Old Timers air­show round-up

Pilot - - FRONT PAGE - Words and pho­tos by Pe­ter R March

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

PH OT O: AN DR E W M AR CH

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...

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