to Airshow Reviews
Autumn air display has now become the established finale to the
airshow year. The emphasis for this years display, was to celebrate
the 65th birthday of B-17 Sally B, and the 75th birthday of the
B-17 model itself. First designated as the Boeing model 299 and
later to become known as the B-17 flying Fortress, The aircraft
saw service with the USAAF across the world. Large numbers were
to be based in the UK, so it is fitting that a celebration should
take place. For a change the weather looked like playing ball,
On arrival at Duxford the airfield was covered with mist. This
soon disappeared leaving a glorious blue backdrop. For a photographer,
Duxford can be a nightmare with the sun in your face for most
of the day. On the ground you had the usual attractions that Duxford
offers. The trade stalls looked a little thinner than normal,
but a nice touch came in the form of the Parachute Regiments band..
participation list looked like a nice variation. It did look odd
without any spitfires (although there was the Kennet Seafire).
I had a chat with one of the RNHF’s chaps on their stall
and he was very hopeful that the newly airworthy swordfish would
make an appearance, although his wife had rung him and said weather
at Yeovilton was not brilliant at that time. The only cancellation
was the Dunsfold based DC3.
Show started at 1.30 with The main theme taking to the air. Whilst
off formatting up, the undoubted star of the day made its 1st
appearance at an air display since 1999. Unfortunately unable
to display, the RNHF’s swordfish was very warmly welcomed.
Once on the ground, Sally B was escorted by 3 P-51s in her 1st
pass, this followed a single pass by 2 F15s from Lakenheath. The
F15s have become a regular at the Autumn air shows. Once they
had departed for home Sally B re-entered from crowd centre front,
with her bomb bay doors open. The P51s flew in the overhead. The
B-17s final pass was a ‘trailing smoke’ pass which
is used to show a thank you to all the members of the Sally B
supporters club. I personally thought that the display was a little
short considering it was to be the main event. After landing the
3 P-51s re-entered and OFMC’s Ferocious Frankie did a great
next act was the delightful LeVier Cosmic wind ‘Ballerina’
owned by Pete Kynsey. Described as ‘a pocket rocket’,
The display showed just why it was given that nickname. This followed
the FrazerBlades owned L4a Grasshopper. It certainly did not need
too much runway to get airborne and the routine really showed
of the reasons why the Grasshopper was such a battlefield success.
The 3rd aircraft in this section of the show was Golden Apple
trusts beautiful Stearman. This started from a high dive in and
followed a set of loops and a great stall turn. The blue and yellow
livery looked very smart against the Duxford skies. I really enjoyed
this part of the show and thought it was some of the best flying
of the day.
1st Fighter collection aircraft to display was their Harvard.
Anna Walker it was another fine piece of flying. After the unmistakable
engine sound of the Harvard had disappeared, 2 T-28 fennec’s,
the Successor of the Harvard took off to hold. The RAF’s
Hawk role demo was next and was flown by Scott Griffiths, also
known as Disco. The display started with a wheels down pass and
has been put together to show the role that the Hawk takes up
in training. I personally thought the display used a little too
much sky, which left too may gaps in the show. The T-28s followed
with a nice formation display and then a split into some solo
work. Tom Bould finished this section of the show in the Tucano.
He will be off to be 19 squadron soon for tactical weapons training.
since 1988, had Duxford seen a truck top landing. Enter Brendan
o Brien in his modified Piper Cub to attempt it. Brendan’s
crazy flying has been a popular item this season, and he didn’t
disappoint. After a couple of touch downs on the trailer, he
managed to nail it. Well done Brendan!!! The car and trailer
with cub aborted then drove off down the runway and took off
from the top of the trailer. The Royal Navy helicopter team,
the Black Cats did a superb synchronized show in their Lynx
helicopters, which was then followed by the BBMF solo Hurricane
display. As the Hurricane completed with a victory roll, the
Swordfish departed for Yeoviton. I think everyone is looking
forward to seeing her display next year.
the Swordfish departure, a distinct naval theme then took over.
A great combination came in the shape of Kennets Seafire, TFC’s
Sea Fury and RNHF’s Sea Hawk. The formation looked amazing
against the deep blue sky. After a few passes the formation
split into solos, with the Sea Hawk first. FLT LT Ian Sloane
completed a series of beautiful turns and rolls before a dirty
pass in the Sea Hawk. Next Was TFC’s Seafury. This aircraft
still has its original Bristol Centaurus engine still in place
and the display truly showed the awesome power it possesses.
The Sea fire finished of the trio of solos.
great trip down memory lane was the tribute to the Rothmans display
team. This consisted of 4 Pitts Special aircraft performing some
precise formation flying before splitting into 2 elements for
pairs displays. I particularly enjoyed this having flown in a
Pitts S2 myself. The Catalina followed these, with a pair of true
D-Day veteran C47s next. Drag em oot, one of the C47s still bares
the scars of those days. Another great display was seen in the
form of the Bearcat. As ever an inspiring piece of flying. To
end the show was the oldest Jet flying in the Europe, Golden Apple
Trusts F-86 Sabre. You cannot fail to be impressed by this aircraft.
The black smoke pumped out from the early jet engine technology
is synonymous with the Sabre. A great way to end a superb days
was another quality, and varied line-up from the Duxford team,
and brought an end to the seasons shows. It has been a superb
season and looking to the future, next year looks very exciting,
with TFC’s P-47 Razorback nearing completion and the RNHF’s
Swordfish and Seafury hopefully fully on the display circuit.
The big question is ‘Will the Vulcan be there’?…………
by Neil Darby - click HERE
for Neil's Showcase