Duxford - Outdoor Displays - Page 3

LINKS BELOW are to pages in the IWM Duxford site and to the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

     1 : IWM History
     2 : IWM Duxford History
     3 : Indoor Displays
    4 : Outdoor Displays

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The Viscount was designed as a successor to the piston-engined Vickers Viking. It was the world's first turbo-prop powered airliner, and the prototype made its maiden flight in July 1948.

The displayed aircraft was used for a few passenger flights to Paris to test the market's reaction to this new, quieter, more comfortable way of flying, long before scheduled flights began.

In August 1950 G-ALWF was the second production Viscount, and was part of an order for 20 of the type placed by British European Airways. BEA's aircraft were designated type V.701s, and the order was later increased to 27. The first 20 aircraft were delivered between January 1953 and March 1954, and the additional 7 were delivered between October 1954 and July 1956.

'WF made its first flight at Weybridge on 3rd December 1952. It was registered to BEA on 2nd January 1953 and delivered to the airline on 2nd February 1953, receiving its Certificate of Airworthiness a week later.

BEA named its Viscounts the Discovery Class, and 'WF was named 'RMA Sir John Franklin'.

Over the next two months it was used for crew training and route proving flights, before scheduled services from Heathrow to Cyprus (Nicosia) via Rome and Athens commenced on 18th April together with G-AMNY. These were the world’s first regular scheduled services using turboprop aircraft, and 'WF operated the second one.

The Viscounts were initially fitted with 40 seats in an a four-abreast (2 + 2) all-first-class layout. They could also accommodate 47 seats in a tourist class layout.

As the oldest Viscount still in existence 'WF was considered worthy of preservation and it was acquired by the Viscount Preservation Trust. On 12th April 1972 it made its final flight from Cardiff Airport (Rhoose) to Liverpool calling at Heathrow en route to pick up some VIPs. It had then flown a total of 28,299 hours and made 25,398 landings.

'WF was put on display in December 1972 in one of LLiverpool's main hangars, which the public was allowed access to in order to walk through it. This arrangement was eventually terminated because of concerns over site security, and 'WF was moved outside, with its future in doubt, and the possibility of having to be scrapped.

The Duxford Aviation Society offered to take ‘WF and move it to Duxford and a team of Society members travelled up to Liverpool every weekend for three months to dismantle 'WF. The fuselage was transported to Duxford by low loader on 22nd February 1976, with the other components following later. Its complete re-assembly took several years, as replacements for some missing components had to be found and acquired.

In 1986 'WF was repainted in its original BEA livery, and it was put on display outside. This necessitated another refurbishment and repainting in 1992.

It was originally selected as one of the aircraft to be displayed in AirSpace, and it was given another lengthy refurbishment, but in the event it was not included in the new building and remains on display outside.


The Handley Page Victor was a British jet-powered strategic bomber, developed and produced by the Handley Page Aircraft Company and served during the Cold War. It was the third and final of the V-bombers operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the other two V-bombers being the Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant.

The Victor had been developed to perform as part of the United Kingdom's airborne nuclear deterrent.

A number of Victors had received modifications to undertake the strategic reconnaissance role, employing a combination of radar, cameras, and other sensors.

When the nuclear deterrence mission was given to the Royal Navy's submarine-launched Polaris missiles in 1969, a large V-bomber fleet was deemed surplus to requirements.

As such, many of the surviving Victors were converted into aerial refuelling tankers. During the Falklands War, Victor tankers were notably used in the airborne logistics operation to repeatedly refuel Vulcan bombers on their way to and from the Black Buck raids.

The Victor was the last of the V-bombers to be retired, the last aircraft being removed from service on 15 October 1993. In the refuelling role, the type had been replaced by the Vickers VC10 and the Lockheed Tristar.

In the conventional and nuclear strike roles, the Avro Vulcan operated in this capacity until 1982, when it was in turn replaced by the significantly smaller Panavia Tornado.


The Douglas C-47 aircraft shown below was heavily utilised during WWII including D-Day. It still retains the bullet holes in the fuselage and the captains seat. It was previously registered in the United States N5831B. When it arrived in the United Kingdom in 2005 it underwent major restoration to get it into the form it shows today.

The plane was delivered to the United States Army Air Force in UK on December 28, 1943 with serial number 42-100882. It joined operations with 87th Troop Carrier Squadron, based at Greenham Common. Being equipped as glider pick up, the crew named her "Drag 'em Oot" (Scottish for 'Drag them out').

It participated in the air assault during D-Day when at 00:46 on June 6, 1944 it dropped 18 paratroopers of the US 82nd Airborne Division just behind the Normandy beachheads near St Mere Eglise. It returned to the UK and, after a second mission the same day, it was used to resupply the troops in France until, in September 1944, it was transferred to the Royal Air Force as Dakota C3 with serial number TS422.

With the RAF it was assigned to Number 1 Heavy Glider Servicing Unit attached to 38 Group RAF at Netheravon, Wiltshire. The RAF wanted to have a specialist glider recovery unit and so the plane commenced recovering Horsa assault gliders from the Normandy beachheads. The unit recovered about 40 Horsa's prior to Operation Market Garden.

TS422 herself was, together with the Horsa gliders it recovered from the Normandy beaches, in action in September 1944 during the biggest military parachute drop in history i.e. Operation Market Garden (which featured in the book by Cornelius Ryan and the film of the same name, 'A Bridge Too Far'). During this mission the plane received its (still present) twelve bullet holes above the cockpit and nose.

In August 1945 the plane joined 435 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force that had recently returned from Burma to the UK. Post war it went to Canada where it served with the RCAF as a trainer, transport and, equipped with skis and jato rockets, search and rescue aircraft.

After her military service the plane ended up in the US serving with various civil companies as N5831B. It was then grounded for a few years until, in 2004, her current owner, Paddy Green, found her in Arizona. Following an inspection she was purchased and prepared for the long flight back to Liverpool (UK) which took 7 days and 35 hours flying time.

Once back in the UK it became coded N473DC, was repainted in its present colours and given the markings as worn during its missions on D-Day 1944 i.e. USAAF serial number 42-100882, code 3X-P and nickname 'Drag 'em Oot'.

On the edge of the airfield, is the Duxford control tower.

This was built during the second world war.

The observation room on the top is a post-war addition.


The De Havilland Twin Otter aircraft is a high wing, twin engine, turbo prop aircraft capable of carrying up to twenty passengers. The aircraft has a wing span of 65 ft, length of 51 ft 9 in and a maximum take-off weight of 12,500 lbs. The Twin Otter is one of the de Havilland family of “bush†aircraft noted for their rugged construction and Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) performance.

The version operated by the British Antarctic Survey is the wheel/ski equipped aircraft which has the capability to land on snow and ice or hard runways. These rugged aircraft are the backbone of the BAS Antarctic operations. They carry the scientists out into their field locations, they resupply them or move them during the season, and then recover the party to Rothera or Halley stations at the completion of their projects.

On 21 Jun 2013 around 600 schoolchildren from across Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire attended a special STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network) Education Day at the Duxford Imperial War Museum.

Two small, hand-picked, groups of Year 10 pupils were invited to view one of the Twin Otters in BAS' fleet of aircraft. 'Ice Cold Katy' (pictured) had flown up from Antarctica in February via Canada where she stopped for some routine maintenance. The plane was at Duxford between missions to the Arctic to support the ACCACIA research project which is hoping to reduce uncertainties surrounding climate change models.

The aircraft has been modified to carry sophisticated equipment used for conducting atmospheric tests and airborne surveys. Sensors fitted to the aircraft provide scientists with data about the land and ice below and radar can be used to measure the thickness of the ice. Geophysicist, Vicky Hamilton-Morris gave the groups a tour of the aircraft...one of the four in the fleet.


The V-1 ('Doodlebug') was developed at Peenemünde Army Research Center by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. During initial development it was known by the codename "Cherry Stone".

The first of the so-called Vergeltungswaffen series designed for terror bombing of London, the V-1, was fired from launch sites along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts.

The first V-1 to attack London was launched on 13 June 1944, one week after (and prompted by) the successful Allied landing in Europe.

At its peak, more than one hundred V-1s a day were fired at south east England i.e. 9,521 in total.

Numbers decreased as sites were overrun until in October 1944 the last V-1 site in range of Britain was overrun by Allied forces. This caused the remaining V-1s to be directed at the port of Antwerp and other targets in Belgium, with 2,448 V-1s being launched.

The attacks stopped when the last site was overrun on 29 March 1945.

This outdoor example at Duxford features a partially recreated launch ramp with a mock-up V-1.

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