theme for this years Duxford Airshow was the celebration of
the iconic Spitfire. The first Spitfires to enter service with
the RAF on August 4th 1938, were with 19 Squadron based at Duxford
so it is fitting that its 75th anniversary be marked at the
wartime airfield. The legendary fighter was a huge success ,
with Supermarine developing no less than 24 marks of Spitfire
and a final tally of 20,351 being built. Duxford’s number
of Spitfires attending the show were a little low for a birthday
bash, but the quality of aircraft were second to none with the
newly restored MK1 P9374 on the flight line for its first airshow
outing. Duxford had brought together several marks of the Spitfire
to show the development stages it went through, which I thought
was a top idea.
attractions are never a problem at Duxford. The well presented
museum has so much to do besides the museum itself. For this
year Airfix have been running a ‘Make and paint’
zone for families to build and paint a model kit. Once finished
you can take your masterpiece home and say you built a Spitfire
at Duxford!! Another great touch was the re-enactment of a genuine
bomber raid from WW2. Held in one of the period huts, the show
was historically accurate and the ‘crew’ wore authentic
flying gear to boot! I would highly recommend this to anyone
visiting a Duxford Airshow..
highlight for me was the sight of the MK1 Spitfire out on the
grass. This has been restored to a high standard and looked
absolutely magnificent. I was also lucky enough to be able to
sit in one of the Spitfire TR9’s (in the front seat too!!)
It was amazing to see just how small the cockpit was on the
spitfire, but also how everything was so well set out.
was nice to see that the organizers had invited aircraft from
the major nations connected with the Spitfire in WW2. France,
Poland and the USA all sent aircraft from their Airforces to
help in the commemoration. On the Saturday, the French opened
the show with an Alpha jet. This was superbly flown and I particularly
enjoyed the ‘crazy flying’ manouvre. This involved
the Alpha Jet bucking up and down along the crowdline. The wing
waggle signaled the end of the display and as it departed for
Cambridge, two Hawker Nimrod’s took off to hold while
John Romain brought in the Hispano HA-112 Buchon from HAC.
collections Hurricane was due to display with the Buchon, but
a fuel leak scuppered the Saturday show. John Romain did however
do a lovely display as a solo, bringing the Hispano in for some
really great low passes. The Buchon-Hurricane pair did get up
together on the Sunday for a very pleasant duo act. Another
duo came in from crowd right next for a nostalgic look back
at the inter-war years. The sight of a pair of Hawker Nimrods
was a real treat. The two aircraft used Duxford’s blue
skies very nicely performing syncro loops and some beautiful
Pete Kynsey and Charlie brown put down the Nimrods, TFC’s
Hawk trio appeared in the skies. The Fighter Collection are
lucky enough to own the only flying Hawk 75 ( a precursor to
the P-40 Warhawk stable), A genuine Pearl Harbor veteran P-40B
Warhawk and a late version P-40F Warhawk with a Rolls Royce
Merlin engine fitted. These three aircraft are a very unique
sight and Stephen Grey lead a spirited display.
Duxford favourite also put on a great display on both days,
B-17 Flying Fortress ‘Sally B’ is now the sole B-17
displaying in Europe after the grounding of the French Fortress
‘Pink Lady’. She serves as a memorial to all the
crews of the USAAC that flew from Bomber bases in the UK during
WW2. As a charity, she relies on donations and fundraising to
keep her in the sky. To repay all those who help, the crew perform
a pass with 2 smoking engines as a thank you. Hopefully she
will be on the show scene for many more years to come!!
RAF sent the next aircraft to display, and it was a different
sight at a Duxford Airshow. From crowd left appeared a bright
yellow Sea King helicopter in the bright blue sky, from 22 squadron
based at RAF Wattisham. Whist it ran in, one of the crew was
on the runway with ‘smoke on’ to signal a rescue.
It was great to see the RAF Rescue team doing there stuff, as
a winchman was lowered down to collect the stricken crew member
from the runway. The helicopter did a few passes before departing
back to Wattisham. The same display was also done on the Sunday,
in very different weather!!
USAF were next to display with a rare appearance from the F-15
Strike Eagle demo team. The pilots were brought over from the
States especially to display at Duxford September show. As usual
we had the typical American build up to the display with the
commentator getting more and more excited as the F-15 got closer.
There was good reason, this was the best display by a military
jet I’ve seen this year. It was dynamic, energetic and
high impact. Major Mike “Cash” Maeder did a cracking
job and showed the true potential of the Strike Eagle in combat.
The simulated Airfield strafe attack and bomb runs were a particular
highlight. It was also great to get to contrasting shows due
to the weather. Saturday was in lovely clear sky, Sundays display
however was in murky grey damp weather. This made for some ‘vaportastic’
Hanna is synonymous with Duxford and a certain Spitfire in particular.
Stu Goldspink did a display in Spitfire MH434 dedicated to the
master himself on the Saturday.
The commentators stayed silent throughout and I’m sure
we, that had been lucky enough to see Ray Hanna display all
had a few minutes to remember him. 6 Merlin engines followed
434 in the form of the Battle Of Britain memorial flight. I
was greatly impressed by BBMF’s fighter pair doing a syncro
display with close opposition passes.
is not the normal display by Hurricane and Spitfire, but I hope
the BBMF do it again. The pair rejoined the Lancaster for a
formation ‘V’ pass before breaking to land. This
is the first time in many years that the Lancaster has landed
at Duxford. Unfortunately on the Sunday we got a pass by the
fighters and the Lancaster took off from Duxford and did not
to the Army Air Corp Blue Eagles Display Team commentator, their
Apache had been fully booked by the Taliban for a while, but
now they had some time to show us what the amazing Augusta Westland
Apache could do. Capt Scotty Hewitt and Bruce Allen put the
helicopter through a series of 180 degree pedal turns and 360
degree wing overs before giving a wing waggle to end their slot.
The Apaches are due to re-deploy to Afghanistan next year, so
it was good to see Duxford taking advantage of them still being
here for the airshow. The display was mimicked again on Sunday
again to a meaner looking sky.
silver De-Havilland Vampires from the Norwegian Airforce Historical
flight were a welcomed sight over Duxford. They did a nice formation
display and their silver scheme looked great against the blue
backdrop, a stark contrast compared to Sunday. They opened the
show on the 2nd day, but two minutes in the heavens opened up
and this signaled a very wet hour or so for the airshow. My
only complaint is that their display meant running out a long
way thus leaving a few empty gaps in their routine. After the
Vampire’s Peter wells and Guy Westgate displayed in the
SWIP Silence Twister Duo.
were then displays from the Red Hawks Fournier Duo team in their
motorised gliders, followed by a pair of T-28 Fennecs flown
by Martin Willing and Dave Southward. The Yak 50’s of
the Aerostars also did a stunning display on the Saturday, but
even more impressive was the fact that in Sundays display, they
did a full show even though it was absolutely bucketing down.
They showed true skill by continuing to fly tight formations
and opposition passes in the heavy rain.
Crease did a nice display from another RAF Type, The Beech King
Air. I liked the fact that they chose the Electric Light Orchestra’s
Mr. Blue Sky to be played whilst being displayed. Very apt in
the Saturday sun, but very ironic with the Sunday deluges!!
The landing was also brilliant with RAF Transport pilots now
learning the tactical short landings. Leon brought the King
Air in High before tilting the nose down to about 50 degrees
for a steep landing. Nice!!!
saw 2 different acts. Jonathon Whalley flew a spirited display
in his Hunter Miss Demeanor with some nice ‘vapor shots’
to be had. Brendan o Brien also displayed his flying circus
which sees him land his modified piper cub on top of a trailer
towed behind a Bentley car. We were also treated to a RNHF Fairey
Swordfish display on both days which was as graceful as ever.
The ‘string bag’ as its affectionately known seems
to lumber around the sky, but has a style and grace which is
really pleasing to watch. Both days finished with the obligatory
‘flying flag salute’ pass. With the Swordfish departure,
all eyes were cast to the famous hills Synonymous of Duxfords
backdrop. Both days saw no less than 7 Spitfires in the finale.
With a couple of passes, the formation broke into two groups,
with 5 aircraft in a talichase and the other 2 performing fast
passes and loops in front of the big crowds amassed at Duxford.
This followed a run and break to land and the end of the September