Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show

at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford

Battle of Britain Air Show

September 14 - 15
Finale on Saturday

16 Spitfires and 4 Hurricanes in the finale of the Battle of Britain Airshow in 2022

Duxford's Battle of Britain Air Show is one of Duxford's biggest shows and is famed for its warbird finale, which often boasts around 20 warbirds in a Big Wing formation.

More details of the 2024 show will be here when announced.

Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IILockheed Martin F-35B (Saturday only)
RAF Typhoon, 2022-3 liveryEurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (RAF) (both days)
BBMF LancasterBBMF Lancaster 'PA474 Leader' (both days)
BBMF Hurricane PZ865Hawker Hurricane (BBMF) (both days)
Spitfire P7350Supermarine Spitfire (BBMF) (both days)
RAF Grob 115F TutorGrob Tutor (RAF) (both days)
RAF Falcons parachute display teamRAF Falcons Parachute Display Team (both days)
Static Display


On-site parking is only available by pre-purchased a parking permit. No permits will be available on the day.

Battle of Britain Air Show

September 16-17
Lancaster and Sally B

BBMF Lancaster and Sally B in 2023: bomb doors open

Duxford's Battle of Britain Air Show is one of the biggest and most popular shows in the airshow calendar.

Although there have been a few changes to the Duxford Airshow schedule in recent years, the ever-popular Battle of Britain Air Show has retained its September slot and two-day duration. It promised a feast of Spitfires and other warbirds flying through the same skies as they flew in over 80 years ago and it lived up to that promise.

The weather didn't really play ball, but otherwise this was generally regarded as one of the best Battle of Britain Airshows for a long while. With a bit of flexibility on the 'Battle of Britain' theme, there was more variety than shows with such titles sometimes offer, with interludes for related themes, such as World War One featuring Paul Ford's Fokker Dr.1 and Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a; the Battle for Paris featuring The Fighter Collection's Curtiss Hawk 75 and Curtiss P-36, and the Battle of the Atlantic featuring the Catalina, Swordfish and Nimrod.

Even the parking arrangements didn't get the same depth of complaint as most airshows, including Duxford, tend to garner, possibly because the car parks were roped into chunks, reducing the free-for-all queue avoidance that tends to taint the exit flow.

Amongst the highlights of Duxford's Battle of Britain Airshow are unusual formations and in this respect the 2023 certainly shone. As well as the famous Big Wing finale, there were other special combinations. It is rare for the BBMF to fly in formation with non-RAF aircraft but, for the first time in 28 years, on both days of this year's Battle of Britain Airshow, B-17G 'Sally B' did fly three passes in a very impressive and close formation with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Avro Lancaster.

There was a promise that Plane Sailing's Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina and the Navy Wings Mk I Fairey Swordfish would fly another rare formation to mark the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. The result was less impressive. Evidently, the promotion of that display preceded its authorisation. In the event the display authorisation restricted the resulting format, so in practice, on Saturday the Catalina made a pass, followed at some distance by the Swordfish in formation with The Fighter Collection's Mk I Nimrod. On Sunday, it was too windy for the Nimrod to fly, so in effect the Swordfish and Catalina made separate solo displays. (... continued below the table)

Buchons Yellow 10 and Red 11

Buchóns Yellow 10 and Red 11

Spitfires MH434 and MH415

Spitfires MH434 and MH415

Red Arrows BAe Hawk T1 (x8)Red Arrows at 17.00 both days
BBMF LancasterAvro Lancaster (BBMF)
BBMF Hurricane PZ865Hawker Hurricane (BBMF) (originally scheduled. In practice, the BBMF Hurricane did not display on either day)
BBMF Spitfire MK356Supermarine Spitfire Mk LF IXe MK356 (BBMF) (both days)
Spitfire P7350Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIa P7350 (BBMF) (Sunday only)
Spitfire Mk.Ia N3200Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia G-CFGJ 'N3200' (IWM)
Spitfire_x4650Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 G-CGUK 'X4650' (Comanche Fighters)
Spitfire 1a G-AIST 'P7308'Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 G-AIST AR213 / P7308 (Comanche Fighters)
Spitfire BM597Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk.Vb BM597 G-MKVB (Historic Aircraft Collection / Polish Heritage Flight)
Spitfire EE602Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-IBSY 'EE602' (Fighter Aviation Engineering)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII MV154 (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Spitfire Mk IXB MH434Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb G-ASJV MH434 (Merlin Aviation / Old Flying Machine Company)
Spitfire MH415Supermarine Spitfire Mk LF.IXb G-AVDJ MH415 (Fighter Aviation Engineering Ltd.)
Grace Spitfire ML407'Grace' Spitfire MkT1X G-LFIX 'ML407' (Fighter Aviation Engineering)
Spitfire PV202Supermarine Spitfire T9 G-CCCA 'PV202' (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Supermarine Spitfire T9 PT462 (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Spitfire PRX1 G-PRXI PL983Supermarine Spitfire Mk X1 G-PRXI 'PL983' (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Spitfire RN201Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIVe RN201 (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Spitfire BM597Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk.Vb BM597 G-MKVB (Historic Aircraft Collection / Polish Heritage Flight)
Seafire Mk XVII. Navy WingsSupermarine Seafire Mk.XVII (Navy Wings)
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-HITT 'P3717'Hawker Hurricane Mk I P3717 (Bygone Aviation)
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 R4118Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 G-HUPW R4118 (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Hawker Hurricane P2902Hawker Hurricane Mk.I G-ROBT P2902 (Fighter Aviation Engineering) Cancelled both days. Technical problem
Hurricane BE505Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIb BE505 (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Buchon Red 11Hispano HA-112-M4L Buchón 2-seater G-AWHC 'Red 11' (Fighter Aviation Engineering)
Buchon Yellow 10Hispano HA-1112 Buchón G-AWHK 'Yellow 10' (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Mustang 'Miss Helen'North American P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen' G-BIXL '44-72216' (owner Robert Tyrell based at Aircraft Restoration Company / Aerial Collective)
TF-51D Mustang 'Contrary Mary'North American TF-51D Mustang 44-84847 'Contrary Mary' (formerly 'Miss Velma') G-TFSI (Fighter Aviation Engineering)
P51D Mustang 'The Hun Hunter'North American P51D Mustang 'The Hun Hunter'
Republic P-47 ThunderboltRepublic P-47 Thunderbolt G-THUN 'Nellie B' (Fighter Aviation Engineering) Did not display on Saturday - technical problem
Consolidated Catalina PBY-5A G-PBYA: Catalina Society 'Plane Sailing'Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (Plane Sailing)
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B' Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress G-BEDF 'Sally B' (B-17 Preservation)
Fairey Swordfish Mk1 W5856 Navy WingsFairey Swordfish Mk I G-BMGC 'W5856' (Navy Wings)
Westland Lysander Mk. IIIA V9312, Aircraft Restoration CompanyWestland Lysander IIIA V9312 G-CCOM (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Lysander IIIA V9367Westland Lysander IIIA G-AZWT (Shuttleworth Collection)
Hawker Fury G-CBELHawker Fury FB.II G-CBEL 'SR661' (Painted as Sea Fury Prototype) (Fighter Aviation Engineering)
Gloster Gladiator N5903Gloster Gladiator Mk II G-GLAD 'N5903' (The Fighter Collection). Did not display on Sunday. Too windy.
Gloster Gladiator Mk IGloster Gladiator Mk 1 G-AMRK 'L8032' (Shuttleworth Collection). Did not display on Sunday. Too windy.

Hawker Nimrod Mk I G-BWWK S1581 (The Fighter Collection). Did not display on Sunday. Too windy.
Curtiss Hawk 75Curtiss-Wright Hawk 75 (H-75A-1) G-CCVH (The Fighter Collection)
Curtiss-Wright P-36C G-CIXJ 38-210 (The Fighter Collection)
Lockheed 12Lockheed 12A Electra Junior G-AFTL (Fighter Aviation Engineering Ltd)
Flying ComradesFlying Comrades: Yakovlev Yak-18T and Yakovlev Yak-52 (x2)
Fokker Dr.1Fokker Dr.1 (Replica) G-FOKK in Red Barron colours (Paul Ford) did not display on Sunday. Too windy.
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5aRoyal Aircraft Factory SE5A (Replica) (Paul Ford) did not display on Sunday. Too windy.
Avro Anson in Coningsby coloursAvro C19 Anson G-AHKX in RAF Coningsby colours (was BAe Systems but donated to Shuttleworth Collection)
Vampire: Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadronde Havilland Vampire FB.52 (Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron)

Appearances are always subject to technical, weather and other constraints.

Hawker Nimrod Mk I and Fairey Swordfish

Hawker Nimrod and Fairey Swordfish

More Photos

More and bigger photos of the Battle of Britain Air Show 2023

There were a couple more "it's a pity that ...." moments. One was the timing of the displays by the Red Arrows. The programme, and even the commentator's post-pilot-briefing announcement, suggested that they would fly at 16.30 on both days. However, not very long before Saturday's display slot, it was announced that, due to a "mishap in communication" the displays would, in fact, be at 17.00.

The Red Arrows need clear airspace to get to, and fly within, the display area. Evidently, that clear airspace, which has to be agreed with the Civil Aviation Authority, was booked for one time and the display was expected at a different time.

This mishap was handled on Saturday by inserting a 30-minute pause into the programme when the Red Arrows were originally expected, with a knock-on delay for the Big Wing Formation and the Carolyn Grace tribute.

Perhaps surprisingly, as the Red Arrows were probably intended to be one of the crowd attractions, quite a few people decided to leave during that interval. For the vast majority who stayed, the time passed reasonably quickly but so did the best of the light. It would have been a great half-hour for admiring the aircraft and especially for photography.

But the biggest pity was that, as that half-hour had been lost, the intended three passes by the Big Wing that followed the Red Arrows had to be reduced to a single pass, followed by a return and break-to-land. It was such a shame that one of the major highlights had to be curtailed and then took place when the best of the light was hidden by the return of an overcast sky.

On Sunday the Big Wing was brought forward to the 16.30 slot, followed by the Red Arrows at 17.00. This avoided the gap but, as luck would have it, also left the Big Wing in the worst of the light and rain.

Amongst and after the Big Wing displays were two of the Spitfire highlights of the weekend. As is customary, the 'Joker' (or 'Jester' as it was also described), performed a solo display whilst the Big Wing was formating and between Big Wing passes. The Joker on both days was the inimitable John Romain in the Aircraft Restoration Company's red and silver Mk XIV RN201.

The Carolyn Grace tribute paid homage to this queen of the Spitfire, who herself had flown in the Big Wing at Duxford and who was tragically killed in a road accident in Australia the previous December. Pete Kynsey flew a very graceful and emotive display in Carolyn's own ML407, now part of the fleet of Air Leasing Ltd., where she was the Director.

Duxford is deservedly well-reputed for its Spitfire action and there was yet more. One such display involved the traditional set-piece recreation of the kind of fighter battle that may well have taken place in the very same skies just over 80 years ago and recreated for the cinema nearly thirty years later. Two Buchons, Yellow 10 and Red 11, attacked. Two Mk I Spitfires, X4650 and N3200, scrambled and fought them off and, yes, the Spitfires won, leaving one of the Buchóns trailing smoke. The outcome in these recreations is never a surprise, but everyone is aware that such routine success could not have been taken for granted in the real encounters. And nor is it a surprise to see the brilliant airmanship of today's re-enactors taking the same fighters from the same airfield and into the same kinds of aerial battle.

Equally graceful but less confrontational were the pairing of Mk IX Spitfires MH434 and MH415, flying together as they may well have done 80 years ago. The pair were both originally constructed at Castle Bromwich and both served together intermittently from August 1943. Surely never, though, could the quality of their flights have surpassed the displays by father and son Brian and Nick Smith at the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show weekend.

It was really good to see the continuation of the cooperation between the neighbouring airfields at Old Warden and Duxford. This enabled even more flying combinations of a type that have not always been possible. Most notable were the formation of Shuttleworth's Avro Anson and Mk I Gladiator with The Fighter Collection's Mk II Gladiator and the pairing of the two Lysanders.

Unfortunately, Sunday visitors were unable to enjoy the Radial Formation of Avro Anson and the Gladiators because the weather - the wind rather than the rain - put paid to any flying by the lighter biplanes. This also meant that the Nimrod could not be part of the Battle of the Atlantic sequence and the World War One combination comprising Paul Ford's Fokker Dr1 Triplane and Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a had to sit it out, too. Credit to the organisers though. Despite the missing displays, the flow of action continued without any obvious gaps.

Other missing aircraft were Fighter Aviation Engineering's Mk I Hurricane P2902 with a technical problem, reducing the Hurricane set piece from a foursome to a trio, and the BBMF Hurricane, which was simply missing on Saturday and replaced by a second BBMF Spitfire, the Mk IIa P7350, on Sunday.

A slightly more mysterious omission was Fighter Aviation Engineering's Republic Thunderbolt on Saturday. The Thunderbolt and Fury took off during the afternoon for a display elsewhere, but at first only the Fury returned. The Thunderbolt could be seen circling in the hold to the north, with only part of the landing gear visible. After a while, the landing gear all appeared engaged and the aircraft returned without an obvious hitch. So it is presumed, but not confirmed as far as we know, that it was a landing gear issue that prevented Saturday's display, leaving Steve Jones to display the Fury as a solo, although the Thunderbolt was back on duty on Sunday.

The Red Arrows were probably the main attraction for much of the crowd even if a little out of context in a Battle of Britain Show for others. Nevertheless they managed to find some sunshine in which to display their eight ship on both days and a spiffing display it was. Airspace restrictions always limit the Red Arrows to their flat or rolling versions and this weekend was no exception but they certainly made the best of it, appearing to be much closer to the crowd than usual, especially at the western (tank bank) end of the airfield.

The flying is the undoubted focus of the event, but all around the extensive grounds there is plenty more going on. Entry to the museum and hangars is included in the ticket price so there are plenty of static exhibits to see as well as a few moving ones - such as living history re-enactors. All around, there was plenty of entertainment: the sounds of the era permeated the airfield. And when the flying started, it was worth listening to the commentary, brought by two experts, Ben Dunnell and Colin Wilshire, ideally suited to putting the displays into context with masses of background information.

Yes, in the interests of balance we have conceded that there were a few little things, without which both days would have been even better. The biggest of them was the unfortunate weather, especially on Sunday, but no-one could do anything about that. The rejigging of the timetable to accommodate the Red Arrows' communication mishap, and the knock-on consequences, took the edge off at the end of both days. But even with those glitches the show was the best Battle of Britain Airshows for a long while and one of the best airshows anywhere this year. It will be remembered not for the little snags but for the variety of displays, novel formations and impeccable flying: all to be repeated next year on 14th and 15th September.

The flying list, updated to allow for on-the-day changes, is in the table.

Red Arrows on Saturday

Red Arrows on Saturday

Spitfires MH434 and MH415

Spitfires MH434 and MH415

Hurricanes at Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow 2023

Hurricanes BE505 and P3717


Gladiators Mk I and Mk II

Avro Anson and Gladiators Mk I and Mk II

Avro Anson and Gladiators Mk I and Mk II

Battle of Britain Air Show 2024

The Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow 2024 will be on 14th & 15th September.


If you think this review is not balanced, or that a point has been missed, or even if you agree with it, do get in touch to let us know.

Battle of Britain Air Show

September 10-11
Finale on Saturday

16 Spitfires and 4 Hurricanes in the finale of the Battle of Britain Airshow in 2022

Following the devastating news that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died, airshow organisers, and other promoters of major events, had the terribly difficult task of deciding whether to continue. Some chose to cancel.

Airshow display teams had the same decisions to make and some decided that they would not fly any public displays until after the official mourning period.

The IWM issued a statement outlining their decision not to cancel the Battle of Britain Airshow. The full statement is reproduced below.

The decision of the IWM to continue, but with respectful references to the life of Her Majesty, was handled very well. On both days of the show, flying was preceded by a very respectful 2 minute silence, which appeared to be universally observed. After the 2 minutes, the silence was broken by the arrival of the NHS Spitfire, in which John Romain performed an inspiring solo display, whilst the crowd remained largely silent throughout.

On Sunday, at the end of the final display of the two-day show, as the lead section of the Big Wing approached to break and land, the national anthem was played. I heard no singing, but the crowd were respectfully silent and the anthem was followed by instinctive applause.

Following the emotive opening, Peter Teichman in his P51 Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle' replaced John Romain's Spitfire in the air before the focus moved to the WW2 eastern front with a display by pair of Buchóns, representing the Messerschmitt 109s, and the Yak 3; Ukrainian markings superimposed over its original red stars.

There was quite a contrast in the styles of these two 'eastern front' displays. Steve Jones and Paul Bonhomme flew a very tight routine with plenty of topsides and the close passes that are typical of the pair's flying style. By contrast Bob Davey's Yak was rather high and distant. It was good, nevertheless, to see a hint of the air force of Russia from a time when that country and ours were united against a common enemy.

1938 Formation

1938 Formation

Bristol Blenheim

Bristol Blenheim

Lysander Pair

Duxford and Shuttleworth-based Lysanders

Duxford has played host to the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron's de Havilland Vampire for some while, but it was a late addition to the flying schedule. It was a lone jet amongst an afternoon of piston-engined warbirds and as a mark of respect to Her Late Majesty, wore a mourning band on the starboard wing. As well as recognising the evolution of aircraft types since the Battle of Britain, it also connects to the memory of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2nd as thirty-seven Vampires of several varieties were amongst 50 aircraft types that made up a 600-aircraft formation from the RAF and other Commonwealth air forces that took to the skies in 1953 to celebrate her Coronation.

Sally B is a more familiar sight at Duxford airshows: very few shows fail to find a reason to include this local and much-loved resident. The connection with this show's theme is almost self-evident so the only question was whether Sally would fly alone or in company with other aircraft. A solo display was the outcome: a very tight routine, never out of sight of the crowd, with the traditional passes including bomb doors open but without the smoking engine pass that had been a feature of Sally's final passes in earlier years.

Amongst the many specialties of Duxford Airshows are the themed mixed aircraft formations. At the Battle of Britain Airshow, two four-ship displays stood out. The first into the air was the 'Mercury Formation' comprising aircraft with Bristol Mercury engines. Lee Proudfoot in the Bristol Blenheim led the Shuttleworth and ARC Mk III Lysanders, flown by Dodge Bailey and John Romain, and Paul Stone in Shuttleworth's Mk I Gloster Gladiator to the display line. The second stand-out four-ship themed display was the 1938 formation: a combination of Mk 1 Supermarine Spitfire, Mk 1 Hawker Hurricane, Grumman Wildcat and Curtiss Hawk 75.

Not only were the combinations and the flying in both of these four-ships examples of perfection, but the choreography was exquisite, too. It is not unusual for combinations to arrive together, but all too frequently there is just one pass before the formation breaks into individual displays. Not so at the Battle of Britain Air Show. In each case, the four aircraft made several passes in formation before one peeled off for the display whilst the rest remained in together. Following the first of the individual displays, the remaining aircraft made a further pass and another peeled off for its display.

The most atypical display, but also one of the most anticipated, came from a former Warsaw Pact country: in fact, the first display at Duxford by an ex-Warsaw Pact country of aircraft that are still in current service.

The aircraft in question were a Mil Mi 171Sh 'Hip', an armed assault version of the Mil-17, which in turn is an export version of the Russian Mi-8M, and a Mil Mi 35 'Hind', the export version of the Russian Mil Mi-24. The two performed a pairs display and, later in the programme, the Hind went solo, complete with smoke.

The display by the Hind was possibly the last ever UK display by an aircraft of the type as it is being retired from military service at the end of the year.

The display itself was impressive, as was the paintwork of the Hind, with a portrait of a Liberator on one side and a portrait of a Wellington on the other, as well as paintings of tigers to denote membership of the Nato Tiger Association (see beige information box).

The link with the theme of the show is that pilots from 310 (Czech) and 312 (Czech) Squadrons within RAF Fighter Command were based at Duxford and Fowlmere in 1940 - 1941. The display was a salute to those Czech pilots who flew from the same airfield and especially the seven pilots and two mechanics from 310 Squadron who lost their lives whilst stationed there. This was the first time since the war years that the Czech Air Force had returned to Duxford.

There were also displays of all nine of the Tiger 9 display Team, representing trainers of the type that most warbird pilots would have flown during early training; a solo Spitfire display in the form of the American-liveried Mk XVI 'Suffolk Spitfire' and a naval-themed display of the Bearcat and Corsair, flown by Peter Kinsey and Brian Smith respectively.

Unsurprisingly there were some display absences following the death of the queen and the sometimes unkind weather conditions. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight did not keep their appointment and the Nimrod could not fly because of the risk of rain on the Saturday and strong crosswinds on Sunday. The Beech 18 was also an absentee because the pilot was not well, reducing the proposed Beech trio to a pair of Beech 17 Staggerwings. The display, albeit reduced, was nevertheless faultless, Peter Kuypers and Nigel Wilson demonstrating mastery of their respective mounts and appearing to enjoy the experience as much as the crowd enjoyed watching it.

Mil Mi-35

Mil Mi-35 'Hind', Czech Air Force

Sally B

B-17G 'Sally B'

Without doubt, the most anticipated display, and star of the show, was the finale: a balbo of 16 Spitfires and 4 Hurricanes in 'Duxford Wing' formation, typical of the mixed warbird formations that would have been a common site locally at the time of the Battle of Britain. Whilst John Romain distracted our attention with his typically perfect display in the Joker, Aerial Speed Icon's Mk XIV Spitfire RN201, John Gowdy led the 20 warbird formation in IWM's Spitfire 1a, N3200. Not only was the formation a realistic image of the way the aircraft were arranged in the air, it was also a reminder of the way the warbirds took off, with all 20 positioned around the airfield and every one of them rising to the skies in no more than 90 seconds for the 16 Spitfires and 2 minutes for the entire formation. Once aloft and configured, the formation made two passes on each of the days in 'Duxford Wing' configuration and a third pass in more typical Duxford balbo style. This was delayed somewhat on Saturday by a very heavy downpour, endured by the very tolerant crowd whilst the formation held off to the east.

It is all too easy to take for granted the many ground-based features that accompany the air displays at Duxford. In typical Duxford style, the grounds at the Battle of Britain Airshow were awash with reminders of the era: encouragement to donate aluminium kitchenware to supplement bomb-making supplies; songs that you could also hear back at the wartime barracks and members of HM armed forces cycling through: or were they members of living history groups? It was hard to tell.

The show attracted just over 30,000 visitors over the weekend - unusually it seemed that more attended on the Saturday than the Sunday. This total is not a record and the show was not the sell-out that it has been in recent years. The IWM have had to deal with the management of the show at a time of national mourning and in recent years have had to deal with the devastation caused by Covid-19. They should be applauded for presenting such remarkable shows over these years in very trying circumstances.

For 2022, the show lived up to everything it promised. Yes, there were schedule changes, as there always are, but there were also highlights a-plenty. The major draw was the finale, with 20 warbirds recreating a scene that would have been familiar to so many in years past. The greatest novelty was the Czech helicopter pair. Not a unique display but certainly unusual, spectacular and, quite probably, the last time it will ever be seen in the UK. But for pure flying it is difficult to choose between the Spitfire displays at either end of the afternoon. The PL983 broke the two minute silence in a unique way before giving a gentle display fitting to the occasion, clearly mesmerizing the largely-silent 15,000 people watching. And then at the end of the afternoon John Romain went on to punch the skies as few others can in a more dynamic routine as the Joker. Truly a master.

We look forward to the Battle of Britain Airshow 2023, hopefully unencumbered by unwelcome external pressures: instead filled with yet another fresh take on the Battle of Britain.

BBMF Spitfire & Hurricane. Cancelled
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia G-CFGJ 'N3200' (IWM)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia G-AIST 'P7308' (Comanche Fighters / TFC)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 G-CGUK 'X4650' (Comanche Fighters)
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk.Vb BM597 G-MKVB (HAC)
Spitfire MkVc G-IBSYSupermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-IBSY 'EE602' (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Spitfire MkVc G-AWIISupermarine Spitfire LF Mk Vc G-AWII 'AR501' (Shuttleworth Collection)
Spitfire MkVc G-LFVCSupermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-LFVC JG891 (Comanche Fighters)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII (G-BKMI)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.T9 (G-LFIX)
Supermarine Spitfire Tr9 G-CCCA 'PV202' (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk T9 (G-CTIX)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX (G-AVDJ)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX (G-PTIX)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX G-BRSF 'RR232' 'City of Exeter
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX G-BRSF 'RR232' 'City of Exeter'
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb G-ASJV MH434
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX G-IRTY 'MJ271' 'Silver Spitfire'Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX G-IRTY 'MJ271' 'Silver Spitfire'
The 'Round the World Silver Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire Mk X1 G-PRXI 'PL983' 'The NHS Spitfire' (ARCo)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI (G-PBIX)
Supermarine Spitfire FR Mk.XIVe (G-BKSP)
Hawker Hurricane P3717
Hawker Hurricane Mk.I (G-HRLI)
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 R4118: James Brown
Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIb 'Pegs' (G-HHII)
Hawker Sea Hurricane, Shuttleworth Collection
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon 'White 9' G-AWHH: Air LeasingHispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon "White 9" G-AWHH (Air Leasing)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon 2-seater G-AWHC: Air Leasing. Cancelled
Hispano HA-1112 Buchon G-AWHK 'Yellow 10' (ARC)
Yakovlev Yak-3UTI (F-AZIM)
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'
Westland Lysander IIIA V9312 G-CCOM
Westland Lysander
Bristol Blenheim G-BPIV (ARC)
P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen'. Cancelled
P-51D Mustang 'The Hun Hunter / Texas' (N351MX). Cancelled
P-51D Mustang 'Tall in the Saddle (G-SIJJ).
Grumman F8F-2P Bearcat G-RUMM
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat G-RUMW
Curtiss-Wright Hawk 75 G-CCVH

Hawker Nimrod Mk I G-BWWK (The Fighter Collection) Cancelled on Saturday (risk of rain) and Sunday (cross-winds too strong)
Gloster Gladiator (Shuttleworth Collection)
Goodyear FG-1D Corsair G-FGID
  Beech D.17S Staggerwing 'High Maintenance' N9405H G-BRVE (G Lynch)
Beech D-17S Staggerwing (N18V)
Beech D-18S (N868L). Cancelled (pilot not well)
Fairey Swordfish MkI 'W5856' G-BMGC (Navy Wings). Cancelled
Tiger 9 Formation Team
Mil Mi-17-1 Hip
Mil Mi-31 Hind (Czech Air Force)
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'

Appearances are always subject to technical, weather and other constraints.

Message from IWM Duxford

Queen Elizabeth II

We at Imperial War Museums (IWM) are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Her Majesty The Queen and would like to express our condolences to all her family.

As a mark of respect, it has been decided by the Trustees and Executive Board of IWM to close IWM Duxford on the day of HM The Queen's state funeral, which will be announced by the Royal Family in due course. This decision was taken in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Until then, IWM Duxford remains open as usual, and the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show will take place as planned this weekend. As a mark of respect, IWM will be honouring HM The Queen's life and service within Saturday and Sunday's flying programme.

The Royal Family will shortly open a digital book of condolence, which you will be able to find on their official website. The flag at IWM Duxford is being flown at half-mast.

Shuttleworth-based Lysander

Shuttleworth Lysander

ARC Lysander

Aircraft Restoration Company Lysander

Tiger 9

Tiger 9


Bristol Mercury engined aircraft on Saturday in 2022

More Photos

There are more and bigger photos of the Battle of Britain Airshow in our photo gallery.

Tiger Association

The NATO Tiger Association or the Association of Tiger Squadrons is not part of the formal NATO structure. It was established in 1961 to promote solidarity between NATO air forces.

Flightline Walk

Now called the 'Flightline Experience', is no longer an 'optional extra' but was included in the ticket price.

Visit the museum

Entrance to the museum, interactive exhibitions and public buildings were all included in the air show ticket price.

Battle of Britain Air Show

September 18-19
Spitfires at Duxford

Spitfires at the Battle of Britain Airshow in 2019

Duxford's September Air Show is one of the biggest and most popular shows in the airshow calendar and often sells out.

In 2020 there was a proposal to extend the show to three days, to including the previous Friday, but regrettably the show was a casualty of the Covid pandemic.

For 2021 the Battle of Britain Air Show retained its mid-September slot and two-day duration. It promised, and delivered, a feast of Spitfires and other warbirds flying through the same skies as they flew in over 80 years ago.

The flying list is in the table.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX PT879
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV MV293
'Grace' Spitfire Mk1XT G-LFIX 'ML407' (Air Leasing)
Supermarine Spitfire LF. Mk Vc JG891
Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk X1 G-PRXI 'PL983' (ARCo)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia G-CFGJ 'N3200' (IWM)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII MV154
Supermarine Spitfire T9 PT462
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIe (Low Back) G-OXVI TD248
Supermarine Spitfire T9 G-CCCA 'PV202' (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Spitfire MkVc G-AWIISupermarine Spitfire LF Mk Vc G-AWII 'AR501' (Shuttleworth Collection)
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk.Vb BM597 G-MKVB (HAC)
Spitfire MkVc G-IBSYSupermarine Spitfire Mk.Vc G-IBSY 'EE602' (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Supermarine Spitfire T9 TD341 (Aero Legends)
Hawker Hurricane P3717
Hawker Hurricane P2902Hawker Hurricane Mk.I G-ROBT P2902 (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 R4118: James Brown
Hawker Hurricane Mk.I V7497
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon 'White 9' G-AWHH: Air LeasingHispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon "White 9" G-AWHH (Air Leasing)
Hispano HA-1112 Buchon G-AWHK 'Yellow 10' (ARC)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon 2-seater G-AWHC 'Red 11': Air Leasing
Republic P-47 ThunderboltRepublic P47D Thunderbolt 'Nellie B'
North American TF-51D Mustang 'Contrary Mary' (formerly 'Miss Velma') G-TFSI (Anglia Aircraft Restorations / Ultimate Fighters)
P-51D Mustang 'Miss Helen'
Grumman F8F-2P Bearcat G-RUMM
Goodyear FG-1D Corsair G-FGID
Curtiss P-40F Warhawk 'Lees's Hope' G-CGZP
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'
Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina
BBMF Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane
Great War Display Team
Team Raven
Westland Whirlwind HAR.10 XJ729
Westland WessexWestland Wessex HU5 (Historic Helicopters)
Westland Sea King XZ597, RAF Search and Rescue livery
de Havilland Beaver AL Mk.1 (Historic Army Aircraft Flight)
Auster AOP9 (Historic Army Aircraft Flight)
Westland Scout AH Mk.1 (Historic Army Aircraft Flight)
Agusta-Bell Sioux AH Mk1 (XT131 G-CICN) (Historic Army Aircraft Flight
No longer listed
Grumman FM-2 Wildcat G-RUMW (No longer listed)
Hawker Fury Mk II (No longer listed)
Bristol 171 Sycamore (Flying Bulls) once listed by the operator and some web sites but not listed now and never confirmed by the show

Flightline Walk

Now called the 'Flightline Experience', was no longer an 'optional extra' but was included in the ticket price.

See nearly all of the IWM

Entrance to the museum, interactive exhibitions and public buildings was included in the air show ticket price.

The 2019 Battle of Britain Airshow

See our review of Duxford's 2019 Battle of Britain Airshow by clicking the '2019 Review' tab.

Free Shuttle busses

Although unavailable earlier in the year, shuttle busses were re-introduced for the Battle of Britain Airshow. The shuttles ran between 0830-1330 from Royston and Cambridge stations and from Trumpington Park & Ride. Return shuttles from IWM Duxford ran from 1500-1900.

Battle of Britain Air Show

Movie Magic

Spitfire diamond 9

Fifteen Spitfires were in the finale. This is the leading diamond 9

Since 2017 the September airshow at IWM Duxford has focused on the Battle of Britain. Some had feared that a single annual theme would stifle variety but the team at Duxford have managed each year to introduce novelty via a sub-theme. This year it was the movies, absorbing Duxford's role in films generally but in particular commemorating the 50th anniversary of Guy Hamilton's 1969 film 'Battle of Britain'.

The opening display of the show on both days was a re-enactment of the epic scene when an allied airfield is attacked. Anyone familiar with the film will have recognised the flying sequences reproduced at the show. Initially, four Buchóns, representing the Messerschmitts, attacked the airfield, complete with pyrotechnics that were not quite as devastating as those in Guy Hamilton's creation. Three Spitfires battled the invaders and four Hurricanes joined the fray, together saving the airfield, a little damaged, for future operations.

The sequence certainly hit the bullseye as a re-enactment for film buffs and as a spectacle for airshow enthusiasts. The principal difference between the film version and the airshow's version is that the airmen of today accomplished the whole sequence in a single take.

Mark Hanna Tribute

At the end of the airshow, Brian Smith flew a tribute display in Spitfire MH434 to co-founder of the Old Flying Machine Company, Mark Hanna, who died shortly after a tragic accident 20 years ago.

MH434 Tribute to Mark Hanna

Cliff Spink

Following the Mark Hanna tribute on Sunday, Cliff Spink flew a solo in Mk VIII Spitfire SM845.

Afterwards it was announced that it had been his final display in a Spitfire as he would be retiring as a warbird pilot.

Air Marshal Clifford Rodney Spink, CB, CBE, FCMI, FRAeS retired from the Royal Air Force, where he flew a variety of aircraft including the Lightning, Phantom and Tornado and has since been hugely respected as a talented display pilot with the BBMF and subsequently for owners and organisations nationwide. His logbook includes types such as several Marks of Spitfire, the Hurricane, Buchón, Mustang and Sea Fury and vintage jets including the Vampire, T33, Sabre and Hunter.

Cliff Spink final display

Cliff Spink in SM845, coming home with MH434

Cliff Spink, following his final warbird flight

Cliff Spink, following his final warbird flight

Aircraft at the show
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon 'White 9' G-AWHH: Anglia Aircraft RestorationsHispano HA-1112-M4L Buchón "White 9" G-AWHH (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Hispano HA-1112 Buchón G-AWHK 'Yellow 10' (ARC)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchón, ‘Yellow 7’ G-AWHM (Air Leasing)
Hispano HA-1112-M1L Buchon 'White 5' G-AWHR: Anglia Aircraft RestorationsHispano HA-1112-M1L Buchón "White 5" G-AWHR (Air Leasing)
Fury / Sea Fury
Sea Fury T-20Hawker Sea Fury T20 (Navy Wings)
Sea Fury T.20Hawker Sea Fury T20 (Norwegian Spitfire Foundation)
Hawker Fury Mk II G-CBEL (Painted as Sea Fury Prototype)
Hawker Hurricane P2902Hawker Hurricane Mk.I G-ROBT P2902 (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Hawker Hurricane R4118
Hawker Hurricane Mk.I V7947
Hawker Hurricane Mk Xlla 5711 (HAC)
There was also a Hurricane in the BBMF display on Saturday
North American P-51D-20-NA Mustang Red Tail 'Tall in the Saddle'. (Hangar 11)
P-51D Mustang 'The Shark'
P51 Mustang 'Miss Helen'
North American P-51D Mustang 'Contrary Mary' (formerly 'Miss Velma') G-TFSI (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a G-CFGJ 'N3200' (IWM)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia AR213. Presented as a Mk.IIa (Comanche Fighters)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 G-CGUK 'X4650' (Comanche Fighters)
Supermarine Spitfire Vb BM597 G-MKVB (HAC)
Supermarine Spitfire LFVb EP120 G-LFVB: The Fighter Collection
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk.Vc JG891
Spitfire MkVc G-IBSYSupermarine Spitfire Mk Vc G-IBSY 'EE602' (Anglia Restorations)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIIIc D-FEUR 'MV154' (MeierMotors GmbH)
Supermarine Spitfire Tr9 G-CCCA 'PV202' (Aircraft Restoration Company)
'Grace' Spitfire Mk1XT G-LFIX 'ML407'
Supermarine Spitfire T9 PT462 (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Supermarine Spitfire T9 NH341 (Aero Legends)
Vickers-Armstrong Spitfire Mk IX G-BRSF 'RR232 City of Exeter' (Boultbee Academy)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb G-ASJV MH434 (Old Flying Machine Company)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk1X TD314 G-CGYJ (Aero Legends)
Supermarine Spitfire PRXI G-PRXI PL965 (Hangar 11)
Supermarine Spitfire FR XlV G-SPIT MV268 (Anglia Aircraft Restorations)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XlV RN201
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVIe (Low Back) G-OXVI TD248
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVlll G-BUOS 'SM845' (Spitfire Ltd)
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire X1X PS853 G-RRGN: Rolls Royce Heritage Trust
There was also a Spitfire in the BBMF display on both days
More WW2 Era
BBMF Lancaster (cancelled Saturday - technical problem), Spitfire (both days) and Hurricane (cancelled Sunday)
Republic P-47 ThunderboltRepublic P47 Thunderbolt 'Nellie'
Westland Lysander IIIA V9312 G-CCOM
Westland Lysander
Bristol Blenheim G-BPIV (ARC)
North American Harvard Mk.IV ‘Taz’
Goodyear Corsair FG-1D (TFC) (Saturday only. Weather delays earlier meant the display was timed out on Sunday)
Grumman Wildcat FM2 (Saturday only. Weather delays earlier meant the display was timed out on Sunday)
PBY-5A Catalina
Grumman Bearcat F8F-2P (Cancelled)
Vultee BT-13 Valiant N313BT
North American NA-64 Yale G-BYNF
Yakovlev YAK3-U (Will Greenwood)
Yakovlev Yak 9 HB-RYA
Boeing B-17G 'Sally B'
Classic Jets
T-33Canadair T-33 Silver Star (Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron) (Saturday only. Runway too wet Sunday)
Mig-15 (Saturday only. Runway too wet Sunday)
De Havilland DH-9 E8894 (Saturday only. Wouldn't start on Sunday)
Gloster Gladiator Mk 1 'K7985' (Shuttleworth Collection)
Great War Display Team (Seven on Saturday. Avro 504 missing Sunday)
Hawker Fury I (Historic Aircraft Collection)(cancelled)
Additionally most of the aircraft in the flying displays, and a few extras, were on static display beforehand

To back up the action in the air, the movies theme influenced several of the exhibitions, entertainments and visitor activities throughout the museum.

Several of the hangars had exhibitions relating to the Battle of Britain and other films. The Battle of Britain hangar itself told the story of the aerial campaign and featured a Mk I Spitfire and Messerschmitt. Next door is Hangar Base, the concrete floor remains of a First World War hangar that was blown up and destroyed by the Battle of Britain film crew as part of the Eagle Day sequence. The D-Day-themed Normandy Experience in the Land Warfare Exhibition featured a soundscape and costumes from Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998). In the American Air Museum, there was a display on Willie Wyler, the director of The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944) who served during the Second World War with the U.S. Air Force.

Fifteen spitfires

Fifteen Spitfires in the finale

As well as the mass warbird spectacle at the opening of the show, there was another at the close, when sixteen Spitfires took to the air. First up was N3200, which performed a solo whilst the remaining fifteen formed into a diamond nine followed by the remaining six in Vic formation. On Saturday there was a single pass of all fifteen from the west to the east and on Sunday from the east to the west. On both days the formation then split into its two parts for separate passes and breaks to land.

Following the Spitfire landings, Brian Smith returned in MH434 for a solo as a tribute to Mark Hanna (see grey box) and on Sunday a further Spitfire solo, the third either side of the Spitfire flypast, this time from Cliff Spink in SM845, who performed his final Spitfire flight before retiring from warbird flying (see blue box).

Between the opening Battle of Britain scene and the closing Spitfire spectacular, the air was alive with fighters, bombers and other aircraft, mostly of the WWII era but including a variety from WWI through to early jets.

Great War Display Team

Great War Display Team on Sunday

De Havilland DH.9

De Havilland DH.9

The earliest period represented was WWI when seven replica allied and German aircraft of the Great War Display Team, reducing to six on Sunday when the Avro 504 didn't fly, gave the pyrotechnic version of their display, mixing simulated dogfights with opposition passes.

From the same era Historic Aircraft Collection's recently restored De Havilland DH.9 E8894 performed an elegant display in the hands of Roger 'Dodge' Bailey on Saturday, following its first post-restoration flight less than 20 weeks earlier, although it could not be started so missed a reprise on Sunday. The DH.9, although not a great success in its day, is a huge and fascinating airframe and E8894 is the only original WW1 bomber currently flying anywhere in the world.

Vultee Valiant

Vultee Valiant

Although the large formations, especially the Spitfire finale and the opening re-enactment, are seen by many as highlights, aircraft that are less-frequently seen are also major attractions. On this occasion the Vultee BT-13 Valiant from the Netherlands-based Early Birds Foundation and North American NA-64 Yale fitted the bill. The Yale, which is currently based at Duxford, is the only flying example in Europe. The trainers, rather than just the fighters or bombers, so often focus the interest of enthusiasts.

Lancaster overflying SallyB

Lancaster overflying B-17G Sally B

B-17G Sally B is resident at Duxford, and a regular at virtually every show, but there is generally a twist. Sometimes the aircraft is displayed solo but more often than not there will be a fighter escort. The Battle of Britain Show kept up that tradition but instead of the more frequently seen Mustangs, fighter protection was provided by the Republic P-47 'Thunderbolt' in fair weather on Saturday but immediately following a downpour on Sunday.



Mustangs at Duxford

A quartet of Mustangs flew on Saturday but conditions reduced the display to a pair on Sunday

Diamond Nine Spitfires

Spitfires in Diamond Nine formation

Sea Fury

One of three Fury / Sea Fury aircraft at the show

Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain Scene

Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain re-enactment

P-51D Mustang 'The Shark'

P-51D Mustang 'The Shark'

Lysander and Blenheim

Lysander and Blenheim

Hurricane P2902

Hurricane P2902

MiG-15 and T-33

MiG-15 and Canadair T-33

Three Hawker Furies took to the air on both days, filling the airfield with their traditional gutsy roar and not a little smoke. The formation comprised two Sea Fury T20s: one each from the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation and the Navy Wings Heritage Flight, and Anglia Aircraft Restoration / Air Leasing's Hawker Fury Mk II, flown by Paul Bonhomme, who led the formation. Although the Air Leasing machine is not a naval version, it is presented as a prototype of the Sea Fury, which was the Royal Navy's last ever propeller-driven fighter.

More naval aircraft at the show were Duxford airshow regular, Plane Sailing’s Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina and Duxford residents the Grumman FM-2 Wildcat, the US Navy's first retractable-gear monoplane, and the Fighter Collection’s Goodyear FG-1D Corsair. The Catalina and Wildcat flew as a pair. The Corsair was also due to fly as a pair with the Grumman F8F Bearcat but in the absence of the latter the Corsair performed a solo display.

Not all the aircraft in the displays represented types that flew in the Battle of Britain. As well as the older aircraft such as the WWI replicas of the Great War Display Team and the DH9 WWI bomber, there were aircraft that followed the war. The Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron's MiG-15 and Canadair T-33 have been on the UK airshow circuit throughout 2019 and made their final appearance of the year at the show on Saturday when visitors got to see pairs and solo displays. Unfortunately, their slot followed a downpour on Sunday and the runway was too wet to risk the historic and valuable machines, in the case of the T-33 the only airworthy example in Europe.

The full list of participating aircraft is in the table.

Words and pictures David Titherly

Spitfires ready for take-off

IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow 2017

Seafire and Corsair

Seafire and Corsair

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.

A seventh Hurricane was, indeed, soon in the air as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, followed on.

Film Stars

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.

Blenheim Formation

Blenheim Formation

Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c

Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c

Vampires amd MiG-15

Vampires and MiG-15

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.

Between these impressive opening and closing mass formations was an intensive afternoon of spectacular flying, broken into sessions to illustrate how the RAF came to readiness for the Battle itself and the involvement of other aircraft types before, during and following the second world war.

The tour through aviation achievements included the very earliest aircraft to enter battle - or at least replicas of them - when the Great War Display Team battled each other, and the wind, to illustrate what aerial combat may have been like in the first of the world wars. The display was augmented by ground strafing and aerial explosions, lending the effect of real battle activity and helping spectators to envisage what working life may have been like for the early pioneers of aerial combat.

A more romantic look at military training came with a balletic demonstration of the predominant training type, the Tiger Moth, by the Tiger 9 Team.

Non-training aircraft from the same era were represented by the Mk 1 Hawkers Nimrod and Fury from the Historic Aircraft Collection on Saturday (although strong winds prevented a repeat of the flowing displays on Sunday) and a rare combination of Mercury-engined aircraft brought together Blenheim, Gladiator and Lysander as a trio and as individual displays. The Lysander was an absentee on Sunday, because of the gusty conditions, and in another display the Curtiss Hawk 75 was also unable to fly, this time for technical reasons. This left an intended pairs display reduced to a solo by The Fighter Collection's P-40C Warhawk. The display itself was one of the best of the show with some impressive manoeuvres in a long display on Saturday, extended even further on Sunday when the withdrawal of other aircraft released additional time into the programme.

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'
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
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)
RAF Falcons
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 3UA
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

As well as aircraft that preceded the Battle of Britain, the programme also included contemporaries involved in other theatres of war. Some such were three naval pairings. These included Air Leasing's Seafire and The Fighter Collection's Corsair, which flew together on both days and also gave solo displays on Sunday. Another pair were Richard Grace in Hawker Fury SR661 and Brian Smith in The Fighter Collection's Grumman Bearcat. Once again, there was a drop-out on Sunday, when the Bearcat was unable to display, leaving Richard Grace to offer another stunning solo display in this most attractive of aircraft. The third naval pairing were Stu Goldspink in The Fighter Collection's Wildcat and Plane Sailing's Catalina.

The show thus moved through early aircraft, to training aircraft, to naval aircraft and on to the Russian Front, where Aircraft Restoration Company's Hispano Buchón confronted a pair of Yakovlev Yak-3s: Will Greenwood in his Yak 3 and Richard Grace in Mark Davy's White 100. Airshow visitors are used to recreations of a German attack on a British Airfield and the subsequent inevitable allied victory. The scenario here was a similar concept but translated to Russia where pyrotechnics illustrated the effect when an airfield was strafed by a German fighter: the Buchón seen off not by Spitfires but by the Yak-3s. At one time the very rare 2-seat version of the Buchón was slated to appear at the show, possibly in this section, but unfortunately the prediction was a little optimistic as the aircraft was not airshow-ready in time.

Not unusually, there were a number of aircraft listed to appear that could not display for a variety of reasons. The loss of two Mustangs from the programme followed a more unfortunate incident. Under the theme of American Heavy aircraft there were to be a couple of Skytrains and Sally B accompanied by a pair of 'little friends' in the form of Mustangs 'The Shark' and 'Miss Helen'. However, when moving into formation at the west of the airfield, there appeared to be some uncertainty as to which of the Mustangs would fly on which side of Sally B and as a result there was a coming together. The propeller of the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation's aircraft appeared to take a bite from Miss Helen, which declared a 'Mayday'. Of course, we must await the outcome of the proper investigation before we know what caused the accident but thankfully the outcome was that, although there was a sudden loss of height, both Mustangs recovered and landed safely. The pair inevitably took no further part in the displays on either day of the weekend, leaving the Skytrain pair, from Aces High and Dakota Heritage, and Sally B to display without escort.

The only display by jet aircraft featured the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron's MiG-15 and de Havilland Vampire pair. In the absence of a fully aerobatic display, because of continuing safety restrictions on ex-military jet aircraft, the display was limited to flypasts but even so was able to demonstrate the grace and manoeuvrability of these early propellerless types.

The September airshow at Duxford appears destined to retain the Battle of Britain theme. It has to be hoped that there is enough variety within the theme to instil some novelty into the proceedings in future years. Inevitably, there will be common elements and that is to be applauded when those elements are mass Spitfire flypasts or mass flypasts of other varieties. However, there is bound to be criticism if the rest of the line-up also follows a regular pattern of similar aircraft in a different order.

In a show that covers so much ground in a relatively few hours, it is not possible to cover every aspect of the battle, its build-up, or the aftermath, so there is room for the introduction of novel themes each year within a stable framework. Perhaps one area that may be ripe for exploitation at a future show, if the Battle of Britain theme continues, would be more of the non-Moth inter-war training types, not only from Britain but also from the continent and USA and perhaps a variation in the specific aircraft, albeit from the same era, especially from the continent.

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.

Getting to the Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow.

By car

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 longer route but it splits the traffic up and can be quicker because of congestion at the M11 / A505 junction.

Duxford's Post Code (for Sat Nav) is CB22 4QR but some systems will only recognise the older code CB2 4QR. Parking can sell out. An alternative is Park and Ride via Trumpington, just off Junction 11 of the M11. Sat Nav CB2 9FT.


There are links to other route planners in the Travel Advice section.

By Train

The easiest (but not the closest) train station is Cambridge, which has a direct service from London. A free shuttle bus will run between the show and Cambridge station via Trumpington Park & Ride.

Alternative stations are Royston and Whittlesford Parkway, which is the closest to the show but does not have a courtesy bus service.

Click here to create a pocket timetable for your journey between any stations on the National Rail network.

Travel Advice

Road traffic updates
Highways Agency
Incidents and enquiries
National Railway Map
DIY pocket timetable
Journey planning by public transport
Route planners (Road)
Bing (Microsoft)

Accommodation near Duxford

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.

The location is already built in to the links but please check, and change as necessary, the dates, number of rooms and number of guests.



Some More Options

There are three Premier Inn hotels in Cambridge and another four within about 20 miles of the show.

Travelodge have one hotel about 4 miles from the show, which tends to be available a little bit longer after other low-cost hotels have been fully booked. There are three more Travelodge hotels in and around Cambridge.

Weather for the Duxford area

UK Met Office Forecast

A full 7 day Duxford weather forecast from the UK Met Office

BBC Forecast

A 14-day forecast from the BBC

What the forecasts tell you

The Met Office 7-day forecast includes actual and "feels like" temperatures, the likelihood of rain, wind speed, wind direction, wind gusts and visibility: the latter can have an impact on the viability of displays.

The BBC's 14-day forecast has overall conditions including and hourly estimate of temperature, wind direction, wind speed and UV range.

Click the blue-text link to go to the forecast. The location is already built into the links.

2024 Show Basics


September 14 - 15

Airshow links

Airshow's web site

Tickets in 2024

Advance booking only. No tickets on the gate.

Tickets are now available.


Car Parking

Car parking is £5 for all vehicles, including Blue Badge Parking, but is free for 'VIP Gold' ticket holders.


Grounds open at about 08.00
Flying from about 13.00


Information for prospective traders, entertainers and living history groups is on the Duxford web site.


Sat Nav CB22 4QR


For links to other travel and route planning web sites, click the 'Getting there' tab.


Photos taken at earlier IWM Duxford September airshows