Barry James, Chairman of the Museum Board, and the Sopwith Pup
|We have a wide range of aircraft representing those types
manufactured and operated in the local area, most notably the products of Armstrong Whitworth which
was based in Baginton, right on the museum's doorstep. As well as their own designs Armstrong Whitworth
built aircraft from other companies in the Hawker Siddeley Group including the Hawker Sea Hawk
and Hunter, and the Gloster Meteor. What is now Coventry Airport was once RAF Baginton, a
fighter station during World War II used principally by number 308 (Polish) Squadron in 1940 - 1941.
As such we have a number of WWII related exhibits within the museum, including a rare Beaufighter
cockpit section and Whitley remains.
|Local aviation history is strongly featured by a
Wings Over Coventry gallery, showcasing products from such manufacturers as Armstrong Whitworth
and Gloster. There is also a wealth of Coventry-produced aircraft and other exhibits
dominated by the giant Armstrong Whitworth Argosy freighter. A number of the museum's
aircraft were operated in the local area such as the de Havilland Vampire F.1 of 605 Squadron
(the only Mk.1 Vampire left in the UK and one of only two in the world).
de Havilland Vampire F.1
F-4C Phantom & MiG-21
However, this is not just a museum
exhibiting local aircraft - there is a truly international collection here, telling the story of
the jet engine and its use throughout the world, ranging from the now rare Swedish SAAB J 29
Tunnan, the first post-war European swept-wing jet fighter; the Mystère IVA, the first French
swept-wing fighter; the English Electric Lightning, the only all-British supersonic fighter,
to the mighty American McDonnell F-4C Phantom II (our example is a genuine MiG-killer... and it's
parked next to a MiG-21 of course!).
(Hover your mouse cursor over an aircraft for further details)
Click here for a full listing of the Museum's aircraft
A number of the aircraft have steps up to the cockpit area so you can view the cockpit area or get
a higher viewpoint to take pictures of nearby aircraft from. The museum is split into several areas;
the main hangar (housing several aircraft and a number of displays), the Robin hangar (housing a
changing variety of restoration projects), the storage area (housing items such a dismantled 'spare' Phantom) and
last, but most definitely not least, the large external display area. This has the majority of the aircraft
(and an anti-aircraft gun!). Many of the external exhibits are opened up when the weather and staffing
allows - if you have any particular requests, please ask!
Within the main hangar we also have a number of displays including the Wings Over Coventry and
Sir Frank Whittle Jet Heritage Centre, along with supporting exhibits. These include a collection
of aero engines (such as the Sapphire, Avon, Stentor, Double Mamba), missiles (Red Dean, Firestreak) and
parts from historic aircraft such as the Bristol T.188 stainless steel research aircraft along with many models and
other displays. A Beaufighter cockpit section and Whitley fuselage section are also on display.