Duxford in Depth is a new video series from IWM. Get up close with some of the extraordinary aircraft and tanks on display at IWM Duxford, as we go behind the scenes and into the cockpits with our experts. Look out for new episodes every month, and don't forget to subscribe to IWM's YouTube channel or leave us a comment to let us know what future episodes you'd like to see. 

Hawker Hurricane

Hurricane in colour

The first RAF aircraft to fly over 300mph, the Hawker Hurricane became a legendary aircraft. Over half of every enemy aeroplane destroyed in the Battle of Britain was by a Hawker Hurricane, not a Spitfire. The Hurricane is known for being a reliable workhorse of the Battle of Britain, but also went on to serve in nearly every major theatre in the Second World War, and even as a bomber. In this video, Graham Rodgers gives us a tour of Sydney Camm's magnificent design, as well as into the cockpit of this veteran Battle of Britain aircraft at Duxford.

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More Episodes

Vulcan video still
IWM Duxford

The history of the Avro Vulcan Bomber

In this video, events and experiences coordinator Liam Shaw takes us through the extraordinary history and technological achievements of the Avro Vulcan. We go into the cockpit and hear first-hand from the people who flew this unique machine throughout its long and remarkable history.

Lancaster and Graham still
IWM Duxford

The Avro Lancaster Bomber and the Dambusters Raid

In this video, our expert tells us why the Lancaster Bomber played such a crucial role in WW2. We go inside the fuselage of Duxford’s Lancaster KB889 and take a look at the enormous bomb load of this Second World War icon, which enabled the famous attack on the Ruhr valley, the Dambusters Raid.

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IWM Duxford

Messerschmitt Bf 109: The Spitfire’s nemesis

In this video, our expert shows us how much we can learn from looking closely this Battle of Britain icon. Take a look in the cockpit and hear from the pilots who flew the Bf 109 during the Second World War.

John Delaney standing in front of a Jagdpanther at IWM Duxford
IWM Duxford

Sd Kfz 173 Jagdpanther | Germany's greatest tank destroyer of WW2

An idea that came from Hitler himself, the Jagdpanther combined the reliable Panther tank chassis with the immense firepower of the PAK 43 88mm gun. Despite its few numbers, the Jagdpanther made a big impression on the Allies in Normandy and the Eastern Front - But why was it so good? In this video, IWM Curator John Delaney shows us the Jagpanther at IWM Duxford, explaining its operational history, what made it so formidable, and why we can't tell when this tank destroyer itself was destroyed.

Emily Charles stands in front of an F-111 at IWM Duxford
IWM Duxford

F-111 Aardvark | The Flying Pig

In this episode of Duxford in Depth, IWM Curator Emily Charles looks at the development, design, and service history of the F-111 Aardvark. She explores what the aircraft represented during its service, an example of the Military-Industrial Complex that Dwight D Eisenhower warned against and as a symbol of America's interventionalist role in the post-Cold War world. She also looks at the service history of this particular F-111 which flew in the Gulf War as part of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing before arriving at IWM Duxford in 1993.

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De Havilland Mosquito: The Wooden Wonder

De Havilland Mosquitoes were the among the first multi-role combat aircraft: they could be turned to anything and excelled at everything. In this video, our Duxford expert tells us how this little wooden bomber came into action and became one of the most versatile and popular aircraft of the Second World War.

Liam Shaw stands in front of a Tornado GR.4 at IWM Duxford
IWM Duxford

Panavia Tornado | The backbone of the RAF for nearly 40 years

In this episode of Duxford in Depth, events and experiences coordinator Liam Shaw takes us through the distinguished history of the Tornado from our GR1 'Foxy Killer' which flew more missions than any other RAF Tornado during Operation Granby in 1991, to our GR4 which served in Operation Ellamy in 2011 enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya. We take a look at the technology that made the Tornado one of the most advanced ground attack aircraft of its time and hear first-hand from the people that designed and flew it.

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IWM Duxford

SR-71 Blackbird

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is the fastest and highest-flying jet aircraft in history and Duxford’s SR-71 Blackbird has flown higher than any other when it set the world record for sustained altitude flight in 1976, flying at 85,000 feet. We talk to curator Emily Charles and hear from two pilots who flew the Blackbird to learn all about this space-age icon.

A collection of Spitfires of various marks
IWM Duxford

The evolution of the Supermarine Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most iconic aircraft of all time. Between 1932 and 1947 over 20,000 of them were built and in those 7 years, Spitfire's changed dramatically from the Mk 1 to the Mk 24. Graham Rodgers looks at how the Spitfire evolved by taking us through just a few of Duxford's collections.

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Second World War

B-17 Flying Fortress

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress dropped more bombs than any other US aircraft in the Second World War. A lot of these aircraft flew out of bases in England, as part of the USAAF’s daylight strategic bombing campaign. In this video, we take a close look at the B-17, take a look inside the fuselage and cockpit, and hear from two veteran B-17 crew.

Liam Shaw standing in front of an English Electric Lightning at IWM Duxford
Cold War

The English Electric Lighting and its accidental flight

Developed to bring the RAF into the supersonic age, the aircraft was able to fly at twice the speed of sound.  In fact, it had such a power to weight ratio that it could stand on its tail and exceed the speed of sound in a vertical climb. In this episode of Duxford in Depth, Liam Shaw takes a detailed look at the Lightning's design, development, armament and service history as well as 'Taffy' Holden's accidental flight.

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IWM Duxford

Conservation of a Handley Page Victor

Duxford’s Handley Page Victor has been under conservation now for four years, and is among the largest conservation projects the team at Duxford have ever undertaken. In this video, Head of Conservation Jon White takes us around the aircraft and explains why a job like this takes so many years to finish.

Concorde landing
IWM Duxford

Concorde 101 | On board with a Test Engineer

Concorde 101 is a pre-production model. In this video, we speak to test engineer John Dunlevy who worked on Concorde 101, and Peter Archer, chairman of the Duxford Aviation Society. We head on board and into the cockpit, and even see the nose droop in action.

Harriers landing
Contemporary conflict

Why the Harrier was so well loved

In this video, standing beside IWM’s Harrier GR9, Fighter Pilot Paul Tremelling tells us about the history of the Hawker-Siddeley Harrier. 

IWM presenter Graham Rodgers standing in front of a P-51D Mustang
Second World War

How the P-51 Mustang became a legend

The P-51 could fly and fight with British and American bombers all the way to Berlin and back again. Its range was so large that it even began to replace British Spitfires towards the end of the war. On their way back from escort duty Mustangs would also take out targets of opportunity like enemy trucks, barges, and trains. By 1944 the Allies had air superiority over Western Europe, thanks in part to the Mustang.

RAF Hawker Hunter flying against a blue sky
Cold War

How the Hawker Hunter became an global success

In the early 1950s, the RAF had a big problem. Having brought the first generation of jet fighters like the Gloster Meteor into service, they suddenly found them outclassed. They decided to rush a brand new second-generation fighter into production. That aircraft would become the Hawker Hunter.

A BMP-1 imposed onto a map of Ukraine coloured with the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag.
Contemporary conflict

Why is this museum piece still being used in Ukraine?

The BMP-1 is a Soviet infantry fighting vehicle from the 1960s. Ours was captured during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and has been on display at IWM Duxford for over 30 years. Yet vehicles just like it are still being used by both sides in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War, with heavy losses. So why are museum pieces being fielded in a 21st century war?

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IWM Duxford

Why the A-10 Warthog is still so popular

In this video, curator Emily Charles explains why the A-10 has been in service for 50 years and is still popular with pilots. We hear from one of the developers of the A-10 and pilot Kim Campbell, famous for landing her A-10 in manual mode after taking anti-aircraft fire in Iraq.

Engineers work on a Merlin engine
IWM Duxford

The Rolls-Royce Merlin Engine

The Rolls-Royce Merlin Engine powered some of the most famous aeroplanes of World War II, including the Spitfire, the Hurricane, the Mosquito, the Mustang and the Lancaster. In this video, Graham Rodgers looks at what made the Merlin Engine so vital during the Second World War, and we hear from some pilots and mechanics who worked with the Merlin Engine during the war.

Close up of P-47 Thunderbolt in flight.
© US Official Photograph (K4249)
Second World War

Why did US pilots love the Thunderbolt so much?

The P-47 Thunderbolt is one of the most recognisable US fighter planes from the Second World War. After the United States joined the war, pilots from the US Army Air Force were sent to Britain to aid in the war effort, along with their trusty Thunderbolts. In this video, our expert Graham Rodgers walks us through the history and technical aspects of this iconic aircraft.

Four Gloster Meteor aircraft in flight
Second World War

Gloster Meteor: The only Allied jet fighter of the Second World War

The Gloster Meteor was the RAF’s first jet fighter, bringing Britain into the Jet Age. At the same time, engineers of the German Luftwaffe had been working on developing their own operational jet fighter, and the Messerschmitt Me 262 entered service a few months before the Meteor. In this video, our expert Liam Shaw takes us around the details of the Gloster Meteor and its pioneering history. 

Still from footage of the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka - the only jet-powered suicide aircraft, suspended from the ceiling of IWM London.
Second World War

How effective was the Japanese kamikaze campaign?

In the later stages of the Second World War in the Pacific, Japan was desperate. They turned to a new tactic - kamikaze. The kamikaze campaign trained attack squadrons specifically for this purpose, and brought into combat a new aircraft - the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka - the only jet-powered suicide aircraft.

They first saw action at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, where extensive damage was done to the Allied fleet. But overall, how effective were these aircraft and this campaign?

Still from IWM film showing a BAC TSR-2 British bomber taking off.
IWM Duxford

The brilliant British bomber that never was: BAC TSR-2

In 1951, Britain introduced the English Electric Canberra. Designed to operate at high level, it would go onto become the RAF's longest serving machine. It was an incredibly efficient aircraft, but by the late 1950s everything changed.

In this episode of Duxford in Depth, Liam Shaw takes a detailed look at the aircraft that never was, the BAC TSR-2.

McDonnel Douglas Phantom FGR.2, XV499, of No. 41 Squadron based at Coningsby, in flight and displaying a weapons load of cluster bombs, Sparrow and Sidewinder AAMs.
© IWM CT 75
IWM Duxford

The most prolific jet fighter in American history?

In 1958, McDonald Aircraft Corporation delivered a prototype, twin engine, supersonic, all-weather, long range fighter -  a design the US Navy could not ignore.

It would go on to become the most produced American jet fighter in history and an icon of the Cold War. 

A Consolidated B-24 Liberator in flight
© Wikipedia Commons
IWM Duxford

B-24 Liberator: The Second World War Bomber designed to replace the Flying Fortress

At the start of 1939, the United States Army Air Corps wanted more of its favourite aircraft, the B-17 Flying Fortress. Consolidated took one look at the B-17 and decided they could do better. They responded with a proposal for a new aircraft which could fly faster, further, higher, and carry more bombs.

In this video, Emily Charles walks us through the history and technical aspects of the iconic B-24 Liberator.

Colour photograph showing a B-29 super bomber in flight
© IWM (FRE 11984)
Second World War

B-29 Superfortress: The aircraft that bombed Hiroshima

The B-29 Superfortress is arguably the most important and controversial aircraft in human history. With the dubious honour of being history’s deadliest bomber and the only aircraft to drop a nuclear weapon in combat, its story is one of ground-breaking innovation, unimaginable destruction and decisions that would dictate the course of the twentieth century. 

Split screen. Left – six Mk I Spitfires with red arrow pointing to machine guns. Right – a Mk V Spitfire with red arrow pointing to cannons. Text reads -  Machine guns vs cannons.
IWM Duxford

Why did Spitfires change their guns?

The story of the Spitfire's armament development is complicated and can even be considered controversial to this day. Join IWM's Liam Shaw and Jonathan Ferguson of Royal Armouries to take an in-depth look at the main weapons of the Spitfire.

Tornado GR-1 Aircraft in flight with a mission map overlaid in the background
Contemporary conflict

How RAF Tornados destroyed Saddam Hussain's Air Force

Mal Craghill was the youngest Tornado Navigator of the Gulf War, and dropped the last RAF bomb of the war. He tells us about his experiences flying the Tornado GR-1 on cross-border combat missions into Iraq. Targeting airfields, these missions played a key role in crippling the Iraqi Air Force during Desert Storm.

Braniff Airline Pilots Watching a Lockheed 12A Electra Junior taxiing at Houston Hobby Airport, 1940. In the foreground is a Model 10 Electra.
© Robert Yarnall Richie. Courtesy of SMU Central University Libraries @ Flickr Commons
IWM Duxford

Lockheed Electra 12: How this reconnaissance aircraft fooled Nazi Germany

In the years before the Second World War, the Lockheed Electra 12 would have gone relatively unnoticed in the skies of Europe. It may not be apparent on first inspection of this civilian aircraft that this was one of Britain's first spy planes. 

Headshot of Pilot Robert 'Rosie' Rosenthal of the 100th Bomb Group superimposed on top of an image of a B-17 in flight.
Second World War

100th Bomb Group: The legendary bomb group of the Second World War

The 100th Bomb Group is one of the most famous of the Second World War - earning the nickname 'The Bloody Hundredth'. Their heroic experiences feature in the upcoming war drama Masters Of The Air.  But where did their legend come from? In this video, IWM Curator Dr Hattie Hearn examines the real history of 'The Bloody Hundredth'.

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Watch Online: IWM Stories

IWM Stories

IWM Stories tackle the big conflict questions that you want answered. From First World War tanks to Churchill's election disaster.

Camerman war still Projected Picture Trust

Film Favourites from the Archives

Discover our Film Favourites series in which curators talk about their highlights from IWM's vast film collection. 

IWM Duxford Showcase

IWM Duxford

Visit Imperial War Museum Duxford for a huge day out. See Spitfires take to the skies from the airfield where they first flew, get up close to gigantic aircraft and walk in the footsteps of the men and women who served here.