Messerschmitt Me 262

This Messerschmitt Me 262 was on display at RAF Cosford.

The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but problems with engines, metallurgy and top-level interference kept the aircraft from operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944.

The Me 262 was faster and more heavily armed than any Allied fighter, including the British jet-powered Gloster Meteor.

The Me262 was the only jet fighter to see air-to-air combat in World War Two and its appearance was a great shock to the Allies. It was a significantly more advanced design than its British contemporary and many of its aerodynamic secrets were eagerly incorporated in later post-war combat aircraft.

Gloster Meteor F8 Prone Position

This Gloster Meteor F8 Prone Position was on display at RAF Cosford.

A much modified Meteor F8 fighter, the ‘prone position’ Meteor, was used to evaluate the advantages of coping with the effects of gravity while flying lying down. In practice the difficulties of operating the controls of the aircraft outweighed the advantages.

Sopwith 1½ Strutter

This Sopwith 1½ Strutter was on display at RAF Cosford.

The Sopwith two-seater, quickly named the 1½ Strutter because of the unusual arrangement of its central mainplane bracing struts, was designed in 1915 as a high performance fighting aircraft. It was ordered in large numbers for both the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service and it was widely used by escadrilles of the French Aviation Militaire as well as Belgian and United States air forces.

This aircraft was built to original Sopwith factory drawings and flown in 1980. It bears the markings of A8226, which was initially allotted to the Royal Flying Corps in France on 25 April 1917 and was used by C Flight of No.45 Squadron. Its operational career ended on 27 May 1917 while being flown by Captain L.W. MacArthur with 2nd Lt A.S. Carey as his observer The aircraft was shot down by Leutnant Max von Muller of Jagdstaffel 28 as his thirteenth combat victory.

Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka

This Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka was on display at RAF Cosford.

Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka

The Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka was a purpose-built, rocket-powered human-guided kamikaze attack aircraft employed by Japan against Allied ships towards the end of the Pacific War during World War II. Although extremely fast, the very short range of the Ohka meant that it had to be carried into action as a parasite aircraft by a much larger bomber, which was itself vulnerable to carrier-borne fighters. In action during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, Ohkas were able to sink or damage some escort vessels and transport ships but no major warships were ever hit. Improved versions which attempted to overcome the aircraft’s shortcomings were developed too late to be deployed

Junkers Ju88R-1

The Ju88 was the most versatile German combat aircraft in World War Two. It began life as a bomber, became a night fighter and intruder; undertook anti-shipping operations and flew long-range reconnaissance missions. It is one of the truly great multi-role combat aircraft.

This Ju88R-1 was a C-series night fighter with BMW 801 engines and was on display at RAF Cosford.

Deliveries of the first production aircraft took place in September 1939 and on the 26th it undertook its first operational mission against British shipping in the Firth of Forth. It was not until the Battle of Britain, however, that the Ju88A played a major role in German operations. At the time of the Battle of Britain the Ju88 was at the beginning of its service career and its remarkable adaptability, particularly as a night fighter, had still to be exploited by the Luftwaffe.

This aircraft is thought to have been built in mid–1942 as a model A bomber, before being converted to a model R–1 fighter in early 1943. It was flown to Scotland by its defecting crew in May 1943; two of the three crew on board (who may have been British agents) had taken the decision to defect after being ordered to shoot down a civilian BOAC Mosquito courier flight from Sweden to the UK.

The surrender of this aircraft was of great intelligence value at the time, as it was fitted with the latest UHF-band FuG 202 Liechtenstein BC A.I radar. The Ju 88R-1 was operated by the RAF’s No. 1426 (Enemy Aircraft) Flight and evaluated in depth by various British groups.



Messerschmitt BF109G-2/Trop

This Messerschmitt BF109G-2/Trop was on display at RAF Cosford.

Messerschmitt BF109G-2/Trop

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 is a German World War II fighter aircraft that was, along with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force. The Bf 109 first saw operational service in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War and was still in service at the dawn of the jet age at the end of World War II in 1945.

Messerschmitt BF109G-2/Trop

Boulton Paul Defiant

The Boulton Paul Defiant is a British interceptor aircraft that served with the RAF during World War Two. The Defiant was designed and built by Boulton Paul Aircraft as a “turret fighter”, without any fixed forward-firing guns.

In combat, the Defiant was found to be reasonably effective at destroying bombers but was vulnerable to the Luftwaffe’s more manoeuvrable, single-seat Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. The lack of forward-firing armament proved to be a great weakness in daylight combat and its potential was realised only when it was converted to a night fighter.

The sole surviving Boulton Paul Defiant, RAF serial N1671 is on display at RAF Museum Cosford. When I went it was still being assembled.

Boulton Paul Defiant

When I was young, I remember seeing the Boulton Paul Defiant Airfix kit and being impressed as it had a turret!

Supermarine Spitfire Mk I

1566 Spitfire Is were built and this machine at RAF Cosford is the oldest surviving example of its type.

The Spitfire is the most famous British fighter aircraft in history. It won immortal fame during the summer months of 1940 by helping to defeat the German air attacks during the Battle of Britain.

The prototype made its first flight four years earlier as Britain’s industry geared up to re-arm against the threat from Nazi Germany. From the beginning pilots recognised it as a thoroughbred combining a perfection of design with superb handling characteristics.

Perhaps the greatest compliment paid to this aircraft was made at the height of the Battle of Britain by a German ace, who in a moment of anger and frustration, turned to his Commander in Chief and demanded a squadron of Spitfires!

Supermarine Spitfire Mk I - RAF Cosford


Hawker Siddeley Kestrel F(GA).1

The Hawker Siddeley Kestrel FGA.1 along with the Hawker P.1127 are the experimental and development aircraft that led to the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) jet fighter-bomber.

The Hawker Siddeley Kestrel F(GA).1 was on display at RAF Cosford.

Hawker Siddeley Kestrel F(GA).1

Development began in 1957, taking advantage of the Bristol Engine Company’s choice to invest in the creation of the Pegasus vectored-thrust engine. Testing began in July 1960 and by the end of the year the aircraft had achieved both vertical take-off and horizontal flight. The test program also explored the possibility of use upon aircraft carriers, landing on HMS Ark Royal in 1963. The first three aircraft crashed during testing, one at the 1963 Paris Air Show.

Improvements to future development aircraft, such as swept wings and more powerful Pegasus engines, led to the development of the Kestrel. The Kestrel was evaluated by the Tri-partite Evaluation Squadron, made up of military pilots from the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany. Later flights were conducted by the U.S. military and NASA.

Short SB.5

The Short SB.5 (serial WG768) was a “highly unorthodox, adjustable wing” British research aircraft designed by Short Brothers in response to the UK Air Ministry requirement ER.100; to provide input for the design of the English Electric P.1 (prototype of the English Electric Lightning) by testing the low speed flight characteristics of various configurations of wing-sweep required for supersonic flight.