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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

Duxford Airshow 2017

16 November 2017
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Thomas Glass-Burgess fills us in on Duxford Air Show.

In 2017 over 30,000 people visited Duxford in Cambridgeshire for the annual Flying Legends air show, one of three air shows held at the historic Imperial War Museum airfield.

People from all over the world travel to Duxford for the airshows including French journalist, pilot and guest commentator, Bernard Chabbert, who returns year after year.

The 1940s theme of the air show continues throughout the site including the Vintage Village exhibiting period music from the Manhattan Dolls and The Umbrella Big Band giving the 1940s feel whilst Laurel & Hardy with their model T-Ford gave visitors the opportunity to experience the 1940s culture both on the ground and in the air.

Along with the Vintage Village wartime re-enactors regularly attending the show including German Luftwaffe pilots, RAF officers and the USAAF re-enactors who camp in WWII era tents at the airfield during the weekend.

Duxford Airshows are pretty special compared to some airshows;  entry to any Duxford Airshow includes entry into the Museum consisting of seven exhibition halls including the Land Warfare hall, featuring Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s M3 Grant Command Tank from the North African campaign and his command caravans used after D-Day through to VE Day in 1945.

Another unique feature of the Imperial War Museum Duxford is the opportunity to climb aboard the legendary supersonic airliner Concord and see what flying in the luxury the aircraft, whilst  learning the history of the fastest ever passenger jet.

Alongside the Concord in the Airspace are other icons of British Aviation are on display such as the Supermarine Spitfire and the easily recognisable Avro Vulcan.

Apart from the Land Warfare and Airspace there are several other exhibits to see at Imperial War Museum Duxford such as the American Air Museum documenting and exhibiting the history of the United States Air Force with the highlights of the exhibit being the mammoth of a jet in the B-52 Stratofortress and SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest aircraft in history with a top speed of over 2000 mph, and Duxford is the only location in the UK in which these legends of aviation are on display.

This leads me to my only criticism of the museum: the size of the site. To be able to see everything in depth you will need more than just one day to cover the entire site. However, I would argue that it still worth visiting as from £16.35 for adults and £13.05 for students the museum is without a doubt fantastic value for money even on non-airshow dates.

Words, Thomas Glass-Burgess

Pictures, Andy Leonard (Flickr)