Aviation history in action, from Spitfires to stealth bombers

Year 9 boys enjoyed the opportunity to see some remarkable aeroplanes in the air during their visit to the Imperial War Museum’s site at Duxford.

Highlights included the mighty Chinook tandem rotor helicopter, which first hovered overhead and then landed right next to the QE group on the airfield near Cambridge.

The trip to Duxford, one of the largest air museums in the country, is organised by the History department, with half of Year 9 going on one day and the other half on the next.

Head of History Helen MacGregor said: “We had two really good, if sometimes windy, days. We were able to go inside the first Concorde test plan: having seen how large it looked on the outside, the boys were surprised by how small it felt inside.

""“One of our groups particularly impressed one of the guides in the American Air Museum hangar by knowing that a stealth bomber is painted black so that it ‘soaks up’ the radio waves used in radar.”

IWM Duxford is set within a famous First and Second World War airfield and is home to more than 200 aircraft as well as tanks, military vehicles and boats.

An original 1917 Belfast hangar hosting the Battle of Britain exhibition contrasts with the contemporary architecture of the American Air Museum, designed by British architects Foster and Partners.

Attractions include the AirSpace exhibition, which tells the story of British and Commonwealth aviation. Its Aircraft Hall houses more than 30 aircraft, including the most famous British fighter and bomber types of the Second World War – the Spitfire and Lancaster respectively – as well as the Concorde, which claims the distinction of being the fastest-ever example of the supersonic airliner.