Classic Air Force
|Mission||'Classic Air Force exists to acquire and save rare aircraft and to operate them safely for the benefit of the public and act as ambassadors for the UK’s rich aviation history'|
|Formerly called||Air Atlantique Classic Flight|
Classic Air Force is a charitably-based aircraft preservation organisation sited in Newquay, Cornwall and Coventry, West Midlands. Specialising in classic aircraft from the period between the end of the Second World War and the close of the Cold War, it preserves - in flying condition where possible - notable and rare aircraft from the period. CAF is the public face of The Classic Aircraft Trust, which was set up in 2012 specifically to manage the preservation and museum activities.
The organisation's main site is in Newquay, where the museum is located. The site in Coventry hosts the organisation's main maintenance and restoration facilities.
The Classic Air Force is a charitably-based continuation of Classic Flight, which in itself was a development of Air Atlantique. Originally set up as an air taxi operation in 1969, the company adopted the Air Atlantique brand in 1977 when it began charter operations with the Douglas DC-3 Dakotas that were to become its signature. In 2006 the classic aircraft operation was turned into an entity in itself with the creation of the Air Atlantique Classic Flight.
In 2012 it was decided to apply for charitable status to allow the preservation of historic and rare aircraft beyond the lifetimes of its founders. The Classic Aircraft Trust was established, and it is this body that now manages the operation. The Trust secured a lease on a large curtelage of land within Newquay Cornwall Airport's growing Aerohub. Most of the aircraft of the Classic Flight have been donated to the charity, and several additional machines have been obtained.
The Newquay site opened as an aviation museum on March 31, 2013.
The trust's main aviation museum is located at Newquay Cornwall Airport, in the 70,000 square foot Hangar 404 capable of housing 25 of the trust's aircraft. The hangar was previously used to house 3 RAF Hawker Siddeley Nimrods. The museum opened on 31 March 2013, and is open to the public between April and October, although this is variable. Smaller buildings house a large model display, bookshop, cafe, gift shop and other aviation-related displays and activities.
Airbase at Coventry Airport is primarily the organisation's maintenance and restoration location, but since April 2014 it is has also been open to the public at weekends, with free admission. While this site is in principle a working area, two static display aircraft are open for public tours. These are the Avro Shackleton and Hawker Siddeley Nimrod. Coventry had been the only base used by Air Atlantique and Classic Flight - operations only moved to Newquay upon the birth of the Classic Air Force in 2012.
The flyable aircraft frequently move between the sites. Their movement schedules are visible on the organisation's website.
As a charity, the trust raises most of its money from the visitors to the museum, as well as through fees for membership of the Classic Air Force. There is a team of volunteers, whose roles include engineers and pilots.
The trust operates a fleet of over 30 post-war aircraft.
Flying indicates that the aircraft may move between the two bases and many other airfields.
- 1x Auster Autocrat - G-JAYI Flying
- 1x Avro Anson - G-VROE Flying
- 1x Avro Shackleton - WR963 Static Display CVT
- 1x BAC One-Eleven - G-BGKE Static Display NQY 
- 1x Chrislea Super Ace - G-AKVF Flying
- 1x de Havilland Chipmunk - G-APLO Flying 
- 5x de Havilland DH104 - G-DHDV Flying (In Storage: G-BWWC, G-BWFB, G-SDEV, G-ARHW)
- 3x de Havilland Dragon Rapide - G-AGTM, G-AIDL, G-AKRP Flying 
- 1x de Havilland Vampire - G-HELV Flying
- 1x de Havilland Venom - G-DHVM, G-VENM Flying
- 2x Douglas Dakota - G-AMPY, G-ANAF Flying
- 2x English Electric Canberra - G-BVWC Flying, G-CDSX Static Display NQY
- 2x Gloster Meteor - G-LOSM, G-BWMF Flying
- 2x Hawker Hunter - WT722, WB188 Static Display NQY
- 1x Hawker Sea Hawk - WV798 Static Display NQY 
- 1x Hawker Siddeley Harrier - XV753 Static Display NQY
- 1x Hawker Siddeley Nimrod - XV232 Static Display CVT 
- 2x Hunting Percival Jet Provost - G-JPRO, G-BDDS Flying
- 1x Miles Gemini - G-AKDK
- 1x Percival Pembroke - G-BXES Flying
- 1x Percival Prentice - G-APJB Flying 
- 1x Percival Proctor - G-AKIU Flying
- 1x Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer -G-APRS Flying
- 1x Vickers Varsity - WL679 Static Display NQY
- 1x Vickers VC10 - ZA148 Static Display NQY 
Appearances in Popular Culture
- The 2012 BBC 4 documentary Jet! When Britain ruled the skies featured Gloster Meteor T.7 G-BWMF and Canberras G-CDSX and G-BVWC.
- The 2013 BBC 2 documentary Cold War Hot Jets featured both Gloster Meteor T.7 G-BWMF taxing on the ground at Coventry and Jet Provost G-BWDS/XM424 flying over Newquay.
Avro Anson G-VROE taking off from Hullavington Airport in 2005
Meteor, Venom and Jet Provost at RAF Cosford in 2011
Dragon Rapide G-AGTM at Kemble Airport in 2003
- "The Classic Aircraft Trust: UK Charity 1146379".
- "Classic Air Force About Us".
- "Pleasure Flights".
- "Aerobatic flights".
- "Auster Autocrat".
- "BAC 1-11".
- "Chrislea Super Ace".
- "de Havilland Chipmunk".
- "de Havilland Dove/Devon".
- "de Havilland Dragon Rapide".
- "de Havilland Vampire".
- "de Havilland Venom".
- "Douglas DC-3 Dakota".
- "English Electric Canberra".
- "Gloster Meteor".
- "Hawker Hunter".
- "Hawker Sea Hawk".
- "Hawker Siddeley Harrier".
- "Hawker Siddeley Nimrod".
- "Hunting Percival Jet Provost".
- "Miles Gemini".
- "Percival Pembroke".
- "Percival Prentice".
- "Percival Proctor".
- "Twin Pioneer".
- "Vickers Varsity".
- "Vickers VC10".