Howard Heeley/Down to Earth Promotions previews this year’s Cockpit-Fest at the Newark Air Museum in Nottinghamshire.
For the last ten years June has seen an unusual ‘aerial migration’ into Newark – however, this is not of the wildlife variety. It is the journey of aircraft cockpit sections that annually arrive at the ‘Cockpit-Fest’ event hosted by the Newark Air Museum.
The museum is located on part of the former site of RAF Winthorpe and the two-day Cockpit-Fest event attracts exhibitors from across the UK and Europe. More recently it has attracted ‘virtual exhibitors’, who have sent in photographs of their aircraft cockpit projects from as far afield as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The event also draws visitors from across the world to come and sample what one aviation magazine editor calls “grass roots aircraft preservation”.
From its humble beginnings back in 1999, when a few like-minded enthusiasts first displayed the cockpit sections at the museum, Cockpit-Fest now regularly attracts thirty or more visiting cockpits and associated displays. It has also seen the development of a word to describe the participants – ‘cockpiteers’ – many of whom have made projects of building and restoring these pieces of heritage at home, Cockpit-Fest giving them the chance to show them off to the public.
The event is supported by the leading European aviation magazine FlyPast and the public is actively encouraged to have a say about the cockpits, which are judged by a panel of experts who award prizes. The public is encouraged to vote on their favourite cockpit, for which another prize is also awarded.
Cockpit-Fest also attracts other visiting displays such as the Raptor Foundation with its owls; local history and archaeological groups and the ever popular Home Front outreach display from the Millgate Museum in Newark.
Running alongside Cockpit-Fest is a two-day Aeroboot aviation and avionics sale, which allows cockpiteers and the public to search out those aviation artefacts, books and models.
This year’s event takes place on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th June and will feature flypasts on both days by fighter aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The owners of the cockpits listed below have recently made the commitment to attend Cockpit-Fest, although the list may change in the run-up to the event.
- Canberra TT.18
- Hunter F.6;
- Sea Venom FAW.22**
- Lightning F.6
- Hawk T.1A**
- Lightning F.6
- Sea Hawk FGA.6**
- H.S. 748 Sr.2**
- Lightning F.6
- Hawker Typhoon**
- Chipmunk T.10
- NAA P.51D Mustang
- Jet Provost T.5
- Hunter F.1
- Sea Vixen FAW.2
- Hunter GA.11**
** = a cockpit that is totally new to the event
* = a cockpit that has significant change from previous years
Instrument Panels & Aircraft Interiors
- Jet Provost panels and restoration photo boards
- Alvis Leonides Engine (Live)
- Tornado F.3 Simulator
- Radio Operators Training Box from WWII
- Tornado Instrument Panels, Ejection Seats, 27mm Mauser Cannon
Special Guest Displays
- Spitfire & Messerschmitt 109 Simulator Display
- WWII Home Front Display
- Survival Equipment Display
- Flying Helmet Display
- Ford Anglia Van (BEA Colours)
- Spitfire Flying Controls Simulator
- TVR Club Rally (Sunday June 20)
It should be noted by visitors that some of these Cockpits travel many miles to be here for the weekend, so some will start to leave the site from 14:00 on the Sunday. We therefore recommend early viewing to avoid disappointment.
Regular updates appear on the News Page of the museum website at: www.newarkairmuseum.org