Norwich Aviation Museum

On Friday I had the opportunity to spend an hour or so at the Norwich Aviation Museum and I have to say it was an hour well spent. I’d only heard good things about the museum before and with an entry price of only £3.75 (with a ’50p off entry’ voucher) I had to pop in and check it out.

The museum is right next to Norwich City Airport and boasts an impressive collection of aircraft for such a small site. Once inside, there was plenty to see in the indoor exhibits – the role which Norfolk had during the Second World War as well as the history of RAF Cotishall and the squadrons that were formally based there.

It was apparent that I’d chosen a good day to visit – it just so happened that the Red Arrows were based at Norwich for the day for the nearby Clacton Air Show. The Reds departed at around twenty to one and returned fifty minutes later to perform a nice loop and detonator break to land.

The weather was perfect; bright sunshine and deep blue skies.

I started off with the bare metal finished English Electric Lightning – formally of the Royal Saudi Air Force. Parts of the aircraft are looking a little worse for wear but overall its in pretty good condition and a nice shiny finish meant some great photography.

One of the main attractions is Avro Vulcan XM612 – again, like the lightning many parts of the airframe are in good conditions with front section looking particularly clean and fresh. However, the same cannot be said for the rear section but to be fair it did look as though it was being prepared for paint work.

Nimrod XV255 was flown into Norwich on the 24th May 2010 and prepared for static display. This was the first time that I had seen a Nimrod on the ground and I was amazed and just how big it was. The ugly lines of the aircraft make for some interesting captures.

The ex-RAF Westland Whirlwind is nicely preserved and looked great against the bright blue sky – one of the best kept Whirlwind’s I’ve ever seen.

I was never fortunate enough to see the SEPECAT Jaguar in the air so have only ever seen them as museum relics and I have to say that XX109 looks like it retired just last week. It’s in fantastic condition and looks superb.

The museum is very proud to have a cockpit collection that would rival any other collection in the country. The cockpits are housed in a small hanger type structure and are maintained in pristine condition. The paintwork is shiny and looks barely a day old. My favourite cockpit was Phantom XV426.

My time at the museum was brief but was definitely money well spent – I could easily go back and spend a couple more hours taking in the exhibits. If you’re in the Norwich area and looking for something to do, I can thoroughly recommend visiting the Norwich Aviation Museum – the staff are friendly and welcoming and they also have a very well stocked shop (never a good thing if you collect models…).

You can keep up-to-date with things at the Museum by visiting http://www.cnam.co.uk/index.php and following @NorwichAviation on Twitter. The full photographic set can be seen at www.facebook.com/tommercerphotography

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