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Open Cockpits

Jet age museum cockpits

Hunter and Gnat

Our Hunter and Gnat cockpits are available for older children and adults to experience with the help of our volunteer guides.  Access to the cockpits is via aircraft steps and does require care entering and exiting.   

Biggles & Amy

Our mini biplanes for smaller children can be found in the hall.  Parents and guardians are asked to supervise young pilots as care is required getting in and out of the cockpits.  The play planes are not suitable for children taller than 1 metre.  

Vulcan & Trident Ticket Desk

Access to the Vulcan bomber and Trident airliner cockpits is limited by timed ticket.  There is no charge for the tickets.  Vulcan tours (for 5 people) last 15 minutes and the Trident experience (for 8 people), including a film, takes approximately 30 minutes.  Please collect your tickets from the desk (normally in the Display Hall) to ensure access.  The Museum regrets that advanced booking is not possible.  

Access to the Vulcan is via a steep crew ladder and is not suitable for those with restricted mobility.  Children must be taller than one metre and those under 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Access to the Trident is via a set of metal steps that are not pushchair or wheelchair friendly.

Please note that entry to both aircraft is from outside the Museum building.

 

Hawker Siddeley HS-121 Trident 3B G-AWZU

In her heyday, taxing out for an 09R departure in London Heathrow

G-AWZU first flew in June 1972, was delivered to BEA in October 1972 and continued its service life with BEA, and latterly BA after their merger in 1974, until 31 December 1985 when it landed at LHR completing its final revenue service flight.

Its final positioning flight was to Stansted in March 1986, to be utilised initially in ground training and then fire service training roles.

Subsequently G-AWZU went to GJD AeroTech, at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, for disposal, and from where Jet Age Museum acquired the  ‘cockpit’ including the forward cabin section of the fuselage. This acquisition was made because of the significant link which Gloucestershire has with this aircraft, being the 1st passenger aircraft to adopt the Smiths Autoland system.

The cockpit and forecabin have been painstakingly restored – our tour gives visitors a unique opportunity to sit at the controls of a popular passenger airliner from the 1970s and early 1980s.  

Visitors enjoy an interesting interactive exhibit within the cabin, including a Trident History display, a film, access to the flight deck and the opportunity to talk to our volunteer guides.

This aircraft tour is accessed via normal stairs.

Avro Vulcan B2 XM569

The Avro Vulcan is a jet-powered tailless delta wing high-altitude strategic bomber, which was operated by the Royal Air Force from 1956 until 1984. Aircraft manufacturer A.V. Roe and Company designed the Vulcan in response to Specification B.35/46.

The Vulcan was the backbone of the UK’s airborne nuclear deterrent during the Cold War, and this restored cockpit gives visitors the chance to sit at the controls, guided by our volunteers through the process.

Our B2 cockpit has been restored and is on loan to the Jet Age Museum, displayed on a raised framework.

Visitors who are able to access the tour will be impressed to learn that pilots on call would sleep in caravans on the runway, and would be given just four minutes to respond to the siren, get dressed and be in the aircraft, ready to fly.

Demand is extremely high for this popular tour which is hosted by a volunteer guide; however, please note access is via a tall metal ladder and space inside is very limited.

Hawker Hunter XE664

This was part of the second production batch of 100 aircraft built at Hawker Aircraft (Blackpool) Ltd. The contract is dated 24th August 1953. XE664 was delivered to the RAF on the 23rd of May 1955 to No.5 Maintenance Unit, of No.26 Squadron. 

In 1958 XE664 returned to Hawker Aircraft Limited where it was converted to Mark 8 standard for the Fleet Air Arm. It was delivered to them on the 12 March 1959 and served with No.764 Squadron. In the conversion process the single seat fighter nose was removed and the two-seat trainer nose was fitted. This is why we only have the cockpit section.

After this it was converted into a Singaporean T Mark 75 (516) and they received it in September 1970. As far as we know the airframe itself is still flying and was for sale in Australia in 2009.

The cockpit section was acquired as a training aid for the Air Cadets at Marlborough School. During its stay there was an attempt to convert it to a flight simulator. In the 1980’s the Air Cadets were disbanded at the school and the aircraft was left in a shed.

During 1986 the shed was about to be used for other purposes and the cockpit section was going to be sent for scrap. Fortunately Bob Kneale, a master at the school, managed to acquire it and it was moved to another site at the school out of harms way. In the early 1990’s the cockpit was moved to a farm a few miles outside of Marlborough where it remained outside covered in a tarpaulin.

On the cold wet day of 21 February 1999 the cockpit section was removed from the boggy field on the farm and brought to the Jet Age Museum at Staverton by Bob Kneale (owner), Simon, Sam and Henry Tolley where it has been restored and is a very popular hands on exhibit.

 

Biggles (and Amy)

“Biggles”, our much loved ‘fund raiser’  regularly appears at air shows and is a popular attraction with children who visit the Museum..

Chris Radford and Keith Eagles constructed Biggles in 1995 over 12 weekends.

Initially it was a publicity stunt to appear in the Gloucester Carnival parade mounted on top of Keith Creighton’s Range Rover. Tom Radford, aged 10 at the time, piloted the aircraft. 

Unfortunately in the Carnival Biggles was not placed in the top three. 

An investigation took place and the organisers were under the impression that Biggles was a real aircraft, therefore he had been excluded!

Here he is getting ready for another fundraising adventure:

Biggles’ friend Amy lives at the Museum too, and she is always there, even when Biggles goes to Air Shows.

 

Gnat

Photos and story to follow