Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

National Museum of Flight to open doors after major revamp

National Museum of Flight Image copyright PAUL DODDS

More than 30 aircraft, including a Spitfire, are to go on display at the National Museum of Flight following a £3.6m redevelopment of two World War Two hangars at the site.

One hangar at the East Fortune site in East Lothian will display military aircraft, while the other will house commercial and leisure planes.

The doors will open to visitors on Friday.

The hangars were constructed in 1940/41 and were designed to last a few years.

As part of the East Fortune Airfield Scheduled Ancient Monument, they have been restored, insulated and heated for the first time.

Highlights of the military hangar include the oldest surviving Hawker Siddeley Harrier jump jet, which was the world's first vertical take-off combat aeroplane, and a rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me 163B-1a Komet - the fastest aircraft of World War Two.

The other hangar will display aircraft ranging from hang gliders and microlights to a Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer and a Druine Turbulent light aircraft built in a Scottish home in the 1960s.

Image copyright PAUL DODDS

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of National Museums Scotland (NMS), said: "The National Museum of Flight is one of Scotland's top days out and these redeveloped aircraft hangars offer dramatic new experiences for our visitors.

"Spanning a century of aviation, the displays present our spectacular aircraft in new and dynamic ways, revealing for the first time the engaging stories of some of the people who flew and worked with them."

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "The refurbishment of these two iconic aircraft hangars and the new displays at the National Museum of Flight will significantly enhance the visitor experience at what is one of Europe's major aviation museums."

Funding for the revamp includes a £1.3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.8m from the Scottish government.

Image copyright PAUL DODDS

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