Aviation Museums

and airworthy collections


Solent Sky

Albert Rd South, Southampton SO14 3FR

Date of visit: 18th December 2020

Initially opened as the RJ Mitchell Memorial Museum in 1974, the Solent Sky museum has subsequently expanded to depict the history of aviation in Southampton, the Solent area and Hampshire. Also previously known as the Southampton Hall of Aviation, there is a special focus on Southampton's Supermarine Aircraft Company, exhibiting R. J. Mitchell's designed Supermarine S.6 seaplane and Supermarine Spitfire.

Solent Sky is also the home of the Hampshire Police and Fire Heritage Collection

Avro 504J

BAPC.210 / Replica 'C4451'

Britten-Norman BN-1 Finibee


Single-seat ultralight built in the Isle of Wight in 1950

de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW Mk.I

XJ571 / 242

converted to FAW Mk2 from 13th July 1964

de Havilland Tiger Moth

BB-807 / G-ADWO

de Havilland Vampire T.11

'U-1215' / XE998

Folland Gnat


Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.3

Cockpit section modified to resemble Harrier FRS.1

Mignet HM.14 Pou-du-Ciel

BAPC.253 / 'G-ADZW' (fake registration)

Saro Skeeter


Saro Skeeter


Saunders-Roe SR.A/1

TG263 (the world’s only jet fighter flying boat - experimental)

Short Sandringham S.25 / V

VH-BRC 'Beachcomber'

Originally built in 1943 as a Sunderland S.25 Mk.III ( Serial no. JM715) by Short Brothers of Rochester

1944: Converted to Sunderland Mk.V

1947: Converted to Sandringham class for Tasman Empire Airways, registered ZK-AMH named 'RSA Auckland'

1950: Re-registered VH-BRC with Barrier Reef Airways

1952: Renamed 'Beachcomer' with Ansett Flying Boat Services

1974: Re-registered VP-LVE for Captain Charles Blair of Antilles Air Boats, renamed N18c Southern Cross



Designed and built by students between 1960 and 1961, the Southampton University Man Powered Aircraft (SUMPAC) became the first human-powered aeroplane to make an officially authenticated take-off and flight on 9th November 1961.

Supermarine S.6A


Initially built as an S.6. , N248 competed in the 1929 Schneider Trophy held at Calshot, but was disqualified for cutting a corner.

It was later converted into an S.6A.

Supermarine Spitfire F.24


Supermarine Swift F5

Cockpit section

Supermarine Swift F7


Wight Quadruplane

BAPC.164 / Replica ‘N546’

Airwave Hang-Glider



Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX

MJ250 ( Fine detail 1:5 Scale Model painstakingly built by modeller and journalist David Glen over 7 years, and donated to the museum in 2020)

Supermarine S.5

N220 ( single-engined single-seat racing seaplane designed specifically for the Schneider Trophy competition. N220 was the winner of the 1927 race held at Venice )

Pemberton-Billing P.B.9 "Seven Day Bus"

First flown in August 1914, the PB9 was a World War I single-seat scout biplane built by Pemberton-Billing Limited (later becoming the Supermarine Aviation Works). Although the PB9 performed well only one prototype was ever built, but was later used by the Royal Naval Air Service as a trainer. Using a set of wings that had been obtained from Radley-England, its design, build and maiden flight was carried out within nine days. Designer Noel Pemberton Billing, however for publicity reasons, boasted the project had only taken a week, hence the nickname "Seven Day Bus".

Mayo Composite S.20 Mercury / S.21 Maia

Short Brothers Empire flying boats, whilst being capable of operating long range routes across the British Empire, could only manage trans-Atlantic routes by replacing passenger and mail-carrying space with extra fuel. They could maintain flight with a greater payload than that possible during takeoff. The Technical General Manager at Imperial Airways, Major Robert H. Mayo, proposed mounting a small, long-range seaplane on top of a larger support aircraft, using the combined power of both to bring the smaller aircraft to operational height. The two aircraft would then separate, with the support aircraft returning to base and the other continuing on to its destination. The Short-Mayo composite project, co-designed by Mayo and Shorts chief designer Arthur Gouge, comprised the Short S.21 Maia G-ADHK (a Short "C-Class" Empire variant fitted with a support on the top of the fuselage) carrying the Short S.20 Mercury G-ADHJ. The first successful in-flight separation was carried out on 6th February 1938 from the Shorts works at Borstal, near Rochester, Medway.

Handley Page HP W10

G-EBMR ( Large scale RC model with 16ft wing span)

Airspeed AS5 COURIER

G-ABXN ( Large scale RC Model)

Vickers-Armstrong VISCOUNT 806


Saunders-Roe SR45 PRINCESS


Short S23 EMPIRE


Short S23 EMPIRE



The Portsmouth Aerocar was a high-wing monoplane with gondola fuselage and twin-boom tailplane and tricycle undercarriage intended for a variety of tasks and advertised as a 'mobile office'. The prototype was of a composite construction with fabric-covered wooden wings, tail booms and tail fitted to a metal fuselage. The production model was to have been all-metal. With a capacity of 5 passengers plus pilot, 4 doors were fitted to the cabin with 'Clamshell' doors at the rear of the fuselage. Construction of a Minor variant was abandoned due to concerns about insufficient power. The one and only Major prototype constructed (registered G-AGTG) started taxying trials at Portsmouth on 18th June 1947, and so successful it proved pilot Frank Luxmoore carried out its maiden flight the same day. Exhibited at the Society of British Aircraft Constructors airshow, Portsmouth Aviation was unable to continue with development due to uncertainty around the funding for the licence manufacture in India. With Lionel Balfour, the driving force behind the Aerocar, leaving the company the Aerocar was subsequently stored and eventually scrapped in 1950.

Hampshire Police and Fire Heritage Collection

The Hampshire Police and Fire Heritage Trust opened the museum on 12th July 2017, set up with the generous support of Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Southampton Police Club Trust Fund. Located on the second floor of the Solent Sky Museum, the collection includes many artifacts, photographs and story boards detailing the history of the Force.

Pilatus Britten-Norman BN2B-20 ISLANDER

Model of G-HPAA in Hampshire Police Authority colours (Formerly G-BSWP until 14/081991 - De-registered 07/12/2001 and transferred to USA)


Built in 1914, the lightship known as Light Vessel 78 (LV78) is a rare surviving example of a riveted iron-plated ship and has now been relocated outside of Solent Sky for restoration prior to becoming linked to the museum's cafe by a planned walkway.

The 170-tonne Calshot Spit was originally moored at Calshot Spit, where it acted as a floating lighthouse at the entrance to Southampton Water, guiding flying boats into their terminals and warning ships of sandbanks. Operating and recording shipping movements, 6 crew members lived in cramped conditions also maintaining the light and foghorn. Retired and replaced by a buoy in the mid-1960s, it had been re-positioned within the port for the past nine years. The 45 minute operation to move the lightship on self-propelling rollers along Canute Road to the museum was supported by Associated British Ports who saw it travel the 3/4-quarters of a mile from the docks.