The National Aerospace Library

Since the Royal Aeronautical Society was founded in 1866, our library has been documenting man's attempts to conquer the skies.

The National Aerospace Library cares for material relating to aviation, aircraft, aerospace technology, air power and ballooning, from the past, present and future. In addition to providing an information service to RAeS members, we open our doors to engineers and aerospace professionals, historians, students and enthusiasts.

Our unique collection contains personal papers of some of the great figures from aviation history, including Sir George Cayley and the design drawings of FS Barnwell to name but two. We also hold company brochures, Air Ministry and Ministry of Aircraft Production Publications and World War II intelligence reports.

In addition to the books, journals and technical reports, we hold a number of specialist collections including music scores, stamps, audio recordings, photographs and more, all of which are detailed in our online catalogue.

If you would like to learn more about the development of early aviation and the people involved, the National Aerospace Library can help you. A list of our top ten recommended titles is a great place to start, or consult our online catalogue.

More about the National Aerospace Library »

Image Licensing

Over 11,000 striking images of early aviation from our historic collection can be licensed for commercial use (in books, magazines, websites, adverts and more), via Mary Evans Picture Library .

If you cannot find the image you need, don't despair. We have thousands of images in our archives which are not yet online, so please get in touch with our librarians to discuss your requirements.

Browse our online image library 

Prints & Gifts

Why not select your favourite image to purchase as a print or gift?

We have thousands of beautiful images dating back to man's very first attempts to conquer the skies.  Whether you are looking for a vintage travel poster to adorn your home, or a mouse mat depicting your favourite aircraft,  has a great range of ideas.

Browse the Prints-Online gift collection 


The Intellectual Property Rights related to original resources on this website reside with the copyright holders. The Royal Aeronautical Society owns the copyright on the digitally imaged versions displayed in this site.

We have made every effort to contact copyright holders. If you believe there has been an infringement of copyright or any errors, please contact the RAeS Library.

You may download images and other materials available on this website for research or private study only, on the condition that it is reproduced accurately and the image is credited to the Royal Aeronautical Society.