Fleet Air Arm Museum

A poor weather weekend was forecast by the Met Office and duly delivered by the weather gods. High winds and heavy rain for 3 days throughout the area meant a walk was out of the question. I instead had a look in the area for something similar to the tank museum that we went to back in early August (here). We settled on the Fleet Air Arm Museum near Yeovilton and with it being a stones throw from the Westland factory, we banked on seeing a few helicopters. There’s plenty of planes as well and its a decent few hours spent looking around. The place isn’t as big as the tank museum, and I think all of us preferred the tank museum to be honest. But if you live in the area then like many other places you get a free year return pass, which means we will be back here and the tank museum. Obviously with the weather we could pick a walk to do on the return journey but it was still a good day and we had a laugh together.

The first Hall we came to and the first plane we came to was the Sopworth Baby, I’m guessing this is a smaller version of the Sopworth Camel
This is a replica of the Short Brothers S27, it was built from plans back in the 70s
A Submarine Walrus, a WW2 reconnaissance amphibious biplane
For those that have walked our National Parks and coastal areas, the next two photos will be very familiar. Hopefully not too familiar as it would mean that you or someone you knew had been in an accident. This Sea King helicopter is painted half and half, this side is the Royal Navy Ace of Clubs squadron livery, based out of Portland or RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall
This side is the classic yellow RAF search and rescue. Having not seen them up close I was surprised at how big they were. You could easily stand inside the back.
Into Hall 2 now and this is a Corsair, an American WW2 fighter
This was one of the bigger planes in this hall, the Grumman Avenger, used to drop American torpedoes. It was used in the Battle of Midway to destroy Japanese super battleships
Typically my boys found the way to open the side door under the wing so we could look in
A Sea Venom used mainly in the 1950s and had a jet engine
A MIG 17 classic Russain fighter
Hall 3 is set out like an aircraft carrier, planes lined up, up there on the right is thecontrol tower, tarmac on the floor and a speaker shouting out instructions and information
The planes on deck include Buccaneers, Sea Vampires, Wessex helicopters and Sea Hawks. There is also a Phantom which is setup like it is about to take off
The speakers gave notice that the Phantom would be setting off in two minutes so we headed down to the end of the runway, up came the guards and the fans blew the air out of the exhausts to replicate a take off
A Fairey Gannet, an anti submarine aircraft used in the late WW2 period. It had a double turboprop engine driving contra rotating propellers. So yes the propellers go the opposite way around, cool eh!
Another one built down the road, a Lynx helicopter used heavily in the Gulf wars. At the top of the photo you can see the white nose of something which is instantly recognisable
Harrier Jumpjet, probably my favourite plane. I remember going to airshows in Cornwall and the sheer noise of these things was amazing
The nose of the plane of the photo above. Concorde. this one was one of three replicas built to test to concept. These were 6 metres shorter than the proper ones, but still had the 4 Rolls Royce engines and the nose that dropped for landing. Normally you can walk through the plane from back to front but not during the Covid times
Hall 4 has everything in it, from the Bristol Scout hung up on the left, Concorde, the Lynx on the right, Sea King bottom right, Sea Harrier bottom middle and the striking blue Fairey Delta 2
The Delta 2 set the air speed record for level flight (so not in a dive) in the 50s at 1,132mph and was used to conduct experiments into supersonic flight, so it was the precursor to Concorde, it also had a nose that dropped!!
10 points if you said that this is not a Sea Harrier. That’s because it is a Sea Hawker and was the original vertical take off and landing craft. It made its first vertical take off and horizontal flight in October 1960
Pilot ready for action
Top Gun Maverick reporting for duty. This was a good day out and it was great to get up close to Concorde and the Sea Harriers. Well worth a revisit.

5 thoughts on “Fleet Air Arm Museum

  1. Great stuff. I used to love all that stuff when I was a kid and we were regular visitors to Farnborougn Air Shows (in later life I realized it was just a massive arms sale event). I watched some amazing displays and in particular watching the US Blackbird spy plane, Concorde and the Harriers. They bowed to the crowd when they finished which I can still vividly remember to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Think I had a number of those hanging from my bedroom ceiling when I was a young teenager – Airfix models of course!
    Went to Duxford, the Imperial War Museum air museum near Cambridge several years ago. Great visit and saw a Spitfire and Mustang take off. Spent a good part of the day there with son and wife. The latter was bored after 1/2 hour! Definitely a male thing

    Liked by 1 person

    • The museum is very good but you do feel like the star of the show is the later planes, so from the jet engine onwards. Some of the WW2 displays seem to be lacking something like a spitfire, hurricane or Lancaster, which would have made it superb


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