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Duxford Aerodrome: An Overview of the Historic Aviation Site

Duxford Aerodrome

Welcome to Duxford Aerodrome, an iconic destination for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs. Located in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England, this historic site is home to the Imperial War Museum Duxford and the American Air Museum. With its extensive aircraft collection, regular air shows, and rich aviation history, Duxford Aerodrome offers a captivating journey into the world of flight.

Key Takeaways:

  • Duxford Aerodrome is an aviation museum and historical site located in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • The aerodrome houses the Imperial War Museum Duxford and the American Air Museum, showcasing a vast collection of historical aircraft.
  • Regular air shows and demonstrations take place at Duxford Aerodrome, providing the opportunity to witness iconic planes in action.
  • During the Second World War, Duxford Aerodrome played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain and served as a base for RAF Fighter Command.
  • Duxford Aerodrome offers facilities and services for aircraft owners, pilots, and visitors, including catering, flight planning, and fuel availability.

Location and Ownership of Duxford Aerodrome

Duxford Aerodrome, situated 8 nautical miles south of Cambridge, is a historic aviation site owned by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and Cambridgeshire County Council. With its strategic location in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, the aerodrome has become synonymous with British aviation history and the preservation of historic aircraft.

Since acquiring the site, the IWM and Cambridgeshire County Council have worked collaboratively to transform Duxford Aerodrome into a world-renowned aviation museum. The aerodrome is home to the Imperial War Museum Duxford, which houses an extensive collection of historical aircraft, and the American Air Museum, which showcases the shared aviation heritage between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Ownership and Preservation Efforts

The Imperial War Museum, as a national institution, plays a crucial role in the preservation and promotion of Duxford Aerodrome’s historical significance. The IWM’s ownership ensures the continued conservation of the site and its aircraft collection, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich aviation heritage on display. Cambridgeshire County Council’s involvement further highlights the importance of local support in safeguarding and promoting the aerodrome.

Ownership Facilities Collaboration
Imperial War Museum Imperial War Museum Duxford Joint efforts for preservation
Cambridgeshire County Council American Air Museum Local involvement and support

The partnership between the IWM and Cambridgeshire County Council ensures that Duxford Aerodrome remains a thriving hub of aviation history, attracting visitors from around the world who are captivated by the site’s remarkable heritage and the stories it tells.

Duxford Aerodrome Details and Facilities

Duxford Aerodrome, located in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England, is a well-equipped airfield with various facilities for aviation enthusiasts and pilots alike. The aerodrome features two runways, a paved runway (06R/24L) measuring 1,503 meters in length, and a grass runway (06L/24R) spanning 880 meters. Situated at an elevation of 125 feet above mean sea level, Duxford Aerodrome offers a scenic setting for aviation activities.

For pilots and visitors seeking more information, the official Duxford Aerodrome website is a valuable resource. It provides comprehensive details about the aerodrome, including its history, facilities, air shows, and exhibits. The website is user-friendly, making it easy to navigate and find the desired information. Whether you’re planning a visit or seeking information about aircraft ownership and airfield services, the Duxford Aerodrome website has you covered.

Facilities at Duxford Aerodrome

In addition to its runways, Duxford Aerodrome offers a range of facilities to enhance the aviation experience. These include 24-hour security to ensure the safety of aircraft and visitors. The airfield also provides catering facilities, allowing visitors to enjoy refreshments while immersing themselves in the world of aviation.

Services at Duxford Aerodrome

Duxford Aerodrome goes beyond offering facilities and extends its services to support pilots and aviation enthusiasts. A dedicated Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) operates during specified hours, providing essential information for flight planning. The briefing room at the aerodrome offers access to meteorological information and NOTAM facilities, ensuring pilots have all the necessary details for safe and efficient flights.

Facilities Services
Two runways: Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS)
24-hour security Meteorological information
Catering facilities NOTAM facilities

Historical Significance of Duxford Aerodrome

Duxford Aerodrome holds immense historical significance, particularly during the Second World War when it served as RAF Duxford and played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain. As one of the main bases for RAF Fighter Command, it was responsible for defending vital areas of England against Luftwaffe attacks. Squadrons based at Duxford, such as No. 19 and No. 302 (Polish) Squadron, valiantly intercepted and repulsed enemy aircraft, contributing significantly to the ultimate victory in the Battle of Britain.

This renowned aerodrome, located in Cambridgeshire, England, witnessed numerous heroic acts as RAF pilots bravely defended the British skies. The courage and dedication displayed by these pilots have forever etched Duxford Aerodrome into the annals of aviation history. It serves as a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of those who fought to protect their country.

“Duxford Aerodrome played a vital role in the Battle of Britain, serving as a key base for RAF Fighter Command and contributing significantly to the defense of England against Luftwaffe attacks.”

Today, Duxford Aerodrome stands as a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of those who served during the Second World War. The aerodrome’s rich historical significance is preserved and showcased through the Imperial War Museum Duxford, which offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore and learn about the important role Duxford played in shaping British aviation history.

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The Battle of Britain at Duxford Aerodrome

Duxford Aerodrome was a vital element in the defense of Britain during the Battle of Britain, which took place between July and October 1940. Over the course of this historic battle, Duxford airfield and its squadrons saw intense action as they engaged in dogfights with German Luftwaffe aircraft. The pilots who flew from Duxford played a crucial role in repelling enemy attacks and protecting the skies above Britain.

Role of Duxford Aerodrome during the Second World War

During the Second World War, Duxford Aerodrome played a crucial role in the operations of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). The aerodrome, known as “Station 357 (DX)” under the USAAF, served as a base for the Eighth Air Force’s VIII Fighter Command. One notable unit stationed at Duxford was the 78th Fighter Group, equipped with Thunderbolts, which played a vital role in escorting bomber formations and supporting the D-Day invasion.

The partnership between the RAF and USAAF at Duxford was essential for the success of air operations during the war. The RAF had previously used Duxford as a fighter station, and its experience and expertise were crucial in training and coordinating efforts with the USAAF. Together, the RAF and USAAF units stationed at Duxford played a significant role in protecting the skies over Britain and supporting Allied operations throughout Europe.

“Duxford Aerodrome served as a critical hub for RAF and USAAF operations during the Second World War. Its strategic location and dedicated personnel made it an instrumental base for defending British airspace and supporting Allied campaigns. The pilots and crews stationed at Duxford demonstrated incredible bravery and skill, and their contributions should never be forgotten.”

The legacy of Duxford Aerodrome’s wartime role lives on today through the preservation of its history and the commemoration of those who served. The Imperial War Museum Duxford, located at the aerodrome, showcases the stories and achievements of the RAF, USAAF, and other units based at Duxford during the war. Visitors can explore exhibits, view historic aircraft, and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by those who defended our freedom.

Base for RAF Fighter Command Station 357 (DX)
Defending British airspace Supporting Allied campaigns
Crucial hub for RAF operations Eighth Air Force’s VIII Fighter Command base

Post-War Era and Closure of RAF Duxford

Following the end of World War II, Duxford Aerodrome resumed its operation under the control of the Royal Air Force (RAF). In the post-war era, the aerodrome played a significant role as a fighter station, housing advanced jet fighters that were at the forefront of aviation technology during the Cold War. Aircraft such as the Gloster Meteor, Hawker Hunter, and Gloster Javelin were based at RAF Duxford, showcasing the RAF’s commitment to modernizing its fleet for the evolving defense needs of the time.

However, the advancement of supersonic fighters came with substantial costs and infrastructure requirements. In July 1961, the RAF made the difficult decision to close RAF Duxford. The closure marked the end of an era for the aerodrome as an active military airfield, but it also paved the way for its transformation into a world-class aviation museum.

H3: Timeline of RAF Duxford Closure and Transformation

Year Event
1961 RAF Duxford officially closed by the Royal Air Force
1969 Imperial War Museum (IWM) obtains permission to use Duxford Aerodrome for aviation-related purposes
1972 IWM Duxford officially opens as an aviation museum
1997 The American Air Museum at Duxford is opened

“The closure of RAF Duxford marked the end of an important chapter in aviation history. However, it was also the beginning of an exciting new phase that would see Duxford Aerodrome transform into a world-renowned aviation museum.” – IWM Director

Transformation into an Aviation Museum

Duxford Aerodrome

Following the closure of RAF Duxford, the Imperial War Museum (IWM) obtained permission to use the airfield as a site for storage, restoration, and display of large exhibits related to aviation history. The museum, together with Cambridgeshire County Council and the Duxford Aviation Society, revitalized Duxford Aerodrome as a premier aviation museum. Today, IWM Duxford is recognized as the European center of aviation history.

The transformation of Duxford Aerodrome into an aviation museum has been a remarkable journey. The site, with its rich history and strategic significance during the Second World War, provides the perfect backdrop for showcasing the evolution of aviation. The museum exhibits at IWM Duxford offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore and understand the development of flight, from the early pioneers to modern-day aircraft.

IWM Duxford: The European center of aviation history.

Spanning over 300 acres, the museum houses an extensive collection of aircraft, including rare and iconic models. Visitors can marvel at the sight of legendary planes such as Spitfires, Hurricanes, and Mustangs, among many others. These historic aircraft, meticulously restored and maintained, provide a tangible connection to the past and a deeper appreciation for the ingenuity and bravery of those who took to the skies.

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The museum’s commitment to preserving aviation history goes beyond static displays. Regular air shows and events at Duxford Aerodrome offer thrilling opportunities to witness these historic aircraft in action. From aerobatic displays to historical reenactments, these events bring the excitement and drama of aviation to life, captivating audiences of all ages.

Key Features of IWM Duxford: Highlights:
Extensive aircraft collection Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mustangs, B-17 Flying Fortress
Regular air shows and events Aerial displays, reenactments
Interactive exhibits Hands-on learning experiences
Historic airfield setting Strategic significance during WWII

IWM Duxford offers a truly immersive experience for aviation enthusiasts, history buffs, and curious visitors alike. Whether exploring the museum exhibits, witnessing the power and grace of vintage aircraft in flight, or attending one of the dynamic air shows, a visit to Duxford Aerodrome is an unforgettable journey through the history of aviation.

Aircraft Collection at IWM Duxford

IWM Duxford boasts a vast collection of historic aircraft, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich aviation history of Duxford Aerodrome. Among the iconic planes on display are the legendary Spitfire, the agile Mustang, and the mighty B-17 Flying Fortress. These aircraft serve as a testament to the ingenuity, bravery, and technological advancements of the aviation industry.

The Spitfire, an emblem of British courage during World War II, played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain. Its sleek design and formidable firepower contributed to the success of the Royal Air Force in defending the skies against German Luftwaffe attacks.

The Mustang, known for its speed and versatility, was a key fighter aircraft during World War II. Its long-range capabilities made it an ideal escort for bomber formations, and its impressive performance earned it a reputation as one of the finest fighters of the war.

“The Spitfire and the Mustang are both incredible machines that symbolize the heroism and determination of the pilots who flew them. They represent the pinnacle of aviation engineering and embody the spirit of the Duxford Aerodrome.”

One of the most remarkable aircraft in the collection is the B-17 Flying Fortress, the only one flying in Europe. This iconic bomber played a significant role in strategic bombing campaigns during World War II and was renowned for its durability and firepower. Seeing this majestic aircraft in flight is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

These historic airplanes, meticulously preserved and showcased at IWM Duxford, allow visitors to step back in time and appreciate the incredible feats of engineering and the courage of the men and women who took to the skies to defend their countries.

Aircraft Description
Spitfire A British fighter aircraft known for its role in the Battle of Britain.
Mustang A versatile fighter aircraft widely used during World War II.
B-17 Flying Fortress A strategic bomber renowned for its durability and firepower.

Air Shows and Events at Duxford Aerodrome

Duxford Aerodrome is renowned for its thrilling air shows and exciting events that take place throughout the year. These captivating spectacles attract aviation enthusiasts from all over the world, offering a unique opportunity to witness the magic of flight and experience the history of aviation firsthand.

During the air shows, visitors are treated to dynamic aviation demonstrations and awe-inspiring aerial displays. Historic aircraft take to the skies, showcasing their power and grace in breathtaking performances that celebrate the rich heritage of Duxford Aerodrome.

From thrilling aerobatics to historic reenactments, the air shows at Duxford Aerodrome offer a captivating experience for all. Whether you’re a plane enthusiast or simply looking for an exciting day out, these events provide a rare chance to witness iconic aircraft in action and immerse yourself in the world of aviation.

So mark your calendars and don’t miss out on the upcoming air shows and events at Duxford Aerodrome. It’s an opportunity to be inspired, marvel at the incredible feats of aviation, and create lasting memories.

Upcoming Air Shows and Events

Date Event Description
June 12-13, 2022 Duxford Air Festival A two-day spectacular featuring thrilling air displays, vintage aircraft, and family entertainment.
July 9-10, 2022 Warbird Weekend A celebration of historic military aircraft with flying displays, exhibitions, and ground activities.
September 24-25, 2022 Battle of Britain Air Show Commemorating the heroic efforts of the RAF during the Battle of Britain with thrilling aerobatics and historic aircraft.
November 12-13, 2022 Remembrance Air Show An emotional tribute to veterans and fallen heroes, featuring poignant displays and moments of reflection.

Flying and Aircraft Ownership at Duxford Aerodrome

Duxford Aerodrome provides a range of facilities and services for aircraft owners and pilots. Whether you’re a private owner or part of a flying club, Duxford offers a convenient and well-equipped airfield for your aviation needs.

Airfield Facilities

At Duxford Aerodrome, you’ll find hard-surface tie-downs available for aircraft parking. While there is currently no hangarage available, the airfield ensures secure and reliable parking options for your aircraft. Additionally, the aerodrome provides an Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) during specified hours. This service is crucial for maintaining safe operations and ensuring efficient communication between pilots and air traffic services.

Fuel Availability

Duxford Aerodrome understands the importance of fuel availability for aircraft owners. On-site, you’ll find fuel services that include both aviation gasoline (avgas) and Jet A1 fuel. This ensures that your aircraft will have access to the necessary fuel for your flights, whether you’re flying piston-engine or jet-powered aircraft. Having fuel readily accessible at the aerodrome allows for seamless operations and peace of mind for aircraft owners.

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Aircraft Ownership at Duxford

If you’re considering basing your aircraft at Duxford Aerodrome, it’s important to note that there are hard-surface tie-downs available for parking. However, hangarage is not currently offered. To explore the possibilities of basing your aircraft at Duxford and to learn more about the available options, you can contact the Airfield Manager. They will provide you with the necessary information and guidance to help you make an informed decision regarding the storage and maintenance of your aircraft.

Facility Description
Hard-surface tie-downs Secure parking options for aircraft
Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) Communication service for pilots and air traffic services
Fuel availability On-site avgas and Jet A1 fuel
Aircraft basing Contact the Airfield Manager for more information

Facilities and Services at Duxford Aerodrome

Duxford Aerodrome offers a range of facilities and services to enhance the visitor experience. Whether you’re a pilot, aviation enthusiast, or simply curious about the world of flight, Duxford Aerodrome has you covered. Here are some of the key offerings:

Catering Facilities

When you need a break from exploring the historic aircraft and exhibits, Duxford Aerodrome provides catering facilities to satisfy your hunger and thirst. Enjoy a selection of refreshments and meals available across the museum, ensuring you can fuel up and recharge during your visit.


Your safety and the security of the aerodrome are of utmost importance. Duxford Aerodrome has 24-hour security measures in place to ensure a safe environment for all visitors and aircraft. You can explore the museum and enjoy the air shows with peace of mind.

Flight Planning and UK Border Control

If you’re a pilot flying into or out of Duxford Aerodrome, you’ll find convenient flight planning facilities available in the briefing room. Access meteorological information, NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen), and other essential planning resources to help you navigate the skies smoothly. Additionally, Duxford Aerodrome has an agreement with UK Border Control, making international flights to and from Europe more seamless.

Facility/Service Availability
Catering Facilities Available across the museum
Security 24-hour presence
Flight Planning Available in the briefing room
UK Border Control Facilitated flights to/from Europe

With these excellent facilities and services, Duxford Aerodrome ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all visitors, whether you’re there to explore, fly, or simply immerse yourself in the fascinating world of aviation.

Parking Rates and Landing Fees at Duxford Aerodrome

When flying to Duxford Aerodrome, it’s important to be aware of the parking rates and landing fees. For light aircraft, parking rates at Duxford Aerodrome are structured based on contract duration. Annual contracts provide the most cost-effective option for those planning to frequently visit the aerodrome, while six-month and monthly contracts offer flexible alternatives. It’s worth noting that parking rates are subject to terms and conditions, which include security and insurance requirements to ensure the safety of all aircraft.

As for landing fees, Duxford airfield-based aircraft enjoy the benefit of having these fees waived. However, during air shows and major events, temporary relocations of aircraft may be required to accommodate displays and ensure the smooth flow of operations. Duxford Aerodrome strives to provide a seamless experience for all pilots and aircraft owners, while also ensuring the safety and enjoyment of visitors attending these exciting events.

For a detailed breakdown of the parking rates and landing fees, please refer to the table below:

Parking Rates Duration
Annual £XXX
Six Months £XXX
Monthly £XXX
Landing Fees Waived for Duxford Airfield-based Aircraft

Please note that the rates provided are for general reference only and may be subject to change. It is recommended to check with Duxford Aerodrome directly for the most up-to-date information on parking rates, landing fees, and any associated terms and conditions.

At Duxford Aerodrome, we strive to provide top-notch facilities and services to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for all pilots and visitors. Whether you’re visiting for a day or planning to base your aircraft at Duxford, our airfield offers everything you need for a convenient and hassle-free experience.


Duxford Aerodrome, with its rich aviation history and extensive aircraft collection, offers visitors a unique and immersive experience. The aerodrome’s close ties to the RAF and its role in the Second World War make it a significant location for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Exploring the museum exhibits allows visitors to delve into the fascinating world of aviation and learn about the iconic aircraft that have shaped history.

One of the highlights of Duxford Aerodrome is its thrilling air shows. These events bring the aviation history to life with dynamic aerial displays and reenactments. Witnessing vintage aircraft take to the skies is truly a sight to behold, providing a sense of excitement and nostalgia.

Whether you are interested in the historical significance of Duxford Aerodrome, the vast aircraft collection, or the thrilling air shows, a visit to this iconic aviation site is a must. Duxford Aerodrome offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of aviation and witness firsthand the magic of flight. So plan your visit now and be prepared to be amazed!

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