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News and Articles

NEW on our YouTube channel. British Airliner Collection history No.1 Ambassador

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By Steve Jeal, 7 July 2020

Short Brothers…the forgotten trailblazers

Short Brothers

Ask any man in the street to name a famous UK aircraft manufacturer and you will hear Vickers, de Havilland, Avro or Handley Page mentioned. You would be very unlikely to hear the name Shorts. However, this company was making balloons in 1897, became Short Brothers in 1908 and continued in the aviation business achieving many firsts until bought by Bombardier in 1989. In 1897... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 26 June 2020

New on BAC YouTube Channel - Concorde 101 - Nose lowering behind the scenes

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By Steve Jeal, 6 June 2020

707…the start of a dynasty

Boeing 707

707…the start of a dynasty   The de Havilland Comet was the world’s first jet airliner. The de Havilland Comet 4 was also the world’s first jet airliner to carry fare-paying passengers across the Atlantic. But the de Havilland Comet was not the world’s first jet airliner to become a commercial success. That was the     ... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 18 May 2020

Travelling to Jersey, a history

Jersey

Let’s go...to Jersey!   From the 1950s to the 1980s the British public who had the wherewithal to fly had two destinations at the top of their list. One was the Dutch bulb fields, with a stream of charter flights operating each year out of Southend airport and the other was the Channel Island of Jersey. With that heady mix of English/French culture this was going abroad... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 18 May 2020

Caring for a Grand old lady

Viscount

Caring for a Grand old lady Keith Bradshaw tells the story of how the Duxford Aviation Society are maintaining Vickers V701 Viscount G-ALWF, the world’s oldest Viscount and most likely the world’s oldest turboprop in existence today. It was a summer’s day in 1948 when Vickers’ test pilots Mutt Summers and Jock Bryce pulled back on the stick of the first... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 23 April 2020

The magic moving map

Trident

On visiting our Trident many people comment on the moving map display asking if it’s a kind of Sat Nav. The system on the Trident was designed long before GPS was available and indeed was one of the first stand alone navigation systems not requiring any ground stations or satellites to operate. This is how it all works. Maurice Gatsonides.  There’s a name you... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 23 April 2020

200 over and out

200 over and out Regular readers among you will remember a series of articles about my quest to fly in as many different types of plane as possible. This started in 1962 as an eight year old having his first ever flight, in an Auster from North Denes near Great Yarmouth. For one reason or another the final article wasn’t published so here it is with the run up to number... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 31 March 2020

One to ten…..the Douglas way !

Douglas Commercial Airliners

Mention the aircraft company Douglas and most people think of the DC-3. There was however much more to Douglas with many military fighters, bombers and transports coming out of their Californian factories. But our story will just cover the ‘DC’ or Douglas Commercial series from the DC-1 to the DC-10. Founded by Donald W Douglas in 1921, the Douglas Aircraft Company... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 31 March 2020

British Airliner Collection Closed to the Public

In line with advice from Public Health England, IWM Duxford has taken the decision to close from Tuesday 17 March, until further notice.  more >

By Steve Jeal, 18 March 2020

The Designers

The Designers

The designers For over half  the 20th century British aircraft design was dominated by just two people - Roy Chadwick at Avro and Sydney Camm at Hawker. It was all the more remarkable that these two outstandingly talented designers were born in the same year, 1893. This is their story.   First let us take a look at the life of Roy Chadwick CBE. Born in... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 3 March 2020

A story of Guppies and Belugas

Guppies

The last Aero Spacelines Super Guppy SGT, originally built for Airbus, is now the sole flying example of this remarkable breed. Flown by NASA. Seen here at the Wings over Houston air show in 2011 it is still in service today.  Photo Keith Bradshaw Back in the early 1960s John Conroy set up a company called Aero Spacelines to exploit a gap in the aviation market for an outsize... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 4 February 2020

Testing Testing

testing

With the recent Rolls- Royce announcement that they are acquiring an ex Qantas Boeing 747 for use as a flying engine testbed, Keith Bradshaw takes a look back at some of the other aircraft used for engine testing in the past. Although not that commonplace these days due to most “new” engines being developments of older well tried examples, testing a new engine on... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 20 December 2019

2019… a grand year

2019 review

With another year drawing to a close let us take the traditional look back at what’s been happening here at Duxford over the past 12 months. 2019 saw a large number of anniversaries affecting our collection and aviation in general. The big ones were the first flights 50 years ago of Concorde and the Boeing 747. Our BAC 1-11 also saw air under its wings for the first time in... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 6 December 2019

DAS and Dan Air an historic pairing

Dan Air

DAS & DAN Keith Bradshaw takes a look back at the much missed independent airline DAN-AIR and its contribution to the British Airliner Collection. One of the major contributors to the world famous British Airliner Collection was Dan-Air. Unusually for an airline they regarded their history with respect and as historic airliners were retired, instead of going to the... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 18 November 2019

Farewell to Farnborough Airshow

Farnborough

After 70 years the organisers of the Farnborough air show have decreed that from next  year there will no longer be a public flying display at the weekend. The event will finish on the Friday trade day to which the public will be admitted. Keith Bradshaw takes a nostalgic look back at an event that was once regarded as the best air show in the world. Since 1948 early... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 16 September 2019

Comet….grandaddy of the jetliners!

Comet….grandaddy of the jetliners!   Date….27 July 1949, Place….Hatfield England, Crew… John ‘Cats Eyes’ Cunningham, Harold ‘Tubby’ Waters, John Wilson, Frank Reynolds and Tony Fairbrother. Event… Maiden flight of the world’s first jet powered airliner, the de Havilland DH106 Comet 1. This is the story by... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 11 July 2019

60th anniversary of the delivery of our Brit to BOAC

Brittania

In a year full of anniversaries, Keith Bradshaw highlights the 60th anniversary of the delivery of our Brit to BOAC And rule the Atlantic she did. The Britannia and its CL44 derivative were the only turbo prop aircraft to operate regular passenger flights across the North Atlantic between 1957 and 1964. Only the Britannia made the journey non-stop. The Icelandic airline Loftleidir... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 11 July 2019

Still looking good at 70

Hermes

Hermes! What does this word mean to you? The Greek god of transport? A Mail order delivery company? A French manufacturer of up-market scarves? Or one of Britain’s first pressurised post war airliners? Well you can guess which one gets the Duxford Aviation Society vote. We have many iconic airliners in the British Airliner Collection but one of the rarest is the world’s... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 11 July 2019

Shining a light on the work of the MV team

Searchlights

Last May we were asked by the IWM if we would refurbish 3 of their 4 x 90cm diameter x WW2 searchlights.  Their plan being to use the Searchlights as part of the Battle of Britain display.  The brief that DAS were given was to dismantle (where possible), completely refurbish all components and then reassemble.  Once completed the IWM would fit the Searchlights with modern... more >

By Mark Webster, 28 March 2019

2019 and a history of BEA

Pics from Keiths article

2019 is an anniversary year par excellence! We have already celebrated 50 years since our BAC 1-11 first flew back in January, swiftly followed by 50 years of Concorde in March. However, between those two important events in February, the anniversary of 50 years since the first flight of the Boeing 747 Jumbo jet passed by, Unlike the two British planes it is still in limited production. In... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 23 March 2019

Concorde from the engineer's seat

Trevor Evans in his office - the engineer's seat in Concorde

2 March 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first flight of a special aircraft known for its speed and luxury, an aircraft that has become unique as a technological, if not commercial triumph of its era. Nearly 50 years ago, on that Sunday in 1969, I was probably gearing myself up to go to school the next day to face the work culminating in my GCE ‘O’ level attempts... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 14 February 2019

Pond Hopping

Alcock and Brown prepare for their historic flight

4 October 2018 sees the 60th anniversary of the first commercial jet airliner flights across the Atlantic. Our Comet G-APDB, here at Duxford, was one of two aircraft that took part in that historic crossing.  It all began when two push-bike mechanics, Orville and Wilbur Wright, flew the first, powered, heavier-than-air machine at Kill Devil Hills near Kittyhawk Beach North Carolina... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 1 October 2018

Duxford Aviation Society at a Duxford Air Show

Fairey Swordfish displaying at Duxford Flying Legends

Many of us will have been to one of Duxford’s superb air shows, but how many have considered what goes on behind the scenes to prepare for such a great day’s enjoyment? Let's take a brief look at DAS involvement in one of these big events. Bear in mind that all this happens three times a year with two-day shows in May, July and September. Several months before... more >

By Keith Bradshaw, 2 August 2018

Happy Birthday Whisky Juliet!

G-APWJ on her 55th birthday

Fifty-five years ago on 29 May 1963, just a normal day for most people at the Handley Page factory at Radlett in Hertfordshire. As they got on with the job of fulfilling the order book for their new turbo- prop, feeder liner, the Handley Page Dart Herald, the sound of an aeroplane taking off from the company runway outside the factory barely raised an eyebrow. However this was no... more >

By Chrissie Eaves-Walton, 29 May 2018