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In the Hangar

You have entered the world of Aeroplane Adventures. A jet shoots through the sky. You know that's a Tomcat. You can tell from the twin fins and 2 afterburning turbofan engines. A Vulcan follows. You recognise the huge delta wing. You know it has no afterburners. Now get to know more aircraft, like a stealth fighter called Nighthawk, an amazing twin-rotor helicopter called a Chinook, an Antonov, a giant with three jet engines on each wing, and plenty more.​



The Avro Vulcan is recognisable by its enormous delta wing. It was designed to provide a nuclear deterrent. This means its purpose was to preserve peace by dissuading others from using nuclear aggression due to the threat of a return attack. The Vulcan’s range was increased by in-flight refuelling.  The Vulcan was the world’s first successful large delta wing aircraft and despite its size, it delivered the performance and agility of a fighter jet.  Vulcan pilots say, once airborne, it was hard to get the aircraft to come down! Designed and manufactured in Britain for the Royal Air Force.


NAME: Vulcan
MADE BY: A.V Roe (Avro)

ENGINES: 4 twin-speed turbojet, providing 11,000 lbf of thrust each
WINGSPAN: 99ft 5in (30.30m)
LENGTH: 97ft 1in (29.59m)
MAX. TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 170,000lb (77,111kg)
FLIGHT CREW: 5. Pilot, co-pilot, Air Electronics Officer (AEO), navigator radar, navigator plotter
TOP SPEED: 656mph (1039 km/hr) Mach 0.96
WINGS: Delta

F-14 Tomcat


When it started out, the Tomcat belonged to the US Navy spending its time aboard aircraft carriers working as a fighter and defence interceptor.  Later it also flew from ground bases. It can sweep its wings back to 68 degrees, effectively creating a delta wing shape. This, together with two powerful engines, enables the F-14 to fly over twice the speed of sound. It has a good radar system as well as inertial navigation but no GPS. A pilot must fly using conventional flight controls as it has no fly-by-wire (a computer that moves the flight control surfaces for the pilot).


NAME: F-14 Tomcat

MADE BY: Northrop Grumman

ENGINES: 2 afterburning turbofans providing 16,333 lbf of thrust dry, 26,950 lbf of thrust with afterburner, each

WINGSPAN: 64ft 1in (19,545m) Swept wingspan: 38ft 2in (11.646m)

LENGTH: 62ft 9in (19.545m)

MAX. TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 74,350lb (33,725kg)

FLIGHT CREW: 1 pilot, 1 radar intercept officer

TOP SPEED: 1544mph (2485km/hr) Mach 2.34

WINGS: twin-tail, variable sweep; twin (almost) upright tail fins




The most famous British fighter aircraft in history, the Spitfire became a symbol of freedom helping to defeat German air attacks during World War II. The Spitfire’s designer, Mitchell, had previously been creating floatplanes to compete for the coveted Schneider Trophy in the 1920s. Mitchell’s inspiration brought us the graceful elliptical wing which, in combination with the Merlin’s two-stage supercharger, gave the Spitfire exceptional performance at high altitudes.  This made the aircraft hard to intercept and enabled it to fly deep into enemy territory to spy and take photographs which provided important intelligence to the Allies.​


NAME: Spitfire

MADE BY: Supermarine

ENGINES: 1 Rolls Royce Merlin (later Griffon) with single stage supercharger (later 2-speed superchargers). 1 x 3 bladed propeller.

WINGSPAN: 36ft 10in (11.23m)

LENGTH: 29ft 11in (9.12m)

MAX. TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 6,700lb (3,039kg)


TOP SPEED: 370mph (600km/hr)

WINGS: low, unswept, elliptical


Tiger Moth


This single-engine biplane was one of the most popular training aircraft of its day. It was produced by de Havilland, who made a wide assortment of aeroplanes from 1920 to 1940.  With the advent of World War II, the sudden demand for pilots meant production of the Tiger Moth increased dramatically. Before the Americans officially entered the war, Americans who flew with the Eagle Squadrons trained on the DH.82 model. It also became the primary trainer in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, where thousands of military pilots got their first taste of flight in a Tiger Moth. 

The fuselage is constructed of welded steel tubing covered in fabric and the floor and cockpit decking are made of plywood. The wings are primarily constructed from wood with fabric covering.  Because the Tiger Moth has no electrical system, it must be started by hand.  The open cockpit allows pilots to look over the side to see the runway during approach and landing.  A rugged little aeroplane, the Tiger Moth needs little runway preparation.    


NAME: Tiger Moth
MADE BY: de Havilland
ENGINES: 1 x 4 cylinder air-cooled piston engine

WINGSPAN: 29ft 4in (8.94m)
LENGTH: 23ft 11in (7.29m)
MAX. TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 1,825lb (828kg)
TOP SPEED: 109mph (175km/h)
WINGS: bi-plane

F-15 Eagle


The F-15 was designed as a multi-role aircraft, engaging with targets on the ground as well as in the air, unlike the F-14 which was created primarily to protect aircraft carriers from air-born threats. It represented a big jump in ‘avionics’ (the plane’s electronic systems including navigation and flight control).  It includes a tactical navigation system and instrument landing system with a central digital computer to manage all the information.

The F-15 has a high engine-to-weight ratio and also a low ratio of aircraft weight to wing area (known as ‘wing loading’).  This makes for a highly manoeuvrable aeroplane with superb acceleration. 


NAME: F-15 Eagle
MADE BY: McDonnel Douglas
ENGINES: 2 afterburning turbofans producing 14,590 lbf of thrust dry, 23,770 lbf with afterburner, each
WINGSPAN: 42ft, 10in (13.06m)
LENGTH: 63ft 9in (19.43m)
MAX. TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 68,000lbs (30,844kg)
FLIGHT CREW: originally 1, later 2: pilot and weapons system officer
TOP SPEED: 921mph (1482km/hr) Mach 2.54
WINGS: Shoulder-mounted wing, cropped delta shape. Twin tail (almost) upright

Antonov AN-255 Mriya


​The Ukrainian state-owned company, Antonov, made just one An-225 Mriya.  It was the world’s heaviest aircraft with the largest wingspan ever seen.  It transported objects that seemed impossible to move by air like parts for the space programme.  It had an astonishing 32 wheels on it’s landing gear. 

Sadly the An-225 Mriya was destroyed by Russian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.  


NAME: ‘Antonov’ An-225 Mriya (Cossack)
MADE BY: Antonov, Ukraine
ENGINES: 6 turbfans, providing 51,600 lbf of thrust each
WINGSPAN: 290ft 0in (88.4m)
LENGTH: 275ft 7in (84m)
MAX. TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 1,410,958lbs (640,000kg) ie. 640 tonnes
TOP SPEED: 530mph (850km/hr)
WINGS: shoulder wing with fuselage barrel extension on front and rear to increase span

F-117 Nighthawk


Nighthawk was the world’s first operational stealth fighter jet and it is super-stealthy.  It is almost invisible with only 0.0001m.sq. appearing on radar. The outer surface is coated with a radar-absorbent material.  The two tail fins slant slightly outwards to provide an obstruction to infrared and radar returns. The exhaust area is wide and flat to reduce detection, and it even has a thin narrow exhaust pipe instead of a circular one to reduce the exhaust plume. Nighthawk lacks afterburners which would make it more visible, and it doesn’t go supersonic to avoid a sonic boom. 

The elevons don’t act as flaps so they don’t reduce the rate of descent for landing; thus when Nighthawk touches down it is still moving at 180mph and must use a drag parachute to slow down.


NAME: F-117 Nighthawk
MADE BY: Lockheed
ENGINES: 2 turbofan engines providing 9040 lbf of thrust each
WINGSPAN: 43ft 4in (13.21m)
LENGTH: 65ft 11in (20.09m)
MAX. TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 52,500 lbs (23,814kg)
TOP SPEED: 684mph (1,100km/hr)
WINGS: Swept back, V-shaped tail. ‘Flying Wing’ (no definite fuselage)



A highly capable tandem rotor helicopter that can land on almost any terrain as well as aircraft carriers. It can carry enormous payloads both underslung on its triple hooks or in its hold, including vehicles, water, and supplies.  As well as carrying cargo and conducting emergency evacuations, it is an excellent Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft.


NAME: Chinook
MADE BY: Boeing
ENGINES: 2 tuboshaft engines
WINGSPAN: Rotors: 2 x 60ft (18m)
LENGTH: 98ft (30m)
MAX. TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 50,000lbs (22,680kg)
FLIGHT CREW: 3-4 Pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, loadmaster
TOP SPEED: 196mph (315km/hr)
WINGS: Two rotors, rear higher than front


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