This post/series is something I have not revisited since the 2014 advent run but I thought it would be good fun to take a trip down memory lane and remember a few warbirds that have now departed for foreign shores. A large number of the fond memories in this post are aircraft that have passed through the ownership of the Fighter Collection. The ever evolving contents of hangar 2 at Duxford has always been, and remains to be one of the most exciting prospects in Historic Aviation.
It is always a shame when an old favourite leaves the UK scene. However, the fact is, and it is one of the reasons this hobby stays such an interesting world to be in, is that the airshow scene, particularly the Warbird scene is constantly in a state of movement. In 2017 for example we saw Hangar 11’s P-40M “Lulu Belle” return to the US, disappointing as this was it does mean we have a chance to see the Russian Mk IX Spitfire return to the skies which will be great to see.
This means we do see considerable variety, while we may have lost a few Second World War aircraft over the years we have gained a large number of impressive WW1 aircraft, not to mention a wide range of Spitfires and Hurricanes and the return of favourites such as the Blenheim.
Of course theres a sense of sadness as aircraft leave, but I certainly learnt a long time ago to make a point of always making the most of these rare aircraft while they are here. The very recent departure of the Snipe and BE2 made that clear once again earlier this year.
The Old Flying Machine Company, for example, massively cut back their collection to just two aircraft in 2003 and more recently, to one with the sale of Ferocious Frankie (though whether the Mustang is remaining in the UK is yet to be confirmed), yet they are still widely regarded as one of the premier operators of warbirds around the world today.
I’ve no doubt that this time next year all the same discussions will be going around about another aircraft departing these shores, fact is though, as long as they remain flown, treated well and, ideally in the public eye then surely that is the point.
Almost every owner of these pieces of History views themselves as Custodians rather than owners. From an enthusiasts point of view we are incredibly lucky that there are so many in this country that choose to keep there machines in the air for our enjoyment.
Throughout this rather rambling post I have included a few images of aircraft that have left the UK scene over the years, each time replaced by something new and interesting, lets wait and see what else comes up.