Flying Theatre Join us this summer for our new immersive family show

Test Flight

Hangar 2 in 2023

Hangar 2 opens with three early First World War aircraft, and two Hawker aircraft represent the RAF in the interwar period. The Gloster Gladiator – the last biplane to enter RAF service – gives way to newer monoplane designs of the late 1930s, including the world’s oldest Supermarine Spitfire Mk I, K9942. The hangar houses a collection of both British and German aircraft from the Battle of Britain era. Alongside, the Spitfire, Hurricane, and Defiant are face to face with their rival the Messerschmitt Bf 109E.

Come and discover previously unseen objects from the Museum’s collection including a ‘Rhino suit’ worn by Defiant pilots, Battle of Britain commander Hugh Dowding’s uniform jacket, artefacts from the plotting rooms and medal bars. Through these, we will share the stories of the people who helped win the Battle, in the air and on the ground. A highlight of the display is James Nicolson’s flying jacket and medal bar containing his Victoria Cross medal, the only VC awarded during the Battle. Nicolson also flew the Spitfire on display at Cosford.

The far end of the aircraft include four important post-war experimental aircraft: The Kestrel capable of vertical take-off and landing, the world air speed record smashing FD2, the prototype Eurofighter EAP, and the iconic TSR-2.  Learn how each advance in aircraft technology comes from a great deal of trial and error, with many failures for each success.

Take your own test flight with our 4D Experience, Parachute Drop or VR experiences - all available in this Hangar.