This year’s public opening of the Fleet Air Arm Museum’s Reserve Collection will see a new aircraft on public display. It is a rare example of a Harrier T8.training aircraft, adding to the Museum’s collection of VSTOL (vertical, short take-off and landing) aircraft.
The Museum now owns what is probably the World’s largest collection of VSTOL aircraft and associated exhibits including the prototype Hawker P.1127, two Sea Harriers which took part in the Falklands War the FRS1 and FA2 and a Harrier GR9 which saw action in Afghanistan.
In addition to the five Harrier variants, the Museum displays two engines, the Pegasus and a rare Bristol Siddeley 100 ‘Super Harrier’ engine which was not put into service.
The Reserve Collection Open Day is also a good opportunity to see the progress being made on the restoration of what will become the world’s only Fairey Barracuda torpedo bomber.
The Barracuda project, is an ambitious restoration collaboration between the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset and Newcastle based KVPL’s (Kiltech Vehicle Protection Ltd) to raise £60,000 in order to rebuild a WW2 Fairey Baracuda.
The Fairey Barracuda was a British carrier-borne, three seat torpedo dive bomber and reconnaissance aircraft.
Over 2,500 Fairey Barracuda aircraft were built making it the Royal Navy’s most prolific aircraft during WW2 yet unlike other more iconic aircraft of its era, none were retained for posterity.
The Fleet Air Arm Museum have been collecting sections of Barracuda since the early 1970s however only now, through the revolutionary restoration methods developed by KVPL, involving softening, straightening, stretching and reforming of each crumpled piece, has the process of identification and restoration of the aircraft become feasible delivering some truly remarkable results.
Details of the appeal together with photographs of this remarkable restoration can be found through the Fleet Air Arm Museum’s website www.fleetairarm.com/barracudaproject or by visiting KVLP’s Barracuda Project Site www.barracudaproject.co.uk
The Reserve Collection is situated across the road from the Museum in Cobham Hall. Doors open at 10.00am. Entry price £4.00.
Other exhibits on display will include with the world’s oldest surviving aircraft carrier – a WWI Thorneycroft Lighter along with a number of unique aircraft including the locally manufactured Westland Wyvern.
If you haven't seen the Museum's extensive Reserve Collection, don't miss this rare opportunity!