The Historic Hangars are listed buildings that were part of the old Hendon Aerodrome, the cradle of British aviation. They have been linked together by a new building that was created to house part of the Museum's collection of fighter aircraft. This is dedicated to Sir Sidney Camm, the designer of the Hawker Typhoon that sits in pride of place. The Historic Hangars contain five separate exhibitions each telling a different story about the RAF and its aviation history.
Whirling Rotors - Helicopters and Rotary Winged Aircraft Collection
The earliest rotary winged aircraft were autogiros. The RAF first used these to check the new radar sets that were used to defend this country during World War Two. Helicopters, the most versatile of all flying machines, were developed later. Many people owe their lives to the helicopter's unique ability to hover and to take off and land in very small spaces. This exhibition includes an early autogiro and a prototype of the most modern helicopter in the UK.
Wings Over Water Aircraft Collection
In the early days of aviation, airports were few and far between - so aircraft that could land on water were ideal for flying long distances to the far reaches of the British Empire and Commonwealth. The RAF also needs machines that can spend long periods over water to survey and protect the UK's coastal areas and to coordinate rescue missions in dangerous seas.
Fighter Aircraft Collection
Fighters were defensive aircraft used to protect friendly machines from attack by the enemy. Often their roles are more complicated and their abilities to attack swiftly, defend and take photographs extend their usefulness.
The RAF Overseas Aircraft Collection
The RAF has served all around the world and has fought above and around every ocean. Before serving overseas, aircraft often have to be modified to make sure they work properly in different climates, temperatures and conditions.