During the Museum’s annual closed period to visitors (December and January) two new exhibitions have been curated. Following last summer’s successful Polish and Czech Pilot temporary exhibition much of its contents have now been moved into a permanent exhibition in the Museum. In the autumn of last year Rupert Ratcliff, son of No 161 Special Duties pilot Wing Commander Leonard Ratcliff, donated to the Museum his father’s medals, log books and other associated artefacts. A new exhibition has been curated on this famous pick-up pilot who flew SOE Lysander and Hudson pick-up operations from RAF Tangmere. Our Home Front exhibition has also been enlarged and refurbished to provide more information for our visitors and for the numerous school visits our Education team manages each year.
The Museum’s engineers have been busy during the closed period removing the Sapphire engine from our Hawker Hunter F5 (WP190) to allow anti-corrosion and conservation work to be undertaken on the fuselage and engine. This task proved to be very difficult as the Museum had no documentation on how the engine was secured and required the making of specific tools to release it from the fuselage. As can be seen from the photograph they succeeded!
The Museum’s simulator group have upgraded the computer for the Lightning cockpit simulator and the graphics created will greatly enhance this ever popular visitor attraction.
A new cockpit will also be open to the public at the beginning of our season on the 1 February. The Provost T1 two seater trainer cockpit enables visitors to sit side-by-side and be instructed how to start up its engine, see the instruments come to life and open the throttle ready to taxi.