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Jonny

IWM Duxford

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I spent four hours at Duxford today.  I really went there to have a close look at Sally B and the IWM’s B17G.

 

It struck me that apart from the ‘active’ collections, e.g. The Fighter Collection and HAC, nothing else, maintained by the IWM has changed for some time.  Any changes were, I’m sorry to say, negative, I.e. the Firefly Mk. 1 in Swedish target towing colours, has vanished.

 

Does anyone know where the Firefly has gone?  I asked some IWM staff, but none knew anything about it.

 

What also bothered me is that several airworthy aeroplanes, especially the HAC’s, are unattended and very close to barriers.  I observed several small children tugging at or banging on parts of the aeroplanes, watched by smiling parents.  I also saw some adults doing the same! Obviously the owners will check the airframes but I do feel that IWM should improve is supervision - I’m sure they used to have regular patrols by security people. 

 

Rant mode ‘OFF’ ...

 

Jonny

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I believe that the Firefly is being restored by the HAC in their hangar near to the motorway? There were two,....one being restored to flying condition and one to static condition I believe.  

As for the IWM,...... I visited last year for the first time in a few years and the American Air Museum had bee switched around and the Naval part of one of the hangars was slightly different with the Sea King now in situ,...... but I agree,.....not much change but then there isn`t much that you can do really. It is just nice to see what they have being looked after well. 

 

Cheers

            Tony

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Posted (edited)

I remember reading about a survey taken of British museums some years ago, asking them which visitors caused the most trouble. Almost without exception, the answer was "large groups of French teenagers". It was stated that the museums' staff had learned to keep a very close eye of these particular groups and even then, the museums would often find small parts snapped off their exhibits, which were sometimes thrown in to the bins outside the museum exit by the culprits. 

I don't believe that there was anything xenophobic or anti-European about the museums' replies. I think it was simply people being honest about their experience. 

 

A staff-member at the Hendon RAF Museum told me that they have had instances of folks climbing up on to some aircraft and dancing on the wings (presumably, with a friend recording it on their phone). The absolute stupidity and ignorance of some people is genuinely astonishing.

 

At Duxford, I was told a few years ago that some charmer smuggled a pair of bolt-cutters into the American Air Museum and used it cut through the chain preventing a genuine, WW2 American leather flight-jacket from being pinched.  I hope that they enjoyed their new acquisition - now that no-one else will. These people are scumbags, there's no other (polite) way to describe them.

 

Also, if you look closely at Duxford's, natural-metal B-24 Liberator, you can see several people have scratched graffiti on to the fuselage walls in recent years. Again, scumbags, to a man.      

 

Chris.  

Edited by spruecutter96
Adding some info.

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7 hours ago, spruecutter96 said:

 

 

Also, if you look closely at Duxford's, natural-metal B-24 Liberator, you can see several people have scratched graffiti on to the fuselage walls in recent years. Again, scumbags, to a man.      

 

Chris.  

I think you will find this was done Stateside. It was so 'engraved' when it first went on display here. Whether the presence of pre-existing graffiti has led to more, I don't know.

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3 hours ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

I think you will find this was done Stateside. It was so 'engraved' when it first went on display here. Whether the presence of pre-existing graffiti has led to more, I don't know.

I thought that Americans generally have a bit more respect for their history than that, I guess you get bad pennies just about anywhere. 

 

Chris. 

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I had heard that some graffiti had been scratched into the B-24 while in the States.

If you go to Bruge in Belgium and go up into the bell tower next to the main square, there is lots of graffitti scratched into the stone and woodwork,...... much of it from German soldiers between 1940-44!! 

 

Cheers

           Tony

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11 hours ago, spruecutter96 said:

I thought that Americans generally have a bit more respect for their history than that, I guess you get bad pennies just about anywhere. 

 

Chris. 

At Oshkosh I was amazed that almost every aircraft on the flightline was completely accessible so you could get up close and personal. I don't think you'd find that anywhere else. But the EAA visitors were always respectful. 

Pity that's not a universal thing. 

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1 hour ago, noelh said:

At Oshkosh I was amazed that almost every aircraft on the flightline was completely accessible so you could get up close and personal. I don't think you'd find that anywhere else. But the EAA visitors were always respectful. 

Pity that's not a universal thing. 

A REAL pity, for sure.

 

Having said that, how many wars have been started by men who consider themselves truly "civilized"? 

 

Chris.

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On ‎1‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 8:07 PM, Jonny said:

I spent four hours at Duxford today.  I really went there to have a close look at Sally B and the IWM’s B17G.

 

It struck me that apart from the ‘active’ collections, e.g. The Fighter Collection and HAC, nothing else, maintained by the IWM has changed for some time.  Any changes were, I’m sorry to say, negative, I.e. the Firefly Mk. 1 in Swedish target towing colours, has vanished.

 

Does anyone know where the Firefly has gone?  I asked some IWM staff, but none knew anything about it.

 

What also bothered me is that several airworthy aeroplanes, especially the HAC’s, are unattended and very close to barriers.  I observed several small children tugging at or banging on parts of the aeroplanes, watched by smiling parents.  I also saw some adults doing the same! Obviously the owners will check the airframes but I do feel that IWM should improve is supervision - I’m sure they used to have regular patrols by security people. 

 

Rant mode ‘OFF’ ...

 

Jonny

Make sure you're informed when you start making accusations/assumptions/comment or asking IWM staff on things, the IWM Duxford set up is more complicated than you’d think with the IWM itself and the partners based there (HAC, TFC, OFMC, DAS etc. etc.)

 

For example…. the Firefly is not an IWM asset, 2 are owned by ARCo with at least one being restored to flying, so it's not IWM aircraft/artefact to manage or be accountable for. As you should know there are a number of operators at Duxford that move fleets around for flying, for maintenance etc. that visitors have the privilege of seeing but these are not IWM assets.

 

Agree with the annoyance at the “need” of both young and old to touch an aircraft, not sure what this is about but see it happening a lot.

 

What has happened at Duxford?, AAM revamp, fairly recent Lynx, Tornado, Trislander and Typhoon additions and movement of some of the aircraft and artefacts around, the extensive Victor refurbishment. The challenge with static museum types is that there are not a lot of new types leaving service or available.

 

I’d also add that the IWM income is being reduced year on year from government decreasing by circa 50% 2020 vs. 2010 which means that income and finances need to be managed tightly and what might be nice is not always affordable, or at least immediately.

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I remember once asking a staff member at the Fleet Air Arm Museum about little and not so little fingers. He smiled and replied that they'd hurt themselves a lot more than they would hurt the aircraft exhibits.

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I'm just glad the Victor K.1 is being restored.  The sole representative of the type and I remember a few years back being quite annoyed that it was outdoors and in a very poor state.  Meanwhile the B-52 was pristine in the AAM.  The Shackleton MR.3 was in a similar state and even had bird's nests in it.  Thankfully I believe that is also now inside. 

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3 hours ago, Meatbox8 said:

I'm just glad the Victor K.1 is being restored.  The sole representative of the type and I remember a few years back being quite annoyed that it was outdoors and in a very poor state.  Meanwhile the B-52 was pristine in the AAM.  The Shackleton MR.3 was in a similar state and even had bird's nests in it.  Thankfully I believe that is also now inside. 

Whilst I can fully understand where you are coming from, there could be a simple reason the B-52 was housed a number of years before any other of the "outside" exhibits. I believe that the American Air Museum is primarily paid for by private donations from the U.S. and so the politics of the situation would dictate that the B-52 would be restored and under cover before anything else. 

 

I'm not saying that is either correct or even fair, but - in the real world - money is a very powerful motivator. 

 

Chris.   

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Furthermore the B-52 came straight from frontline service and went undercover in short order. That Victor has been out in the British weather since the day it was built. The Shack was initially undercover - back in '73, but covered space has always been at a premium at DX. Twice I tried to get the old seaplane hangars from Felixstowe, but the cost was prohibitive, as they were all riveted, not bolted together. They would love someone to stump up for some new hangars.

Can't see BA finding any beans for the airliner collection.

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33 minutes ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

Furthermore the B-52 came straight from frontline service and went undercover in short order. That Victor has been out in the British weather since the day it was built. The Shack was initially undercover - back in '73, but covered space has always been at a premium at DX. Twice I tried to get the old seaplane hangars from Felixstowe, but the cost was prohibitive, as they were all riveted, not bolted together. They would love someone to stump up for some new hangars.

Can't see BA finding any beans for the airliner collection.

Not after they abandoned their airliner collection at Cosford. 

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1 hour ago, spruecutter96 said:

Whilst I can fully understand where you are coming from, there could be a simple reason the B-52 was housed a number of years before any other of the "outside" exhibits. I believe that the American Air Museum is primarily paid for by private donations from the U.S. and so the politics of the situation would dictate that the B-52 would be restored and under cover before anything else. 

 

I'm not saying that is either correct or even fair, but - in the real world - money is a very powerful motivator. 

 

Chris.   

Indeed, that may well be the reason.  Doesn't excuse the museum for allowing the last surviving B.1/K.1 to get in to such a parlous state though.  If only Spitfire Productions hadn't blown up that Hangar.  Funnily enough despite it being a real hangar being blown up I've always thought it looked like a model.

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The airfield belonged to the RAF at the time. The problem with the Victor is the same as all the large airframes. They take their turn. She stood for at least two years in the maintenance section of the Superhangar, asking for donations to assist with the restoration. When it's finished, it will take it's turn in the barrel again, unless covered accommodation is found.

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Lots of Museums, not just aircraft collections, find covered space at an absolute premium.

Problem is, even if you have the available space, new buildings cost serious money. Even the cheapest will cost millions, and that is money that could take years to come up with, and be spent on a multitude of other museum needs, including upkeep of exihibits, maintenance of existing buildings etc.

 

What museums are looking out for is a filthy rich donor to stump up a massive lump sum of cash and have a hangar named in their honour, but there seems to be very few of those available.

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On 1/3/2019 at 9:07 AM, Jonny said:

 Any changes were, I’m sorry to say, negative, I.e. the Firefly Mk. 1 in Swedish target towing colours, has vanished.

It's been moved so it can be restored to fly. Given it's been about 16yr since a Firefly flew in Europe I'd have considered that okay!

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