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Aircraft Carrier Experience

Phantom Phantom

Hall Three contains the Museum’s award winning Aircraft Carrier Experience. This is where Museum meets theatre. You’ll "fly" by helicopter to the replica flight deck of the aircraft carrier HMS ARK ROYAL.

On board the Ark Royal you’ll see ten genuine aircraft and two enormous projection screens showing a Phantom strike fighter and a Buccaneer fighter-bomber. You will be in the heart of the action as powerful jet fighters take off and land around you.

You will experience the thrills and sounds of a working flight deck, and feel the wind in your hair as you witness a dramatic air-sea rescue when a Buccaneer is lost over the side on the Ark Royal into the sea. You will even see a nuclear bomb.


Blackburn Buccaneer Blackburn Buccaneer

The bomb is now disarmed but during service, its payload was 200 kilotons (Ten times the destructive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima) and enough to wipe out a city the size of Greater London and render it uninhabitable for many years.

The bomb was carried by Buccaneer aircraft. It is rumoured that the name ‘Buccaneer' evolved in the 1950s because in the event of deployment of the bomb, pilots would wear an eye patch over one eye to protect the sight in at least one eye against the nuclear flash which is considered to be brighter than the Sun.

Inside the Ark Royal's ‘Island' is a series of faithfully reconstructed cabins and operational areas from the Bridge to the ‘Goofers Deck', which looks down onto the flight deck below.

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