One of the RAF’s longest serving aircraft types, the Canadian designed Chipmunk entered RAF service in 1950. Chipmunks replaced the Tiger Moth as an initial pilot trainer, offering relatively modern features such as flaps, brakes, radio and an enclosed cockpit.
They also equipped the RAF’s University Air Squadrons until 1973. Although the type was retired from flying training in 1993, Chipmunks continued to serve with the RAF’s Air Experience Flights until 1996, with which many thousands of Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force cadets have had their first taste of flight. Over seven-hundred Chipmunks were built for the RAF, some of which also served with the Army and the Royal Navy. A substantial number of civilian Chipmunks are still flying in countries around the world.
The Duke of Edinburgh learned to fly in Chipmunks and made his first solo flight on 20 December 1952 in the aircraft displayed here. In later years the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York also received their initial pilot training in Chipmunks.