The James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre (JMFHC) is a branch of the Trenchard Museum created to promote air mindedness in RAF recruits, air cadets, school children and other interested parties.
Developed by volunteers using redundant equipment and funds donated by 3 major sponsors and by museum visitors. We are extremely grateful to the RAF Charitable Trust and to the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust for enabling us to acquire a state-of-the-art fllght simulator and to the Heritage Lottery Fund, who financed the large stand which is fundamental to the centre's displays.
The Flight Heritage Centre is dedicated to the memory of James Thomas Byford McCudden who following enlistment in the Royal Engineers as a Bugle Boy transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1913 to train and become an Engine Mechanic. He established a connection with RAF Halton in 1913 when he came to the Halton estate with No. 3 Squadron for three days when they flew reconnaissance missions for the "Brown Army" during the annual army manoeuvres.
The following year with the outbreak of hostilities 3 Squadron was sent to France and James McCudden went with them to rise rapidly through the ranks firstly as an Observer then as a Pilot. He excelled as a Fighter Pilot and by the time of his death in a flying accident he had shot down 57 enemy aircraft; been awarded the Victoria Cross; two Military Crosses; two Distinguished Service Orders; a Military Medal and the Croix de Guerre.
Throughout his flying career he remained a "hands on" engineer who tuned and, where necessary, modified his own aircraft in pursuit of improving performance and efficiency. At the same time he always took great pains to protect and encourage his subordinates, setting the finest possible example. It is against that ethos for which the Flight Heritage Centre is so named.
The displays within the centre provide insights and presentations on many aspects of aviation engineering; aerodynamics; propulsion; weapons and the theory of flight. Many displays encourage "user participation" either by interacting with video displays or, in the case of the DH Chipmunk display, actually flying a sortie in a flight simulator.
The Heritage Flight Centre Aerodynamics Section displays three wind tunnels. Two of the wind tunnels are of the table top type and the third is a classroom type. The wind tunnels and other devices are used to show the generation of lift and associated drag which includes: Lift Augumentation, High Lift Devices, Stability, Aircraft Control, Aircraft Trim, Aircraft Structural Layout and combinations of the aforementioned. To demonstrate these a variety of models are used and also full size replicas of aircraft located nearby.
The Heritage Flight Centre Aerodynamics Section has an extensive display of the basics of Flight Simulation from the original "Link Trainer" - a completely enclosed cockpit mounted on a chassis that responds to the trainee's input to simulate roll; climb; bank; descent by the actuation of air-driven pumps. At the other end of the scale is a virtual DH Chipmunk computer generated flight simulator which provides via Visual Display Screens the complete pilot training experience. Do you want to fly into London Heathrow at night? We can do that; do come along.
The Heritage Flight Centre Aerodynamics Section has a comprehensive collection of propulsion units some of which have been sectioned to reveal the components parts and inner workings of these impressive power plants. The engines on display range from the early petrol combustion types through turbo props such as the AS Mamba and ubiquitous RR Dart to the Turbo Union RB199, the powerhouse of the Tornado. There is a Bristol Thor Ramjet, the "push" behind the Bloodhound AS missile, and other displays can be found that explain concepts such as Reheat/Afterburning. Come along and be blown away!
Plenty of examples of the Armourer's Art in the Flight Heritage Centre. Proudly displayed are items such as the life-saving Ejector Seat to examples of how to get big bangs for your bucks in the form of the Laser-guided Paveway 1000lb bomb as carried (and used) by the Tornado and Typhoon together with a full description of how it works. Look around and you might even stumble across the odd Sidewinder missile. No need to try it at home, come along and have it all explained in the company of folks who know what they are talking about.
Airframes - as in complete aircraft structures rather than the "trade of" - can be seen in the Flight Heritage Centre. There is a Slingsby T.38 Grasshopper Glider (a design based on the WW2 German "Schulgleiter"). Also a replica of the "Mayfly" can be found. This was a project conducted in the 1920s when the original was designed, built and flown by Halton Apprentices. All are stripped to bare bones so that it can be understood how aircraft are actually put together. Come along and be inspired.