Yorkshire Air Museum Thunder Day March 2024

Yorkshire Air Museum held the first of their 2024 Thunder Days recently and it did not disappoint. The crowds flocked to the museum to hear their preserved aircraft running and proving that museums don’t have to be silent with “Do not touch” signs everywhere. I had the pleasure to shoot the day as a volunteer on the public side and got to see first-hand just how enjoyable the crowds found the day.

The day started off with a showing from the Eastchurch Kitten and the Royal Aircraft Factory SE5, both taking a little persuasion to start up but then burst into life. The volunteer engineers were undeterred though and both aircraft gave spirited runs to open the day. 

We then moved on to the DeHavilland Devon, an aircraft that is now stranger to a Thunder Day having been restored to running condition by YAM volunteers. Again, not a fan of the early cold March morning, she took a little bit of time to start the port engine but eventually both were running smoothly.

We then moved on to the highlights of the day…. JETS! Ironically the greatest spectacle of the day yet the hardest to photograph due to the lack of movement. It’s fair to say that they drew the crowd, equipped with ear protection and cameras. The first of the three to run was the Handley Page Victor K.2, a Cold War tanker that is very well preserved.


The Nimrod MR2, a maritime patrol aircraft that arrived at the museum in 2010, is maintained in ground running condition and ran for Thunder Day. The team did an outstanding job of showing their and the aircraft’s capabilities including the speeding up of nature by removing some of the newly arrived spring leaves from the trees. What a sound to hear the four Rolls Royce Spey engines firing up! During the run, I was able to visit the top floor of the museum’s control tower (see the fundraiser for the restoration) to take a wide shot of the Nimrod in fine song with the crowds that had visited to see and hear. 

The final jet aircraft of the day was one that I was perhaps the most excited for. YAM’s 2nd Jet Provost arrived in running condition, but disassembled and in need of some maintenance. One volunteer took a shine to the aircraft and worked tirelessly to get her ready for her debut at the 2024 Thunder Day. Adam Leonard works in aviation by day and chose to use his skills to share the joy of engineering at YAM. As you’ll see from the imagery, the run had a story of three parts: the nerves before, an enjoyable run, and finally the relief as a round of applause erupted from the crowd. 

The day concluded with another showing from the Kitten, SE5, and Devon before the public and volunteers retired home for a well-earned rest. A great day was had by all with visitors young and old inspired by the engineering and dedication on show at the day.

You can find out more about Yorkshire Air Museum at https://yorkshireairmuseum.org/  If you’re ever in the area please pop in, it’s a treasure trove of aviation history!