Warbird Tails “Best of” 2014

With 2014 about to draw to a close I couldn’t resist the temptation of putting together one more list of highlights of the year. I’ve been lucky this year to attend a number of impressive airshows and tick a few boxes off the bucket list!

In no particular order…

Flight in Commemorative Air Force B24 Diamond Lil at Reading World War Two Weekend.

It was one of those things I never really believe would happen, the opportunity to fly in a world war 2 bomber. It came together when a trip to the united states coincided with the Reading World War 2 weekend. A number of aircraft were avaibable for pleasure flights but the B24 was the one as far as I was concerned, having never even seen one fly! The flight was extraordinary, with excellent views and the surreal feeling of walking around an historic aircraft at low level. A life highlight let alone 2014!

The flight deck of B24 "Diamond Lil".

The flight deck of B24 “Diamond Lil”.

Diamond Lil at the Reading WW2 weekend.

Diamond Lil at the Reading WW2 weekend.

A more detailed report of my B24 flight can be found in this post from September:

Getting up close to Mosquito KA114 and finally seeing a DH98 fly.

Once again the American holiday led to the amazing experience of visiting the Military Aviation Museum at Virginia Beach, home to then, the worlds only airworthy Mosquito, a great couple of days were spent wandering around the museum with special attention turned to the beautifully restored Mosquito. I was lucky enough to catch the Mosquito again at Hamilton and this time see it in the air.

KA114 in the Fighter Factory Hangar

KA114 in the Fighter Factory Hangar

Mosquito KA114 with the Canadian Lancaster in behind.

Mosquito KA114 with the Canadian Lancaster in behind.

Again the mosquito was subeject of another post earlier in the year, as part of the de Havilland Dreams series, found here

The Two Lancasters Tour:

The two Lancs at Goodwood.

The two Lancs at Goodwood.

Well, once again its time for two of Avros finest to make an appearance on this site. One of those events warbird fans have dreamed about for years and finally the news broke out early last year. What followed was a planned one month tour, which turned into two that provided one of the greatest spectacles the uk display scene has ever seen.

A wider look of the tour as a whole can be found here.

Gladiator Pair at Flying Legends:

The Fighter Collection's Gladiator.

The Fighter Collection’s Gladiator.

The Gloster Gladiator has always been an impressive aeroplane, being the last of the bi-plane fighters and representing a unique type of aircraft. For many years the UK airshow scene only had one Gladiator displaying, operated by the Shuttleworth collection. Last year saw the Old Warden based machine joined by the Fighter Collections aircraft, this year saw a very impressive dynamic pairs display.

Shuttleworth Gladiator October 2014.

Shuttleworth Gladiator October 2014.

The display segment featured Nick Grey putting on one of his now legendary solo aerobatic displays in the Fighter Collection machine, with Keith Dennison performing low passes underneath, after these serpatate segments both aircraft formed up into a high energy tail chase sequence. This performance captured everything that is great about Flying Legends and had all the Hallmarks of a great display.

A more detailed article on the Gladiator can be found here

The Return of Grosvenor House:

The race winner, G-ACSS displaying at Old Warden on the 5th October 2014.

Displaying at Old Warden on the 5th October 2014.

Finally it comes to what will no foubt be regarded as one of the more special returns to the airshow scene in the last few years. The Shuttleworth Collection surprised many with the first flight for many years of the de Havilland DH88 Comet. Following this first flight on the 1st August the Comet went on to perform displays on the 7th September and 5th October, both of which were flown perfectly by Dodge Bailey.

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I think I speak for many when I say I look forward to seeing the Comet out and about more in 2015. A fitting end to my aviation year was getting an upclose look at the Comet, including a look in the cockpit at the Shuttleworth Collections engineering weekend on the 28th December.

A Pilots eye view from the DH88.

A Pilots eye view from the DH88.

A more detailed look at the history of the Comet can be found here.

This post of course covers just some of many highlights that 2014 brought, more detailed reports on a number of airshows and moments from this year can be found on the Airshow Moments and Airshow Reviews pages.

Lastly I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this site, like the posts and follow Warbird Tails’ on Twitter and Facebook, it is much appreciated and I look forward to presenting Warbird Tails first full airshow season next year. As you can see I’ve made a few changes to the site and tried to smarten it up a bit.

Warbird Tails can now be found at the shorter web address – Wabirdtails.net

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