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Aircraft Carrier Experience – Airfield at Sea

Experience the Fleet Air Arm like never before on our new state-of-the-art Aircraft Carrier Experience.

Be transported onto the flight deck of a working Aircraft Carrier and see naval aircraft in their natural home, the aircraft carrier.

Discover the evolution of Aircraft Carriers from the dawn of naval air warfare to the everchanging modern world and the hurdles needed to overcome.

You will witness the dangers of aircraft taking off and landing on a moving runway at sea, how crews overcome these challenges, and how the highly skilled men and women of an aircraft carrier operate a city at sea.

In recognition of Vice Admiral Sir Donald Gosling

The National Museum of the Royal Navy would like to extend special thanks to Sir Donald Gosling, his family, and the Gosling Foundation, for his generous legacy gift, which has enabled the illustrious tale of Britain’s aircraft carriers to be told, and enjoyed, for many more generations to come.  

Read more about the life of Vice Admiral Sir Donald Gosling

Our ‘Airfield at Sea’ defines the aircraft carrier in terms of 'place' - it can go anywhere in the world and so can its aircraft.  

The flight deck charts the 'progress' the development of the Aircraft Carrier through multiple era’s - specifically resolving the dangers of take-off and landing on a moving runway at sea.  

We explore its 'purpose' - the ever-changing aims and objectives for an aircraft carrier, with the various challenges it is required to complete and the capabilities it needs to perform them.  

The functions of an aircraft carrier truly depend upon its 'people' - despite advanced technology, it’s a team of highly skilled men and women that operate this city at sea.  

See the new Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers and find out their role at the centre of a Strike Force and the vital importance of a fit for purpose Royal Navy Carrier. The new Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers are a real display of power for the world today and into the future. 

Hanger with aircraft

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Three curators from the National Museum of the Royal Navy look over some fine art from the collection

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