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Solway Aviation Museum

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Solway Aviation Museum, 2005
Solway Aviation Museum
© Simon Ledingham

Solway Aviation Museum lies a little way over the Scottish/English border, being located within the confines of Carlisle Airport, seven miles east of the city of Carlisle, but is still close enough for an easy visit, and it contains a Vulcan within its exhibits.

Other aircraft on display are reported to include (check, as this may change):

  • XJ823 Avro Vulcan B.2
  • XS209 BAC Jet Provost T.4
  • WZ515 de Havilland Vampire T.11
  • WE188 English Electric Canberra T.4, Britain's first jet bomber
  • ZF583 English Electric Lightning F.53
  • WS832 Gloster Meteor NF.14
  • XV259 Hawker Siddeley Nimrod AEW.3 (nose)
  • XV406 McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR.2
  • WP314 Percival Sea Prince T.1 twin prop
  • WZ784 Slingsby Grasshopper TX.1
  • WV198 Sikorsky S-55
  • G-APLG Auster J/5L Aiglet Trainer
  • Wessex helicopter
  • (G-AYFA Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer 3 (nose) was displayed but reported to have moved to Mold, Wales.)

As with most such aviation museums, Solway is run by a dedicated team of volunteers, in this case from the Solway Aviation Society, who give up their free time to restore and maintain the exhibits.

Avro Vulcan XJ823, 2004
Avro Vulcan XJ823
© Simon Ledingham

Built at Woodford in 1961, XJ823 was the twenty-second aircraft to be built of a total of eighty-five Vulcan B.2s. XJ823 first flew in April 1961, and served with the RAF from 1961 to around 1982. This privately purchased Vulcan was flown into Carlisle Airport on January 24, 1983, having taken part in the Falkland Islands War, as the standby aircraft.

Within the museum, the Crosby Room contains displays of artefacts and memorabilia which reflect local aviation history, with many photographs and artefacts having been donated by local people, many of whom had volunteered for service in the RAF.

Carlisle Airport was developed from RAF Crosby-on-Eden, which opened in February 1941 for training, and to handle bombers, as the runways at nearby RAF Kingston were not suitable for their operation.

The Blue Streak rocket programme at RAF Spadeadam introduces the age of rocketry, and has a dedicated display room.

The museum's engine hall contains a display of expertly restored aircraft engines, and illustrates the development of powered flight from simple air cooled engines through to modern jet engines.

The evolution of modern guidance systems is covered by a special display which covers the art of the navigator and the various aids created to help with this task. The includes exhibits of survival equipment and ejector seats, covers The Martin Baker (ejector seat manufacturer) story, and has a specialised area dedicated to Royal Observer Corps.

The museum also has a working replica of the control tower.


April to October: Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.

10:30 - 17:00 (Last entrance 16:30).

A74(M) or the A7 and use J44 of the M6 following the A689 for the Airport.


The museum lists the following facilities:

  • Parking
  • Disabled
  • Refreshments
  • Cafe
  • Toilets
  • Gift Shop
  • Conference Room
  • Schools Welcome
  • Flying Lessons
  • Armed Forces Discount

Location and contact

Solway Aviation Museum
Aviation House
Carlisle Airport

Telephone: 01228 573823
email: [email protected]

External links

Aerial views



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