The Fleet Air Arm Museum houses 94 aircraft in its collection. Mostly complete and in sound condition, many of these aircraft could, potentially, be engineered back into flying condition. To do so would be financially costly but, more significantly, would remove a great deal of historically valuable evidence from the aircraft.
To fly them or even start the engines would require original material and components to be replaced or altered permanently. At a stroke the originality of the aircraft would be lost forever. Fittings, pipe-work, rivets, wire locking would all need updating to meet flying requirements. Even the paintwork and markings might have to be altered. Such an approach is regarded as unacceptable by Curators of fine art and historic objects but is common for machinery and industrial objects. At the Fleet Air Arm Museum we seek to preserve our unique collection for the future. We aim to keep as much of their original fabric and identity intact to form, in many cases, a vital source of reference for historians and engineers and to truly represent their story to our visitors.