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National Museum of Flight – celebrate a century of Scottish aviation history

Druine Turbulent, © National Museums Scotland

Druine Turbulent in the airfield at East Fortune © National Museums Scotland

Cast your eyes on the brand new displays at the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, which are hosted in two newly renovated World War II hangars.

The aircraft hangars at this family-friendly museum were originally intended as temporary structures when they were built in 1940 – 1941, but are amazingly still standing at the East Fortune airfield today, over 70 years later. And thanks to their recent multi-million pound refurbishment they’ll be standing tall for some time yet.

An engineer installs a propeller on a 1942 Bristol Bolingbroke.

An engineer installs a propeller on a 1942 Bristol Bolingbroke. Image © Paul Dodds

Opening Celebration

The opening of the hangars was marked by an Opening Celebration on Friday 25 March, which was part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 and included a celebratory flypast from local pilot Jim McTaggart in his Stolp Starduster Too.

Assistant Conservator Simon Stephens cleans a 1942 Rolls-Royce Merlin 73 aircraft engine.

Assistant Conservator Simon Stephens cleans a 1942 Rolls-Royce Merlin 73 aircraft engine. Image © Neil Hanna

Fighting spirit

Home to a famous Spitfire, the Military Aviation hangar examines the roles that aircraft have played in conflict throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. See how aircraft design and technology have advanced, and learn more about the people who designed, built and flew these amazing machines.

Admire the English Electric Lightning, which was the RAF’s first supersonic jet fighter and could match the speed of Concorde! The oldest surviving Harrier jump jet and the Tornado F3, only recently replaced in RAF service by the Eurofighter Typhoon, will also be on display.

A Britten Norman Islander painted yellow with text that reads 'Scottish Ambulance Service' © National Museums Scotland.

A Britten Norman Islander. © National Museums Scotland.

Transporting the nation

The Civil Aviation hangar charts Scottish aviation history across the past 100 years through awesome aircraft displays and interviews with the people who flew and worked with them. Discover the Scottish stories connected to the aircrafts, such as the tale of the Druine Turbulent which was built in the bedroom of a house in Airdrie, and the 22 Scottish babies who were born in mid-air aboard the Britten-Norman Islanders 1967 – 2006.

Three children stand in awe of the museum in front of Spitfire, which is suspended from the ceiling.

The Spitfire takes to the skies in the Aviation Hangar. Image © Paul Dodds

Thinking of going? Don’t forget to share your experiences using #NewHangars and #ScotSpirit.

Still curious? Discover more about Scotland’s museums

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Miriam Brand-Spencer

Miriam likes walking her dog, BBC Radio 4, living in Scotland and promoting it with VisitScotland!

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