Duxford - a Pictorial Tour.

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by Airframes, May 8, 2011.

  1. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    #1 Airframes, May 8, 2011
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
    The Imperial War Museum, Duxford airfield, Cambridgeshire, UK.

    I'll be posting around 130 photos in this thread, in stages, to give an idea of what can be seen at Duxford, and how the museums are laid out. The bulk of the photographs were taken on May 6 this year, with a few additions from previous visits.
    Although it's not the intention here to provide a detailed history of the airfield, I believe some background information might be useful, in order that those viewers unfamiliar with this venue may fully understand the scale and importance of this fantastic museum.
    Background.
    Duxford is situated 8 miles south of the historic city of Cambridge, and opened in 1919. The airfield was the home to RAF squadrons equipped with various biplanes over the next two decades until, in July 1938, the first Spitfires in RAF service arrived to equip 19 Squadron, who also operated this type from the airfield during the Battle of Britain.
    Many famous 'names' passed through or were based at the airfield, including Douglas Bader, who formed his controversial 'Big Wing' here.
    The 8th USAAF arrived at Duxford in March 1943, with the 78th Fighter Group, equipped with the massive P47 Thunderbolt, which they operated until re-equipping with P51 Mustangs in January 1945.
    After World War Two, the RAF returned, with a number of squadrons flying Meteors, Javelins and Hunters but, by 1961, activity decreased. It was not possible to extend or strengthen the runway for the new jets, such as the Lighting, which were coming into service, and the antique buildings themselves were falling into disrepair.
    The airfield finally closed in July 1961, and lay dormant and forgotten until the summer of 1968, when the airfield was used as the main location for the movie 'The Battle of Britain'.
    It was this event which lead to the revival of the airfield, with an enthusiast group forming a small museum, and some private owners basing their aircraft here, and it could be said that this was the beginning of the 'Warbird' fraternity, which has grown and blossomed ever since.
    The enthusiast group, who had done so much to help preserve the airfield, were eventually replaced by the Imperial War Museum, who moved some of their collection from Lambeth, London, and developed the site, opening the present museum on a full-time basis.
    Over the years, the exhibits have expanded, and the airfield is also home to such organisations as The Fighter Collection, and other private owners, who operate a growing number of historic aircraft from the site.
    Duxford is not just a 'static' museum, but a thriving active airfield, hosting a number of airshows and events each year, including the dramatic 'Flying Legends' show each July, as well as offering Corporate hospitality services, including the use of the former Officer's Mess as a venue.
    In addition to the aircraft on display in the various hangars, there are many buildings and outdoor displays open for inspection, including the BoB Operations Room and, of course, the American Museum in Europe, and the Land Warfare Hall.
    Layout.
    The entrance to the Museum is via a dedicated entrance gate, leading to the car park, Reception and shop located in what became known as the 'Superhangar', a purpose-built structure added in the early 1990s.
    Beyond this, stretching over a distance of more than one kilometre, are four further large hangars, plus the impressive American Museum and the Land Warfare Hall. Additionally, there are a number of other outdoor static exhibits, including aircraft and other items.
    The Pictures.
    The first batch of images show the plan of the museum layout, a view looking down the field towards the 'Superhangar' and entrance, and some general overall views of the main exhibition area in the 'Superhangar'.
    Note the gap in the hangars on the Museum's plan, which is where one of the 'Belfast truss' hangars was blown up for the BoB movie !
    I'll post some more shots, in the order of the layout plan, on a regular basis, and I hope you enjoy them.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff Terry, thanks for posting. Brings back memories of my time there last summer, sniff...
     
  3. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks Andy. I'll try to get there if you're coming over again this year.
     
  4. Florence

    Florence Member

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    Great post! Looking forward to more. Appreciate the time effort.
    Love that Harrier.

    David.
     
  5. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    This place is such a must see! Thanks for posting this Terry.
     
  6. Violator

    Violator Member

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    Phenomenal, Terry, and thanks for posting. I can't wait to see more!
     
  7. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Not this year mate. Will try to plan for Legends next year.
     
  8. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Great idea for a thread Terry! Looks like a fantastic place and I can't wait for more of your pictures. Maybe I'll get over there one of these years.
     
  9. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Excellent Terry, Excellent!!:thumbright:
     
  10. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic Terry!
     
  11. rochie

    rochie Well-Known Member

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    nice one Dogsbody, cant wait to get there again in august, you remember to go in the bit we missed last time ?
     
  12. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic Terry! Thanks for sharing this. Hope to be able to come and visit one day. Looks like there's no way to see everything in just one day though.
     
  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks guys, and I hope you can make it next year Andy.
    Karl, yep - I skipped a couple of areas in the Superhangar, and ensured I got around the bits we missed, and a few others, this time.
    Igor, yes, two days are recommended to see it all fully, especially if there are aircraft being test-flown etc, when the No2 hangar normally has lots of activity inside and out. I've been there many times, and still not seen the Ops Room and some of the other buildings and collections, let alone watched the many audio-visual shows dotted around.
    Here's a few more of the main collection in the Superhangar, or, to give it its proper title, The Aerospace exhibition.
    The huge hangar is now divided, with roughly half of the main structure being devoted to conservation projects, and there is a Shackleton MR3 and Victor K2 there awaiting attention, having been displayed outside for many years, together with a pre-production Typhoon II 'Eurofighter'.
    The Airborne Forces Museum is also located within the building, having moved form the former Para Depot at Aldershot, and the galleries around the main hall display a number of interactive exhibits, engines, missiles etc.
    Access is generally good, with a surrounding viewing gallery and floor-level viewing pathways, and some of the aircraft are available for close inspection, with one of the prototype Concordes open for 'walk-through' most of the time.
    The following pics are again general shots of this main hall.
     

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  14. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good stuff Terry! Been a long time since I have been to Duxford and these are good reminders, looking forward to the rest.
     
  15. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Great pics Terry. Many of those I took in the Superhangar came out too dark as I forgot to change the light setting on my camera. I did get pics of the ops room though and can post them if you like.
     
  16. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks guys. Andy, when I post the pics of some of the outdoor features, a shot of the Ops Room would be handy. I'll give you a shout when I need it, thanks.
     
  17. Bernhart

    Bernhart <b>2012 Forum Fantasy Football Champion</ b>

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    love the black swordfish!!
     
  18. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Me too!

    Great Pics Terry!!
     
  19. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Thanks chaps, and here's some more to hopefully enjoy.
    On leaving the 'Superhangar', visitors are now on the airfield itself, near the eastern end and a former dispersal area. Here can be found 'The Mess' cafe / restaurant, with outdoor seating, which provides a welcome break after walking so much. This is also a good vantage point from which to view the activities outside Hangar 2, where most of the airworthy aircraft are kept, and any movements which may be taking place on the field.
    The following three shots were taken from here, at a range of around 450 metres, although the Spit taking off was 'grabbed' on my behalf by Max, who dashed over to the fence line just in time.
    The remaining shots on this batch are inside Hangar 2, the main base for The Fighter Collection and other warbird operators and, at this time of year, it's almost certain that much preparation work can be seen for the years' airshow season, as well as on-going restoration and re-builds.
     

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  20. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Very nice, though that particular Corsair always seems almost black.
     
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