Battle of Britain Air Show
22nd & 23rd September 2018
Mixed formations are a regular feature of the show
The September air show at IWM Duxford has traditionally been themed. In 2017 it was The Battle of Britain and the same theme will be the focus of the show in 2018.
The aircraft due to participate have not been announced yet, but visitors can be confident that there will be a very strong contingent of warbirds, possibly including a dozen or more Spitfires.
See all of the IWM
Entrance to the museum, interactive exhibitions and all public buildings is included in the air show ticket price.
About IWM Duxford
Duxford was an airfield in the First World War and was an RAF fighter station and then an American fighter base in the second. It was the base of the first operational Spitfire squadron during WW2.
It is now home to the Imperial War Museum with aviation, tanks, military vehicles and naval exhibits as well as the Fighter Collection, The Old Flying Machine Company, The Aircraft Restoration Company, Historic Aircraft Collection, B-17 Preservation Society and others.
|Due to fly (a flying list will be here when known)|
|Additionally most of the aircraft in the flying displays, and generally a few extras, will be on static display beforehand|
|All appearances are subject to technical, weather and other constraints|
More information including a flying list will be here when details are announced.
IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow
23rd & 24th September 2017
The Blenheim formation finale
As always at Duxford, the choice of aircraft for the flying displays reflected the theme. The theme for the September airshow, which seems set to become a regular September theme, was ‘The Battle of Britain’, providing opportunities for a wealth of highlights, including some spectacular formations.
Right from the beginning these formations impressed. First in the air were six Hurricanes, including Shuttleworth’s Sea Hurricane and Hangar 11’s ’Hurribomber’ flying a pair of equal vic formations, first with a flypast but developing into a series of tailchases over the airfield. Leading the formation was Dave Harvey and in the other Hurricanes were Stu Goldspink, Clive Denney, Paul Stone, Peter Teichman and Mark Davy.
It would be churlish to comment other than in praise of the achievement, although it has to be said that the formation could have been even richer as R4118 was originally slated to fly but had not recovered from a cracked block in time. Keep an eye on the Duxford airshows flying lists for a Hurricane formation with at least seven Hurricanes - unthinkable a few years ago but becoming more probable as restorations continue.
The show featured two aircraft that were stars of Christopher Nolan's film 'Dunkirk', which details the episode of the war that resulted in the saving of 330,000 Allied soldiers from the French beaches.
One was the Bristol Blenheim. Once the most numerous RAF type, this example is now the only airworthy survivor in the world. The other was the Hispano Buchón, painted as wartime Messerschmitt Bf 109.
The RNHF Sea Fury, which has only recently returned to flight, also made an appearance as a static.
A seventh Hurricane was, indeed, soon in the air as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, followed on.
At the other end of the afternoon was another of the formations visitors can rely on Duxford to present. Shows here are well known for their mass formations of Spitfires, but this one was even more special, being the first part of a two-segment finale lasting over 40 minutes. This first element of the finale, the Spitfire formation, involved no fewer than 13 Spitfires, led by Brian Smith, and recreating what will have been a familiar sight in 1940 when Duxford was an important Second World War fighter station. Duxford Spitfire formations have been larger than this but in the past they have stood on their own. In 2017 the mass take-off, big-wing and tailchase was followed by the finale part two, and further show highlight, in the form of 5 Hurricanes flying alongside the Blenheim, a trio of Mk 1 Spitfires and a Gloster Gladiator. All six Hurricanes would have been back in the air for the finale, but one went tech on each of the days.
Several elements of this show were somewhat reminiscent of the previous July's Flying Legends, which also had a large Hurricane formation, a mass Spitfire formation and featured a similar, though not identical, Blenheim set piece. As if to emphasise the similarities, the September show also borrowed Flying Legends’ ‘Joker’ theme, presented on this occasion by Steve Jones flying Anglia Aircraft Restoration’s Spitfire FR.XIVe whilst the bulk of the similar craft were formating and slotting seamlessly into the set piece as the big wing made its first pass.
The full flying list is in the table.
Hurricanes & Spitfires
Seven Hurricanes were at the show over the 2 days, including one from the BBMF and the Sea Hurricane.
There were also 14 Sea/Spitfires, including one from the BBMF and 3 Mk 1s.
||Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane (both days, but no Spitfire on Sunday)|
|Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'|
|Bristol Blenheim Mk 1 G-BPIV|
|Consolidated PBY Catalina G-PBYA|
||Curtiss-Wright P40C G-CIIO|
||Curtiss-Wright Hawk 75A G-CCVH (did not fly)|
|Douglas C-47 Skytrain '2100884'|
||Douglas C-47 Skytrain '19345' 'Drag 'Em Oot'|
|de Havilland Vampires T.55 & FB.52|
|de Havilland DH82a Tiger Moths x9|
|Gloster Gladiator Mk 1 'K7985'|
|Goodyear Corsair FG-1D G-FGID|
||Great War Display Team (6 on Saturday, 5 on Sunday)|
||Grumman F8F-2P Bearcat G-RUMM|
||Grumman FM-2 Wildcat G-RUMW|
|Hawker Fury Mk 1 'K5674'|
|Hawker Fury FB.11 'SR661' |
||Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-HITT 'P3717'|
|Hawker Hurricane Mk llb 'BE505'|
|Hawker Hurricane Mk X 'AE977' painted as Mk 1 P2921 (Biggin Hill Hurricane Hangar)|
||Hawker Hurricane Mk XII G-HURI 'P3700'|
|Hawker Hurricane 'P2902' (Air Leasing)|
||Hawker Nimrod Mk 1 G-BWWK 'S1581' |
|Hawker Nimrod Mk 11 G-BURZ 'K3661' (did not fly)|
|Hawker Sea Hurricane G-BKTH 'Z7105'|
||Hispano Buchón HA1112 G-AWHK 'Black 8'|
|North American P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen' (damaged on Saturday. Did not fly Sunday)|
|North American P-51D Mustang 'The Shark' (Took off Saturday but did not display either day)|
||Supermarine Seafire LF111 G-BUAR 'PP972'|
||Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a G-CFGJ 'N3200'|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a AR213 'P7308'(Comanche Fighters)|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a X4650 (Comanche Fighters)|
|Supermarine Spitfire LFVb G-LFVB 'EP120'|
||Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb G-MKVB 'BM597'|
||Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1X G-LFIX 'ML407' 'Grace Spitfire'|
|Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk IX G-BRSF 'RR232'|
|Supermarine Spitfire TR9 NH341 (Aero Legends)|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1Xb G-ASJV 'MH434'|
||Supermarine Spitfire Tr9 G-CCCA 'PV202'|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk lXe 'TD314'|
||Supermarine Spitfire Mk XV111 G-BUOS 'SM845'|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk XV1 'TD248' |
|Supermarine Spitfire TR.9 'SM520' (Boultbee Academy)|
|Supermarine Spitfire Mk X1Ve' MV293' (Air Leasing)|
|Westland Lysander (Did not fly Sunday. Too gusty)|
|Yak-3M (Air Leasing)|
|Additionally most of the aircraft in the flying displays and the RNHF Sea Fury were on static display beforehand|
|Cancelled, withdrawn or no longer listed by IWM Duxford|
||Swordfish W5865. Unserviceable. Had been scheduled by operator but not confirmed by show. |
||Curtiss-Wright P-36C G-CIXJ|
||Gloster Gladiator 'N5903' G-GLAD|
||Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-HUPW 'R4118' (unserviceable - cracked block)|
||Hispano Buchón HA1112 M4L 40/2 (Air Leasing). Not ready|
Getting to the Show
Duxford is in Cambridgeshire, off Junction 10 of the M11. If you are coming from the north, a signposted alternative is to leave at Junction 11 and take the A10 to Royston, then the A505. This is a much longer route designed to split the traffic up. There is parking at the museum. The Post Code (for Sat Nav) is CB22 4QR but some systems will only recognise the older code CB2 4QR. There
is a park and ride at Junction 11 of the M11 on show days. The bus is free (you have to show your show ticket) but parking isn't.
National Express have direct coach services to Cambridge. You can book seats online. Click the National Express name to go to their web site.
The easiest train station is Cambridge, which has a direct service from London. A half-hourly courtesy bus runs between the show ground and Cambridge station on show days. Otherwise take a Stagecoach service C7 or Myalls service 132.
Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.
The variety of rail tickets and fares can be very confusing. Trainline and Raileasy web sites list all ticket and fare options for the time and day of travel you choose, but they both levy an admin fee. Click either of the blue ticket agency names to go to their web site.
Accommodation near the show
It is best to book as far as possible in advance. This is not only because nearby hotels and guest houses tend get booked up well before the date of an airshow but also because prices can be better when you book early online.
There are plenty of booking agencies. We find that many of the well known ones are better at finding hotels from international or larger UK chains and may suggest hotels in main towns or cities quite a distance from the show site.
Between them, LateRooms and Expedia list a good selection of smaller, as well as bigger, hotels and will find accommodation in villages and small towns as well as the main centres. Expedia also give, and take, Nectar points.
Click either blue agency name for a list of hotels and guest houses near the show. The venue is already built into both links, so when the list comes up you just have to enter your dates.
Trivago will list competitive prices for a range of hotels, but they might not necessarily find them all, because some chains do not subscribe to their service. You may also get a better rate if you book direct with an hotel, especially if you are a member of a loyalty or rewards scheme.
The International Hotels Group have a Holiday Inn Express near the airshow but it sells out very quickly for airshow dates. There is another Holiday Inn Express and a Holiday Inn in Cambridge about 9 miles away and a Holiday Inn Express in Stanstead about 20 miles to the south. There are three Premier Inn hotels in Cambridge and another two within 20 miles of the show.