Sywell-based Ultimate Warbirds has launched a new four-ship display team: the Ultimate Fighters. Comprising Fighter Aviation Engineering’s P-47D Nellie, Air Leasing’s Spitfire T9 ML407, HA1112M4L Buchón ‘Red 11’ and Anglia Aircraft Restorations’ TF-51D Contrary Mary, the quartet will demonstrate the exciting, dynamic and unique performances of these aircraft in a carefully choreographed routine of aerobatics, tail chases and dogfights. Pilots Richard Grace and Dave Puleston (of the former Trig Aerobatic Team), along with Jon Gowdy and Andy Durston (the Fireflies Aerobatic Display Team), are no strangers to formation aerobatics but this is a new opportunity.
Richard Grace said: “We were inspired by the Breitling Fighters [former OFMC team of 1999-2003, led by Ray Hanna] and the Flying Legends’ Balbo, along with wanting to do something different.” Andy Durston explained: “The idea grew from a conversation between a few of us. In October of 2018, we were conducting some filming to promote Ultimate Warbirds’ passenger flights (see p.24). It gave us an opportunity on each to try out various formation manoeuvres, including a handful of loops. It turned out that those three aircraft were closely enough matched to make us believe it was possible to achieve something not seen for a while on the UK airshow circuit.” More information at
ABOVE: Ultimate Fighters’ Thunderbolt, Spitfire, Buchón and Mustang team in formation