Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, York
The Yorkshire Air Museum is situated a few miles east of the historic city of York and must now be regarded as one of the top aviation attractions in the country. Not only is it home to an impressive collection of over 40 airframes, from the very rare Halifax bomber to the recently retired Nimrod, the setting, on the old RAF airbase of Elvington is authentically restored and immaculately kept.
was a Bomber Command base during WWII and home to 77 Squadron flying Handley Page Halifax bombers from 1942-1944. 77 Squadron suffered huge losses, losing almost 80 Halifaxes and more than 500 aircrew killed, missing or taken prisoner.
In 1944 two French Squadrons arrived at Elvington, 346 (Guyenne) and 347 (Tunisie) and both took an active role in the bomber offensive against Germany.
After the war the base was transferred to Maintenance Command and later to US Strategic Air Command but it was never operational.
Apart from uses for test flying by Blackburn on the Buccaneer and an RAF Relief Landing Ground, the airbase was never again fully operational and closed in 1992.
The air museum took shape in 1983 with the clearing of ground and the restoration of the original wartime buildings and it officially opened in 1986.
The collection has continued to grow over the years and the museum has a very authentic feel about it, from the wartime control tower and camo huts and T2 Hanger to the neatly mown grass - you could almost be taking a step back to the 1940's.
The main collection of aircraft can be seen in the T2 Hanger (below), this is home to 'Friday the 13th' Halifax, Mosquito, Gannet, Jet Provost, Vampire and many more aircraft.
The collection also has the only Dassault Mirage Mk.III (below right) on display in the UK which was donated by the French Government, through former President Mitterand. This was in recognition of the fact that the French Squadrons returned to France from Elvington with their Halifax bombers, to form the new Armee de l'Air of the 5th Republic.
The wartime huts dotted around the site are home to various impressive displays, including the Control Tower which has been fully restored in a wartime theme. The other huts include French Officers Mess, Bomber Command display, Air Gunner hut (below) and various collections of uniforms and RAF memorabilia. There is also a shop and NAAFI on the site.
Hall 19 is mainly set aside for aircraft restoration and presently includes an Avro Anson and some early biplanes. This hall also has two 'open cockpits' for your children to explore, this proved to be the high point for two of our boys and we struggled to get them out of the Canberra and Jet Provost cockpits (above)!
External displays on the dispersal include Buccaneer S2, Tornado GR4 & GR1, Harrier GR3, Hunter T7, Lightning F6, Victor K2 and Nimrod MR2 (among others). Some of these aircraft such as the Buccaneer (below) are 'Live' and are used for special' taxi run' displays.
Halifax Way, Elvington, York, Y041 4AU
Tel: 01904 608246
The museum is situated on the B1228, a short drive off the A1079 Hull Road from York.
Click here for a google map.
Daily: 10.00am - 5.00pm Summer Time. 10.00am - 4.00pm Winter Time.
Closed Christmas & Boxing Days.
Admission Charges (Summer 2011)
Concessions (Senior Citizens): £5
Children: £4 (Under 5's free)
Family ticket: £18 (2 adults and up to 3 children)