The Duxford Air Show
Hispano Aviacion HA-1112-M1L Buchon G-BWUE at The Duxford Air Show 2009. Photo by Ross Cannon
The Duxford Air Show is held every year in early September with a display of historic and modern aircraft, probably the last time you will get to see these aircraft until next year. There are the usual opportunities to browse around the stalls selling a variety of aviation art and other interesting items, and of course visit the museum's hangars before the flying starts.
The Duxford Air Show 2014 - 13th & 14th September 2014
Duxford’s two day show during September was soon upon us, and as the air show season was drawing to an end this was for a lot of people probably the last chance in 2014 to get that last fix of aviation before the winter set in.
With reasonable weather being forecast and another chance to see the Vulcan and of course a chance to see the two Lancasters flying in the Cambridgeshire skies, Duxford was inundated with visitors.
With slight differences in the two days of flying with the Vulcan on the Saturday and the Lancasters and Red Arrows on the Sunday which day to chose.
XH558 the last airworthy Avro Vulcan is coming to the end of her flying career but continues to thrill thousands of people wherever she goes, it will be a sad day when she touches down for the last time.
The Red Arrows in their 50th display seasons are still one of the most popular air show participants that this country has ever had and continues to thrill generations of people year after year.
As usual a wide variety of Duxford’s home team were in evidence.
The T28 Fennecs always liven up the Duxford Skies with their big radial engines giving then plenty of power.
Sally B was much in evidence being resident at Duxford and the only B17 flying in Europe
Another Duxford resident the Consolidated Catalina the only one of its type flying in the country.
Duxford is renowned for its fighters and being a former Spitfire station it is not unusual to see formations of Spitfires and this weekend saw a formation of Duxford’s resident aircraft performing for the enthusiasts.
From the Fighter Collection came a three ship of classic navy fighters the Bearcat, Corsair and Hellcat who carried out several flypasts before doing individual low runs to the delight of the crowds.
The Vulcan’s appearance with a pair of North Weald Gnats was a refreshing change, the sheer size of 558 against the Gnats.
The Hawker Hunter another one of our classic jets still going strong with over fifty years of Stirling service.
The Jet Provost pair provided some excellent aerobatics manoeuvres these ex RAF training aircraft were once the main stay of pilot training and continue to thrill the crowds with their aerobatics.
As usual the mighty Vulcan now in the twilight of her flying life thrilled the crowds with the her awe inspiring power and what is now known as the Vulcan howl, let us hope that she will be back again next year.
The Great Warbirds display who displayed on both days slowed things down considerably with the grace of these WW1 type aircraft performing simulated dog fights, this type of flying gives a feel for how things could have been over the battle fields during the 1st world war.
Another regular at Duxford is the search and rescue Sea King always a favourite demonstrating how to rescue a downed person, hopefully we will see the big yellow machine next year before she retires.
One of the most iconic displays seen at Duxford were the pair of Lancasters who carried out several superb passes before being joined by the BBMF fighters certainly one of the last times these iconic aircraft were going to grace the skies of Great Britain before the Canadian Lancaster started on her way back home.
Another first for Duxford was T2 Aviations Boeing 727 flown by Dan Griffith who carried several spirited flypasts and tight turns and for an aircraft of this size.
Photos Simon Lewin
The Duxford Air Show 2013 - 7th & 8th September 2013
Expectations are always high when we get to September for it is time again for Duxford's two-day show. Not only is it a chance to wander around Duxford's spacious hangars but a chance to go out on the flightline walk for that special photograph. Not forgetting the stalls situated in front of the hangars and other exhibits and demonstrations. Also of note are the tents with the veterans signing books and prints and Duxford's own SR-71 Blackbird pilot Col Richard Graham USAF (ret) who is a regular visitor to the American Air Museum for book signings, and talks.
The Duxford Air Show weekend as always included some more obscure aircraft as well as old favourites, and even managed to include two major display teams, the Red Arrows and the Patrouille de France, both teams giving stunning displays. From the largest aircraft which was the Boeing 747-8F, over from Stansted courtesy of Global Supply Systems Ltd which made two passes, and the other extreme the Cosmic Wind flown by Pete Kynsey which was probably the smallest.
Also of note on saturday because of pilot illness the French team were unable to display, their slot was filled by the Aerostars who gave a nice demonstration of precision aerobatics and formation flying. Smaller aircraft included Anna Walker in her Bucker Jungmann who always displays this aircraft in an elegant and graceful way. To the other extreme, Brendan O'Brien in his bright yellow Piper Cub throwing his aircraft around with landings on top of a trailer driving along the main runway, with the added pyrotechnics and smoke it is always a popular participant. Still on the small aircraft theme and bringing us bang up to date was Mark Jefferies, a skilled aerobatic display pilot flying the Extra 330SC. Mark puts this aircraft through manoeuvres that people would not think possible and is one of the top aerobatic pilots in the country.
Images courtesy of Bob Franklin
From the RAF we had the Typhoon which displayed on both days. Sunday gave us a Sea King from Wattisham which was on standby and unfortunately was called away, and the Short Tucano down from Linton-on-Ouse. Not forgetting some of Duxford's resident aircraft, Sally B the Flying Fortress and various Mks of Spitfire. Also of note was the The Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight's B-25N Mitchell which put on a fast moving display for one of the larger aircraft.
Now to the classic jets, the pairing of the de Havilland Vampire FB6 with the Vampire T55 brought the airfield to life again with the sound of vintage jet engines. A real pleasure to watch these aircraft performing high climbing loops and rolls with their silver paint reflecting the autumn sun. Back at Duxford was also the Canadair CT-133 Silver Star performing its first public display at the airfield.
The air show was varied with a balance of small and larger aircraft which kept the visiting public looking out for that next participating item.
The Duxford Air Show 2012 - Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September 2012
This year’s two-day show was blessed with superb weather conditions for both days. With a slightly different flying programme each day. Starting the show off was the four-ship flypast of F-15C Eagle aircraft from RAF Lakenheath, followed by the Tornado role demo from the RAF. Saturday saw the return of the People's Aircraft the mighty Avro Vulcan, a very popular item at any air show, this year celebrating 60 years since the Vulcan’s first flight and as usual 558 put on a crowd pleasing display. Another different aircraft was the T-33 which had a radio fault and was not able to display but made the short flight down to North Weald at the end of the afternoon. Another welcome display was also up from North Weald in the shape of a pair of F-16s with the Vampire pair from the Norwegian Historic Flight. Other displays of interest were a mixed formation of the de Havilland Rapide, Antonov An-2 and Fairy Swordfish. Also of note was the excellent display by the Bucker Jungmann. Old favourites included the B-17 Flying Fortress, Catalina and the T-28. Taking us back to the jet age, the Folland Gnat pair gave a well coordinated demonstration followed later by the RAF Hawk T1 in its final year of display flying. Always popular at air shows, the Aerostars put on their polished display with plenty of smoke from their Yak-50 aircraft. Ending the Saturday show were the Hawker Hurricane, Hispano Buchon and Spitfires who put on their spectacular tail chases, always a highlight the sound of V12 engines reverberating around Duxford Airfield, the final item on the Sunday show was the RAF Red Arrows, as popular as ever, which finished off a fine weekend of flying.
Images courtesy of Bob Franklin
The Duxford Air Show 2011 - Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th September 2011
Saturday was a fantastic summer day and ideal weather for an air show. Duxford was celebrating the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the Spitfire with no less than seven Spitfires flying in formation, followed by a sequence of tail chases. Two 1st's for Duxford were displays by the RAF King Air and The Royal Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron de Havilland Vampires. Other displays were carried out by The RedHawks Display Team, the Curtiss P-40F Warhawk, the Curtiss P-40B and Curtiss Hawk 75A.
As a contrast Sunday’s weather was completely different. The first part of the day saw heavy rain and low cloud. The flying started with the Vampire pair followed by the RAF King Air, the T-28 Fennecs and Jonathan Whaley in the Hawker Hunter 'Miss Demeanour'. As the afternoon progressed the weather improved but not before the F-15 had given a spectacular condensation loaded display, which was for many of the spectators the highlight of the weekend. Once again a very enjoyable weekend and certainly a profitable one for anyone selling umbrellas on Sunday.
Images courtesy of Bob Franklin
The Al Murray Spitfire Experience – Thursday 1st September 2011
Al Murray flying in Spitfire
Photo Imperial War Museum Duxford
To mark the forthcoming Duxford Air Show weekend on the 3rd & 4th September, British comedian Al Murray better known as The Pub Landlord and also a presenter of historical documentaries visited The Imperial War Museum at Duxford. This was a special day for Duxford, not only could you hear the sound of Merlin engines above this World War II airfield (in this the 75th anniversary year of the Supermarine Spitfire) but the F1 Lotus Renault GB team were using Duxford’s runway for one of their test days.
Celebrity Al who has been a regular visitor to Duxford for many years, was about to realise a childhood dream when he was taken flying in a two-seat Spitfire by John Romain from The Aircraft Restoration Company. Later in the day Al watched a practice display by the United States Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle, which will be joined by a host of other classic aircraft at the weekend.
Images courtesy of Chris Cannon
The Duxford Air Show 2009 - Sunday 6th September 2009
Sunday started off cloudy with light winds which improved as the crowd started to grow. You could hear the whine of the Orpheus jet engines as the Gnats taxied for takeoff. A KC-135 with the refueling probe deployed, did a couple of passes. The Gnats got airborne and proceeded to do a well synchronised display. Two unusual visitors to Duxford were the Percival Mew Gull and the Hawk Speed Six. Both these aircraft were designed for air racing.
An entourage of the Bucker Jungmann, Yak 18, Moravan Zlin and Pitts Special slowly taxied along the crowd line. The nine times British Aerobatic Champion Mark Jefferies of Little Gransden was flying the Yak 18. The Bucker Jungmann (the Luftwaffe's primary trainer) gave an impressive performance. The Pitts Special also did a solo performance.
The BBMF's Spitfire PM631 and Hurricane PZ865 started their taxi run as Lancaster PA474 overflew them. As The Battle of Britain Flight started their display cheers and clapping were heard from the crowd as Sally B's engine started. The flamboyantly painted Hunter 'Miss Demeanour' took off, closely followed by Hurricane Z5140 and the Hawker Demon. The Hunter landed with the brake chute out after a stunning display.
Images courtesy of Ross Cannon
You could hear the sound of vintage engines filling the air from the Hurricane and Hawker Demon. Other aircraft to display were the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, the Royal Air Force Hawk and the Harvard. Sally B took to the skies looking majestic as usual. A refreshing change at Duxford was The Aerostars flying Yak 52s, the pilots putting the aircraft through a sequence of interesting manoeuvres. Later in the afternoon the colourful Hunter and Sabre gave an ear rattling display.
Spitfire MH434 and Mustang 'Ferocious Frankie' took to the sky as Sally B came into land. For the finale of the Duxford Air Show 2009 four Spitfires, BM597, TD248, PV202 and ML407 gave a brilliant WWII type dog fight following the Messerschmitt Buchon 109. This beautifully painted machine is actually a Spanish built Hispano Aviacion, rebuilt to represent a Bf 109 G-6.
Images courtesy of Ian Bracegirdle