Special Events / Minimaster

Minimaster Toby explores Duxford Air Festival

Thrilling high-flying action arrives in Cambridgeshire later this month.

From Saturday 25 – Sunday 26 May 2019, IWM Duxford in Cambridgeshire, part of Imperial War Museums, will once again host the uniquely thrilling spectacle of the Duxford Air Festival.

Ahead of the high-flying action, Minimaster Toby visited the Imperial War Museum Duxford to chat to Airshow Project Manager Philip Hood and Head of Commercial Services Adam Kendall about things to come.

The event continues a century long tradition, with air shows reportedly celebrated as the second-biggest participation event behind football matches during the twentieth century, for young and old alike.

During its time, the Imperial War Museum in Duxford has each year welcomed tens of thousands of fans through the gates for their programme of action-packed air shows, not least the two-day Duxford Air Festival.

With this year looking set to thrill thousands, we look inside the history of Duxford Air Shows.


The aviation history of Duxford

The Imperial War Museum Duxford sits on the former site of the Royal Flying Corps training aerodrome, first used towards the end of World War I. Serving as a fighter airfield from 1925 until the end of its operational life, Duxford is credited as the original home of the innovative Supermarine Spitfire – first used by No.19 Squadron RAF.

Now owned by Imperial War Museums, IWM Duxford is a unique site that played its part in historical and technological events that changed world history. Duxford Air Festival tells the story of the thrill of flight, including the incredible experience of fast jet flypasts and aviation innovation.


The ever-popular air show

Even when acting as a working airbase, Duxford entertained the masses with its increasingly iconic air shows. In 1935 it stood at the centre of King George V’s Silver Jubilee celebrations, with the King himself attending to enjoy the display.

During peacetime Duxford joined many RAF sites to commemorate the Battle of Britain, in 1955 welcoming over 23,000 visitors. In 1975, the site hosted its first two-day air show, displaying the impressive B-17G Flying Fortress Sally B for the first time. The event also welcomed the area’s iconic Spitfires.


The Duxford Air Festival is born

The Duxford Air Festival officially launched in 2017, building on a century of history and excitement. Representing the past 100 years, it brought – and continues to bring – together the classic and the modern, innovation and technology.

At last year’s thrilling air spectacle the French Air Force’s Dassault Rafale tore up the skies, fans witnessed a closing display by Duxford’s very own Spitfire N3200, the return of La Patrouille de France of the Armée de l’Air, the RAF Chinook Display Team, and the jaw-dropping spectacle of the worlds only aerobatic formation wingwalking team.


Bring on 2019

The Duxford Air Festival is now set to return to the former RAF base and historical site from 25 – 26 May 2019, hosting high-octane thrills, technological innovation and a festival spirit suitable for all.

Tickets for Duxford Air Festival are on sale now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.

All images appear courtesy of the Imperial War Museum Duxford