Duxford Imperial War Museum is one of those places that one cannot help but find interesting. It’s able to capture the imagination of people of all ages. I’ve been gathering together and selecting pictures for this post for a long time.
It’s huge (and it is damn huge) main hangar houses some of the most iconic aircraft that’s come from these shores and many others. Including the original Concorde prototype, you’re able to get on and see just how cramped the Concorde was and get that feel for what supersonic flight was actually like.
The Harrier – the first aircraft (and perhaps still the only) to be able to take off and land vertically on a singe engine.
The huge wings of the Vulcan with it’s huge open bomb bay that is likely to have held God only knows what kind of nuclear weapon.
Through to the Mosquito – built from Balsa Wood and powered with twin Merlin engines. As a fighter bomber it was unmatched as nothing at the time could catch it!
Then there’s the American Museum where all kinds of aircraft old and new can be found in a building cut into the hill.
They’ve wedged in a strato cruiser (literally wedged, everything else is fitted in around it).
The amazing Blackbird can be seen, it’s engine on full display. Until I came here I never thought I would see this plane!
With a sprinkling of Phantoms and WWII fighters and bombers hung from the roof there’s so much to see. This place isn’t as clean as it seems, there’s still the smell of aviation fuel and these planes still leak oil! The smell makes this other dimension that you never normally get.
In an inconspicuous corner of Duxford, there’s the restoration hanger. I’m sure this is the hanger that was blown to smithereen’s in the Battle of Britain movie as it happens! In here are a collection of old favourites. The Memphis Belle is here, Spitfires and all kinds of aircraft I don’t recognise!
Duxford is a place where they preserve aircraft. Many of these machines saw battle at dark times in human history. These machines are preserved so the stories behind them and the acts of bravery of many people can be remembered. Because maybe, hope against hope we can learn the mistakes of our history.