The Fleet Air Arm Museum has been actively collecting aircraft relevant to the story of Royal Naval Aviation since the Museum opened in 1964.
Today the collection stands at 102 airframes that span the history of naval aviation from 1909 to the present day. The collection also houses Concorde 002, the first British prototype Concorde to fly. Concorde 002 has been configured on display to allow visitors to go on-board and walk through the inside of the aircraft.
Within the collection there are 21 aircraft types that are totally unique in existence, and cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.
Not all of the aircraft are on display at one time and so the collection is split between those on display in the main museum exhibition halls, and those located in the near-by reserve collection storage hangar, situated near to the Museum. However, the museum exhibition and engineering teams aim to rotate the aircraft on display as frequently as time and exhibition programmes allow, so there is always an interesting, special and rare selection of aircraft to admire on display.
(*Note- the Reserve collection hangar is not normally open to the public, but does have some behind the scenes open days throughout the year- see web site for dates and details).
One very rare, feature aircraft is the de Havilland Sea Vampire Mk1 (serial Number LZ551/G, this actual aircraft is the very first jet aircraft anywhere in the world to perform a deck landing onto an aircraft carrier. The event took place in December 1945 and the pilot was the legendary navy test Pilot Captain Eric Brown. Vampire LZ551/G can be seen within the Museum’s award winning Aircraft carrier flight deck display hall.
Conservation and restoration work is also important to the quality and care given to the aircraft collection and the Museum Restoration and Engineering Team welcome visitors to watch work in progress on a number of projects through a special special safety glass viewing wall that allows viewing access into the Restoration workshop.
The main restoration project currently being undertaken is the rebuild of Fairey Barracuda DP872.
Sea Fury (pictured above) Single seat fighter bomber on display in Hall 2
Concorde - Concorde 002, the first British prototype, is on display in Hall 4 of the Fleet Air Arm Museum. Visitors can walk on board.