Archive for October, 2010

IWM Duxford Enjoys Soaring Summer Air Show Success

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Imperial War Museum Duxford is delighted to announce that a record number of visitors – over 96,000 – attended the museum’s air shows in 2010. This compares favourably with total air show visitors of 76,444 in 2009.

In a superb year that commemorated not only the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain but also the 65th anniversary of B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B, visitors flocked to IWM Duxford to celebrate the iconic aircraft of the Second World War and to honour the bravery of the men that flew them.

Over 11,000 visitors saw IWM Duxford’s Battle of Britain commemorations get off to a flying start at the Spring Air Show on Sunday 16 May. Demonstrating the breadth and range of aircraft flown
by the Royal Air Force, the Spring Air Show presented aircraft from the RAF’s inception to the present day.

On a hot and sunny Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 July, Flying Legends welcomed over 27,000 visitors who experienced the glorious sight of more than 50 classic warbirds, from across the globe, performing a number of stunning displays.

The Battle of Britain Air Show on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September was the highlight of a remarkable year of 70th anniversary commemorative events. 44,000 visitors attended to pay their respects to the ‘few’ and the aircraft they flew.

In an unforgettable flying display that included appearances by the Red Arrows and the Patrouille de France, the highlight was undoubtedly the rare sight of 16 Spitfires in formation over their spiritual home.

This recreation of the summer of 1940 at RAF Duxford, combined with a minute’s silence to honour those who gave their lives in combat, produced an awe-inspiring moment which will remain a talking point of the Duxford air show season for years to come.

IWM Duxford’s 2010 air show season concluded with the Autumn Air Show, which saw 12,668 visitors celebrate the 65th birthday of B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B. A celebratory programme of American aviation saw visitors enjoy the sight of a number of iconic US aircraft.

Richard Ashton, Director, Imperial War Museum Duxford, said, “I am delighted that this year’s air show season enticed so many visitors to IWM Duxford. I’m particularly proud of this year’s programme of events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and I’m delighted that so many visitors joined with us in those commemorations. We now look forward to next year’s air show season and hope that visitors will return to enjoy another fantastic programme of events in 2011.”

While the air show season has now concluded for 2010, plans are already in place for the 2011 events programme.

Imperial War Museum Duxford is pleased to announce dates for the 2011
air show season:

* Spring Air Show – Sunday 22 May 2011
* Flying Legends – Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July 2011
* The Duxford Air Show – Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September 2011
* Autumn Air Show – Sunday 16 October 2011

Further information regarding themes and content for each air show
will be released in due course.

IWM Duxford National Aviation Skills Initiative Honoured

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The National Aviation Heritage Skills Initiative (NAHSI), based at Imperial War Museum Duxford, has been honoured with a prestigious National Training Award in recognition of its outstanding contribution and commitment to training, learning and development in the workplace. NAHSI was presented with a Regional National Training Award and a UK National Training Award at the East of England Regional Ceremony held at Chilford Hall on 7 October 2010.

NAHSI was recognised in the Providers of Learning and Training category for its programme of training for volunteers in the aviation heritage sector.

Representatives of NAHSI will now be invited to the national ceremony of the National Training Awards 2010, held in London on 1 December 2010, where the organisation will compete for the Winner of the Year Award in its category.

The National Heritage Skills Initiative, working for the British Aviation Preservation Council, aims to provide training which will help and encourage volunteers to learn new skills and in so doing enhance the
standards of conservation, preservation and restoration with the UK aviation heritage sector.

Run on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) by UK Skills, the National Training Awards inspire and encourage UK industry to invest in training and development as a route to achieving outstanding organisational and individual success. Winning an award is recognition of best practice and provides a benchmark for standards of excellence in training in the UK. City and Guilds is the premier sponsor of the National Training Awards 2010.

Brian Barker, Project Manager, National Aviation Heritage Skills Initiative, said “The team are delighted to have received a UK National Training Award. To have been independently judged, against some very daunting competition and come out top, is fantastic.”

Simon Bartley, Chief Executive of UK Skills, said “I would like to offer congratulations to all regional and UK winners for the National Training Awards 2010. Achieving an award is a fantastic achievement and one that all winners should be really proud of.

Now more than ever, it is essential for organisations to continue to invest in the development of their staff. The UK’s future, after all, can only be strengthened and sustained by people who have the skills needed to meet the demands of today’s globalised economy.”

Bournemouth Air Festival 2010

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Despite the challenging weather conditions, Bournemouth Air Festival was still a superb event still delivered an incredible event and the Festival proved to be a huge draw for the resort. 2010 successes include Air Festival TV, a bigger and better Night Air programme, Thursday evening dusk display, more ground trading, iphone app, new look brochure and dedicated social networking team. Footfall estimates are similar to year one figure of approx. 750,000 over 4-days.

Feedback from the Forces and participating display teams has been superb, including:

“The third Bournemouth Air Festival has again lived up to expectations despite some challenging weather conditions. We have been treated to some spectacular displays from, across the services with the Royal Marine’s amphibious beach assaults supported by the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, whilst in the air we have witnessed a range of outstanding air displays. This has been a fantastic event and an opportunity for the services to conduct essential training over the Festival, including the Royal Marines working throughout the night on an exercise.” – Commodore Jamie Miller, RN.

“It was out first time to Bournemouth, incredibly impressed with the event, the organisers and despite the weather, the crowds on the beach, we hope to be back next year!” – Tobias ‘Hitec’ Schutte, pilot F16.

“Once again Bournemouth Air Festival has proved to be a wonderful venue and attraction, despite the weather and reduced display programme. Crowds at the RAF Village were huge and we have engaged with Festival goers and guests. We’re looking forward to 2011” – Wing Commander Williams, RAF.

Visitors to view Wellington Restoration

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The award winning Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC) at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford will be opening its doors to visitors in November for one special week. From Monday 15th to Saturday 20th November 2010 a range of aircraft and other artefacts in various states of restoration will be on display, including the Centre’s latest arrival, the Wellington Bomber. 

The Vickers Wellington was widely used as a night bomber in the early years of WWII. It is famous for its geodetic fuselage structure designed by Barnes Wallis. The fabric covering to this structure is in desperate need of replacement and following extensive conservation work on the structure, this will take place at the Museum’s Conservation Centre over the next four to five years.

Other conservation projects on view will include on-going refurbishments such as the Handley Page Hampden TB1, Farman F.141 and Range Safety Launch. This may also be the last opportunity to view the conservation efforts on the Mk1 Sopwith Dolphin which is progressing well. 

Manager of the Conservation Centre, Tim Wallis says:

“The Open Weeks have become a mutually beneficial event for aircraft enthusiasts and interested members of the public alike and we are always delighted at the interest shown. Most are surprised by our work when they enter the hangar and hopefully all are delighted by the experience. We look forward to the exchange of information and hope that many accept our invitation to this brief, but rare insight into the preservation of aviation heritage. We are also ready to show-off the new MBCC Training Centre to our supportive public”.

Opened in May 2002 by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham, the MBCC is regarded as one of the world’s foremost centres of excellence in aircraft conservation and restoration. Its skilled technicians undertake careful, extensive work to prepare aircraft and other projects for display at both of the Museum’s sites in Cosford and London with the MBCC team responsible for the conservation and routine maintenance of some 300 aircraft. Earlier this year the Museum won ‘Small Employer of the Year Award 2010′ at The National Apprenticeship Awards 2010, which recognised the success of the forward thinking apprentice initiative and wider conservation training programme offered by the Museum’s Conservation Centre, which now successfully employs seven apprentices.

Admission to the Conservation Centre is FREE and from 10.15am to 1.00pm each day during Open Week. Cosford’s main Museum will open daily from 10am – 6pm (last admission 5pm). Admission is FREE of charge. For further information, please contact the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford on 01902 376200 or visit

Podcast To Honour Polish Airmen

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

On Monday 11th of October the Royal Air Force Museum will honour those members of the Polish Air Force who fought as part of the RAF in the Battle of Britain with the launch of its latest podcast : ‘ “Repeat Please!”: Poles in the Battle of Britain’.

This date has been specifically selected to commemorate 70th anniversary of the withdrawal of 303 (Polish) Squadron from the front line after a successful tour of duty which recorded the destruction of 126 enemy aircraft in 42 days. This made ‘303′, the most successful of all the RAF Squadrons that defended Great Britain and its peoples during the Battle of Britain.

To enable a wider audience to understand the contribution that Polish airmen made to the RAF during this aerial campaign, a Polish language version of the podcast will also be available from the Museum’s website enabling those Poles who do not have English as a second language to learn about the debt that the British people owe to Poland and its brave airmen.

Peter Dye, Director General of the Royal Air Force Museum, states:

‘The freedoms that we enjoy today were fought for in the skies above Britain during the summer of 1940. The largest of the overseas contingents serving in Fighter Command came from Poland. These airmen had seen their country over-run but were determined to fight on. Some served with the French Air Force only to experience defeat again. Some reached England after a long and perilous journey. All had a burning passion to defeat the enemy. They offered their lives for an ideal, for a land from which they were exiled and for a country that was not their own. Their sacrifice and willingness to defend our nation provides an enduring example of selflessness that resonates down the years. In this podcast we describe a time when the peoples of Europe came to our aid at the time of our greatest peril. We express our gratitude for the bravery and dedication of those many Polish Veterans who served in the Royal Air Force to defend our freedom and to secure the future that we now all enjoy.’ 

‘”Repeat Please!”: Poles in the Battle of Britain’ forms part of a year long series of podcasts which examines the forgotten history of the Battle of Britain from the contribution that women made to the campaign to the strategic importance of Bomber and Coastal Commands to the RAF’s success; and addresses many of the myths and misconceptions that have grown around The Few, Churchill and the Spitfire. Future highlights in this series will include Sunday Times best selling historians Patrick Moorhouse and Roger Bishop examining ‘The Battle of Britain from Both Sides’, plus a podcast on the Blitz whilst past highlights include Sir Richard Branson narrating the biography of disabled Battle of Britain Veteran Douglas Bader and the BBC providing a selection of interviews from its archives from pilots who fought in the Battle.

To listen to this podcast series, please go to

For further details about the Museum’s Battle of Britain Hall and its collection of aircraft please visit or ring 020 8205 2266. The Royal Air Force Museum London is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission to the Museum is free of charge.