A Visit to Duxford IWM

Hello fellow virtual pilots,

First of all, as I am new as an contributor, I would like to say that I am very excited to post my first article. And what an article to start off with!

Last Sunday I finally had the opportunity to pay a visit to the Duxford Imperial War Museum. Originally being from Holland and never having been to the UK before, this got me very excited. So off I went, together with my colleague and good friend Dan, our vehicle artist.

First we went into the Imperial War Museum itself where we were greeted with the British military aviation history. This hanger is completely filled up with the coolest planes history has to offer. They are on the ground and on the ceiling and first off when I came in I just didn’t know where to go. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. Among many others, planes you can see here are: A Lancaster X, a Vulcan B.2, the XR222 experimental jet, a GR.3 Harrier on the ceiling, a Lightning F.1, Gloster Meteor, the Sunderland MR.5 flying boat and many, many more!

After the IWM itself, we went to the restoration hangers. These hangers are not only cool because they are actively in use, but there always are new planes in them! When we went, there was a B17 with all engine covers off, a couple of Spits and even an Avio S-199 (The Spanish version of the BF109). And they were all being worked on. Unfortunately as this is an active hanger you can’t walk through all the planes or get close to all planes. But still very cool to see all these amazing aircraft being worked on.

After this we decided to have a coffee break and to take a look at the book shops. There are two of them. One is in the entrance and this one has new published books which are fun to read but not too special. Another one is located between the entrance and the American Air Museum. This one is better as it is filled up with old, second hand books which have the most amazing information in them. For example, we found pilots manual for the DC3 and two books on all DC3’s and variants that were ever made. That is the stuff you can find in this little store operated by an old man with a beating heart for aviation.

As the museum closes at 4pm, 7 days a week, we had just enough time to visit one more hanger. Obviously, this had to be the American Air Museum. In here you can find some of the coolest aircraft ever made, including the experimental planes from the cold war era, like the SR-71 Blackbird and the U-2 Dragon Lady. And they even managed to fit an entire B-52 in here, together with a B-17, a B-25, an A-10, P-51, P-40 and again so much more. Oh, and a cool fact, if you ever go to the American Air Museum, walk up to the front gear of the SR-71 and look on the right gear door. You can actually see the autographs of the crew that flew the plane. How cool is that?

Duxford really is a must see for the aviation enthusiast and I can’t believe I haven’t been there before. One thing I do know for sure and that’s that this wasn’t my last visit either.

For more info on what is currently at Duxford IWM, visit this Wikipedia page and for more info on opening times, tickets and special activities, visit the Duxford IWM site.

Happy flying and if you are going to Duxford, have fun and feel free to share your experience!

Joeri Veenhuizen

Hello, my name is Joeri and I am the Mission Designer for the Dovetail Games Flight team. The reason I managed to get this job is through my passion for flying. Ever since I was a little Dutch boy I dreamed of becoming a pilot. I didn't care how or on what plane or helicopter, all I knew is that I belonged in the sky. So when I was 7 years old, I got my first joystick from my parents and my first flight sim: Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000! And I was hooked.. Shortly after I bought 2002 and 2004 myself and in 2006 I bought FSX as soon as it came out. Now, I know how to fly multiple aircraft completely out of my head (Cessna 152, 172, Piper 18, 28, 36, 46, C130, Boeing 777, etc) And I am simulator certified on the Boeing 737NG. So far I haven't had much luck on achieving my dream to become an actual pilot, mostly because I can't afford the training or because the Dutch Airforce was full, but playing flight sim's helped me to keep the dream and to experience flying anyway. I love doing this job because all I think about is that there are other boys and girls reaching the age where they start thinking about what they want to do later when they grow up. And a handful will want to become pilot as well, just like I did on my age. And I am now part of helping them achieve that dream and to experience flying themselves. I am helping them to light up that flame for aviation, just like Flight Sim 2000 did that for me!