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Dogfight [by the_gneech]

The Two-Museum Experience

By coincidence, I have managed to visit both instances of the RAF Museum within a couple of days: on Saturday I went to Cosford to meet up with loganberrybunny, and last night I went to Hendon to attend a screening of Red Tails with silvante.

I had a foggy journey up to Cosford on Saturday, but it cleared just before Birmingham and stayed bright and sunny for the museum visit - which was just as well, as there is some walking between hangars to be done.

And what hangars! I think my favourite is the 'Cold War' hangar, which crams in all three V-bombers (Vulcan, Victor and Valiant) along with plenty of other treats including a Lightning displayed splendidly and vertically, but the 'Test Flight' hangar with its TSR-2, Fairey Delta and Avro 707 (or 'baby Vulcan', as I think of it) is impressive too. 'War Birds' has all the warplanes you might expect and plenty you wouldn't, while 'Hangar 1' gets the odds and sods.

The most significant new acquisition since my last visit, as far as I was concerned, was the 'Dogfight - Red Baron 4D Experience' simulator. I felt a bit mean going on it since Logan was barred on medical grounds, but he assured me it was OK and I took my seat.

It was a fun five minutes spent as part of a squadron of computer-generated Fokker Triplanes, going after observation balloons and pursuing British pilots. The 3D film was pretty good, as was the 'fourth dimension' of moving seats, puffs of air and water, and smells of smoke. I am so suggestible that I gasped and yelped throughout and emerged trembling slightly.

At the start and end of the visit I got to spend around an hour chatting with loganberrybunny over lunch and tea respectively, which was lovely and I wish geography and time allowed us to do it more often.

I was delighted to win a pair of tickets to the DVD launch of a movie I'd fancied seeing but missed in the cinema, and also delighted that silvante could accompany me. Getting to Colindale and back after work on a Monday was less of a pain than I'd imagined, too.

When I first heard about George Lucas's Red Tails, my reaction was "Big deal. We had black guys in the RAF and there wasn't all this fuss."

To my surprise, the talk by a member of museum staff before the showing made exactly this point, comparing the integrated RAF favourably with the segregated USAAF.

What followed was a watchable couple of hours with some nicely done dogfights, pretty sets and standard clichés; all the Germans we saw were portrayed as blonde, cruel, humourless and usually scarred, for instance. A war movie in the classic mould, in other words, and a decent bit of entertainment. What put the gilt on the gingerbread was the chance to be on the museum site after hours, canapés and drinks beforehand, and a goody bag with a polystyrene glider in.

Pedants' Corner:
  • Did anything 'look as though it's been through a shredder' in the 1940s?
  • Would the Germans have bothered with a literal translation of 'Flying Fortress'? Wouldn't they just have gone Achtung! Flying Fortressen!?


I'm really glad you had such a great time, especially with Loganberry at Cosford. I went there a year ago and it was just amazing - I loved every minute of it, and thought the gift shop was pretty impressive too. I still wish I'd brought a bigger backpack to fit the nuclear bomb in though. :(
This was my second visit and I'd happily make it an annual event, or even more frequent!
Many years ago I used to be a volunteer at the Cosford museum - where I tended a Junkers JuMo-211 and explained its features to anyone who was prepared to listen.

I also was there when the Vulcan was flown in. It came from somewhere in Lincolnshire and the pilot was told to "go around" a few times to use up as much of the remaining fuel as possible before landing (because they'd only have to drain any remaining fuel out ...)

Let's just say the pilot enjoyed himself - I'm not sure if the population of nearby Albrighton would have been so amused by the repeated use of afterburners though..
Oh, how fabulous - I'm dead jealous! A simpler job than bringing the Nimrod by road :)
Sounds like a wonderful few days.. glad you had such a nice time on both counts.

*love and hugs*

ps- thanks for the text reply - so thankful. Just too upset to reply at that time. You are wonderful!
Yay Cosford!
I was in Dorset so I missed that :(
Disgracefully late comment here... I think we did awfully well with the weather, given what most of the last six months has been like! A really pleasant day, thank you, and it was extremely nice to see you again after such a gap. =:)
Yes, the very next day was quite grim, which gave me an excuse to have a nice lazy one! What's next?

*Hugs* I have no idea, though with luck I'll be organised enough to have arranged something before another two years have passed!