It goes without saying that the Fighter Collection’s incredible extended sequence at Old Warden in June was one of the highlights of the season. Seeing the rarer aircraft in the Duxford based collection away from their home base is a rare event especially at a venue as intimate as Old Warden.
The slot was highly anticipated throughout the afternoons flying and it reached a peak as the distinctive shape of the three fighters appeared on the horizon. The Bearcat, Wildcat and Corsair came tearing across the field low and in close formation before Dave Southwood pulled up into a solo routine in the Wildcat with a reverse half cuban. The rest of the Wildcat routine was incredible, low level passes combined with flowing aerobatics and that typical wildcat growl.
Next up was Fighter Collection chief pilot Pete Kynsey in the Corsair. This was a typically polished aerobatic routine combining graceful vertical aerobatics with the incredible power of the naval fighter, not to mention the trademark eight point hesitation rolls.
Closing the sequence was Brian Smith in the Bearcat. A Bearcat display at Old Warden has long been on my wish list but I assumed it would never happen. It was magic enough to see this moment coming true but the display that followed was truly sensational. Brian Smith has a well earned reputation for graceful and low warbird aerobatics and this may just be the greatest example of his flying I have seen. Watching a Bearcat being thrown around in such fine style up close at a venue such as Old Warden was airshow magic in the best form.
As you can probably tell by now this display is right up there in my all time top airshow memories, 2017 promises a second instalment of Fly Navy and I certainly hope we will see the Fighter Collection return for another Old Warden performance.