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Old 13th January 2014, 22:12   #1
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Default Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK

For all the aviation enthusiast here on the forum. I spend our Christmas holiday back in Europe. Most of the time we spend in our home in Suffolk, UK. We are about an hours drive from the Imperial War Museum Duxford, just South of Cambridge.

I have visited many times. The first time was in 1985. I was with my wife enroute to Scotland and we just happened to see the signs, stopped and spend a whole afternoon. My wife at the time was pregnant of our eldest son. Luc. He came along in person this time and you might spot him in some of the photographs. Luc and I used to drive all over Europe in our Alfa Romeo Spider visiting air shows and aviation museums.

Duxford is still, by a very large margin our all time favorite. It has an amazing collection. Duxford is an old ww2 airfield. It is still in use as an airfield, but the main attraction these day is the museum and the various events they organize throughout the year. Fly-ins, but also drive in, where classic cars meet the classic planes. Most planes get restored on site and you can see it all up close. There is also a hangar full of privately owned planes that are kept air worthy and take to the sky on a regular base.

There is an excellent museum shop that sells the usual stuff, key rings, posters, but also carries a fairly large inventory of aviation books. Luc and I stocked up big time.

Anyway, if you ever find yourself in this part of the UK, do plan a visit. Its absolutely worth it.

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Eurofighter Typhoon

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Eurofight Typhoon. Canard wings clearly visible

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Lots of aircraft bits and pieces on display

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Spot the famous Lancaster

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This Concorde never flew commercially. Its one of the first prototypes and was used extensively for testing. You can go inside, look at the cockpit and the various test instruments and rigs they had on this plane

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Spot the Vulcan. Amazing bomber. Used in the Falkland war. Truly amazing story how they got these old V-bombers ready and modified to fly from the UK to the Falkland. There is one flying Vulcan left in the world. Well, only just. It was restored and took back to the skies a few years ago. Latest I heard it had developed fuel leakage problems and it was unsure if it would be allowed to fly again.

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TSR2. Britain attempt for a supersonic strike aircraft. The reason behind its demise and subsequent complete destruction of all of its components, parts, manufacturing equipment etc. is still shrouded in mystery. So, obviously we blame the Americans for putting pressure on the British government to stop this program. Never the less a very remarkable plane

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Lightning. Anorak fact: Topgear Jeremy Clarksson bought one of these airframes and put it in his garden as a tribute to one of the last true fighters.
There are two books, called the Lightning boys. (see http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Lightnin.../dp/190811715X
I've got them both. Amazing stories told by the Lightning pilots of that era.

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Panavia Tornado.

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One more time the Eurofighter close up

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The might Phantom! A number of years all the American planes moved into their own purpose built hanger. The first time I visited the B52 stood outside on the ramp. Now the centre piece in this hanger. You can see its distinct two engine pods hanging from the huge wings. Hanging from the roof is a F100 Super Sabre and at the far end is also a P80. Behind the Phantom the famous Bell Huey. For most of us, known from the various Vietnam movies. But there is where it saw most of its action. I have flown (as passenger) extensively on these Huey's in the early eighties as they were also used on Offshore oil rigs.

Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK-pc280297.jpg

The Huey rotor arrangement up close. You have to wonder with so many moving parts how these choppers stay in the air in the first place, let alone when they are taking fire!

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One of my all-time favorites; SR71 Blackbird. Mach 3+. Truly amazing plane with an amazing story on how it was developed. I bought several books in the museum shop on this plane. Several years ago, I happen to bump into one its former pilots. He used to fly this plane from the UK. Had a nice chat over a cup of coffee!

Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK-pc280306.jpg

Lot of complicated plumbing, but two of these gets you up to Mach 3+!

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P80, one of the first jets in the US Airforce. Was later developed into the T33, one of the most successful jet trainers ever.

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B17 with a C47 up in the air behind it. the C47 sports the "D-day invasion paint scheme". Most known civilian version of the C47 is the Dakota. Amazingly, there are still Dakato's in use to day for commercial operation. My very first flight ever was made on a Martinair Dakota. My dad took me on this flight for my 12th birthday and we flew over Amsterdam for about 30 minutes.

Last edited by Jeroen : 13th January 2014 at 22:14.
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Old 13th January 2014, 22:32   #2
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Some more piccies:

Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK-pc280289.jpg

These days we have "glass" cockpits, and some would call these steam-gauges. But it's not that long ago that all cockpits looked like this. Two pilots, flight engineer and lots, lots of gauges, dials, levers and switched

Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK-pc280319.jpg



It might be just dated technology, but I think it still looks magnificent!

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A F111 bomber with a SPAD above it. From the famous hat in the ring squadron with legendary pilot and ace Eddy Rickenbekker. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Rickenbacker

I did not see it this time, but they used to have a Sopwith Camel here, with reference to Snoopy, from the Peanuts Cartoon.

Click image for larger version

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bit of a close up of the SPAD and in the background amongst other the U2. Most ly known for it's Garry Power incident. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960_U-2_incident

Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK-pc280329.jpg

Next door to the American Hangar there is a large display of various tanks and other land based fighting machinery. I don't know much about them, but I do find them very impressive. Sun Luc seizes up a tank!

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Arguably, one of the pretties and most elegant fighter that took to the skies ever; Hawker Hunter. Served with many air forces, including my home country the Dutch Airforce.
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Old 13th January 2014, 22:44   #3
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Some more piccies:

Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK-pc280352.jpg
Javellin

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This should look familiar to my Indian friends. MIG

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No aviation museum (certainly in the UK) would be complete without one of these.

Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK-pc280358.jpg

Or these for that matter!

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Talk about a complicated design. Two propellors, one rotating clock wise the other anti clock wise.

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Buccaneer. Saw action in the Gulf war. Incredible low altitude capabilities. Put all the modern American kit to shame. When the British Buccaneer pilots told the Americans they were going in 'on the deck', the Americans thought they'd be somewhere around 500-100ft AGL. If some of the stories were to believed the Brits went in at more like 50-100ft. My brother in law was with the RAF at the time and he has some fascinating stories.

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The last hangar I visited; here are the privately owned planes. All still airworthy all though it does take a lot of effort!

Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK-pc280374.jpg

One of the last airworthy B17's.

Jeroen
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Old 14th January 2014, 15:37   #4
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Default Re: Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK

Some superb stuff there. Thanks for sharing these pics...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
One of my all-time favorites; SR71 Blackbird.
Mine too! What a phenomenal machine, and so so ahead of its time.

Do watch this video of the SR71 cockpit as explained by a blackbird pilot. The video is 20 minutes long, but every single minute of it is enlightening:


cya
R
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Old 14th January 2014, 16:30   #5
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Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Some superb stuff there. Thanks for sharing these pics...
Thanks. Nice video. There is actually a lot of video's out on Youtube.

There are many books out there. When I visited the museum shop I bought this one: http://www.amazon.in/SR-71-Complete-...sr71+blackbird

I'm fascinitated by every aspect of this plane. Especially the way it was developped by the Skunk Works. Of course, different time, but we don't seem to be able to pull of these sort of projects anymore. Look at the development time that went into the Eurofighter. People say you cant compare, but I'm not so sure.

When they started the design of the A12, they were facing many unknown. Some of our fundamental understanding of the physics involved did not even exist. These guys had to figure it all out on the fly, including new materials, unknow till then, new type of fuel etc. etc.

Very impressive! And very interesting to read about.

Jeroen

Last edited by noopster : 15th January 2014 at 15:52. Reason: Quoted post edited. Please do not quote large posts- makes things difficult for our small-screen users
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Old 14th January 2014, 17:32   #6
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Wow! Awesome collection. Thanks for sharing, Jeroen. It's really nice to see all the fighter planes so close and in detail. You really had a nice vacation!
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Old 14th January 2014, 23:39   #7
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Wow, some nice pix there,
I think the museum recently opened after an overhaul, I have been there about 3 times before but haven't seen so many aircrafts.
Esp like the first cockpit pic in set 2, do you remember what aircraft that was?
Love the history this museum brings with the brownings and merlin engines and what not,
it is a treat for WWII and Aviation buffs.
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Old 15th January 2014, 03:16   #8
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Holy! The supermarine spitfire is unquestionably the true British legend! What marks of the spitfire were on display? It must have been a treat for the eyes to see the spitfire Mk I in person! Btw is that the spitfire or the hawker hurricane?
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Old 15th January 2014, 06:46   #9
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What a lovely thread.
Brings back memories of our visit to RAF Hendon and the museum there.
For me as a fan of 'Biggles' and the like, seeing those aircraft was fantastic.
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Old 15th January 2014, 23:45   #10
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Default Re: Imperial War Museum Duxford, UK

Attachment 1190304

Attachment 1190305

Buccaneer. Saw action in the Gulf war. Incredible low altitude capabilities. Put all the modern American kit to shame. When the British Buccaneer pilots told the Americans they were going in 'on the deck', the Americans thought they'd be somewhere around 500-100ft AGL. If some of the stories were to believed the Brits went in at more like 50-100ft. My brother in law was with the RAF at the time and he has some fascinating stories.

My personal favorite, the Blackburn Buccaneer. Arguably the hardiest warplane of all, it was launched in 1961 to take down Soviet Sverdlov class cruisers. So good it was in fact, that it was quickly adopted by the RAF, Royal Navy, South African AF, and half a dozen other countries. Remaining operational until 1991, it even carried South Africa's nuclear bombs, developed with the aid of Israel. In the Gulf war it was used extensively as a beacon, a target marker for bigger planes, as well as radar deluminator. Best flown under 1000 ft, it could arrive from a completely unexpected direction, from behind the nearest dune. The pilots of this beauty would have 2 choices: either fly around the camel ahead of you, or under it.
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Old 16th January 2014, 00:06   #11
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The Hunter jets actually faced combat in IAF service far more than even the MiGs really. Often called the Gentleman's fighter jet, IIRC.

Alfred Cooke , a young Anglo Indian pilot shot down 2 Pakistani Sabres while tangling with 4 Sabres! An incident from the 1965 war which deserves far more fame than it actually received.
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Old 16th January 2014, 07:25   #12
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Originally Posted by Sandyboy101 View Post
Wow, some nice pix there,
I think the museum recently opened after an overhaul, I have been there about 3 times before but haven't seen so many aircrafts.
Esp like the first cockpit pic in set 2, do you remember what aircraft that was?
Love the history this museum brings with the brownings and merlin engines and what not,
it is a treat for WWII and Aviation buffs.
They keep adding to the collection. The first time I visited neither the main hangar, now called Airspace, or the American Hangar, or the land war fare exhibition existed. Lots of planes, including the Concorde and the B52 were sitting out on the ramp. The Airspace hangar is the largest and has a large area where you can learn about the theory and development of powered flight, engines etc.

The interesting thing of visiting of every few years, is that every time they will have made some new planes, new arrangements etc.

The cockpit photograph is from a Comet on display in the Airspace hangar.

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Originally Posted by createrkid View Post
Holy! The supermarine spitfire is unquestionably the true British legend! What marks of the spitfire were on display? It must have been a treat for the eyes to see the spitfire Mk I in person! Btw is that the spitfire or the hawker hurricane?
There are several Spitfires on display, five in fact.

Here a list of all aircraft on display: http://www.iwm.org.uk/sites/default/...icles_List.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
What a lovely thread.
Brings back memories of our visit to RAF Hendon and the museum there.
For me as a fan of 'Biggles' and the like, seeing those aircraft was fantastic.
Hendon is very nice too. I've only been there once. They put on a great airshow every year as well.
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Old 16th January 2014, 12:52   #13
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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
For all the aviation enthusiast here on the forum. I spend our Christmas holiday back in Europe. Most of the time we spend in our home in Suffolk, UK. We are about an hours drive from the Imperial War Museum Duxford, just South of Cambridge.
......
Brings back memories of my visits and air shows here.. Thanks for putting it here, I can now relive those moments coming back to this page!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
What a lovely thread.
Brings back memories of our visit to RAF Hendon and the museum there.
For me as a fan of 'Biggles' and the like, seeing those aircraft was fantastic.
If I remember right, there is one plane which is donated by the nawab of hyderabad. Also one of the largest bomber of the cold war era is displayed here, forgot the name.
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Old 16th January 2014, 14:58   #14
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Thanks! A million thanks.

This is definitely on the itinerary during by next UK visit.

As Shankar said, Biggles and the Camel is my biggest draw to visit there. Any German planes there? Fokkers, etc?
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Old 16th January 2014, 21:50   #15
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Also one of the largest bomber of the cold war era is displayed here, forgot the name.
Yeah, I wonder which one you mean. Maybe look at your avatar??

I was very fortunate in the early 80's to get a full tour of an operational B52 base in the USA. Got to sit in various B52 cockpits, see the insides, got a peek in the simulator, maintenance facilities etc. To date it is still a very impressive plane with some pretty unique features. For instance, the undercarriage can be set at an angle to allow for cross wind landing. It allow pilots to maintain crabbing into the wind right onto the runway. Same during take off. I believe the maximum off set angle is 20 degrees:

have a look at this:

Also, note that this airplane requires very little flare in the landing.

Although during my tour of the B52 base we saw the B52 simulators, I did not get the chance to fly. In 2011 whilst still living in Kansas City I noticed an article in our newspaper/web about a guy who had managed to get hold of a B52 cockpit and converted into a simulator. Nothing like a real full motion simulator, this one is basically based on MicroSoft Flight simulator. But I reserved it for 30 minutes, drove down to Wichita and had a blast! Because you do sit in a real B52 cockpit, most of the instruments were working, you have these huge 8 throttles to control etc. Was great fun!

I wrote about my visit with some pictures of the SIM and me in the SIM on one of the SIM/Aviation forums I frequently visit and contribute to:
http://aerowinx.com/forum/topic.php?id=942

See also:
See

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post
Any German planes there? Fokkers, etc?
Yes there's a Focke and a Messerschmitt 109.

No Fokkers. You might want to check the link I provided which will take you to a list of all planes at the museum. By the way, Fokker, was a countryman of mine. He is a Dutch aviation pioneer, who happened to be building planes in Germany during the first world war.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Fokker
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