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IWM–Duxford: Flying Aircraft

11 April 2017

52° 05′ 46″ N/ 00° 08′ 08″ E

The Imperial War Museums are a quintet of museums and the Imperial War Museum–Duxford, IWM–Duxford as it is better known, being a set of museums of itself (like the several hangars of the NASM Udvar-Hazy or National Museum of the U.S. Air Force):

  • The AirSpace Museum
  • Flying Aircraft
  • Air and Sea
  • Battle of Britain
  • American Air Museum
  • Land Warfare
  • Plus smaller buildings and museums within museums as well as flying in a de Havilland Dragon Rapide in a business sharing the same historic airfield as the museum.

IWM–Duxford is anything from a special treat to a wonderland—where visitors can spend  hours or days (yes, days). Family members not wishing to spend days can easily enjoy neighboring Cambridge, so not to worry.

The food available at not one but two cafés is excellent and affordable—better than usual fare. There is a dedicated children’s play area which is an item overlooked in most large museums as children do not maintain control for hours at a time—the energy built up over that time must be expended before it boils over, as we know. Entry for adults is £18 (a hint: if going  to more than one IWM facility consider getting an annual pass) which is hefty until one considers:

  • This is a museum complex with several museums so it is a bargain
  • Upkeep of the static aircraft has a cost but consider the upkeep of the flying and restoration facilities, as well
  • This is one of the best museums in the world in terms of historical location, aircraft on exhibit and the excellent display spaces

Wear good walking shoes though transport is available as there is literally miles that can be involved. That being said, the cafés were wisely placed roughly at either end of the complex. One is in the open going from hangar or building to the next so dress for the weather—once inside the hangar spaces are unusually climate controlled, however. Also take care for restroom locations as they are not necessarily in the next building.

IWM–Duxford is world-class and, in its way, standard setting. Marvel at British aviation as well as the world’s aviation developments in an intimate way as, for the most part, visitors are walking among the aircraft entirely without cordons or barriers.

Ahhhh…as my brother-in-law first noted…the aromas of lubricants…these aircraft aren’t retired but working for a living. Some are nearing 80 years old and have drip pans under their engines to catch the oil. Simply wonderful to experience. There are many more aircraft, and quite varied, than photographed here due to a power problem with the camera 😉

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX with a two seat Spitfire in the background—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

Sop with Camel replica—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

The tail of the Sopwith Camel replica—Joseph May:Travel for Aircraft

2 Comments leave one →
  1. shortfinals permalink
    1 May 2017 23:42

    Actually, dear Joe, that’s a replica Sopwith Pup, the little brother of the Camel (note the straight line between the engine nacelle and the cockpit – unlike the Camel’s ‘hump’, hence the name – and the single, centrally-mounted Vickers, as opposed to the twin guns of the Camel) But a frightfully easy error to make! Forgiven, forgotten……

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      2 May 2017 07:20

      I shoulda knowed!

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