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Jonny

IWM Duxford American Airshow 28 - 29 May

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Did anyone else go? I went Saturday. Weather marginal at first that rather spoiled the opening (Patrouille de France) but excellent as always and it - the weather - improved during the afternoon.

I chanted to a few of the Friends of Duxford (FoD) volunteers. They are not happy: since IWM took over running FoD from the Duxford Aviation Society small irritating rules have been imposed. Like not allowing volunteers in the FoD marquee to renew members' subscriptions, or to accept donations for refreshments - not trusted to handle money, apparently. A shame. No doubt 'management' have their reasons but if so they haven't explained them to the FoD volunteers.

I got the impression that there were fewer people at the show. The carpark seemed emptier than normal too. Is this because visitors have to pre-book & prepay for all Duxford shows now, as well as pay seperately to park? I for one preferred to wait till 'the day' to check weather. That's no longer possible.

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Don't worry, management will soon settle in and get the hang of things. Won't be long before they screw it all up. They've already started by getting rid of exhibits and wanting to close the Land Warfare hall. I wonder how soon they will start re-writing history?

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Good question. They put the exhibits up for sale last year. Don't want nasty, bangy things. Not PC. Just look at Lambeth.

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Had a great day Saturday, wanted to spend more time in the museum however I sort of shopped until I was skinters rather than dropped. The event did seem quieter than normal however some of my favourite aircraft were flying. Got some good static and in flight pictures which I am rather happy with. Especially of the Hawk 75, P-40 and Sally B.Looking forward to the Flying Legends in July.

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Hmmmmm sounds like they are deliberately running it down,could it be something to do with airfields being brown field sites i wonder.You could get an awful lot of houses on there.

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FFS don't give them ideas. There is already talk of selling off the overflow car park. It would only take someone like Stephen Grey or ARCo to move out, then the rot would set in fast. Current management have no concept of history or heritage - it's just a civil service job to them.

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There's some very interesting comments about the new management at Duxford on here.. It seems to have taken a very definite turn for the worst, if all the comments are accurate.

I was at the show on both days. Definitely a smaller crowd than in previous years, even bearing in mind that the May show usually has the lowest attendance of all three annual air-shows there. I thought the flying line-up was good, but not amazing (a sign of the times, I'm guessing). The new CAA rules made a big difference, but would probably not have even been noticed by "Mum, Dad & two kids".

Who knows how DX air-shows will go in the future?

Chris.

PS: What bright spark decided it would be a good thing to have Flying Legends on the same weekend as Fairford? Surely, both air-shows will lose out in this scenario?

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Housing sounds good

B17 lane

Mustang Alley

Thunderbolt Street

Hurricane Way

Keeps history alive and vibrant if we name the streets after the planes

Fokker Fairway as well

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PS: What bright spark decided it would be a good thing to have Flying Legends on the same weekend as Fairford? Surely, both air-shows will lose out in this scenario?

Much to my frustration it's been like it for years, ever since Farnborough moved to July is when Fairford moved and so clashes with Flying Legends

Edited by Toe

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Was anyone on the opposite side to the main show-ground this time around?

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To answer the last post, there was not a sole to be seen on the south side of the field on Sunday, not even a fire truck.

I know several of the traders at Duxford and they were most unhappy on Sunday morning at the lack of visitors (around 8,000) on Saturday to go with the increased charges for their pitches.

It was most disturbing to hear that some people had been turned away on Saturday who had not been aware that it was an advance ticket only show. Even worse (if true) that an odd few arrived without a car park ticket (a fiver on top of the entrance price!!!) and were turned away too. The need for a car park ticket could easily be missed when buying a ticket on line. Given the vast amount of white space on the A4 ticket sheet when printed, did someone not think to add a bold note - Have you bought a car park ticket?

Why on earth, given the low take-up of tickets for Saturday, did the organisers not put in place the facility to take money from those turning up without a ticket? I guess that casual overseas visitors to Duxford, unaware of the air show could not get in either???

There are many reasons why advance ticket only is a good idea but not so for a show that is never full. Although a good afternoon's flying, there was nothing of note to attract a good crowd. It makes sense for the busy Flying Legends show or for when a Vulcan or a couple of Lancasters are due to pitch-up. Knowing the fickle British weather and the price of the ticket that could be wasted if the forecast is bad, many must think twice before buying. Imagine if the shocking weather in that area had been a day earlier!!

Maybe the organisers need to put on a commercial hat and have a plan B should ticket sales be underwhelming as they were on Saturday. If people without a ticket were turned away on Saturday, every four extra sales would have been more than £100 into the museum's kitty for very little extra effort. Anyone running a business would not turn that down and maybe the Duxford team need to be a bit more creative in their thinking. in future.

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To answer the last post, there was not a sole to be seen on the south side of the field on Sunday, not even a fire truck.

I know several of the traders at Duxford and they were most unhappy on Sunday morning at the lack of visitors (around 8,000) on Saturday to go with the increased charges for their pitches.

It was most disturbing to hear that some people had been turned away on Saturday who had not been aware that it was an advance ticket only show. Even worse (if true) that an odd few arrived without a car park ticket (a fiver on top of the entrance price!!!) and were turned away too. The need for a car park ticket could easily be missed when buying a ticket on line. Given the vast amount of white space on the A4 ticket sheet when printed, did someone not think to add a bold note - Have you bought a car park ticket?

Why on earth, given the low take-up of tickets for Saturday, did the organisers not put in place the facility to take money from those turning up without a ticket? I guess that casual overseas visitors to Duxford, unaware of the air show could not get in either???

There are many reasons why advance ticket only is a good idea but not so for a show that is never full. Although a good afternoon's flying, there was nothing of note to attract a good crowd. It makes sense for the busy Flying Legends show or for when a Vulcan or a couple of Lancasters are due to pitch-up. Knowing the fickle British weather and the price of the ticket that could be wasted if the forecast is bad, many must think twice before buying. Imagine if the shocking weather in that area had been a day earlier!!

Maybe the organisers need to put on a commercial hat and have a plan B should ticket sales be underwhelming as they were on Saturday. If people without a ticket were turned away on Saturday, every four extra sales would have been more than £100 into the museum's kitty for very little extra effort. Anyone running a business would not turn that down and maybe the Duxford team need to be a bit more creative in their thinking. in future.

Very well said!

I made up my mind not to go to this weekend's show when they announced it was going to be advanced ticket only and added the £5 parking charge.

It's purely personal of course but I tend not to go to weather dependent events where I have to commit to buying a ticket in advance unless it is a particularly special event e.g. the BoB 75th last September. I didn't go to RIAT for years after it became advanced ticket only until a friend twisted my arm a couple of years ago. Incidentally I'm going to RIAT instead of Legends but that's primarily because I prefer jets to props.

I did look at the line-up and decided that it was nothing special that justified committing in advance.

Theoretically there is no right or wrong answer to advanced ticket only or on the day sales. It's a question of where the risk is placed: the organiser or the customer. I can see it from the organiser's side - they want the certainty of cash irrespective of the weather and the customer generally wants the certainty of the good weather. However, time and attendance at future shows will clearly show what is the correct answer and as a potential customer I decline the risk.

The car park charge and increased CAA charges have been done to death on here and other forums so need to open that debate again but if Duxford persists in continuing with advanced tickets only and the car park charge then I won't go. Cutting off my nose to spite my face? That is entirely possible but what Duxford's management must realise as those who do when they are running a business (which doesn't include me incidentally) that customers are the lifeblood of the business. Give people what they want and they'll keep coming back. As uncomfortable as it sounds no company or organisation has a god given right to exist and for Duxford to turn away potential paying customers at the weekend owing to the lack of a car park pass or hadn't realised it was ticket only is simply stupid.

Far too much of what seems to pass for comment from Duxford's management about "improved visitor experience" and "better car parking management" seems to be right out of a new corporate management textbook as opposed to plain English. They'll be talking about aviation history being in their DNA next.

I hadn't realised they are closing the Land Warfare Hall. That will really improve the visitor experience. Anybody want to speculate on whether the entry charges will be reduced to reflect the smaller number of exhibits?

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I made up my mind to not attend Duxford shows since last year I just don't think you get value for money I know you get the Museum but there is only so many times I can walk around the hangars in a year !!

You seem to wait for ever for the flying to start at 2.00 pm, I know do the flightline walk another fiver its the only show I know that charges to look at participating aircraft that are really on static.

As for tickets in advance well I think that,s a big mistake and charging for parking aswell so you are nearly paying the same as RIAT but you get an 8hr display !!!

I will give this year a miss and see how the new rules, charges pan out and if nothing changes well sorry but no more Duxford for me.

Guy

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Did anyone else go? I went Saturday. Weather marginal at first that rather spoiled the opening (Patrouille de France) but excellent as always and it - the weather - improved during the afternoon.

I chanted to a few of the Friends of Duxford (FoD) volunteers. They are not happy: since IWM took over running FoD from the Duxford Aviation Society small irritating rules have been imposed. Like not allowing volunteers in the FoD marquee to renew members' subscriptions, or to accept donations for refreshments - not trusted to handle money, apparently. A shame. No doubt 'management' have their reasons but if so they haven't explained them to the FoD volunteers.

I got the impression that there were fewer people at the show. The carpark seemed emptier than normal too. Is this because visitors have to pre-book & prepay for all Duxford shows now, as well as pay seperately to park? I for one preferred to wait till 'the day' to check weather. That's no longer possible.

They did explain it to the FoD volunteers, and hope to have rectified the issue come Legends. A matter of FSI issues since the change of hands from DAS to the larger and more accountable IWM.

I heard they want the airliners gone as well

The airliners belong to DAS including Concorde which gives DAS the upper hand and I therefore can't see the airliners being moved on anytime soon.

Don't worry, management will soon settle in and get the hang of things. Won't be long before they screw it all up. They've already started by getting rid of exhibits and wanting to close the Land Warfare hall. I wonder how soon they will start re-writing history?

No plans to get rid of the LWH at this moment in time, where did you hear that rumour?

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No plans to get rid of the LWH at this moment in time, where did you hear that rumour?

This was touted last year. From what I understand, they put the collection up for offers from interested parties. It was common knowledge. Aside from the AAM, they only want British aircraft there, hence the disposal of the Ju 52/3M, the Hind and a few others. Do you know more?

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They did explain it to the FoD volunteers, and hope to have rectified the issue come Legends. A matter of FSI issues since the change of hands from DAS to the larger and more accountable IWM.

Well, if they did explain to the Volunteers, it's odd that the 5 I spoke with seperately each said in their own way that no-one from IWM had spoken with them. A neighbour who happens rto be DAS and FoD also said he hadn't had any briefing from IWM.

I'd be interested to know where you got your information from, Agent K.

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All volunteers were briefed on the issues, as part of the early morning daily show briefing, both days of the show and also via an email to all the volunteers.

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My partner and I were there both days. Personally, I thought the show was a bit underwhelming albeit with some good moments but, Sandra loved it so, I guess if she's happy, I'm happy! :lol:.

Expanding a little on the subject, I think the advance ticket only was a bad idea. I have no objection to buying in advance myself as, I had to plan a trip from Edinburgh. It therefore made perfect sense to me. However, there are a lot of people who will decide on the day if they are going to a weather dependant event such as this. Effectively, they were denied the chance to go. Management however (as managements usually do) will never admit they made a mistake so I do not see this changing much, if at all. As I don't drive, the car parking charge was irrelevant but, there is public transport provided to the show from Cambridge. Not ideal for everybody I accept but, nonetheless an option. There did seem to be a lack of trade stands compared to other years and, the number of catering outlets was definitely down but, given the OTT prices they charge anyway, this is no great loss as far as I'm concerned. £9.50 for a beef burger & chips and £4.50 for a pint of beer????? You must be kidding mate! :D.

I did not notice much difference in display distance but, a lot of the actual displays seemed a bit sedate if not actually dull. Long passes with wingovers seemed to be the order of the day. I guess that the more dynamic looping and top side passes are now deemed "too dangerous" & therefore off limits? Certainly, I took far fewer pictures this year than ever before. On the plus side, I thought the Silver pass was a good idea - largely because of the excellent viewing facility and access to the flightline.

Overall, I'd score it 6 out of 10. would I go again? Probably but, the generally very tame flying (with the exception of the Typhoon, Bronco & Skyvan) was disappointing and not, I hope a shape of things to come.

Allan

Edited by Albeback52

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I do agree Allan its a always weather dependant especially more so with Duxford because there is more restrictions on the older type aircraft cross wind limits etc and I suppose the same for Old Warden, so advance ticket is ok if you can print it out on the Friday before the weekend show as I did with Abingdon ! And as you say the flying is a bit distant but not as bad as Farnborough !

So if you have a bit of a distance to drive as I have to finally get there to find out half the aircraft can not fly so I have wasted half a tank of petrol plus the cost of the entrance ticket, parking charge !

Lets hope the questionnaire that was emailed to everyone who bought a ticket will be productive for upcoming shows.

Guy

Edited by F4u

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I guess ultimately there are a number of factors involved from one end of the spectrum to the other, and Duxford will never please all of the people.

Having got it's fingers burnt over the 2 x lancs airshow with paid up attendees not being able to make it in, and not having a (stated) upper capacity they went for all ticket for the perceived popularity of the BoB airshow last September, which worked and they sold out both days and thus people who paid and got in were not disappointed and those who couldn't buy a ticket didn't waste time or effort in trying to get in.

The benefits of all ticket mean easier planning for parking (and for emergency services and traffic agencies), for workers and numbers of, for marketing sales pitches, providing infrastructure and facilities etc. etc. and present a known income stream. Similarly theatres, cricket, football, motor racing all sell advanced only for the higher level competitions and events for similar reasons. The disadvantages are, however, as we've seen.

Unfortunately in this weekends case tickets were on sale till Friday but not too well advertised.

I suspect we'll see some form of compromise in the future that addresses popularity and parking needs but also offers flexibility to a degree.

Edited by Agent K

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I've just had an email from IWM saying they're "excited to tell [me] that tickets for our September air show are now on sale!"

Even better, there's a 20% discount for the first 1000 bookers.

I wonder ... have they noticed a fall in the number of actual visitors to the American Show, or a slow take up for Flying Legends???

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I am very sorry to say this, but I think my annual pilgrimage to the war bird mecca of Europe is at an end for the forseable future. I have been going to Duxford since the first show and have missed very few since . Each year seems either to maintain or exceed the quality of the show and the parking and ticketing generally works. I have said on a previous post that if it costs a little more at the gate then it is worth it as I think value for money is almost always assured. "IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT"!

Edited by Britman

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