Royal Air Force Museum Cosford

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Royal Air Force Museum Cosford
Cosford RAF Museum - 2009-09-20.jpg
Established 1 May 1979
Location RAF Cosford, Shropshire
Type Aviation museum

The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, located in Cosford in Shropshire, is a museum dedicated to the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force in particular. The museum is part of the Royal Air Force Museum, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and a registered charity.[1] The museum is spread over two sites in England; the other site is at the Royal Air Force Museum London at Colindale (near Hendon) in north London.


The London museum was officially opened at the Colindale (then part of Hendon) London site on 15 November 1972 by Her Majesty The Queen. The hangars housed just 36 aircraft at opening. Over the years, the collection increased and aircraft were stored at RAF stations around the country when they were not on display. While they were being so stored, these aircraft were not publicly displayed.

On 1 May 1979, the Cosford site was opened at RAF Cosford, one of the RAF stations which had been used to store the museum's collection of aircraft. On opening, the museum initially exhibited airframes which had been used for technical training at RAF Cosford. In the following years additional aircraft were added to the collection and in 1980 it was agreed that the British Airways Collection be displayed at Cosford. On 21 June 1998 four additional galleries were opened, housing art, temporary exhibitions and other aviation subjects. 13 May 2002 saw the relocation of the RAF Museum Conservation Centre from Cardington, Bedfordshire to Cosford. The Centre, costing £2.4 million, was opened by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham and is named after him.[2]

The Cosford site includes several developmental aircraft such as those that led to the English Electric Lightning and the second prototype of the BAC TSR-2.

The first Director of the Museum was Dr John Tanner who retired in 1987. In 1988 Dr Michael A Fopp (who had previously directed the London Transport Museum) was appointed and was Director General of all three sites covered by the Museum until his retirement in 2010.

The site can be reached by public transport via the neighbouring Cosford railway station on the Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line.

British Airways collection[edit]

In 1980, the Cosford site agreed to house the British Airways Museum collection. In 2006 British Airways withdrew funding from the collection, after which the RAF Museum did not take on the costs of maintaining the aircraft. Several of the jet airliners have subsequently been broken up, including the only Boeing 707 that was preserved in the UK, a Vickers VC10 and a Hawker Siddeley Trident.

National Cold War Exhibition[edit]

The National Cold War Exhibition

The National Cold War Exhibition opened at Cosford in February 2007. The exhibition houses the museum's V bombers and other Cold War aircraft in a newly constructed 8,000m2 exhibition building designed by architects Fielden Clegg Bradley.[3] The exhibition concept and design was developed by Neal Potter and includes 'silo theatres' which depict, in a variety of media, the key tensions of the Cold War period.

Aircraft on display[edit]

List from Royal Air Force Museum Cosford official website.[4]

Hangar 1 (Transport & Training)[edit]

The Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C1 on display in Hangar 1
Aircraft Serial On Display?
Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1 XP411 Yes
Auster T.7 Antarctic WE600 Yes
Avro Anson C.19 TX214 Yes
BAC Jet Provost T.5A XW418 Yes
Boulton Paul Sea Balliol T.21 WL732 Yes
Bristol Sycamore HR.14 XJ918 Yes
CASA 352L (Junkers Ju 52) G-AFAP Yes
Comper CLA.7 Swift G-ACGL Yes
de Havilland Chipmunk T.10 WP912 Yes
de Havilland Comet 1XB G-APAS Yes
de Havilland Devon C.2 VP952 Yes
Fairchild Argus II G-AIZE Yes
Hawker Cygnet G-EBMB Yes
Hawker Siddeley Andover E.3A XS639 Yes
Hawker Siddeley Gnat T.1 XR977 Yes
Hunting Percival Jet Provost T.1 XD574 Yes
Hunting Percival Pembroke C.1 WV746 Yes
Mignet HM.14 G-AEEH Yes
Scottish Aviation Bulldog T.1 XX654 Yes
Scottish Aviation Jetstream T.1 XX496 Yes
Vickers Varsity T.1 WL679 Yes
Westland Dragonfly HR.3 G-AJOV Yes
Westland Wessex HC.2 XR525 Yes

National Cold War Exhibition[edit]

The Mikoyan MiG-15bis on display in the National Cold War Exhibition
Aircraft Serial On Display?
Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF.14 WS843 Yes
Avro Vulcan B.2 XM598 Yes
Avro York C.1 TS798 Yes
Canadair Sabre F.4 XB812 Yes
Douglas Dakota C.4 KN645 Yes
English Electric Canberra PR.9 XH171 Yes
English Electric Lightning F.1/P.1B XG337 Yes
General Dynamics F-111F-CF 74-0177 Yes
Gloster Javelin FAW.1 XA564 Yes
Handley Page Hastings T.5 TG511 Yes
Handley Page Victor K.2 XH672 Yes
Hawker Hunter T.7A XL568 Yes
Mikoyan MiG-15bis 001120 Yes
Mikoyan MiG-21PF 7105 Yes
Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer CC.1 XL993 Yes
Short Belfast C.1 XR371 Yes
Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV 68-8284 Yes
Vickers Valiant B.1 XD818 Yes

Externally displayed exhibits[edit]

Bristol Britannia on external display
Aircraft Serial
Bristol Britannia 312 G-AOVF
Hawker Siddeley Dominie T.1 XS709
Hawker Hunter F.6A XG225
Hawker Siddeley Nimrod R.1 XV249
Lockheed C-130 Hercules C.4 XV202
Lockheed SP-2H Neptune 204

Test Flight (Research & Development Collection)[edit]

The BAC TSR-2 on display in the Test Flight hangar
Aircraft Serial On Display?
Avro 707c WZ744 Yes
BAC TSR-2 XR220 Yes
British Aerospace EAP ZF534 Yes
Bristol 188 XF926 Yes
English Electric P.1A WG760 Yes
Fairey Delta 2 WG777 Yes
Gloster Meteor F8 Prone Position WK935 Yes
Gloster Meteor T7 (Modified) WA634 No
Hawker-Siddeley Kestrel FGA.1 XS695 Yes
Hunting H.126 XN714 Yes
Panavia Tornado P02 XX946 No
Saunders-Roe SR.53 XD145 Yes
SEPECAT Jaguar ACT XX765 Yes
Short SB.5 WG768 Yes

War in the Air Collection[edit]

A Hawker Hurricane II on display in the War in the Air hangar. A selection of armament used by the type is also displayed.
Aircraft Serial On Display?
Avro Lincoln B.2 RF398 Yes
BAe Harrier GR9A ZG477 Yes
Bristol M.1c C4994 Yes
Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina L-866 Yes
de Havilland Mosquito TT.35 TA639 Yes
de Havilland Venom FB.4 J1704 Yes
Fieseler Fi 156 Storch VP746 Yes
FMA 1A58 Pucara ZD485 (A-515) Yes
Focke Achgelis FA330 n/a Yes
Folland Gnat F.1 XK724 Yes
Hawker Afghan Hind n/a Yes
Hawker Hurricane IIc LF738 Yes
Kawasaki Ki-1001b n/a Yes
Messerschmitt Me 163B-1a Komet 191614 Yes
Messerschmitt Me 410A-1/U2 420430 Yes
Mitsubishi Ki-46 'Dinah' n/a Yes
North American P-51D Mustang 44-73415 No
Sopwith 1½ Strutter A8226 Yes
Sopwith Pup N5182 Yes
Supermarine Spitfire I K9942 Yes
Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka n/a Yes

Engines on display[edit]

The Cosford museum houses a large collection of aero engines, the majority are located in Hangar 1, a small side room of this hangar contains a display of rocket engines.

Missile collection[edit]

The museum holds a large collection of missiles and rocket-powered weapons, including several rare German World War II types. The majority are located in the National Cold War Exhibition, with the German collection on display in Hangar 1.

Michael Beetham Conservation Centre[edit]

Michael Beetham Conservation Centre
A Sopwith Dolphin under restoration in 2003 with the Miles Mohawk behind.

Also on the museum site is the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre. The centre restores aircraft and artefacts for display at both Cosford and London. It is named in honour of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael James Beetham and was opened by him on 13 May 2002.[2]

Aircraft currently in storage or long-term restoration include:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, Registered Charity no. 244708 at the Charity Commission
  2. ^ a b Ellis 2004, p. 179.
  3. ^ Spicer, Graham (7 February 2007). "Cold War Exhibition Opens in Spectacular New RAF Cosford Building". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Royal Air Force Museum Cosford exhibit list Retrieved: 20 April 2015


  • Ellis, Ken. Wrecks and Relics – 19th Edition, Midland Publishing, Hinckley, Leicestershire. 2004. ISBN 1-85780-183-0

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°38′38″N 2°18′41″W / 52.644°N 2.3115°W / 52.644; -2.3115