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Short version:
the place is great and the admission is free: go visit it!

Long version:
The Royal Air Force Museum of Colindale is one of the best aviation museum a person could visit. There are so many aircrafts that an enthusiast will spend an entire day to see everything.
The visit is enjoyable at all ages, in fact there are many interactive panels and monitors showing the history, the facts and trivia of every aircraft ( including quizzes I passed with an average of 9.7 / 10 per aircraft ).
The various halls, from the smaller one of the “aviation milestones” to the larger bombers’ one, all contain something unique that could be hardly seen in other places or museums around the World.
From hystorical aircrafts like the Sopwith Triplane or the Vickers Vimy, to the Supermarine Spitfire ( a total of four version are on display! ), the Hawker Hurricane and Typhoon, the Avro Lancaster, the English Electric Lightning and Camberra, the Blackburn Buccaneer, the Avro Vulcan and the latest Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon ( the unique english DA2 “Black Typhoon” is on display ).
There are a lot of other aircrafts that served with the RAF but were not designed or build in the United Kingdom, like the Boeing B-17, the Consolidated B-24, the North American B-25 and P-51 and the McDonnell F-4 Phantom ( with the Rolls-Royce Spey engines, of course: what did you expect? ).
There is an entire hall dedicated to the Battle of Britain in which all the four bombers used by the german Luftwaffe, the Messerschmitt BF-110, the Junker JU-87 and JU-88 and the Heinkel HE-111 stand together. On the other side of this hall, it’s also possible to enter in a Short Sutherland flying boat.

During my visit at the beginning of October I had some small talks with a really nice attendant in the “aviation milestones” hall about the situation of the air forces and the navies in our respective countries. Needless to say we were both skeptical about the future.
Seeing how simple and yet how complicated were the aircraft of the past is something that always make people thinks.
The wreck of an ill-fated Avro Halifax, retrieved from the sea of Norway after many years under the water, stay in the bomber area, rembembering us what being a bomber’s crew meant during WWII.
Walking under the wing of the Avro Vulcan and standing under the bomb bay ( that now contains an LCD panel on which are showed some clips of the aircraft during the Cold War era ) is just great because really gives you the idea of how big the airplane really is and how advanced

The museum continuosly acquire new aircrafts. Always in the aviation milestones hall, there were two “brand new” ( well, sort of ) items: a WWII Gloster Meteor, that at the time of the visit was still undergoing re-assembly, and the mock-up of a Lockheed-Martin F-35A. The aforementioned attendant told me that there are about 20 aircrafts in storage they’re unable to show because of space issues.

So, in the end, if you’re an aviation enthusiast and you’re planning a trip to London, just add a day to visit the RAF museum at Colindale ( you can reach it via underground, is in zone 4 Link to Google Maps ) because… the place is great and the admission is free: go visit it!


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Categories: aviation

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