Old Timers airshow round-up
The culmination of this summer’s events marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain came appropriately enough at IWM Duxford on 19-20 September. With all tickets sold, good weather and a well presented flying programme, the capacity crowd enjoyed an aerial pageant spanning the build-up to WWII, the tense period after war was declared, the fall of France and Fighter Command’s successful stand against the formidable Luftwaffe. This amazing defence of our airfields, cities and coastline was also celebrated by the modern RAF in both the flying and on the ground. No 32 Sqn, which flew Hurricanes from 1938-1943, was represented in the static display by BAE 146 CC2 ZE700 from Northolt and a Chinook HC4 from No 18 Sqn, a Blenheim operator during WWII, also took part in the flying. The opening ‘Messerschmitt attack’ on Duxford by a pair of Buchóns (Cliff Spink and Steve Jones) and a Bf108 (John Dodd) provoked a ‘scramble’ by two Battle of Britain survivors – Hurricane I R4118 and Spitfire Ia P9374 (flown by Carl Schofield and Dave Ratcliffe) was well choreographed. Likewise, the appearance of the Blenheim IF (John Romain) leading the Hurricane I, Sea Hurricane (‘Dodge Bailey’) and Hurricane XII (Dave Harvey) was very nostalgic. Unlike the other anniversary shows, Duxford did not focus solely on Spitfires, Hurricanes and Messerschmitts but introduced some late ’30s biplane fighters — Nimrods and a Gladiator — and trainers — Tiger Moth, Stampe, Stearman and Jungmann — as well as a miscellany of other early WWII types: Hawk 75, Harvards, Hornet Moth and Kirby Kite glider. On the ground, visitors were able to see the progress being made
with the return of aircraft to the American Air Museum and look at the new ‘Duxford’s People in the Battle of Britain’ exhibition.
Somewhat inevitably Spitfires stole the show. Paul Bonhomme and Dan Friedkin in Comanche Fighters’ Spitfire Ias AR213 and X4650 gave an outstanding aerobatic display. The RAF made a significant contribution with the specially marked ‘Battle of Britain’ Typhoon and Spitfire, and a rare BBMF formation display by four Spitfires and two Hurricanes that joined up with the Red Arrows for a finale on the Sunday. But it was the big formation flypasts by fifteen Spitfires and two Seafires in an emotional salute to ‘The Few’ that will long be remembered. www.iwm.org.uk/duxford
Main image: on silvered wings — two Duxford-based Hawker Nimrods in action
Top to bottom below: the BBMF formation joined up with the Red Arrows for Sunday’s finale; unique formation of WWII trainers — Tiger Moth, Stampe, Stearman and Jungmann; and evidence of good progress being made with the return of aircraft to the...