A Brief History of the Society
Duxford Aviation Society is a purely volunteer group which came into being in 1975 and is a partner organisation with the Imperial War Museum.
The Society exists to preserve historically important British civil aircraft, to support the Imperial War Museum, and to promote knowledge of the development of British civil aviation through a policy of acquisition and restoration. With the passage of time this aim has been widened to include other preservation projects such as military vehicles. The Society maintains its own civil airliner collection and opens some of these aircraft to the public on a daily basis. The Military Vehicle Wing regularly presents demonstrations of tanks and other vehicles based at Duxford.
In association with the IWM the Society launched The Friends of Duxford (FOD) in January 1999. Membership is open to everyone wishing to support the work of the IWM and the Society. Members not only have unrivalled access to exhibits and parts of the Museum not open to the public, but also the opportunity to take part in special events around the country. Exclusive facilities are available to members on Duxford airshow days.
The Society has been the umbrella organisation for volunteers at Duxford for many years. Members are involved not only in the Society’s own conservation and associated projects but also work on IWM projects and with the private owners based on the airfield. They are active in other partner organisations like the The Friends of Duxford and the Duxford Radio Society and also staff the popular volunteers’ canteen.
The Society is a registered charity and most of its funds come from the public, from donations or as a result of services provided to the Museum. New members are always welcome.
The Civil Aircraft Section
This section of the Society is responsible for the restoration and preservation of the Civil Aircraft collection. Each aircraft in the collection has a team of volunteers who work under the guidance of a team leader, usually an experienced member of the Society. All the teams work under the guidance of the Project Manager, who is a full time employee of the Society. The volunteers are drawn from all walks of life and levels of skill but all have an abiding interest in the preservation of the aircraft collection. Many of the volunteers do not have directly aviation-related skills but learn from those that do and the level of restoration achieved is testament to their industry and commitment. Volunteers also operate the tyre bay where the aircraft wheels are repaired and maintained, carry out regular inspection of the wheels and tyres on the display aircraft.
The Military Vehicle Section
The members of the MV section are interested in the restoration and preservation of military vehicles. In their workshop they restore vehicles belonging to the Society and to the IWM, and other vehicles that are privately owned but are on loan to the museum or the Society.
The collection of vehicles is extensive and varied and a great deal of work is involved in keeping them all in good condition. Some of the vehicles are being restored as running examples whilst the remainder are destined for static display. The MV section is responsible for much of the restoration work on vehicles used in the various tableaux in the Land Warfare Hall.
The MV section is located in a new workshop at the western end of the Land Warfare Hall. Vehicle demonstrations can often be seen taking place in the adjoining running area, and it is possible to arrange rides on some of these exciting vehicles.
Friends of Duxford
Friends of Duxford was founded in 1999 in a joint initiative between the Duxford Aviation Society and the Imperial War Museum with support from Fly Past magazine. Its aims are to help promote interest in and encourage visitors to the Imperial War Museum Duxford, and help support the Museum both financially and practically. Members not only have unrivalled access to exhibits and parts of the Museum not normally open to the public, but also the opportunity to take part in exclusive events around the country. They are drawn from all over the country and from all walks of life but have a common interest in the work of the Society and the IWM. The Friends of Duxford is administered by the Duxford Aviation Society.