The Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton is an amazing day out and well-
Like the Tank Museum at Bovington, the Fleet Air Arm Museum tells the true stories of people through machines.
This meticulously presented collection is rightly proud of being Europe’s biggest and best display of historic Naval aircraft. Here not only can you learn all about Naval aviation and naval aircraft, but also “Boy’s Own” stories of the pioneering aviators who first flew their flimsy aircraft from land and sea.
Boys and their Dads will probably rave about this museum more than their sisters and Mums, but even the girls find this massive series of exhibitions interesting and entertaining -
You can also guarantee you’ll come away knowing more about aircraft, the physics of flying and the history of the World in the 20th Century, which is all good for the those who are keen to support the national curriculum!
The Fleet Air Arm Museum takes you on a journey from the earliest aeroplanes to supersonic flight, from aircraft made with wood and fabric to the most advanced passenger and military jets ever flown.
Throughout the journey you are introduced to the exceptional people who flew, developed and maintained the planes in peacetime and in conflict. Sometimes those people are named individuals, whose faces look out from monochrome pictures. Others are interviewed on video screens. Some are just manikins in the uniforms of the day. All add to the atmosphere and understanding of this fascinating place and the stories it tells.
You may ask what’s so exceptional about the people involved in the development of naval aviation? Today, we are used to seeing modern jets take-
A little over a decade after Richard Pearce and the Wright Brothers succeeded independently in powered flight, men were flying machines with the flimsiest of construction over the battle fields of the Somme. They were also flying over the North Sea during the massive clash between the British and German Fleets at Jutland. Those earliest flyers were separated from the shells and bullets flying beneath them, and sometimes at them, by fabric the thickness of a silk scarf.
And whilst their land-
As much a museum of the Fleet Air Arm itself, as it is a museum of the machines it has flown, visitors can learn much about the role of its pilots in conflicts from the First World War, through the sinking of the Bismarck and attacking the Tirpitz in the Second World War, to the Korean and Falklands Wars. And with the recent addition of “Dirty Harry”, a Harrier GR9a from Britain’s now dismantled Sea Harrier force that saw action in Afghanistan, the display takes visitors right up to the present day.
From start to finish the array of artefacts and aircraft is hugely impressive and the way they are displayed is both engaging and thought provoking.
But there is also excitement.
Without doubt, the thing that children and many adults will remember most about their visit is their trip to and through the aircraft carrier at the centre of the exhibition. Titled simply and effectively “The Carrier Experience” this huge mock-
You will “fly” in a real Wessex helicopter to the flight deck of the 1970s Ark Royal. You will stand on the flight deck as aircraft take-
At the end of your trip around the carrier, you’ll go “outside” again on to the flight deck with all the wind and noise that goes with it, before being lowered into the hangars! From here you can progress to the “Leading Edge” part of the museum.
This is where you will learn about the development of concepts we now take for granted, from vertical take-
This is awe-
You owe it to yourselves, to your kids and to those whose stories are told here, to visit, to marvel and to remember.
And on top of all the permanent displays, the Fleet Air Arm Museum offers an amazing programme of special events -
Oh, and provided you don’t visit on a weekend, there’s a reasonable chance (but no guarantee) that you may see modern aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm going through their paces on the runway right next door. The museum has its own indoor viewing area especially for this!
The Fleet Air Arm Museum
The Fleet Air Arm Museum
Tel: +44 (0) 1935 840565
Attraction Type: Europe’s biggest display of historic Naval aircraft. Exploring the history of the 20th Century through over 100 years of Naval flying. Amazing multi-