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IWM Duxford celebrates 50 years of flying displays

Posted 31 August 2023

The iconic Battle of Britain Air Show returns to IWM Duxford this year for two-days of aerial displays on 16th and 17th September, with a mass flypast of Spitfires and Hurricanes and the first formation of an Avro Lancaster flying with a B-17 in over 20 years.

Above: Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 124485 DF-A Memphis Belle Sally B (G-BEDF) displays alongside North American P-51D Mustang at Duxford during Flying Legends (11.07.15).
Image by Kev Gregory / copyright Shutterstock

The standout event is the second major air show of Duxford’s 50th anniversary Flying Season and to mark this special occasion, children aged 15 years and under can attend for free. Visitors will be treated to unmissable displays from over 60 vintage and contemporary aircraft, including a mass flypast of 12 Spitfires and four Hurricanes, to commemorate the brave service men and women who risked their lives to defend Britain in the summer of 1940.      

In a must-see moment for aviation fans, the last airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress in Europe – ‘Sally B’ - will be brought together with the RAF’s Avro Lancaster for a rare formation of the two most recognisable allied heavy bombers of the Second World War.

The formation will be the first time the two bombers have flown together for over two decades and the first time ever at Duxford.

The packed aerial line-up includes the only airworthy two-seater Hawker Hurricane in the world, a Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon) aircraft replicating a Luftwaffe Messerschmitt fighter, the legendary North American P51-D Mustang and the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which will feature the Avro Lancaster, flanked by the Spitfire and Hurricane in a moving tribute to those who served.  

The world-famous Red Arrows will take to the skies of Duxford on both days of the weekend event with a thrilling display of daring aerobatics.

On the ground, crowds will be transported back in time to the sights and sounds that kept spirits up in the summer of 1940 and meet a cast of wartime characters recreating the daily life of RAF Duxford as a Battle of Britain Fighter Station. Visitors can dress up in vintage attire, swing dance to wartime music, get their hair done in the style of the era and hear stories of those who lived and served at the historic base.  

Tickets include access to IWM Duxford’s exhibitions and hangars throughout the day, packed full of aircraft, vehicles, collection items and personal stories of war and conflict.

Phil Hood, Air Show Event Manager, said: “The Battle of Britain Air Show is a highlight of IWM Duxford’s annual Flying Season as visitors get to experience what life would have been like for those who lived and served at RAF Duxford during the war.

“This is a very special year for IWM as we celebrate fifty years of entertaining crowds through aerial displays. This year’s air show is no exception, with appearances from an array of fan favourites, including the return of Duxford’s famous Spitfire flypast, and an historic formation when the Sally B and Avro Lancaster fly together for the first time in decades. We’re looking forward to greeting visitors, both old and new, to the show this year and hope to be entertaining crowds at Duxford for another 50 years to come.”  






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