At Beach Retreats, we’re often asked for ideas on day’s out in Cornwall. Our guests tend to visit the popular Cornish destinations such as St.Ives and Padstow, but there is a great attraction on the doorstep of our properties that we feel you need to know about.
Based at Newquay Aerohub, Classic Air Force is a charity set up to save and preserve rare aircraft. With a collection of jet and piston-engine aircraft which include fighters, bombers, trainers and liaison aircraft, Classic Air Force has the largest fleet of post-World War II classic aircraft in Europe.
Classic Air Force is first and foremost a museum but it’s a museum with a twist. Much like ‘Night at the Museum’, Classic Air Force is living. The 60’000 sq. ft. Nimrod Hangar houses several aeroplanes all of which are still in working condition; so on any one day you may see a thirties biplane or a large cargo plane on the floor.
Although the planes are roped off it does not mean you can’t get a closer look. Ask any one of the staff at Classic Air Force and they’ll be happy to drop the rope and show you aboard the planes. You can climb aboard VC10s and BAC1-11s and live out your pilot dreams!
Another interactive part of the museum is the flight simulator. If you aren’t up for a real flight then this is for you. Climb aboard and enjoy a simulated flight from Newquay across the North coast of Cornwall. The flight simulation is changed throughout the day so test it out a few times to take on a new flight path.
You can take a pleasure or acrobatic flight in the planes!
First up, a pleasure flight.
Climb aboard the ‘Rapide’, sit back and relax. Able to carry 8 people this is a great trip for the whole family. With large windows you’ll have a clear view of the undulating Cornish coastline and everything else below. The best bit? One of your party can sit up front with the pilot and get a panoramic, captains view of the whole flight.
Top tip: If you’re not sitting in the co-pilots seat, shotgun the front right-hand seat as you get a spectacular view.
And now for something a little more acrobatic.
Strap into the ‘Chipmunk’ for the ride of your life. Gravity? What Gravity?
After a full briefing from your pilot you’ll be kitted out with a flying suit and intercom headset. You’ll then be strapped into the plane and it’s time for take-off. After a few tight turns to get you used to g-force it’s time for the big tricks. Loop the loops and rolls are up next. It’s an exhilarating ride that you’ll never forget!
It’s fair to say that the whole family can enjoy the Classic Air Force, it’s not every day you get to climb into history.
NB: Guided tours are not offered by staff in the traditional sense. Instead, staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have and show you aboard the aircraft.