Lightning plane
Lightning image courtesy John F Stiles

Exciting details are emerging of the aircraft taking part in Cranfield University’s Festival of Flight on 17 September.

Reflecting  both Cranfield’s close aerospace heritage and looking to the future, the aircraft range from a Blenheim Mk1, which first flew in 1935, to an electric powered aircraft, the Electroflight P1E. 

Many of the aircraft involved in the air display have a connection to Cranfield’s 70-year history.  As part of the static, ground-based display will be an English Electric Lightning T5, one of only two T5s left in the world. 

The air display will include a Bristol Blenheim Mk (Mk. IV T), which flew out of RAF Cranfield during the Second World War. It was a mainstay of the RAF's light bombers forces and proved particularly vulnerable to German fighters.  This is the only one still flying in the country. 

The Hawker Hurricane (MK XII), part of the Battle of Britain memorial flight, which was serviced at Cranfield for a number of years, and a BAC Jet Provost will all be on show on the day. Other aircraft from the 1930s-60s era that will feature in the air display include a Messerschmitt ME 108; a Russian plane, the Yakovlev Yak3; a P51 Mustang, the North American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and other conflicts; a Piper L4 Cub and a Hawker Fury. 

Aircraft in the static display, for people to look at, include a DH Tiger Moth and an Auster J5 Aiglet (both from the Shuttleworth Collection), and Cranfield University’s own  aircraft: a Scottish Aviation Bulldog, Slingsby Firefly, Handley Page Jetstream, BAE Jetstream 31, Cranfield A1, and our recently acquired Boeing 737-400. These will be joined by an Electroflight P1e, a battery-operated electric single seater aircraft designed to demonstrate the advantages of pure electric flight and set new world records for an electric powered aircraft. 

Dr Andy Foster, a Senior Lecturer in Aerospace at Cranfield, who brought together the static air display, said: “The flying aircraft in the display at the Festival of Flight will evoke the early years of Cranfield’s development as an RAF base in1937, and then the formation as a College of Aeronautics in 1946. They will be showing off the leading aircraft designs of the piston engine era and moving through into the jet age.

“This is in contrast to the more modern aircraft types which visitors are more used to seeing.  There will be examples of those in the static display.

”Cranfield University’s Festival of Flight on September 17 2016 is in celebration of 70 years since its foundation as the College of Aeronautics.

Notes for editors

About the Festival of Flight

In 2016 Cranfield University celebrates 70 years since its foundation as the College of Aeronautics and focuses ahead on its future as an institution that is at the forefront of aerospace development. Both are celebrated in our Festival of Flight, which is being held on 17 September. There will be a strong aerospace theme to the event, but we will also open the doors on our eight themes during the morning, showcasing some of the ground-breaking work we do across the world.


About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.