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Duxford Autumn Airshow 2009



As always Duxford Autumn Airshow closed the 2009 season, and as usual it looked like the rain gods had reared their ugly heads. The line up for this years show wasn't the best we've seen but in these times of uncertainty I think we are all grateful that the owners and operators make such a huge effort. The show kicked off with a great display by the F-86 Sabre; rumoured to be heading home, this could be the last time we see this fine classic.

Another popular clasic came in the form of a duo of chipmunks, which flew a nice flowing display within Duxford's grey canvas. The fighter collection's lone star of the show was the P-51 Mustang "Miss Velma". Due to the unfortunate timing of CAA problems, TFC's aircraft have stayed pretty much on the ground this season. Next up was another duo... Two T-28 Fennecs flew a nice tight display within Duxford's confines - the weather was not looking too bright and the pilots were certainly earning their keep!
The only helicopter to feature in the Airshow was the Westland Wasp. Owned and operated by Kennet Aviation, this funny looking helicopter first entered service with the Royal Navy in 1963, an an anti-submarine role. The Wasp's tail and rotors can both be folded to save space on tight Navy ships.
This was followed by a spirited display by Dutch F-16; a popular item at the earlier spring airshow, and once again it didn't disappoint. The dull, dreary backdrop only seemed to add a dramatic touch with some tight turns and vapour aplenty. Lets hope for another return next year.
Next up was a tribute to the personnel of the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary). During WW2 these brave people, mainly women, flew all manner of aircraft to keep the war effort on track. The display came in two elements; firstly a pairing of a Dragon Rapide and an Avro Anson flying together. The second element comprised Carolyn Grace in her 2 seat Spitfire ML407 and Anna Walker in the Vacher Hurricane. A very fitting tribute, I am sure all would agree.
The next set of acts were treated to some rarely seen sunshine. The ever popular Blades Display Team in their bright orange Extra's were again up their usual high standard of stunning aerobatics and close formation flying.
Another aircraft to benefit from a drop of sunshine was the Catalina; the huge white amphibian always looks impressive against a blue sky. Again, for such a large aircraft, the pilot showed just how agile the Cat can be. A personal favourite for myself was the display by the L6 Cub and Boeing Stearman. Basked in golden sunshine these two aircraft were put through their paces with some skillful flying displays.

One of the highlights of the show was the close formation flying between the OFMC (Old Flying Machine Company) Spitfire MH434 and P-51d Mustang "Ferocious Frankie". It always amazes me how tight this pair (flown on this occasions by Brian Smith and Alistair Kay) manage to fly - it always brings back memories of Mark and Ray Hanna. The final act of the day was the always populat B17 "Sally B" - a flying memorial to the American airmen of WW2, she always manages to bring a certain kind of emotion to any display.

With the day drawing to a close, what more could you ask for from an airshow. I went to Duxford a little dubious of the participation list, but can honestly say that I really enjoyed the last display of the season. Bring on 2010!
Review by Neil Darby - click HERE for Neil's Showcase
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