A central London flypast by a RAF warplane will today help launch an appeal to rebuild the RAF Museum to mark the centenary of the world’s oldest air force.
A Eurofighter Typhoon will fly over Horse Guards Parade at about 350mph at 3pm – above a replica Typhoon, a First World War Sopwith Snipe and a Spitfire from the Second World War on display below.
The three warplanes chart the history of the RAF and were in place to help raise the remaining £8 million required for the £23 million museum revamp (as pictured above and below).
The Snipe and Spitfire, which are normally on display at the RAF Museum in Colindale, had their wings removed while being transported by road early on Wednesday morning.
RAF fighter pilot Andy Green said: “They just look fabulous.” He added: “It’s important to remind people of our culture and heritage and to celebrate the RAF’s world-class success for almost 100 years.”
There are fewer survivors of the Second World War and concern at the number of young people unaware what the letters RAF stand for. Museum bosses hope the rebuild will help to share the “story of the RAF” with future generations.
One of the fundraising projects will allow 30,000 people to pay £30 to have their name written on the side of a Red Arrow for next year’s display season. A phone app will enable the plane to be tracked around the world.
Today marks 98 years since the formation of the RAF and a series of permanent exhibitions in summer 2018 will mark the centenary. The Colindale site will be re-landscaped to create a sense of the London Aerodrome that stood on the site 100 years ago and RAF Hendon, from where the first parachute jump, night flight and aerial defence of the capital happened.
Maggie Appleton, chief executive of the RAF Museum, said: “Between the three aircraft, they are telling the story of the 100 years of the RAF.
“Today is all about starting a conversation with the public about what we are doing, and telling the stories of the RAF across its history.”
Her late father Thomas Appleton loaded bombs into Lancaster bombers, which were part of the Dambusters squadron.
“There are fewer people who served in the Second World War and we need to make sure we are capturing their stories now,” Ms Appleton said. “We want to tell the story through the incredible people of the RAF, rather than just having aircraft full of technical information.”