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Russell Adams - a legend in Aircraft Photography

Born in Plymouth on 24 August 1912 Russell William Henry Adams became a pioneer of jet aerobatic photography and will be long remembered for his expertise in this field. From his first sortie in January 1949 to his last in flight in 1980 he had flown in 54 types of aircraft.

Unable to achieve his ambition to be a pilot due to defective eye sight he served all of Britain during the war as an examiner of scientific and electrical instruments. He said he would be remembered at the bases he visited as the person ‘always looking skyward at aircraft and wishing he could be there.’

During the war he also joined the Home Guard as a gunner rising in rank to 2nd Lieutenant, being granted an honorary rank of Lieutenant at the end of the war. 

He joined Gloster Aircraft Company in February 1946 as an electrical engineer and in 1949 he was given the opportunity to form a photographic section to assist with research and development. As a result he became the first person to take air to air photographs of jet aircraft performing aerobatics.

In May 1949 he recorded the deformation of the skin on a Meteor that lead to improvements and contributed to the fighter becoming an international success.  His photographs become world renowned, appeared in hundreds of publications and he was regarded as the worlds leading aerobatic photographer.

 We are proud to have some of Russell Adam’s Memorabilia on display at the Jet Age Museum, including his much-loved camera.

Russell Adams' Camera, Flying Helmet, Goggles, Suit and Photographs

The Museum is incredibly proud to be able to pay tribute to this ground-breaking photographer by having these items on display.

Russell Adams Camera

Russell Adams Flying Helmet and Goggles

Russell Adams Flying Suit

Russell Adams Photographs

Russell Adams - his Story

Russell Adams’ full story is told in the lavishly illustrated Jet Age Photographer by Tim Kershaw, is published by Sutton Publishing in association with Jet Age Museum

This is a large format hardcover 198 page publication, with Foreword by Neville Duke, records in his own words and with the aid of his log books, Adams’ flying experiences. It includes brief details on Gloster test Pilots who flew Adams on his air to air sorties.