Shropshire Star

Daredevil cleaners give RAF Cosford museum planes a dusting

When the suspended aircraft at the Royal Air Force Museum Midlands need a spring clean, it calls for a specialist team of dustbusters with a head for heights to carry out the work.

You have to have a head for heights and an eye for patches of dust when cleaning fighter jets hanging from the ceiling of the RAF Museum at Cosford

Suspended from the ceiling, up to 100ft in the air, eight aircraft at the Cosford museum – including a Vulcan bomber, are all being given a light dusting this week as part of the annual clean and inspection.

Other aircraft being spruced up include a number of iconic vehicles such as the Canberra, Meteor, Sabre, Hunter, Lightning, Dakota and Javelin.

Strapped into harnesses, the specialist cleaning team climb the rafters of the building and abseil down to access the aircraft.

No cleaning solutions are used on the aircraft, just a good dusting using large soft fibre mops.

In addition to cleaning the aircraft, the team will also be inspecting the suspension cables supporting the planes in their impressive flying display positions.

Tom Hopkins, curator at RAF Museum Midlands said it was no easy task making sure the aircraft are at their best for the thousands of people who visit the venue.

Expert cleaners abseiling down aircraft for the annual spring clean at the RAF Museum’s Cold War Exhibition

He said: "All the aircraft and vehicles within the RAF Museums collection undergo a regular inspection by our technicians and volunteers. However, those suspended from the ceiling of our National Cold War Exhibition are 100ft high in some places and require a specialist team to carry out the work at dizzying heights."

During the clean, the museum remains open to visitors who can see the high-flying team from Rappel – industrial rope access specialists – in action.

A big stretch is need to get into all the corners

The museum’s National Cold War Exhibition features 19 aircraft, tanks, vehicles, models and memorabilia, and is the only place in the world where people can view all three British V-Bombers - the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant - together and under one roof.

The museum is open daily from 10am and admission is free.

It is team effort for the specialist team of cleaners

People can pre-book their arrival time online at

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