Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show & Proms

at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford


Battle of Britain Air Show & Proms 2020


Spitfires at Duxford

Spitfires at the Battle of Britain Airshow in 2019

IWM Statement about cancellation

It is with great sadness that we have taken the decision to cancel the Duxford Battle of Britain Proms and the 80th Anniversary Battle of Britain Air Show 2020. We were looking forward to the Air Show as much as the thousands of visitors who had bought tickets for what promised to be a brilliant weekend.

We have been working tirelessly with our partners including Public Health England and South Cambridgeshire District Council in order to explore all avenues for hosting the event. However, we take our responsibility for the safety of our visitors and local community very seriously and feel it would be irresponsible to continue with the event in this rapidly-changing climate.

We are devastated to have to take this decision, and want to thank our visitors, supporters, partners, neighbours and staff members for their incredible support over the past few days and weeks. IWM, like many other museums across the country, is under significant financial pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic so it is a huge blow to have to cancel one of our biggest events less than a week before it takes place. We are confident that our visitors, partners and supporters understand we would not have taken lightly a decision of this magnitude.

We are hugely sorry about the disruption that this cancellation will cause for everyone. We will be in touch with everyone who has purchased a ticket to offer refunds and options to donate your ticket to IWM or consider membership opportunities with access to a host of benefits including free entry to all IWM sites and much more for a whole year.

We promise to return with a packed programme for our next Air Show season and will release details about our 2021 programme in due course.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support for IWM.

Cancellation FAQs from IWM Duxford

Why has the decision been taken to cancel the Battle of Britain Proms and 80th Anniversary Battle of Britain Air Show?

It is with great sadness that we have taken the decision to cancel the Duxford Battle of Britain Proms and 80th Anniversary Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show 2020. Having explored avenues with Public Health England and South Cambridgeshire District Council in recent days, we have had to make this devastating decision in the interest of safety for visitors, staff and the local community.

We are very sorry for the disruption this cancellation will cause and are extremely grateful for all the support that has been shown to us so far.

What are my options with regards to my tickets?

We will contact ticket holders with details of what options are available. These will include donating the value of your ticket to IWM, requesting a refund or considering IWM membership opportunities.

Will it be possible to obtain a refund for my tickets?

Yes, you will be able to request a refund for your tickets and you will be notified as to how to do this in the coming days.

Will IWM Duxford be open on the 18th, 19th and 20th September?

IWM Duxford will be open as normal on all three days and we advise those who wish to visit during this period to pre-book tickets via our website.

How can I support IWM?

Like other museums across the country, IWM is under significant financial pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic and cancelling the Duxford Battle of Britain Proms and 80th Anniversary Battle of Britain Air Show has come at a huge cost to the organisation. If you would like to support us during this unpredictable time you can choose to donate the cost of your ticket to IWM or consider becoming an IWM member with access to a host of benefits, including free entry to all sites.

How can I find out about IWM Duxford’s Air Show 2021 season?

We are looking forward to delivering a packed Air Show programme next year and will release details of this on our website in due course.

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. (... continued below.)

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

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.

MiG-15 and T-33

MiG-15 and Canadair T-33

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. (... continued below the photo)

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. (... continued below the photo)

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. (... continued below the photo)

Great War Display Team

Great War Display Team on Sunday

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. (... continued below the photo)

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.

B-17G Sally B with P-47 Thunderbolt

B-17G Sally B with P-47 Thunderbolt



Mustangs at Duxford

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

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'

Hurricane P2902

Hurricane P2902

Diamond Nine Spitfires

Spitfires in Diamond Nine formation

Lysander and Blenheim

Lysander and Blenheim

Sea Fury

One of three Fury / Sea Fury aircraft at the show


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.

The full list of participating aircraft is in the table.

Spitfires ready for take-off

Battle of Britain Air Show

22nd & 23rd September 2018
Mixed Formation

Mixed formations are a regular feature of the show

The IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow was the final official celebratory event for RAF 100, chosen for this accolade because of Duxford’s significant 100 year history.

The show also showcased the modern and future RAF with a selection of current service aircraft on the ground and in the air in a display of modern airpower.

A major feature of the show was innovative displays such as the 617 Squadron Flypast of Lancaster, Tornado GR4 and F-35 Lightning II, first seen at RIAT earlier in the year, representing the past, present and future of the famous Dambuster Squadron.

There were disappointments, too, not least the cancellation of the Voyager and other significant reductions in the flying programme on Sunday, largely because of an atrocious weather forecast that turned out to be too pessimistic.

There is always a feast of Spitfires at Duxford, but this show had something special with no fewer than 18 in the air together, in addition to one from the BBMF.

Apart from the RAF 100 celebrations, and demonstration of RAF prowess, for the second year running the show centred on the Battle of Britain theme with formations that celebrated and commemorated the RAF's greatest battle honour.


The IWM had pleaded for several weeks that visitors arrive early by car or catch courtesy buses to the event. Perhaps too many people took their advice because the effect appears to have been huge queues both for the buses and on the roads from early in the morning on Saturday: and very frustrated customers. Getting away after the show did not appear to be problematic.

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.

Flying (all both days unless stated)
Red Arrows
Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 (RAF)
Voyager KC Mk 2 (Sunday only) Flypast with two Typhoons and A400M

617 Sq Flypast:
Tornado GR4
F-35 Lightning ll
Avro Lancaster
Tiger MothsMoth formation: 16 Tiger Moths in formation as the characters '100'
Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane (BBMF)
Grob Tutor (RAF)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a N3200 (IWM)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 AR213 / P7308 (Comanche Fighters)(Not Sunday)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 X4650 (Comanche Fighters)(Not Sunday)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb EP120 (TFC)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb BM597 (Historic Aircraft Collection)
Spitfire MkVc G-AWIISupermarine Spitfire Mk Vc AR501 (Shuttleworth Collection)(Not Sunday)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc JG891 (Comanche Fighters via The Fighter Collection)(Not Sunday)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vc EE602 (Air Leasing)(Not Sunday)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII MT928 (Maxi Gainza)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk lX TD314 (Aero Legends)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk lXb MH434 (OFMC)
Supermarine Spitfire T9 (ARC)
Supermarine Spitfire T9 (Aero Legends)
Supermarine Spitfire T9 (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Supermarine Spitfire PRXl PL983 (ARC)
Supermarine Spitfire PRXl PL965 (Hangar 11)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XlVe MV293
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVle MV268 (Richard Grace)
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVlll SM845
Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 P3717
Hawker Hurricane P2902Hawker Hurricane Mk 1 P2902
Hawker Hurricane Mk Xlla 5711 (HAC)
Hawker Hurricane R4118
Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk lb Z7015 (Shuttleworth Collection)(Not Sunday)
Avro Tutor (Shuttleworth Collection)(Not Sunday)
Avro Anson in RAF Coningsby coloursAvro Anson (BAe Systems)
BAC Jet Provost (Jeff Bell)
Blackburn B2
Bristol Fighter (Shuttleworth Collection)(Not Sunday)
Bristol Blenheim (ARC)
Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina (Plane Sailing)
De Havilland DH.82a Tiger Moth (Classic Wings)
De Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide (Classic Wings)
De Havilland Devon (Aero Legends)
De Havilland Vampires FB52 &T55 (NAFHS)
De Havilland Canada Chipmunk, WZ879 (Howard Cook)
Folland Gnat T1 x2 (Oliver Wheeldon)
Gloster Gladiator I (Shuttleworth Collection)(Not Sunday)
Hawker Nimrod I (The Fighter Collection)
Hawker Nimrod II (Historic Aircraft Company)
Hawker Fury I (Historic Aircraft Collection)
Hispano Buchon HA-112 MIL (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchón “White 9″ (Richard Grace)
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchón “Yellow 7″ (Richard Grace)
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15UTI (NAFHS) (Not Saturday: standing water on runway)
Miles Magister (Shuttleworth Collection)(Not Sunday)
North American Harvard (Aircraft Restoration Company)
North American P-51D Mustang 44-73877 (Norwegian Spitfire Foundation)
North American P-51D Mustang 44-72216 (Aircraft Restoration Company)
Percival Prentice (Aero Legends)
Percival Provost T1 (Dave Cooper)
Percival Pembroke CI (Percival Aircraft)
RAF SE5a (Shuttleworth Collection)(Not Sunday)
Westland Lysander (Shuttleworth Collection)(Not Sunday)
Westland Whirlwind HAR10 (Andrew Whitehouse)
Yakovlev Yak 3 (Will Greenwood)
Yakovlev Yak 3 'White 100' (Mark Davy)
B-17G Sally B
Additionally most of the aircraft in the flying displays, and generally a few extras, will be on static display beforehand
Appearances are always subject to technical, weather and other constraints

IWM Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow

23rd & 24th September 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.

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.

Blenheim Formation

Blenheim Formation

Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c

Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c

Vampires amd MiG-15

Vampires and MiG-15

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. (... continued below the pictures)

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.


Local area

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 much longer route designed to split the traffic up. 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 airshow ticket) but parking isn't.

Driving Directions

There are links to other route planners in the Travel Advice column if you prefer to plan ahead or don't have sat nav.

By Train

The easiest (but not the closest) train station is Cambridge, which has a direct service from London. A courtesy bus runs between the show and Cambridge station on show days.

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.

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.

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.

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. They also give, and take, Nectar points.

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

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 in Cambridge about 9 miles away and a Holiday Inn Express in Stanstead about 20 miles to the south.

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

Click any of the blue names to go to the corresponding web site. Most of the links already have the location built in, but please check, and change as necessary, the dates, number of rooms and number of guests.

Weather for the Duxford area

UK Met Office Forecast

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

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.

2020 Show Basics


Airshow links

Airshow's web site


Sat Nav CB22 4QR

Driving Directions

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


Photos taken at earlier IWM Duxford September airshows