RAF Museum cleaners undertake high-flying mission

A team of ‘dustbusters’ with a head for heights has been cleaning the suspended aircraft at Royal Air Force Museum Midlands

Suspended from the ceiling, up to 100ft in the air, eight aircraft are being cleaned this week as part of an annual inspection. The exhibits being spruced up comprise a Vulcan, Canberra, Meteor, Sabre, Hunter, Lightning, Dakota and Javelin.

Strapped into harnesses, the specialist cleaning team climb the rafters of the building and abseil down to access the aircraft. No cleaning solutions are used on the aircraft, just a good dusting using large soft fibre mops. In addition to cleaning the aircraft, the team is also inspecting the suspension cables supporting the aircraft in their flying display positions.

RAF Museum Midlands

Tom Hopkins, Curator at RAF Museum Midlands said: “The museum’s commitment to preserving objects within our collection extends beyond mere display. It involves each aircraft and vehicle undergoing a regular inspection by our skilled technicians and volunteers. However, when it comes to the aircraft suspended from the ceiling of our National Cold War Exhibition, a unique challenge emerges. These iconic aircraft reach up to 100ft in places, and navigating such dizzying heights requires a specialist team equipped with the necessary skills and equipment.”

RAF Museum Midlands

During the process, the museum at Cosford in Shropshire remains open to visitors who can see the high-flying team from Rappel, industrial rope access specialists, in action. Its National Cold War Exhibition is the only place in the world where people can view all three British V-Bombers, the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant, together and under one roof. With thanks to Michelle Worthington

RAF Museum Midlands
RAF Museum Midlands
RAF Museum Midlands