Solway Aviation Museum

Solway Aviation Museum Solway Aviation Museum is home to a collection of aircraft, aviation artifacts and displays located at Carlisle Lake District Airport.
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Solway Aviation Museum is home to a collection of aircraft, aviation artifacts and displays reflecting Britain’s position as a world leader in aircraft design and innovation at the dawn of the jet age. The museum's primary objective is the preservation of our aviation heritage, its display and interpretation. Take a nostalgic journey back to Wartime Cumberland and the men and women of the RAF who served in WWII. The museum is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who give up their free time to painstakingly restore many of the exhibits. Through their love and knowledge they are preserving aviation history for generations to come. See more at: www.solway-aviation-museum.co.uk

On this day in 1958 the prototype McDonnell Douglas XF4H-1 Phantom had its maiden flight. Five years later, also on 27th...
27/05/2020

On this day in 1958 the prototype McDonnell Douglas XF4H-1 Phantom had its maiden flight. Five years later, also on 27th May, the USAF's F4C had its maiden flight.

Solway Aviation Museum's Phantom FGR2 (XV406) was built as an F4M in America in 1969, powered by Rolls-Royce Spey engines. It was recently restored, and is currently in the colours of 111 Squadron.

We're now into Round Two of the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition. Here's Heat 2: Jet Provost vs Met...
27/05/2020

We're now into Round Two of the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition. Here's Heat 2: Jet Provost vs Meteor. Which picture do you prefer? #ROTY

Battle of France – 27th May 1940. Operation Dynamo, Day 2We have heard how the RAF was organised into ‘mono-functional’ ...
27/05/2020

Battle of France – 27th May 1940. Operation Dynamo, Day 2

We have heard how the RAF was organised into ‘mono-functional’ commands during WW2 (Fighter, Bomber, Coastal, Training), each with its own specific role. As Operation Dynamo – the name given to the evacuation from Dunkirk – entered its first full day on 27th May 1940, it may be helpful to examine the Luftwaffe’s very different structure and role. Firstly it was an offensive organisation, designed almost exclusively to support the ground forces of the Wehrmacht. Its bombers needed to operate under favourable air conditions, supported by large numbers of fighters.

For this to succeed, the Luftwaffe organised its aircraft into ‘multi-functional’ air fleets, each fleet consisting of single and two-seat fighters / fighter-bombers (Bf-109, Bf-110), bombers (Ju-88, He-111, Do-17), dive-bombers (Ju-87), reconnaissance and coastal aircraft. This had its disadvantages, particularly in terms of logistics, but for the ‘blitzkrieg’ through France and the Low Countries in May 1940 it was devastatingly effective. Fighters would sweep the skies to deter or engage Allied fighters, clearing the way for the bombers and dive-bombers to pulverise Allied ground forces. As Op Dynamo ramped up, and with German forces now closing in on Dunkirk, the full weight of these ‘Luftflotten’ could increasingly be brought to bear on the beleaguered Allied forces at and around the beachhead.

Heat 1 of Round 2 was the battle of the English Electric jets, and it was won convincingly by the Lightning. Heat 2 of R...
26/05/2020

Heat 1 of Round 2 was the battle of the English Electric jets, and it was won convincingly by the Lightning. Heat 2 of Rear of the Year tomorrow! #ROTY

We're now into Round Two of the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition. Here's Heat 1: Canberra vs Lighti...
26/05/2020

We're now into Round Two of the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition. Here's Heat 1: Canberra vs Lighting. Which picture do you prefer? #ROTY

Battle of France – 26th May 1940We now return to the Battle of France. The continued success of the German advance, coup...
26/05/2020

Battle of France – 26th May 1940

We now return to the Battle of France. The continued success of the German advance, coupled with the absence of a French regrouping and counter-attack northwards from the Somme, had forced the BEF commander, General Lord Gort, to make a critical decision. Allied forces would now start falling back towards the coast at Dunkirk, in the hopes that at least some of the retreating forces could be safely evacuated to England. Bomber and Fighter Commands maintained the pressure on the advancing German forces where they could, but the contribution of Coastal Command should not be overlooked.

In many ways the ‘Cinderella’ command within the RAF, Coastal Command was often felt to have lost out in the resource battles within the RAF. Their support to the Battle of France now came by way of continuous daylight patrols from its Bristol Blenheims, Lockheed Hudsons, and Blackburn B24 Skua and B25 Rocs (on loan from the Fleet Air Arm). A few of these aircraft were equipped with the new Air-to-Surface Vessel (ASV) radar for detecting surface shipping. Coastal Command would eventually play a central role in one of the longest and most important battles of WW2, the Battle of the Atlantic. But now they were about to support the evacuation from Dunkirk: Operation Dynamo was commencing.

Despite a spirited defence of the crew bus, our Vulcan B2 was the clear winner of today's heat. Tomorrow the winners sta...
25/05/2020

Despite a spirited defence of the crew bus, our Vulcan B2 was the clear winner of today's heat. Tomorrow the winners start to move into the Second Round!

For clarity, the competition is to find the Rear of the Year amongst our complete, outdoor exhibits. Getting a decent rear shot of the Vampire and Chipmunk, or any of the other aircraft inside A Block, is too damned tricky!

I'll be picking up the Battle of France theme again tomorrow. Until then here's some of the WW2 art we've got on display...
25/05/2020

I'll be picking up the Battle of France theme again tomorrow. Until then here's some of the WW2 art we've got on display at the museum.

Time for Heat 5 in the Solway Aviation Museum Rear of the Year competition. Vulcan vs Crew Bus: which picture do you pre...
25/05/2020

Time for Heat 5 in the Solway Aviation Museum Rear of the Year competition. Vulcan vs Crew Bus: which picture do you prefer? #ROTY

No doubt about the winner of Heat 4 - Meteor NF14 by a long way! Heat 5 tomorrow will be a tad unusual 😉
24/05/2020

No doubt about the winner of Heat 4 - Meteor NF14 by a long way! Heat 5 tomorrow will be a tad unusual 😉

The mystery aircraft was the Avro 722 / Atlantic - well done if you got it right!
24/05/2020

The mystery aircraft was the Avro 722 / Atlantic - well done if you got it right!

Quick mystery aircraft quiz - anyone know what this is? Answer later this evening!
24/05/2020

Quick mystery aircraft quiz - anyone know what this is? Answer later this evening!

24/05/2020

Here are the answers to yesterday's recce challenge:

1. Westland Welkin
2. Mitsubishi J4M1 Luke prototype
3. Nakajima J9N1 Kikka
4. British Taylorcraft Auster Mk1
5. Piper J3 Cub
6. Fieseler Fi156C Storch
7. North American P51A Mustang
8. Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden
9. Yakolev Yak-3
10. North American Harvard Mk4

Really tough I thought, so very well done if you even got close to 10/10!

24/05/2020

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we had to hold the museum's annual carnival parade behind closed doors this year 🤣🤣🤣

Voting is open in the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition. Heat 4: Meteor vs Gannet. Which photo do yo...
24/05/2020

Voting is open in the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition.

Heat 4: Meteor vs Gannet. Which photo do you prefer? #ROTY

The Jet Provost has won today's heat of #ROTY by a landslide. Watch out for Heat 4 of the first round tomorrow!
23/05/2020

The Jet Provost has won today's heat of #ROTY by a landslide. Watch out for Heat 4 of the first round tomorrow!

Here's this week's recce challenge. Give us your answers down below, and I'll let you know the results tomorrow!
23/05/2020

Here's this week's recce challenge. Give us your answers down below, and I'll let you know the results tomorrow!

We have received some fantastic photographs from museum supporter Ken Needham of Short S25 Sunderland MkV G-BJHS when it...
23/05/2020

We have received some fantastic photographs from museum supporter Ken Needham of Short S25 Sunderland MkV G-BJHS when it visited White Cross Bay (Windermere) in July 1990. Built in 1944, this example now resides at Florida's Fantasy of Flight museum.

Voting is open in the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition. Heat 3: Sea Prince vs Jet Provost. Which ph...
23/05/2020

Voting is open in the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition.

Heat 3: Sea Prince vs Jet Provost. Which photo do you prefer? #ROTY

22/05/2020
Temora Aviation Museum

Look what our friends at Temora Aviation Museum have been up to! Fantastic effort down there in Australia 🔥

Today is the day! It's a truly historic moment for all of us, with the Canberra Bomber coming to life for the first time in over a decade!

It was also the first time a Canberra Bomber has been started under an electric start system, which is credited to Chief Engineer Andrew Bishop and his team of aircraft engineers.

We are very grateful to our gifted team who has been working on this project. And thank you for your support and regular check-ins on social media.

Across all of our social media channels, the English Electric Lighting wins Heat 2 by six votes and goes through to the ...
22/05/2020

Across all of our social media channels, the English Electric Lighting wins Heat 2 by six votes and goes through to the next round. Look out for Heat 3 tomorrow 😁

22/05/2020
De Havilland Chipmunk T10 WB584 WG303

Happy birthday to the De Havilland Chipmunk. What's that? Do we have a video you can watch? Yes, we do!
https://youtu.be/scQp3Mn3_bA

This short video introduces viewers to Solway Aviation Museum's De Havilland Chipmunk T10. The museum is grateful to the following supporters for allowing th...

Voting is open in the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition. Heat 2: Lightning vs Phantom. Which picture...
22/05/2020

Voting is open in the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition.

Heat 2: Lightning vs Phantom. Which picture do you prefer?

On this day in 1946, De Havilland Canada flew the prototype Chipmunk (image credit: BAE Systems) for the first time from...
22/05/2020

On this day in 1946, De Havilland Canada flew the prototype Chipmunk (image credit: BAE Systems) for the first time from its facility at Downsview near Toronto. Almost 1300 Chipmunks were eventually built. Those built in Canada had a bubble canopy (image credit: Adam Hunt), as opposed to the angular canopy of the British-built version (image credit: Mal Craghill). Sixty-six were also built in Portugal (image credit: Paulo Antunes), also with the angular canopy.

Wow that was close! With the votes tallied from across all our social media channels, the Canberra has won Heat 1 of the...
21/05/2020

Wow that was close! With the votes tallied from across all our social media channels, the Canberra has won Heat 1 of the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' contest and will go forward into the next round. Watch out for Heat 2 tomorrow! #ROTY

Our friends at Newark Air Museum posted this recently over on their Twitter account - seems like someone has had a crisi...
21/05/2020

Our friends at Newark Air Museum posted this recently over on their Twitter account - seems like someone has had a crisis of conscience two decades on!

We're missing a couple of bits off one or two of our aircraft, so if anyone is having trouble sleeping at night, our address is on the website...

Voting is open in the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition. Heat 1: Canberra vs Hunter. Which picture d...
21/05/2020

Voting is open in the Solway Aviation Museum 'Rear of the Year' competition.

Heat 1: Canberra vs Hunter. Which picture do you prefer?

Battle of France – 21st May 1940 (Fighter Command)By the 21st of May 1940 only three of Fighter Command’s squadrons rema...
21/05/2020

Battle of France – 21st May 1940 (Fighter Command)

By the 21st of May 1940 only three of Fighter Command’s squadrons remained in France, all flying Hurricanes with the Advanced Air Striking Force. The command had been established in 1936 as one of four functional commands alongside Bomber Command, Coastal Command and Training Command, and was led by Sir Hugh Dowding (Image Credit: Weapons and Warfare). He had led research and development at the Air Ministry prior to the establishment of the Command, and was the perfect man to be charged with the air defence of Great Britain – after all, he had been involved with many of the technological developments the Command brought together into what became the world’s first fully integrated air defence system. According to Peter Townsend, who led 85 Sqn in the Battle of Britain, Dowding “knew every problem of training, research, development and, of course, air defence”.

The ‘Dowding System’ (Image credit: Wikipedia) brought together numerous separate elements into a network that could detect enemy raids via radar and signals intercept, assess their direction, height, speed and strength, scramble fighters to intercept from the most appropriate sector, and warn the relevant AAA guns and balloon barrages to be ready for action. The heart of the system was not aircraft or cannon shells, but highly trained personnel from the RAF, the Observer Corps, the Army’s AAA Command and others. Fighter Command, headquartered at Bentley Priory, was split into four groups, each of which was further divided into sectors (Image credit: Patrick Bishop). Number 11 Group, commanded by Sir Keith Park, covered the South-East of England and was the closest to the action throughout the Battle of France and, subsequently, the Battle of Britain.

I'm excited to announce that Miramax have begun filming for Top Gun 3 at the museum today 🤣🤣🤣
20/05/2020

I'm excited to announce that Miramax have begun filming for Top Gun 3 at the museum today 🤣🤣🤣

Four different images of our Vulcan B2 today - which is your favourite? A, B, C or D? Let us know in the comments!
20/05/2020

Four different images of our Vulcan B2 today - which is your favourite? A, B, C or D? Let us know in the comments!

Battle of France – 20th May 1940 (the shadow of the inter-war years)It is worth pausing at this point to address somethi...
20/05/2020

Battle of France – 20th May 1940 (the shadow of the inter-war years)

It is worth pausing at this point to address something that has become obvious from my posts over the past few days – why was the RAF in such a shabby state in 1940? The answer can be found in the shadow of WW1, known then as ‘The Great War’ or ‘the war to end all wars’, and in particular a decision taken in 1919 to instigate the ‘Ten Year Rule’. Introduced by Winston Churchill (image credit: Daily Mail) as Minister for War, and running until 1932, this dramatically limited military spending “on the assumption that the British Empire would not be engaged in any great war during the next ten years”.

Money was simply not available to develop and purchase the best modern equipment – in 1930 the RAF share of the defence budget was under £17m, against £40m for the Army and £56m for the RN. The one saving grace was the superb leadership of Sir Hugh Trenchard (image credit: National Portrait Gallery), who established the structures from which the RAF could grow once the German threat was recognised in the early 1930s. He established professional schools at Cranwell and Halton, set up University Air Squadrons and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, introduced NCO aircrew, and fought the RAF’s corner tirelessly.

Nevertheless, once re-armament became a priority, it took a massive spending increase to even begin to address the shortfalls, such that by 1939 the RAF was receiving the biggest share of the defence budget (£106m; the Army got £88M and the RN £98m). Even then, quantity was favoured over quality, hence the state of the air fleet in the early years of the war. One other decision would also have a major impact on events in 1940, and that was the decision in 1936 to establish four specialist functional Commands in the RAF: Training, Coastal, Bomber and Fighter Commands. The impact of that decision will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.

We are very proud of our collection of post-War military aircraft at Solway Aviation Museum (these photos are just what'...
19/05/2020

We are very proud of our collection of post-War military aircraft at Solway Aviation Museum (these photos are just what's outside!). Hopefully before too long we'll be able to welcome you back.

Battle of France, 19th May 1940On 19th May Bomber Command continued to do what it could to hamper the German advance, bu...
19/05/2020

Battle of France, 19th May 1940

On 19th May Bomber Command continued to do what it could to hamper the German advance, but its means were limited. The ‘heavy’ bomber force was nothing of the sort, limited in range, payload and accuracy. The fragile Handley Page Hampdens could carry no more than 4,000lbs of ordnance (2,000 over longer distances), with a cruising speed of 165mph and a maximum of 255mph. The Vickers Wellington Mk1c carried between 1,000 and 4,500lbs depending on range, also cruising at 165 mph but with a maximum of just 235mph. The Armstrong Whitworth Whitley had the biggest payload, hauling between 3,000 and 7,500lbs of bombs, and with a faster cruise speed (185mph) but slower maximum (222mph) than the Hampdens and Wellingtons (all image credits: IWM via Wikimedia Commons, Crown Copyright expired).

The bombers were not pleasant environments to work in either. The cabins were bitterly cold, navigation and weapon aiming equipment was rudimentary, and self-defence was poor. In reality the German bombers (He111, Do17 and Ju88) were no better, but had the advantage of operating in skies largely clear of Allied fighters. For Bomber Command, when their aircraft did manage to find their targets, rarely did they actually hit them, much less cause significant damage. And all the while, the German flak and fighters took their toll. In ‘Air Force Blue’ Patrick Bishop wrote that “The willingness to endure heavy losses in the knowledge that they brought negligible results was sustained throughout the night-bombing that began in earnest later [in 1940]”.

Here's our Jet Provost T4 (and guest 🤣) to start the week!
18/05/2020

Here's our Jet Provost T4 (and guest 🤣) to start the week!

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Aviation House Carlisle Airport Crosby-on-Eden
Carlisle
CA6 4NW

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I have been sent a couple of photos of the airfield from the 1980's. They were taken from a Dragon Rapide. Thought you might like to see them!
Well, that’s something I’ve never smelled before in my garden, or indeed anywhere else apart from an airfield. ‘That’ was the distinctive smell of burnt AVTUR. Just after 9am Wednesday 6th May, I was working in my garden in Scotby ( - No, really. Erecting a flagpole, if you must know). Alerted by the noise, I looked up and saw a large aircraft approaching from the south at very low level. Attracting my wife’s attention we watched the unmistakeable shape of a camouflaged C130 Hercules appearing to fill our field of view as it banked right to pass directly over us and then banked left back onto his original northerly cheading (to avoid overflying most of Scotby?) Immediately afterwards we detected that aroma of burnt AVTUR. “How low was that?” we wondered as we recovered from a thrilling battering of the senses. It seemed like just two or three hundred feet but surely that was an illusion due to the sheer size of the aircraft? Seeking more information I fired up Adsbexchange and all was revealed. Our visitor was a C130J from RAF Brize Norton, ZH888. His groundspeed was 148knots (170mph) as he passed just 225ft above us. No wonder we could smell his exhaust! After passing over us ZH888 headed north to the River Eden before turning to line up for a run along Carlisle’s Runway 06 getting as low as 50ft before climbing and banking right to start his journey south. One hour earlier ZH888 had taken off from Brize Norton heading NW and climbing to 19000ft eventually crossing the Welsh coast near Llandudno. A 90° right turn had ZH888 heading NE. They must have been ahead of schedule because a 360° turn to port ate up 3 minutes. Next, a descent, followed by crossing the Cumbrian coast at 125ft near Cark. The Adsbexchange plot is lacking detail at this point, but I suspect a low-level flight along Windermere, over Kirkstone Pass and along Ullswater before crossing the A66 near Stainton and heading N parallel to and E of the A6. Shortly afterwards my personal interaction with ZH888 occurred. On leaving Carlisle Airport, the journey south roughly followed the Carlisle to Settle line from just N of Armathwaite and on to Skipton. Then Hebden Bridge, before passing over the Peak District and on to eventually land back at Brize Norton after a 3 hour flight. One thing that came across from studying this flight is the effort that had been expended to minimise directly overflying communities. I count myself lucky to have had a remarkably close encounter with a skilfully flown aircraft. One of my more memorable lockdown experiences!
Another shot of the Vulcan shortly after arrival January 1983.
Vulcan shortly after arrival January 1983
Jet Provost, Lightning, Meteor and Phantom. Solway Aviation Museum, Carlisle Feel free to share along with credit below: Picture copyright (me) Four Counties Photography, Brampton [email protected]
I believe this is yours... Feel free to share along with credit below: Picture copyright (me) Four Counties Photography, Brampton [email protected]
On this day in 1982, Stanley was bombed by Vulcans. It was noisy! I'm now a Carlisle resident, my Corona project is to blog my family's Falklands war diaries each day.
How about this for a dashboard?
This was taken around 3 years ago.
Just found page - been to museum a rew times. Found this photo of your Fairey Gannet on an RN transporter going through Chorley, Lancaashire - photo dated 1990; Don't know where bound and my not on M61 or M6.
Here's my version of the "Tin Triangle" in the absence of the real thing.