Come and see some iconic aircraft from the cold war era.

The Aviation Museum has a unique collection of British aircraft from the “golden age” of British aircraft manufacture. From the end of WWII until the 1970’s British aircraft designers produced some of the most innovative and advanced aircraft of the day. From post war to cold war, this museum clearly shows that timeline in aviation terms. In this collection there are examples from the major manufacturers of this period. Amongst the list are classic names such as:-

  • Avro
  • Hawker
  • Gloster
  • De Havilland
  • English Electric
  • Blackburn
  • Percival

Avro Shackleton Mk3 Ph3

The “Shackleton” was a development of the Lincoln, on the 2nd of September 1955 the Shackleton M.R.3 (WR970), made it’s maiden flight. Superficially similar to it’s predecessors (M.R.1 and M.R.2), the M.R.3 was in fact considerably different, so much so that a new design number was allocated to this mark, the Avro 716.

English Electric Lightning F53

The Lightning was small in export terms, only Saudi Arabia and Kuwait placed orders for an export version in December 1965. The single seat fighters were modified variants of the F.3s designated as F.53s. The variant had much needed additional fuel tank capacity with the addition of a long ventral tank. The UK F6 variant was later updated, based on the modifications embodied in the F53.

Blackburn Buccaneer S1

The “Buccaneer’ first flew on the 30th of April 1958, with service trials being carried out on HMS Victorious from June 1959. The aircraft entered service in March 1961 with 700Z flight and became operational with 801 squadron in July 1962. It equipped a number of squadrons, 700Z (1961-63), 736 (1966-70), 800 (1964-66), 801 (1962-65), 809 (1963-65). It was phased out of Naval service in December 1970.

Hawker Sea Hawk F.B.6

The first variant of the Sea Hawk (F 1) designated as the Hawker P1040 frst flew on the 3rd of September 1948. The FGA 6’s maiden flight was in 1955 and it entered service in June of that same year. Deck landing trials were carried out on HMS Eagle in 1952 after which it was declared to have “excellent” deck landing characteristics. The final variant of the Sea Hawk was very highly regarded by the pilots who flew it.

Gloster Meteor T.7

The prototype trainer made its first flight on the 19th of March 1948 and the Meteor T.7’s maiden flight was on the 26th of October 1948. The type entered service with the RAF in December 1948. Meteors were the first jet trainers in service and marked the end of the conversion from piston powered aircraft to jets. Over 680 Meteor T.7 aircraft were built with orders coming from the Royal Navy and overseas.

de Havilland Venom F.B 50 MK. 1

The Venom succeeded the widely used Vampire. The prototype Venom (WV 612) first flew on the 2nd of September 1949. Despite a cutback in initial orders, over 370 F.B.1s were built. A large number of these were used to equip squadrons based in Germany as a part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

de Havilland Sea Vixen TT.8

The prototype Sea Vixen made its maiden flight on the 26th of September 1951. The production aircrafts maiden flight was on the 20th of March 1956 with the first front line squdron being equipped from the 2nd of July 1959. The FAW 2 variant first flew on the 8th of March 1963 and entered serevice with No. 899 squadron in December 1963.

Hawker Harrier G.R.3

Harrier, the world’s first Vertical Take Off and Landing jet aircraft to enter military service.
The first Harrier to fly was XV276 on the 31st of August 1966, this was one of six development aircraft. The first production aircraft (XV738) made its maiden flight on the 28th of December 1967.

Hawker Hunter T.7B

Sidney Camm became Chief Designer of Hawkers in 1926, and remained in that post until his death in 1966.
Camm and his team set to work, with a new design given the company designation Type 1067 which took shape in late 1948. Metal was cut for the first prototypes in late 1949, the first aircraft being finished in July 1951.

Percival Sea Prince T.1.

The Sea Prince first flew on the 24th of March 1948. Two variants were ordered by the Fleet Air Arm – one version was to be used for communication and the other as a training aircraft. The trainer version was given the annotation of Sea Prince T1. Sea Prince aircraft were based upon the civilian Percival Prince.  

Our Display Approach

One of the main criteria we have with our displays is to make sure they are photography friendly.  This means we try to make sure wherever possible clutter is removed from around our displays and barriers are kept to a minimum.

Some Of the Engines On Display

Some Of the Engines On Display

Explore the range of engines on display

From four cylinder to modern turbofan the museum has a huge collection of British aircraft engines from likes of De Havilland, Bristol and Rolls Royce.

Gatwick Display Area and Models

Discover the history of Gatwick Airport from conception to modern day and browse the memorabilia of airlines that are no longer with us but played a major role in commercial aviation. 

Investigate aviation in miniature with our extensive collection of radio controlled and static models.