to Airshow Reviews
in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to
so few, These famous words by the wartime Prime minister Winston
Churchill, should never be forgotten. When it comes to an airshow
to commemorate the Battle of Britain, who could think of a better
place?? Duxford played a huge part in the Battle and with its
excellent museum, with so much history, it was a great backdrop
for this years celebration. During the conflict, Duxford was home
to many squadrons, but 19 squadron was the only one to be based
there for the whole of the battle, It was also the first to operate
attended the airshow on the Sunday. The weather was its normal
self, giving the famous background at Duxford, a cloudy look.
There was a crosswind which was proving to be a bit of a pain.
For photography, Duxford always presents tricky conditions,
often resulting in silhouettes. I was glad to find out that
the spitfires would close the show, this meant that the sun
would be in a better position for pictures.
wings were running their pleasure flights as normal. They seemed
to be very busy, running 2 DH Dragon Rapides, 3 Tiger moths
and a Harvard. It was great to see the pilots skillfully landing
on the right-hand wheel time and time again due to the crosswind.
During the lead up to the show, there were lots of things to
see on the ground.
the flight line walk. This allows the public to get a bit closer
to the displaying aircraft. Looking down the line, who could
fail to be impressed by the aircraft amassed? P-51’s,
2 Gladiators, 4 Hurricanes, 2 Hispano Buchons, 2 Harvard’s
Catalina, B-17 Sally B, and of course, no fewer than 16 spitfires!!
Another great part of Duxford celebrations were the re-enactments
scattered around the airfield. This brought a real 1940’s
battle feel to the show.
great exhibit was happening in the airspace hanger. Flightsim
2010 was a gathering of some of the top names in flight simulation
circles. They brought with them a number of different setups,
which allowed the public to get hands on with some of the flight
sims. Also on the live side of the airfield were numerous aero
engine displays, giving an insight to the engines which powered
a majority of the aircraft which fought throughout the war.
airshow was due to begin at 2pm, but due to unforeseen circumstances,
The Red Arrows (due to open the show) Were a whole 4 minutes late!!!
They arrived from crowd rear in the famous arrow formation. During
their display, The Reds paid their own tribute to the ‘Few’,
by performing the Spitfire manouvre. This sees them formate into
a spitfire shape and after passing by they then fly the Spitfire
roll. For me the ‘Detonator’ has always been my firm
favourite, and this also signals the 2nd part of the show. This
half consists of several passes by the syncro pair, where the
crossover each other very close.
up was the B-17 Flying fortress. This year sees the 35th anniversary
of the arrival of this iconic flying memorial. ‘Sally
B’ performed with the normal high quality seen for many
years and finished off with a great pass with 2 smoking engines.
Following on were a pair of P-51’s from OFMC and the Fighter
Collection, who chased each other across the Duxford skies.
then gave way for a speedy entrance by Stephen Grey in the Bearcat.
He really put the Bearcat through its paces, showing just fast
an aircraft the Bearcat is. Another of TFC’s Most powerful
aircraft followed in the shape of the Hawker Sea Fury. This
one is a T20 trainer version having 2 seats fitted. Again the
aircraft performed at high speeds just as the Bearcat, showing
why both aircraft are so popular for unlimited air racing in
the right came the Belgian F-16 display. The entrance was, wheels
down smoke on. This followed a series of well executed rolls
and climbs all performed pretty much inside Duxfords perimeter,
Very impressive from such a powerful and fast jet fighter. Pilot
'Mitch' Beulen’s display was truly amazing and gave a
real look at just how agile the F-16 is.
follow was a great airshow act, The Battle Of Britain Memorial
Flight, As the Reds had, the BBMF entered from Crowd rear in
battle formation. The only way to sum up the BBMF is ‘The
best of British‘! They performed their usual display routine
with the fighters splitting from the Lanc, for a pairs act.
Later they reform onto the Bomber, before leaving.
next duo act brought back a nostalgic feel to the show. A pairing
of De Havilland Hornet and leopard moth. These 2 wonderful aircraft
swept gracefully across the sky before landing to make way for
the ’hun’. Enter the Hispano Buchon. This year has
seen this aircraft returned to its original Battle Of Britain
Film colours. As the Buchon exited the crowd were treated to
the first of the Battle Of Britain formations.
the left, 4 Hawker Hurricanes flew across Duxford in formation.
They completed their formation passes and this followed a tail
chase. Re-enter the Buchon. What a great sight. At first I thought
the Buchons own display had been to brief, but it tagged on
to the end of the four Hurricanes to give chase. As two of the
Hurricanes landed followed by the Buchon, this left the ‘Hurribomber’
of Hanger 11, with centre stage. A tremendous display by owner
follow on with the Battle Of Britain theme, the Gladiator of
the shuttle worth collection was next. Also used by the RAF
in the battle, it was great to see her display. The Gladiator
was the RAF’s first ever enclosed cockpit fighter. As
The Shuttleworths Gladiator departed for home a Harvard duo
consisting of TFC’s aircraft and one from ARCO. The pair
were flown by Anna Walker and John Dodd. They performed an great
formation display, before making way for the huge and lumbering
Catalina looked stunning against the blue skies that had now
decided to come out. It always seems to take an age to turn
the Catalina around, but always puts on a great display. The
display consisted of the usual passes, with the floats being
lowered to show of its sea born capabilities. A quick fly-by
then from the Kennet aviation Westland wasp helicopter, signaled
the start of the RAF’s Tucano Display. Another Cracker
from Tom Bould the Tucano Display pilot.
Millers owned Dragon Rapide then brought about a 30’s art
deco style to show. This aircraft is stunning and is a credit
to the chaps and the 27 years it took to restore it. I thoroughly
enjoyed its display. The Yak 50’s of the Aerostars were
next and it was great to see their master class in formation flying.
The aircraft looked absolutely splendid against the deep blue
sky. My favourite manouvre from them had to be the bomb burst!
the show nearing its end, four hawks, led by the new T2 arrived
to play their part in the Battle Of Britain tribute. All four
were from 19 squadron which saw action during the battle. After
they had flown past the sound of 16 spitfires (and 1 seafire)
Then filled Duxford. This was a noise that must have filled Duxfords
confines on a daily basis. As they taxied out to the runway ,
a feeling of deep emotion was building. On take off, the hairs
on the back of my neck stood on end and the sounds of the merlins
(and griffon) reverberated right through my body. I think everyone
in the crowd Knew that something special was coming. As the Spitfires
went off to formate up, Anna walker and Mark Rijske gave a great
performance in a Bucker Jungmann, Jungmeister display.
Hawks returned to perform this missing man formation flypast,
to a 1 minute silence. As they departed, The air was filled with
spitfires. The formation was made up of 4 waves of four ship formations.
After a few passes the formations split into 2 groups and commenced
tail chases, A truly awesome sight. The spitfires then landed
leaving OFMC’s Spitfire MH434 to close the show with an
evocative solo display, Finishing with a victory barrel roll.
Where else in the world could pull of a display like this?? A
big thumbs up goes out to the Duxford staff for making a very
memorable show. I look forward to the Autumn airshow in October….
by Ken Brannen and Neil Darby - click HERE
for Neil's Showcase