IWM Duxford Airshow 2013

Last week, the Imperial War Museum Duxford held it’s annual Airshow! It was a family affair and so, early on a Sunday morning we drove up to the land of Cambridgeshire to watch the planes and jets at their finest.

You may be thinking…planes? Yes. My awesome Pop is an aviation man through and through. He joined the Royal Air Force as a wee lad and has worked around the globe. To me, the smell of jet fuel or the roar of a passing airplane are home! Here he is in 1966 at RAF Halton, on their graduation day- 2nd row, 5th from the right. Aren’t they all dapper in uniform?

As we walked onto Duxford Airfield, this not-so-little madam appeared in sight! Memphis Belle, a B-17 Flying Fortress- she was one of the first American bombers to complete 25 missions with all her crew. My sisters and I were obsessed with the film when we were kids (see-all that aviation stuff rubs off)- the one with Harry Connick Jr and they all sing Danny Boy…constantly. It was amazing to see her in real life.




We laid out some picnic blankets on the grass and waited for the air displays to start at 2pm. I wandered around into the Battle of Britain exhibition and the American Air Museum. There’s currently a Blackbird plane in there- it’s so fast it could fly from London to Edinburgh in 10 minutes. My head just can’t compute. Sitting quietly at the back of the museum is a room showcasing some of the American pilot’s personal belongings, that I was in complete awe of. Letters home, pin ups of Rita Hayworth, and leather bomber jackets had all been donated.



I was so engrossed in here, sneaking pink tufts of candy floss from my handbag, that I didn’t realise the air displays had started until I heard that unmistakeable roaring whoooooosh from a fighterjet- a Eurofighter Typhoon. I hurried outside and my jaw just dropped. You can feel the roar of the jets in your chest, it’s so thunderous and dramatic. My sister and I just stood there, mumbling ‘woooow’ to ourselves. I was overwhelmed with pride! I can’t even explain why. It’s like part of you is swelling with pride because we grew up surrounded by airplanes and engineers and hangars and pilots and this is part of our heritage…and the other half is expecting Maverick and Goose to appear.

Out of nowhere a massive deluge of rain poured down and we had to run for shelter in the nearest hangar. Unfortunately, my little niece and I weren’t so lucky and got completely drenched. As demonstrated:


After the rain stopped, we made our way back to our spot and watched as the Patrouille de France showed off their impressive acrobatic skills, finishing with a lovely big heart in the sky…they even drew an arrow through it!



And then we got to see the Memphis Belle and Sally B fly together. I was humming Danny Boy in my head, just for nostalgia’s sake.




The rain kept threatening to return, so we didn’t get to stay for the Red Arrows. I had just enough time to throw myself into the car before the next downpour started!

You don’t have to be a plane enthusiast to enjoy the Duxford Air Show- it’s a really good family day out. The displays are so much fun to watch and there’s a hint of nostalgia everywhere- especially in the Battle of Britain museum and the onsite shop. I loved spotting the pilots in their 1940’s uniforms!

Coming up on the 13th October is the Duxford Autumn Air Show. I highly recommend getting advance tickets if you can as it’s so much cheaper. I got stung buying tickets at the gate- they were £10 more expensive than if I had thought to buy them online earlier! You can find out more about about the Autumn Air Show and a link for the tickets on their website here.

If you do go, you’ll love it. And say hello to Sally B for me!


Author: Angela Shek

just a clueless mama in East London

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