The James McCudden Heritage Flight Centre

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Upper Icknield Way
Halton
Tel:
01296 656841
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The James McCudden Heritage Flight Centre

James Thomas Byford McCUDDEN, VC, DSO and Bar, MC and Bar, MM, CdeG is reputedly “The most highly decorated pilot of the Great War”.

He joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1913 and came to Halton as a mechanic supporting 3 Squadron aircraft during the army manoeuvres in September that year.

He went to France with the squadron on the outbreak of war and rose rapidly to Sergeant in charge of engines while seeing combat as an observer and gunner before returning to England for pilot training in 1916.

Francis Hanford, curator of the Trenchard Museum at RAF Halton since 1998, was determined to open a centre to inspire the youngsters of today to take up aero engineering. He chose James McCudden as the ideal icon being both an extremely competent mechanic and an ace fighter pilot.   The centre was opened after 15 short months with the full support of Tom Costello, apprentice 1948-51, who raised £26,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, RAF Charitable Trust and Rolls Royce plc.

The paintings hung around the walls were blown up from watercolours executed by Phil Stephenson, an apprentice training at RAF Halton in the late 1930s. One of his paintings shows RAF Halton on 3 September 1945 the day that war was declared.

A display about Frank Whittle, RAF apprentice, explains his story as the inventor of the jet engine.

The RAF Charitable Trust funded a flight simulator based on the Chipmunk flying around RAF Halton for visitors to experience.

Brian Ellis, an ex-Halton instructor who is chief engineer of the Trenchard Museum, continues to develop educational aids to demonstrate factors affecting flight. His principle projects at the moment are  the development of the wind tunnel and the building of a replica aircraft.

For a short video of the opening, click here

If you would like to visit the Trenchard Museum, of which this Centre is a part, please telephone 01296 656841.

For more about the Trenchard Museum click here


Min Larkin, Air Marshall North and Francis Hanford

Min Larkin (left) with Air Marshall North and Francis Hanford

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