Museum team scrambles for RAF's big year

The coming year looks set to be a busy one for Blackpool's aviation museum team after starring in a top BBC New Year's day show.

Tuesday, 2nd January 2018, 2:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd January 2018, 3:50 pm
The Lytham St Annes Ground Display Team's Mk II Spitfire Vicky on set for the BBC's Grandpa's Great Escape written by David Walliams

The Lytham St Annes Ground Display team which runs the museum at Hangar 42 at Squires Gate provided a Spitfire for David Walliams’ story Grandpa’s Great Escape.

The group’s replica aircraft are in constant demand for filming and they are set to be busy this year since 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF and a series of events nationally are planned.

But the team will still find time to work on their exhibition at the airport and new features for 2018 include a dedicated room for the Lancashire Air Crash Investigation Team to display rare Aircraft artefacts recovered from County wide WW2 crash sites.

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These include significant parts of a German Junkers Ju88 mediumbomber, shot down over Lytham by a Boulton Paul Defiant night fighter from 256 Sqadron.

The twin engined Luftwaffe plane ended up crashing across the Ribble on Hesketh Sands.

The museum’s full size Mark II Spitfire flight simulator will also be operational in the Spring, giving wannabee RAF fighter pilots the rare chance to learn how to fly a combat mission.

The simulator project was the brainchild of Andrew Harper an engineer with BAE Systems in Warton.

Mr Harper said: “The Spitfire simulator has been taken several years to develop and complete.

“Developing the software and instrumentation has taken two years to complete and initial trials have received very positive feedback with qualified pilots saying that the feel of the controls are very realistic. We are keen to give the Public a real sense of what it is like to fly and fight in a Spitfire”

Team chairman John Coombes said: “We will be busy this winter getting the hangar and exhibits ready for our first public open day of 2018, scheduled for March 4.

“We have just one room left to refurbish, with focus now turning to the content of exhibits and the programme of events for Hangar 42 during 2018. We are set to be busy this year but will try to make sure we stay on the Fylde coast as much as possible.”