While primarily a motorsport event, the incredible transformation and step back in time that is Goodwood Revival also includes a great deal of aviation content.
Now a key part of any Revival year, The Freddie March Spirit of Aviation, celebrated its 10th year in 2017. This concourse competition has seen a wide range of unique aircraft on display with incredible unrestricted access for the public. The occasion was marked by gathering a selection of past podium finishers.
This impressive gathering brought past winners as diverse as vintage Cessnas and Stearman, to the wonderful Bristol Blenheim. The Blenheim, having won the event in 2015 clocked up a second victory, with Spitfire MH434 and the beautifully finished Spartan Executive completing the podium. The unique experience of the Spirit Of Aviation can be summed up with great moments like chatting with the team behind the Blenheim and getting a chance to take a look up into the cockpit.
I only visited on the Friday of the event which was not blessed with the best weather. This meant that some of the more unique aircraft such as the Historic Aircraft Collection’s Hawker Fury, remained in the hangar. Nonetheless there were some incredible aircraft on display.
The Fighter Collection sent their pristine P-40C which complimented the similarly fished Norwegian DC3 well. There were two impressive examples of the Beech Staggerwing on display as well.
The surprise entrant to this years competition, only being announced the evening before the show, was the immaculate Red Bull P-38. This was the Lightning’s only UK appearance in 2017 and it looked fantastic even on a grey and wet day. The access offered by the Goodwood Revival is truly incredible and having the chance to get a close up look at the P-38 (and use it as an umbrella) is a wonderful experience.
While the flying portion of the Revival has been gradually shortened over the past few years it still delivers some unique opportunities. The design of the display line means the aircraft are constantly turning and showing topsides allowing great diving passes across the middle of the airfield.
Out of all the Revivals I have attended I think the early morning “Dawn Patrol” flight has only been able to go ahead on one or two occasions, with low cloud or fog always stopping play. This year thankfully the morning flying was able to go ahead. Not long after arriving in the static park the distinctive sound of a Packard Merlin crackling into life was heard as P-51D Mustang “Miss Helen” fired up. The weather was far from ideal but it was a thrill to see the Mustang lifting off from Goodwood’s grass up close and carrying out a few passes over the site.
Typically the low cloud and fog clears throughout the morning in time for the flying to take place. All looked good but sadly the weather closed in again just as the flying was due to start. This was particularly disappointing as I’d just watched the Red Bull P-38 being towed out of the display area and prepared to fly. Having seen footage from the weekend show it certainly looks like it put on a great show. The planned flying line up was also to feature Spitfire MH434, Mustang “Miss Helen” and the Fighter Collection’s P-40F and Corsair. It was still great to see these aircraft at Goodwood, many of which rarely display away from Duxford in the UK.
The “main event” of the Revival, the motor racing, was typically enjoyable, with the inclement weather actually improving the spectacle of seeing these historic vehicles practicing and qualifying for the weekend races. I particularly enjoyed the Fiat 500 track parade which saw over 100 of the little Italian Classics take to the track.
Overall Revival 2017 represented another classic year, despite the disappointment with the flying on the day I attended you can never come away disappointed from Glorious Goodwood!