CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

RAF Cosford

Through the gates to a working airbase and a huge air museum.

For the full story behind this tour, here's more about the jets and props of the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
1
of 49

Training

RAF Cosford is still a working airbase, mostly for training. Here a crew works on what I think is a SEPECAT Jaguar.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
2
of 49

C-130

Anyone else have the MicroMachines version of this? One of my favorite planes, a Lockheed C-130 Hercules, or as the Brits call the version you see here, the C.3.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
3
of 49

Longevity

Like the B-52, the C-130/C.1 was designed in the 1950s, and other than some updates, is still basically the same aircraft that flew then. Actually, in the B-52's case, they're literally the planes that flew then. The C-130 is still in production.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
4
of 49

Stretch

To convert a C.1 into a C.3, the fuselage is stretched by adding "plugs." You can see one of them here, aft of the door.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
5
of 49

Onboard

The hatch was open and there were no signs so I climbed in.

Yeah, I wasn't supposed to. I received a forceful and oddly bewildered "You're not supposed to be in here."

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
6
of 49

Tanker

This Vickers VC10 was in service for 48 years. First as a military transport, then as a mid-air refueling tanker.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
7
of 49

Britannia

The Bristol Britannia is one of the last large, propeller airliners. Its development took too long, and soon the Comet and 707 had taken to the air: the beginning of the jet age.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
8
of 49

Air museum

One of the coolest looking hangars of any air museum I've been to. That's the National Cold War Exhibition hangar, which we'll get to later.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
9
of 49

Nimrod

The portly Hawker Siddeley Nimrod was a highly modified version of the de Havilland Comet.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
10
of 49

Test Flight hangar

The first hangar is called Test Flight and features various prototype jet aircraft from the early days to the modern era.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
11
of 49

188 at 1,200mph

The high-speed research aircraft, the Bristol 188, looks like a cross between a F-104 and an SR-71.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
12
of 49

Modular

To test different wing angles and tail designs, the Short SB.5 featured a modular design so engineers could swap out sections easily.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
13
of 49

Pre-Harrier

The Hawker Siddeley Kestrel was the prototype of the Harrier "Jump Jet."

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
14
of 49

Hunting

The Hunting H.126 could fly as slow as 32mph/51.5kph due to its blown flaps, which it tested on over 100 test flights.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
15
of 49

TSR-2

This big guy is the BAC TSR-2 was a Mach 2 strike and reconnaissance aircraft. It was cancelled while still in the prototype stage.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
16
of 49

Tandom and prone

The Gloster Meteor F8 (Prone) is an odd idea. It was built to assess any advantages that might be gained in dealing with G-forces -- while the pilot was lying down. It never made it past the test stage.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
17
of 49

Dual propulsion

The Saunders-Roe SR.53 had two engines. A rocket engine to get it to altitude quickly, and then a turbojet to fly around.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
18
of 49

Fly-by-wire

This SEPECAT Jaguar was used to develop the fly-by-wire system used on the far more modern Eurofighter Typhoon (and similar to pretty much all modern aircraft).

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
19
of 49

Pre-Eurofigher

Speaking of the Eurofighter, this is the BAe EAP, its prototype. I love canards.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
20
of 49

Wee little thing

The aptly named Gnat, nestled under the wing of the big Avro Lincoln.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
21
of 49

Big prop bomber

The Lincoln, develolped from the Lancaster, was the last British bomber to use propellers.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
22
of 49

Still a big bomb bay

The Lincoln could carry 14 1,000-pound bombs.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
23
of 49

Almost nemesis

Though the Lincoln didn't see combat in WWII, it was bound for the Pacific theater and would have fought these, the Kawasaki Ki-100. The war ended before that happened.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
24
of 49

Mossie

The Mosquito, one of the three staples of every British aviation museum. And why not? This is of the last-gen TT.35 variety, which went out of service in 1963.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
25
of 49

Rocket glider

The tiny Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet. It's probably smaller than your car. They were rocket-powered to get them up to the incoming Allied bombers quickly. Then the idea was to glide back down and land on their single skid. That was the theory, anyway.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
26
of 49

PBY

Another of my favorite planes, the PBY Catalina.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
27
of 49

Safety orange

This specifically is a PBY-6A, which was the last generation built, and included a number of changes, including the radome above the cockpit.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
28
of 49

Spitfire

In the foreground is a first-generation Spitfire.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
29
of 49

National Cold War Exhibition

An English Electric Lightning hangs from the ceiling, a fantastic sight in a hangar full of amazing planes.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
30
of 49

Fighters and bombers

Up top, a Gloster Meteor, below, a Vickers Valiant. Between them, the massive tail of the Handley Page Victor.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
31
of 49

Vulcan neck pinch

Inside the Vulcan's bomb bay. It could hold 21 1,000-pound bombs, or one of the nuclear variety.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
32
of 49

MiGs

Why NATO didn't call the MiG-15 the "Guppy" I'll never understand.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
33
of 49

Exhibits galore

There's more than just planes here: tanks, APCs, rockets, missiles, helicopters and displays about the Cold War.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
34
of 49

Vulcan domination

A better look at the huge Hawker Siddeley (Avro) Vulcan.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
35
of 49

Props, too

Down there you can see an Avro York, a Short Belfast, a Handley Page Hastings and more.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
36
of 49

Pave Low

A Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low. This particular helicopter served in Iraq until 2008.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
37
of 49

Cargo and more

The MH-53 was a "Combat Search and Rescue" helicopter but often served other roles, like delivering troops into combat.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
38
of 49

Car & culture

I liked this display a lot. It was a comparison of the cars available in Britain (the Mini), West Germany (the Beetle), and East Germany (the Sachsenring Trabant).

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
39
of 49

APC

A Soviet BMP-1 light tank/armored personnel carrier.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
40
of 49

AAM from APC

Actually built by British Aerospace, this Tracked Rapier is basically one of their armored personnel carriers converted to shoot anti-aircraft missiles instead of hauling people.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
41
of 49

Say 'no' to square windows

The last hangar, Hangar 1. It's a vast, open space with several large airplanes, including this, the world's first jet airliner. The Comet was ahead of its time. It also had square windows, which turned out to be a bad idea. This particular aircraft was originally sold to Air France, but after conversion to a Comet 1XB (round windows, a few other changes), it was given to Britain's Ministry of Supply and converted to a flying laboratory.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
42
of 49

Tonight... James builds an aeroplane

James May, some engineers, and some local school children, built this Spitfire replica in this hangar for his BBC show "James May's Toy Stories."

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
43
of 49

Varsity

Some restoration/maintenance on a Vickers Varsity.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
44
of 49

Drei-motor

A Junkers Ju 52, built and popular before, during and after the war.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
45
of 49

Engines

The smaller engine on the left is actually from the Concorde prototype, a Rolls Royce Olympus 593 turbojet capable of Mach 2. The much bigger turbofan on the right is a Rolls Royce RB 211. Interestingly, these engines are from roughly the same era (1969 and 1972, respectively), and generate roughly equal amounts of thrust (though efficient at much different speeds). The RB 211 has been used in a variety of aircraft, including 747 and 767s.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
46
of 49

New favorite

I had neither seen nor heard of this plane before (the big one in the back), but I love its bulbous weirdness. It's an Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
47
of 49

Cargo hold

The twin booms made for easy access to the cargo hold. The Argosy could carry up to 29,000 pounds/13,154 kg of cargo.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
48
of 49

Goodbye

Hello to the big nose, goodbye to the big museum.

For the full story behind this tour, here's more about the jets and props of the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.

Published:Caption:Photo:Geoffrey Morrison/CNETRead the article
49
of 49
Up Next

Compact cameras for advanced photographers