Russ wrote:All the aircraft there had caught my interest when I was growing up because there were so many different solutions employed to meet the different problems each one met ... fascinating stuff.
Yes, it's a place-and-a-half, Cosford, and whenever I'm travelling to meetings even remotely in that region of the country and find myself with an hour to spare I divert over there and dash into that hangar in particular, as the test aircraft are the ones that float my boat.
And I do
mean that literally, as I "use" my trips to Cosford to re-energise. I look at the results of the efforts so many people must have made to get those weird and wonderful prototype/research aircraft in the air, often battling against the odds to validate some aerodynamic theory or other and with absolutely no guarantee of success, and I figure getting a WWSR boat built isn't a lot different.
I made my first flight at RAF Cosford, in a de Havilland Chipmunk, as an Air Training Corps cadet in the summer of 1969 - on the same day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first landing on the Moon in Apollo 11. It was our annual summer camp, a long way from home: I was 13, and we were living in Glasgow in those days.
And don't forget, while we're on the subject of test-flying, the great friendship that existed between a test pilot not long departed - Neville Duke - and our very own Donald Campbell.