delta

Going faster and being the fastest has always been a focus and challenge for many aircraft manufacturers and design teams.

In 1956 the Fairey Aviation Company produced a test aircraft (the Fairey Delta 2) in a bid to break the then air speed record of 822mph.

Piloted by former Navy Pilot Cdr. Peter Twiss the Fairey Delta 2 achieved 1,132 mph (1,811 kph) smashing the existing record.

It made Peter Twiss the first person to travel faster that 1000mph in straight and level flight in an aircraft, faster than the earth’s rotational speed.

Concorde

Concorde 02 - FAAM Record Breakers
The G-BSST - BAC Concorde at the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Although not a naval aircraft of course, Concorde 002 is undoubtedly one of the world’s most recognised and celebrated aircraft.

Housed at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Prototype Concorde 002 is the centre piece of the museum’s hall of aviation technology.

Materials, technologies and processes used to manufacture Concorde drew on years of previous aviation experience and knowledge.

The technology designed for Concorde has also aided the manufacture of many of the world’s most successful aircraft since.

A truly iconic design and still the fastest passenger transport aircraft to have been in service and able to cross the Atlantic in as little as 2 hours, 52 mins, 59 seconds Concorde is a true record breaker.

Royal Navy Aircraft

These aircraft have broken some truly astonishing records, some are important to historical endeavours and others have kept the Royal Navy at the forefront of aviation in both times of peace and conflict.

There’s some amazing, historically important aircraft on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. They range from the pioneer aircraft from the dawn of aviation through to modern jet aircraft and helicopters taken from recent service.

You’ll see over 50 from the 102 Fleet Air Arm Museum collection at any one time, we like to change them up!

Tours of Cobham Hall run throughout the year too, which is a behind the scenes viewing of the storage hanger where the rest of the collect is stored when not in the main museum. Keep an eye on social for when these are announced.

Book a visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum>>

 

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