The Museums rare Eastchurch Kitten World War I experimental interceptor will be rolled out for its first public unveiling and engine start on Thursday 27th February at 10:30am. There is no other example of this aircraft type in existence in the world, so the photocall provides a great opportunity to capture the aircraft’s first public start. Recently rebuilt here at the Yorkshire Air Museum, it joins our ‘fleet’ of First World War aircraft, such as the SE5a, which is also in ‘live’, engine running condition and the BE2c and Avro 504K, which were the backbone of the Royal Flying Corps.
The aircraft will have its first public showing on Sunday 2nd March at the Museum’s monthly aircraft engine running day, and the Kitten will be on public display in the centre of Leeds on May 21st.
The ‘high altitude’ fighter was to tackle the threat posed by the Zeppelin airships, which had brought the war to Britain with bombing raids in 1915. The Kitten was to be launched off battleships, cruisers or even torpedo boats. A ‘disposable’, one operation aircraft, to simply go up, intercept and shoot down the airship, then ditch in the sea. It made its first flight on 1st September 1917. It was in flimsy, ‘string and fabric’ aircraft such as these that some 9500 allied pilots lost their lives during the carnage of the Great War and these aircraft stand as a tribute to them