The Flight Heritage Centre is dedicated to the memory of James Thomas Byford McCudden who following enlistment in the Royal Engineers as a Bugle Boy transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1913 to train and become an Engine Mechanic. He established a connection with RAF Halton in 1913 when he came to the Halton estate with No. 3 Squadron for three days when they flew reconnaissance missions for the "Brown Army" during the annual army manoeuvres.
The following year with the outbreak of hostilities 3 Squadron was sent to France and James McCudden went with them to rise rapidly through the ranks firstly as an Observer then as a Pilot. He excelled as a Fighter Pilot and by the time of his death in a flying accident he had shot down 57 enemy aircraft; been awarded the Victoria Cross; two Military Crosses; two Distinguished Service Orders; a Military Medal and the Croix de Guerre.
Throughout his flying career he remained a "hands on" engineer who tuned and, where necessary, modified his own aircraft in pursuit of improving performance and efficiency. At the same time he always took great pains to protect and encourage his subordinates, setting the finest possible example. It is against that ethos for which the Flight Heritage Centre is so named.
The displays within the centre provide insights and presentations on many aspects of aviation engineering; aerodynamics; propulsion; weapons and the theory of flight. Many displays encourage "user participation" either by interacting with video displays or, in the case of the DH Chipmunk display, actually flying a sortie in a flight simulator.