Visit the Highland Aviation Museum
Located in the business estate alongside the Inverness Airport around seven miles northeast of the city, the Highland Aviation Museum offers an incredible hands-on experience to all who have an interest in the fascinating history of aviation, especially relating to this lovely region of Scotland. Anyone who has wondered what it must have been like to be in a cockpit in the heat of battle, or scouring the skies defending the country from intruders, will have the opportunity to let their imagination run wild while firmly seated in the cockpit of a Blackburn Buccaneer S1 or an English Electric Lightning F1A – an aircraft that for decades was considered to be one of the best and fastest fighters in the world.
The main building of the Highland Aviation Museum houses displays of aircraft models, life-size figures kitted out in flying gear, ejector seats and other interesting odds and ends relating to aviation and renowned aviators. Visitors will gain insight into the history of what is now Inverness Airport, as well as viewing information on nearby military bases RAF Kinloss and RAF Lossiemouth.
Open-air exhibits, many of which can be explored hands-on, include the Blackburn Buccaneer S1, English Electric Lightning F1A, a Jet Provost trainer, Super Dart Herald and the nose section of an XD875 Vickers Valiant. Squeezing into the cockpit of the F1A, which many RAF pilots noted was designed to be worn rather than sat in, visitors cannot help but have admiration for the pilots who flew these super-fast Cold War era aircraft, carrying out missions to intercept Russian bombers at night over the north sea using radar and equipment that by today’s standards are quite primitive. Another so-called Cold War aircraft on display is the XD875 Vickers Valiant, and visitors to the Highland Aviation Museum can climb right inside this aircraft to examine the array of screens, buttons and dials that aviators at the time had to deal with, taking special note of the rather small portal marked “Crash Landing Exit” in bold red letters.
Certainly aviation technology has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past few decades, and a visit to the Highland Aviation Museum provides valuable insight into the history of aviation in the Inverness region of Scotland.