CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

HolidayBuyer's Guide

RAF Cosford

Training

C-130

Longevity

Stretch

Onboard

Tanker

Britannia

Air museum

Nimrod

Test Flight hangar

188 at 1,200mph

Modular

Pre-Harrier

Hunting

TSR-2

Tandom and prone

Dual propulsion

Fly-by-wire

Pre-Eurofigher

Wee little thing

Big prop bomber

Still a big bomb bay

Almost nemesis

Mossie

Rocket glider

PBY

Safety orange

Spitfire

National Cold War Exhibition

Fighters and bombers

Vulcan neck pinch

MiGs

Exhibits galore

Vulcan domination

Props, too

Pave Low

Cargo and more

Car & culture

APC

AAM from APC

Say 'no' to square windows

Tonight... James builds an aeroplane

Varsity

Drei-motor

Engines

New favorite

Cargo hold

Goodbye

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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."

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Another of my favorite planes, the PBY Catalina.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

In the foreground is a first-generation Spitfire.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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."

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Some restoration/maintenance on a Vickers Varsity.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

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.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
Published:
Up Next
Cameras that make great holiday gif...
15