The hangar


Visiting the hangar of the Early Birds is very worthwhile. Quite often members of the Foundation guide groups around the collection, but of cause individual visitors are welcome as well. On entering the hangar the first thing you will see is that it is very much filled with aircraft. The Foundation prefers to spend its limited resources on aircraft, rather than on fancy buildings. So you will not find big exhibition sites with fences. When the members have enough space for working on ‘their’ aircraft, this will do. This gives you the big advantage that you can get really close to the aircraft. On top of that the members have the habit- weather permitting- to roll a fair number of aircraft outside onto the apron, giving you outstanding opportunities for photography. Of cause members keep an eye on your safety and their valuable aircraft. Nevertheless there is an urgent request: never touch a propeller. Aircraft do have a magneto ignition and these have the nasty habit of starting the engine after a small movement of the propeller. This only happens once in maybe a thousand times, but the results are devastating.

The individual aircraft are described in detail on other pages of this website. Not all the aircraft are always present in the hangar. Some are on loan to other museums, some are worked on in private workshops and when your luck is out some are away flying or visiting a meeting or an airshow.

Besides the aircraft quite a few other treasures are to be seen. Certainly scoring high are the ancient engines. We are very proud of the rotary engines dating from World War One. These are engines with the crankshaft rigidly mounted on the aircraft and the whole engine and propeller rotating around it. This was done to get extra cooling and lubrication. For lubrication castor oil (ricinus oil) was used, which was lavishly sprayed around. For the pilots of the time the advantage was that they never had to oil their leather flying coats, but they did suffer the purgative effects of this substance. There are few of those old engines left in existence and the Foundation is one of the very few having the expertise to restore them. A working 80 hp LeRhone rotary engine is mounted on a contemporary test-stand and is started several times a year. The Foundation owns two more of these engines and is planning to mount one in the Sopwith Camel. Moreover there are many more early engines to be studied, radials and in-line engines and a rather rare Wright V8 (US licence built Hispano-Suiza).


On the walls you will see  some pieces of fabric with paintings, taken from aircraft from World War One. These are comparable with later ‘nose-art’:  personal decorations by the crew on the nose of their aircraft. In show-cases instruments from old aircraft, special tools, souvenirs, cups and other memorabilia are exhibited. And when you are not yet totally impressed by the wonderful propellers on the aircraft: some more are hanging on the walls!

But the most exciting thing is: the Foundation is a working museum. To keep this early aircraft flying there is always work to be done. You always will find members working on restoration, maintenance or prescribed checks.  Sometimes an engine is dismounted, or a landing gear is being repaired, a radio set changed, you call it. And those members are often willing to have a chat, or explain something.


The hangar is found on Lelystad Airport. Address: Emoeweg 20. On the airport sign-posts show you the way to go.  Opening hours are on Wednesdays 11.00 – 15.00 hrs and Saturdays  12.00 – 16.00 hrs. Other days and times by appointment.

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