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Posted on Jul 8, 2005 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Hendon RAF Museum

Armchair General

Hanging at a jaunty angle from the ceiling is the RAF’s newest combat plane – the Eurofighter, or, as it will be known to RAF pilots, the Typhoon. This on appears to be just a mock up (look at the engines). I saw one of these flying at Farnborough International last year (check out my previous article for ACG on this) and it’s certainly an impressive plane.

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Somewhat less state-of-the-art but no less impressive is this classic Sopwith Camel biplane of WWI vintage. Below it and in the picture to the right is a Japanese Kawasaki Ki 100. Although this was an excellent fighter operated by the Japanese Army, it came into service too late to affect the outcome of the war. Units only became active between March and June 1945 and by then, the end of the war was in sight. Had this model come into service earlier, it could have caused some problems since it was superior in some ways to the US Grumman F6F Hellcat. During one battle over Okinawa, a unit operating Ki-100s destroyed 14 F6F Hellcat fighters without loss. This is the only surviving model of a Ki-100.

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Sat on a rotating unit, the sparkling chrome finish of a North American P-512 Mustang catches the eye with its extravagant display. Although a beautiful plane to behold, it cannot beat the Spitfire in the eyes of this writer for looks. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely plane to look at. The next picture shows the wasp-like paintwork of a Hawker Tempest.

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One of my favourite planes – the De Havilland Mosquito. Possibly the most versatile plane of World War II, Mosquitoes were used as light bombers, ground attack planes, fighters, heavy escorts, night fighters, reconnaissance planes and as personal transports. Also, the airframe was made of wood – quite remarkable for the era, and yet no less sturdy. This one is in superb condition, and it even has an open bomb bay so visitors can look inside.

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