National Aerospace Library

Contact details

Website: Email: Telephone: +44 (0)1252 701038 / 701060

National Aerospace Library

About the library

The National Aerospace Library (NAL) in Farnborough is one of the most prestigious aerospace and aeronautical library collections in the world. Our collections contain contemporary and historical material exploring man’s dream of conquering flight, including:

  • Aircraft engineering
  • Military flight, including twentieth-century warfare
  • Civil aviation
  • General works on aircraft, ballooning and spaceflight
  • The wider aeronautics world, including aviation law, economics, aerospace medicine, space, management and model making

We have over 130 current journals available with over 35,000 articles indexed on our online catalogue.

The NAL cares for the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Library and Archives. Since the Society’s foundation in 1866, the RAeS Library has incorporated many other personal and corporate collections and, in so doing, has preserved them for the nation. Our earliest book dates back to 1515.

Special collections – including balloons, airships, air charts, aircraft models and aviation philately.

Archives – including the records of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Society of British Aircraft Constructors, and the personal collections of Sir George Cayley, C. G. Grey and the design drawings of F.S. Barnwell, with some of the collections available via the RAeS Heritage website.

Photographs and images - over 100,000 photographs, lithographs and other images. Copies of over 10,000 items are available via the Mary Evans Pictures Library and Prints Online.

Over 40,000 technical reports from around the world, including those published by the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), NASA and ARC, the majority of which are not listed on our library catalogue or on Library Hub Discover.

Material on aircraft production including company and staff journals and company brochures.

Following a group visit by the Military Aviation Authority, one visitor “found the library a potentially invaluable resource” holding “unimaginable amounts of varied information...many diverse papers and books to study of great personal interest”.

The local library catalogue is available online.

British Library inter-library loan codes

Royal Aeronautical Society Library

Library code


Policy code


For an explanation of these codes, and for more information on arranging inter-library loans, see the inter-library loans page on the British Library website.

Accessing materials

Can I see live document availability on Library Hub Discover? No.

Can I obtain items via inter-library loan? Yes - subject to the library's local lending policy. You must request an inter-library loan via a library of which you are a member. Talk to your own library staff for advice on ordering an item.

Can I visit the library to view materials? Yes - see the library's website for access details. If you wish to visit it is advisable to contact the library in advance, to ensure that they can accommodate you and that the material you need will be available.


Browse all of the National Aerospace Library's records in Library Hub Discover here.