The Hawker Hunter shows how just a few years of development moved jet aircraft design, from the Vampire and Meteor during the war, to this, shortly after. This example served the Royal Danish Air Force.
This Dassault Mystere is of the same era as the British fighters as the previous slide, though far more rare. Where they were built in the thousands, only a few hundred were made of these. This example was based in Algiers.
Keeping with the theme, this is an F-86 Thunderstreak, designed and built in the early 1950's. They saw service in the US Air Force, as well as many NATO air forces. This did both, serving in its early years in the US, and then later in Greece.
More F-86 Sabers were built than the last few aircraft you've seen combined. A mainstay of American and allied forces in the post-WWII era. This "D" model was built in California in 1953, and served in the US, UK, Germany and throughout the Mediterranean.
The US variant was the B-57, manufactured under license by Martin from English Electric. Amazingly, for an aircraft designed in the 1940s, three are still in service. Not military service of course, but for NASA.
A Westland Wessex, a development of the Sikorsky H-34, most notably replacing the piston engine with a gas turbine. It was used for a variety of missions, including anti-submarine duties and search and rescue.
Like the Canberra, this is awaiting restoration, and again, I hope when it's ready we'll be able to have a look inside.
Before we get to big aircraft, a quick look at the Land part of the museum. Housed in its own hanger, the museum has a collection of armored and unarmored personnel carriers, light tanks and other vehicles.
A Daimler Ferret APC. These were extensively produced and widely used all over the world. This Mk I was one of the first delivered to the British Army in the early 50's. It served in Germany and for the UN. Power comes from a Rolls Royce 4.62L inline-6.
After flying for British European Airlines, and later British Airways, Trident G-ARPO was given to the Civil Aviation Fire Training Centre. There it was used for, you guessed it, smoke and fire evacuation training, completely smoking out the interior repeatedly over nearly three decades.
This Trident didn't actually fly for Northeast Airlines. The team restoring it chose this livery since this airline was well known in this part of the country in the era when the Trident was in the skies.
I spoke with two of the people still working to get the Trident to 100 percent and it was awesome to hear so many stories about the aircraft, as well as their well-deserved pride for turning a smoked-out hulk into a great example of its day.
Perhaps my biggest surprise was how small the engine inlet is on the tail. I would have thought it was twice my height, like the size of modern jet engines. Nope. The Rolls-Royce Spey engine used on the Tridents only had a diameter of 43 inches, or just over a meter. This isn't much larger than that.
Dave, one of the restorers on the Trident, worked on English Electric Lightnings during his career, quite possibly this one, since it was in service where he was stationed. A totally random and amusing coincidence, since he had no part in acquiring this aircraft for the museum.
The Avro Vulcan is a big, subsonic, delta-wing bomber used by the Royal Air Force. Many air museums in the UK have one on display (despite their size). The one at NELSAM is one of the only ones where you can actually climb inside.
This is the main cabin, a level below the cockpit. It's surprisingly spacious. Not roomy of course, but you could move around. Probably less so when there's three to five crewmen in here. Left and middle were navigators, on the right was the air electronics officer (AEO).
This Vulcan is a B.2 variant, which was a little longer, taller and had a wider wingspan than the original B.1. It flew for the RAF from 1961 until 1983, when it was sold to the predecessor of the NELSAM for £5,000.
Since it's stored outside in the, let's say "variable," northeast English weather, it undergoes regular upkeep. You can see the scaffolding on the other side of the aircraft the restorers are using to repaint the fuselage.
Sometimes the smaller air museums, like NELSAM, offer something the bigger museums don't. In this case, it's the ability to go inside a Vulcan, and see how a Trident looked in its heyday. It's worth double checking the aircraft you want to see is open on the day you want to visit.