Posts Tagged ‘Autumn’

Autumn Air Show celebrates the 70th anniversary of the mighty Mustang

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The Autumn Air Show on Sunday 14 October closes the air show season in relaxed style.

One of the highlights of the Autumn Air Show will be a display by P-51Mustang Ferocious Frankie alongside Spitfire IX from the Old Flying Machine Company, presenting the might of the Merlin engine in these legendary American and British fighter aircraft.

Also flying will be North American TF-51 Mustang Miss Velma from The Fighter Collection.

These thrilling displays commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the Merlin-engine Mustang, a pivotal moment in aviation history which was initiated by events at RAF Duxford.

During the Second World War, the Air Fighting Development Unit (AFDU) was based at RAF Duxford. The AFDU provided technical intelligence to the RAF, developing operational tactics and testing captured enemy aircraft.

It was a phone call from Wing Commander Ian Campbell-Orde, Commanding Officer of the AFDU at RAF Duxford, to Ronnie Harker, Rolls-Royce service-liaison pilot, which started the sequence of events which would result in the matchless combination of the Mustang aircraft and the Rolls-Royce engine.

Harker was offered the opportunity to fly one of the new Allison-engine Mustangs that had recently arrived at RAF Duxford. He flew the aircraft on 30 April 1942 and was clearly impressed with its manoeuvrability, speed and agility. In his report, he commented “The point that strikes me is that with a powerful and good engine like the Merlin 61, its performance should be outstanding, as it is 35mph faster than a Spitfire V at roughly the same power.”

A subsequent visit to RAF Duxford by Willoughby Lappin, Personal Assistant to E W Hives, Director and General Works Manager at Rolls-Royce, ensured that the proposal was taken seriously and soon thereafter a meeting about the Mustang took place between Rolls-Royce and the Air Ministry.

After much backroom research, performance investigation testing and correspondence between Rolls- Royce, the American Embassy, North American Aviation (the aircraft manufacturer responsible for the Mustang) and the Air Ministry, the first aircraft was assigned for conversion. This, together with subsequent developments in the aircraft’s propeller and fuel injection, resulted in the definitive American long-range single-seat fighter and an enduringly iconic aircraft that continues to amaze spectators with its aerial dexterity.

IWM Duxford air show favourites displaying at the Autumn Air Show include the Black Cats Lynx Pair from 702 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton; the Apache helicopter from the Army Air Corps at RAF Wattisham; BAE Systems Hawk from 208 Squadron at RAF Valley; Shorts Tucano from the Central Flying School Flight at RAF Linton-on-Ouse; Beechcraft King Air from 45 Squadron at RAF Cranwell and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Douglas DC-3 Dakota.

Showcasing historic aircraft based at IWM Duxford, there will be displays by B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B; North American F-86 Sabre; two Spitfires; two Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and a Goodyear Corsair.

Join us for the Autumn Air Show as we commemorate the innovation that led to the formidable Mustang fighter aircraft and celebrate another fantastic air show season at IWM Duxford.

There is still time to purchase your tickets in advance to save 10% and get a free child ticket, which is available with every adult or senior ticket purchased.

This offer is on advance ticket purchases only; it cannot be used on the day of the event.

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Box Office on 01223 499 353. The Box Office is open from Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

There is no booking fee but a postage and packing fee applies per transaction.

Advance tickets will be available until:

5pm on Friday 28 September for overseas postal delivery

5pm on Wednesday 3 October for UK postal delivery

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Celebrating the Tiger Moths 80th Birthday at the Autumn Air Show

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

The IWM Duxford Autumn Air Show (Sunday 16 October) celebrates the 80th anniversary of the first flight of the iconic Tiger Moth with a superb display by the Tiger Nine Team, which will see nine Tiger Moths in close formation in the skies above Duxford.The Tiger Nine formation team was created in the summer of 2005 in response to a request for a flypast of nine Tiger Moths at the 25th de Havilland Moth Club  Rally at Woburn Abbey.

Having risen to the challenge, the newly-formed team went on to perform its full display routine for the next season.

A challenging aircraft to fly in a formation display, the Tiger Moth requires a mature discipline and expert flying skill, particularly when operating a large group of Tiger Moths simultaneously.

There is something quintessentially British about a group of men from a diverse range of backgrounds, including airline pilots, ex-RAF pilots, a farmer, a sales executive, a company director, an anaesthetist and an RAF Wing Commander, coming together for the camaraderie and fun of flying such a special aircraft.

The Tiger Nine team is the only team in the world to have nine Tiger Moths in close formation. Its crowd pleasing, spectacularly entertaining display will be a significant highlight of the Autumn Air Show 2011.

The Tiger Moth

The de Havilland DH-82 Tiger Moth, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, was first flown on 26 October 1931 by de Havilland Chief Test Pilot Hubert Broad.

The RAF ordered 35 dual-control Tiger Moth Is which had the company designation DH-82. A subsequent order was placed for 50 aircraft powered by the de Havilland Gipsy Major I engine which was the DH-82A or, to the RAF, Tiger Moth II.

The Tiger Moth entered service at the RAF Central Flying School in February 1932. From the outset, it proved to be an ideal trainer, simple and cheap to own and maintain. The Tiger Moth required a sure and steady hand to fly it well, enabling instructors to easily weed out inept student pilots. Whilst generally docile and forgiving in the normal flight phases encountered during initial training, when used for aerobatic and formation training, the Tiger Moth required definite skill and concentration to perform well. A botched manoeuvre could easily cause the aircraft to stall or spin.

Percival Leggett trained on Tiger Moths during the Second World War in Cambridgeshire:

“The Tiger Moth is easy to fly. No vicious tendencies at all. It’s very responsive to the controls.

Most people, I think, found landing rather tricky, because…it is quite a small aeroplane, with a very small  undercarriage. It is very close to the ground. And coming in to land one finds it difficult to decide just at  what point you should draw back the stick to land the aircraft. Most people tend to start easing off too high, with the result that either the aircraft stalls or they miss the airfield altogether.

But that apart it’s a good aeroplane – very reliable. We did have one engine failure from one of the pupils but he managed to force land it in a field. It’s a good aeroplane, and still flying today!”

By the start of the Second World War, the RAF had 500 Tiger Moths in service. During a British production run of over 7000 Tiger Moths, a total of 4005 Tiger Moth IIs were built during the war specifically for the RAF.

The Tiger Moth became the foremost primary trainer throughout the Commonwealth and elsewhere and remained in service with the RAF until it was replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk in 1952.

Post-war, large numbers of surplus Tiger Moths were made available for sale to flying clubs and private individuals. Inexpensive to operate, the aircraft took on new civilian roles including aerial advertising, air ambulance, aerobatic performer, crop duster and glider tug.

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